If YOU haven’t watch this video, do eeeeeeet!!! Yes, it’s two years old, but it’s by far the most personally meaningful video I’ve made, touching on all my core issues: liberty > security; privacy and transparency; police accountability and resisting an authoritarian police state; vices are not crimes; and keeping NH awesome!
The issues are fresh af, and after 2020, I think civil libertarians agree, we WILL NOT give up our rights to scared, conditioned, passively obedient, non-thinking people. Sorry.
In this clip, near the end after I ask the genuine question, “When you watch The Matrix, who do you root for? Because in real life, too many people are rooting for Agent Smith!”, I talk about the evolution of signs I have personally made in my dozen+ years of liberty activism in the Free State of NH:
Don’t taze me, bro
Don’t tax me, bro
Don’t lock me down, bro
Don’t spy on me, bro
Don’t teargas me, bro
Now, sadly, I’ll have to add these:
DON’T LOCK ME DOWN, BIG BRO
DON’T VAXX ME, BIG BRO and…
YOU DON’T OWN MY PIE-HOLE, KAREN
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As the government asserts more and more control over every aspect of your life, going so far as to unlawfully claim they have the right to tell you what face coverings to wear in public, our NH police become less and less transparent.
They spy on us with ill-gotten surveillance cameras, but hide their actions from us. Does this sound right to you?
Traditionally, in Manchester, we had access to the police scanners. This was a simple way for the press and public to exercise some oversight over police actions on our streets, and to know when militarized tools like the BEARCAT was deployed. Around 2016, Chief Willard, in a backroom deal with the City, simply encrypted the scanners. NO PUBLIC INPUT/HEARING WAS HELD.
Today, since it is #SunshineWeek, and I serve on Right-to-Know NH, a statewide nonpartisan coalition of open government advocates, I asked Chief Aldenberg about how he will approach MPD transparency.
The Chief refused to answer whether any active MPD are on the current redacted Laurie’s List/EES. The NH Supreme Court overruled Fenniman last year, and the “personnel record” exception no longer applies. Nor, frankly, should it ever be permissible, in a functioning open society, for state agents, especially those permitted to use lethal force, to hide their own bad behavior from citizens. Watch this week’s episode of Manch Talk for a primer on the Laurie’s List, the court cases, and where we currently stand.
When asked about the dark scanners, the Chief suggested “that’s just how it is.” Chief, you have an opportunity to reverse course on this issue, and be more open and transparent. Please consider this.
The Chief also incorrectly stated the police log is updated every 30 minutes. It’s not. AND, not all calls are logged. Why’s that?
If the police log online is now the public’s sole “check and balance,” what reassurances do we have about the veracity or timeliness of the information on the log? How can we exercise any oversight? Is this how you establish trust? I think we can do better…
Please consider your duty and oath to the NH Constitution:
[Art.] 8. [Accountability of Magistrates and Officers; Public’s Right to Know.] All power residing originally in, and being derived from, the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them. Government, therefore, should be open, accessible, accountable and responsive. To that end, the public’s right of access to governmental proceedings and records shall not be unreasonably restricted. The public also has a right to an orderly, lawful, and accountable government…
ACCOUNTABLE AND RESPONSIVE.
Thanks for doing the Q&A, Manchester NH Police. I look forward to seeing us make progress on these issues to improve citizens’ oversight of your department.
My friend Sarah Chamberlain wrote this essay on Medium, and I wanted to share here too. If you only read one thing today, let it be this.
Please save, screenshot, etc., then boost.
I don’t usually ask for my content to be shared. What I am about to say though is perhaps the most important thing I will ever say in public, and in the present landscape of the internet, there is a very high probability that it is being silenced or erased even now as you read it. So, I am asking you to please, save an offline and/or archived copy of this letter RIGHT NOW.
If, once you’ve read this letter, you feel that it has any value or interest whatsoever, please, as a personal favor, send it on through whichever channels, to whichever people you feel safe doing so.
