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Why not get personal with pushy government officials?

I wonder, really, why we don’t hear about incidents like this more often:

HEMET, Calif. – A man suspected of carrying out a series of booby trap attacks  against police in a small Southern California town was expected to be charged in the case Wednesday, authorities said.

Nicholas Smit was arrested Friday for investigation of making a booby trap and assault on a police officer with intent to commit murder.

Smit is suspected of planting booby traps to hurt a Hemet police officer who arrested him after suspecting that he was growing marijuana, law enforcement officials said.

I no longer have a commercial publisher, so I don’t have to pretend that I disapprove of directly targeting government officials. Yet I’m not specifically advocating putting bear traps on the front seats of cop cars — for one thing, the unwashed masses are likely to get offended that one of the brave “thin blue line” got his steroid-shriveled testicles caught in the trap, and, for another, there’s an unfortunate likelihood of being caught, like the apparently rather dim Nicholas Smit, in Hemet.

But I’m surprised that we don’t hear more about direct, creative targeting of abusive law-enforcement officers and presumptuous officeholders.

Considering how often politicos are caught doing things for which we we mere commoners would be harshly punished, such as neglecting to foot a share of the tab for the politicians’ own spending sprees, or engaging in a little sexual experimentation in public places, wouldn’t it be worth assigning aggressive private investigators to pry into their past indiscretions and monitor their current activities? Of course, not every investigation would pay off, but focusing on especially obnoxious specimens would not only derail the occasional derail-worthy career, it would cast further doubt and disrepute on governing institutions.

Honestly, does anybody really doubt that at least one member of Congress is a serial killer? Or that at least two keep teenagers chained in some dungeon?

Yes, that requires funds, but having worked for a couple of political organizations, I’m impressed by the quantity of money that’s dedicated to low-payoff activities, like lobbying and publicity campaigns.

What about protesting outside the private homes of government officials? It seems unfortunate that when this is most often done, it’s along the lines of Cindy Sheehan’s vigil in Crawford, Texas, which was guaranteed to annoy the neighbors while then-President Bush snored comfortably in the White House.

The goal should be to make the official uncomfortable.

There have been incidents over the years. I seem to remember that a King County, Washington, politician had a load of trash dumped on his front lawn in retaliation for his support for restrictions on property rights. And I believe that a Pennsylvania official who supported a ban on anonymous mail drops was zapped by a local company revealing that he took advantage of just such a service.

And, of course, the Phoenix New Times published Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s home address.

Can you think of any other past examples that might point the way to future tactics?

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  • The Internet and the video camera are ultimately the most effective weapons against agents of the State. In the past it was difficult or impossible to for the “Little Guy” to expose the misdeeds of the Ruling Class, the only tool available for doing so being the MSM, which have ALWAYS been the property of the target.

    You’re correct that the Smit approach detailed in the linked Yahoo article is generally ineffective, even counterproductive, for the simple reason that still too few of the sheeple have yet lost all respect for “law enforcement” to make a difference. I believe, however, that with institutionalized abuse by cops against citizens now a regular feature of the citizen-cop encounter and with the problem destined only to get worse in the future, that will change. We may not be too many years away from seeing police abuses like these met by sympathetic fellow citizens in huge numbers who are willing to give badged, uniformed thugs a taste of their own medicine in the form of a “swarm.”

  • I think, one of the reasons why this is not happening as often as we would like, is that the juries can be pretty much relied on siding with the police. For example, the article about John Coffin (http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2007/03/right-to-resist.html) who defended his wife from illegal assault by the deputies, mentions the acquittal “as unexpected as it is uncommon and badly overdue” – though even then, it should be mentioned, it was Coffin who was ordered to pay $358 and spent 8 days in jail, while the true criminals, the deputies, walked. Or take the fresh sentence of Mehserle who in cold blood killed handcuffed victim laying face down – “The verdict was an all-but-unprecedented instance of a police officer being convicted for an on-duty shooting.” The jury found no intention in his actions after deliberating for 2 days. But it took only one hour for the jury to find guilty Corey Maye who shot police officer who invaded his home unannounced.