If you think what I say is absurd, please share my letter with your friends so you can all laugh at me.
If you think that what I say is evil, please share it with your friends so you can all rage at me.
If you think I deserve to be punished for what I say, please send my letter on to the “authorities” or to any person you think might hurt me for writing it. At least then, those people will have a chance to read it.
an American, a New Hampshirewoman, a lover of liberty, and a happily married mother of four beautiful children. I have a wonderful life, a bright future, and could not ask for any greater blessing than those I have already received.
My enemies are
in a word, communists. Modern communists do not usually call themselves such. They do not talk about workers rising up and seizing the Means of Production.
Instead, modern communists adopt a rhetorical stance where they assume that all people and all property are ALREADY COLLECTIVIZED, then calmly discuss what WE should do:
– What WE should ALLOW people to own.
– What WE should ALLOW people to do.
– What WE should ALLOW people to say.
– How WE should ALLOW people to use their property.
– How WE should ALLOW people to conduct their businesses,
– … and WHO should be ALLOWED,
– … and WHERE.
– How WE should ALLOW people to raise their children.
– Who should be GIVEN which roles within society.
The issue under discussion is always something sympathetic, something most decent people would like to see fixed: Intergenerational poverty, police brutality, environmental degradation, bigotry, violence.
But the solutions modern communists put forward are rarely passive, and they are never liberating. If a problem can be solved by individual action, voluntary charity, by the free market, or by the passage of time, that is never seen as good enough. In fact, nothing that fails to increase the power and control of governments or certain institutions (or to grow the people’s dependence on them) is ever regarded as a solution at all.
The people who do the work of modern communism, debating and voting on these “issues of the day” are mostly not aware of what they are doing. A majority of them are decent people who want real problems addressed. But their thinking is confined to a multiple choice question presented by prestige media and schools where only oppressive proposals are listed as options.
Even those higher up the food chain, the ones who create the policy proposals or set the bounds of debate around them are not usually conscious of the way they are manipulating the public. They are hobbled by a theory of history (care of the school system) where the past is merely a series of dragons slain by government policy, where everything is “systemic”, and where the free choices and conscientious actions of individuals have no meaningful effect.
This is how the enemy operates.
In order for modern communists to have the latitude to execute their plans, they need every citizen to be as weak and dependent as possible. They especially need the middle tiers of management, professions, and bureaucracy to be filled with minimally competent placeholders who owe their position to political and institutional favor. These sorts of people, since they are only able to achieve their present position through the system, are more pliable to coercion and less likely to see freedom in any aspect of life as promising or beneficial.
As a consequence, modern communists wage eternal war against every wholesome and sustainable aspect of life, society, and culture which gives people or communities strength and independence. They see it as desirable to destroy the natural optimum which people discover through freedom and competition and replace it with fragile, orchid-like solutions which could not thrive without government and/or institutional intervention:
– Those with demonstrable skills must be replaced by those with credentials.
– The self-employed must be reduced to the status of employees.
– Property must become regulated or burdened with tax and debt, and wherever possible, wealth must be rendered intangible as abstracted financial fictions constructed of laws.
– People must come to rely on government programs for security where they previously relied on themselves and each other.
– The traditional family and organic communities it forms, such as churches, must be invaded, defanged, and delegitimized to leave people at the mercy of authorities.
To a modern communist, “freedom” means the opportunity for individuals to choose some fundamentally maladaptive way of life and be protected from consequences, encouraged and subsidized by power.
The weaker you are, the more useful you are to those in power. Those who choose to be weak and dependent where they could be healthy and independent are collaborators.
This is what I see happening.
The American public has come to accept all the components of totalitarian states.
– We have come to accept a militarized police.
– We have come to accept ideological indoctrination in schools.
– We have come to accept mass surveillance.
– We have come to accept speech codes.
– We have come to accept the rewriting of history to serve the interests of the ruling party.
– We have come to accept the tarring of political dissidents as “terrorists”, “extremists”, and “White Supremacists.”