  • “The goal should be to make the official uncomfortable.” I’ll go further – the “official” should be so “uncomfortable” that s/he ceases hir (his/her) role of government official.

    However while the following can be applied to all government officials, it is the government *enforcers* who are the real problem!

    Without the enforcers – those with the guns and the willingness to use them and other weapons of physical force – all of the regulations/edicts/laws/mandates/etc of any government agency/bureaucrat/executive (including the President) are just so many words. How many of politicians and bureaucrats do you think would actually get out in the streets and enforce those regulations they create? I would venture that none would do so – they will turn that task over to the enforcers. All the words produced by legislators, judges and executives (the latter including the President) are simply so much squiggles on paper and ripples in the air without direct physical action by enforcers.

    I recommend that any anti-Statist reading this who personally knows a government enforcer, urge hir to get a productive job. If s/he rebuffs the persuasive arguments then reduce voluntary associations, and finally to none, letting the individual know exactly why you are doing so. And let others know that you are using negative Social Preferencing with this person and will do so with any other government enforcer who persists in that role – go public on the Internet, identifying the enforcer by name, location and photograph. Have no voluntary interactions with any government enforcer!

    This selective (discriminating) association to exclude those who cause harm is a potentially very powerful method of non-violent action, referred to as ostracism by many down through the ages. It is included in Gene Sharp’s 2nd volume (of 3), “The Politics of Nonviolent Action”, Chapter 4, “The Methods of Social Noncooperation”. I and husband Paul Wakfer use the term “negative Social Preferencing” for purposeful non-voluntary association (contrasted with positive Social Preferencing towards those who do provide value) and have described how it is the ultimate effector of social order in a truly free society (The Freeman Society) – http://selfsip.org/solutions/Social_Preferencing.html

    I often wonder how many of the (mostly anonymous) online commenters complaining of government enforcer actions still willingly associate with government enforcers from all types of agencies (including the military) who are neighbors, relatives and even “friends”. It takes more than online gripe sessions among those who already agree to persuade non-agreers to change their behavior. Even in the current very unfree societies (of which the US is a major one), negative Social Preferencing can be effectively used to influence individual social behavior and the actions of the State. http://selfsip.org/focus/protestsnotenough.html
    It goes without saying that the sooner large numbers of people make negative (and positive) Social Preferencing part of their own behavior, the sooner the number of government enforcers will noticeably decline. And in the process, it is very likely that self-responsibility will achieve the role in human actions that is necessary for a truly liberatous society (in contrast to “libertarian” that has multiple, incomplete and often self-contradictory descriptions).

  • When that video of that advert came out from the Pennsylvania department of revenue showing a satellite view of Pennsylvania and then zooming in on Tom’s house (the mythical Tom who owes taxes) it occurred to me to see if I could get the data on the higher ups in that department.

    Turns out their names are on the department web site, and their addresses are in whitepages.com – just look ’em up. Plugged those into Google maps and found their houses, too. One of ’em lives in a really nice house.

    I’ve done this a bunch of times, by the way, for people arrested in smaller towns. Often the arresting officers are named by local media, and their addresses are in the white pages. So some activists did this candle light vigil in Keene, NH after one particularly brutal beating by a pig on an activist. Apparently it angered the pig, since he was on duty at the time. His wife was freaked out about these people on the sidewalk outside the house, you know, with fire. Hilarity ensued.

    The wonder of it is that these bureau-rats and politicians who prey on Americans live in the same communities with the people they feed off. And they live in wooden houses. I dunno. Some of the spirit that drove the “founding fathers” to tar and feather tax collectors and pour boiling hot tea down the throats of tea tax agents in Boston in 1773 seems to have gone away.

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