– We have come to accept the State telling us when and where we can meet.
– We have come to accept the State shutting down our places of worship.
– We have come to accept the idea that parents should have no special authority over their children.
– We have come to accept the manipulation of thought through the manipulation of language.
– We have come to accept the radical reordering of society by government in the name of crisis.
In the 2016 election, the full-throated manipulation by the mainstream press, academia, and the political establishment was so intense, and so obvious, that many people (myself included) who did not consider themselves “conservative” voted for Donald Trump just to poke a finger in the eye of Leviathan. So many people did so that his margin of victory exceeded the margin of cheat, and he was actually able to become president.
In the intervening years, the modern communists of both parties (though more so the Democrats) and those same media and academia mandarins have only doubled down on their commitment to subjugating the public and clamping down on our personal freedom and political prerogatives. Somehow, in losing electorally, we are to believe that their mandate for runaway collectivism and authoritarianism was strengthened.
Now, in the 2020 election, the fraud and manipulation became so glaringly obvious that, at the time of writing, at least 47% of all Americans, regardless of party loyalty, understand that the election was stolen and Joe Biden is illegitimate. Somehow though, it is still a long shot that Donald Trump, the person who has done more to expose the mendacity and incompetence of the ruling party and institutions than anyone else, will be seated as President.
Every one of those Americans who understands this must realize that this is it. This is the last moment for the American Republic, the last time we will even have a glimmer of a chance of an honest election result, and the last time any opposition to modern communism will be afforded space in the public square. And yet, neither I nor most of you are going to do anything about this situation that might risk our present status or comfort.
This is why I won’t yet act.
Unfortunately for me, the crisis has come either too late or too early. Our family has four young children, a single income, and a base of assets which could be easily lost but probably never replaced. We are maximally vulnerable to the sorts of attacks which collectivists bring against those who fight back.
Even so, if the fight were on, if the majority of Americans who this past election shows are opposed to creeping collectivism were on the march, I would risk it all to join them. No comfort, no wealth, not even life itself is as important as preserving the possibility of human freedom. The hive-society prison which is being built around us must be demolished at any cost.
But when I look around me, I see many people who are paralyzed as I am. We know that the fight for our republic is unavoidable, and that the time is now, but do not see a nucleus of resistance to which we can pledge our lives, fortunes, and sacred honors without it being tantamount to suicide. We are watching and waiting for someone else to be that nucleus.
Most people who have not committed to the cause of freedom are not conscious supporters of modern communism. Some hold out the futile hope that things will all go back to normal, others have convinced themselves that what is happening is inevitable and cannot be opposed. Both are dead wrong. As open struggle against collectivism, communism, authoritarianism, and globalism rises, both of these positions will weaken, and support for freedom will grow.
If you have the courage to act where I do not,
here is what I WILL do:
– If you speak out against them, I will listen.
– If you act against them, I will not stand in your way.
– If they portray you as uncool, cringey, old-fashioned, unintelligent, or low-class, I will not laugh at you or think less of you.
– If they call you a racist, sexist, xenophobe, homophobe, Nazi, granny killer, etc., I will not believe them, nor will I care.
– If they call you a terrorist or an extremist, I will not assume that you are in the wrong.
– When they ask me questions, I will lie, forget, or evade as I am able.
– When they tell me their version of history, I will smile and nod and know they are liars.
– If they dispossess you, I will share what I can.
– If they martyr you, my children will learn your name as that of a hero.
– If you have the courage to be shameless in opposing them, you will be honored in my house.
This is what I will remember.
1. The universities and the class of “experts” and “professionals” to whom they grant legitimacy have no constitutional role in the American Republic. No amount of schooling grants one authority over others, and no consensus among the educated should have the force of law.
2. The guarantee in the Constitution of “Freedom of the Press” is not a grant of authority to the legacy media or to professional journalists. It is, in fact, a right belonging to the people: WE have the right to publish and disseminate views and information the same as those who work for newspapers or television networks.
3. The Intelligence and Defense establishments of the US exist to secure the rights and liberties of the American people. The US has constructed a vast apparatus to deploy force, subvert or overthrow governments, and disseminate propaganda, but these activities are only legitimate when they are directed OUTWARD. When the geopolitical capabilities of the US government do not act to empower the American people and sustain our Constitution, they are just as criminal as the same actions taken by private citizens.
4. Law enforcement and defense against violence is the responsibility of each and every person. Even though we have become accustomed to having these services provided by professionals, they remain our right and our personal responsibility.
5. Education of the young is the responsibility of parents and natural communities. Even though we have become accustomed to having this service provided by professionals, it remains our right and our personal responsibility.
6. Provision of necessities such as food and shelter is the responsibility of each and every person. Even though we have become accustomed to these goods being delivered by a vast and interconnected economic machinery over which we have little control, it remains our right and our duty to provide for ourselves and those we care about.
7. Though peace, prosperity, happiness, and a long life are all wonderful conditions to experience, they are not what makes a human life worthwhile. Humans have dignity and value insofar as they are free agents struggling and striving to obtain these ends. “Treating someone as a human being” does not mean coddling them and providing for them like you would a child or a pet. It means getting out of their way and leaving them the freedom and latitude to provide for themselves.
8. Whoever relinquishes their freedom to obtain comfort or security is not acting as a human, but as an animal. Because our fates are all intertwined, such a person is betraying all of us, and does not deserve our concern or regard.
— Sarah Chamberlain
Several articles appear in today’s Union Leader regarding the City’s attempt to reintroduce a mandatory mask mandate with a $1,000 fine that will be enforced by police and fire, leading to unnecessary confrontations with the public.
Drew Cline of the Josiah Bartlett Center, New Hampshire’s free market think tank, gets it right, when he asked “When is a mask mandate warranted?” saying, in part:
“Manchester aldermen are considering a mandate that would carry a $1,000 fine. City Health Department Director Anna Thomas told aldermen the point of the ordinance would be to educate the public about the importance of wearing masks.
No, the purpose of a public relations campaign is to educate. The purpose of a mandate is to force compliance. And the purpose of a fine is to punish.
Manchester Community College charges only $215 per credit. For $1,000, you could take a course in the Health Sciences curriculum, say, Probability & Statistics, learn more about the value of mask wearing, and still have $140 left over…
A mandate is an extraordinary measure to be reserved for the most extraordinary emergencies. New Hampshire’s infection rate remains well below 1 percent, its hospital capacity high, its voluntary mask wearing common. Even if mask mandates are comforting, it’s hard to make the case that they’re necessary to protect public health at this time.
And that — necessity — is the determining factor. The coercive power of government is not a tool with which to fine-tune people’s sensibilities. It is a last resort to be deployed when all other options are exhausted and the consequences of inaction are most dire.”
In “Both sides weigh in on Manchester mask proposal ahead of meeting” several City aldermen express their concerns with a mask mandate:
“Ward 8 Alderman Mike Porter said his opinion on the mandate hasn’t changed in the weeks since it was first proposed,
‘I strongly oppose a face covering ordinance in the city,’ said Porter over the weekend. ‘I strongly encourage everybody to wear a face covering but will not vote to mandate it. A plain reading of the proposed ordinance places an unnecessary burden on our already overburdened police and fire departments, and has the potential to create negative contacts between the public and our first responders.’
Porter added he strongly opposes the language involving ‘up to a $1,000 fine.’
‘This ordinance will only encourage a form of mask vigilantism by the public,’ said Porter. ‘The ordinance will create more problems than it solves.’
Other aldermen share Porter’s concerns.
‘I don’t support the ordinance as written because it is too onerous,’ said Ward 7 Alderman Ross Terrio. ‘I will consider a less restrictive ordinance that focuses on education over fines and is limited in what areas are covered.’
‘We should be meeting at City Hall and the mandatory mask ordinance is not needed, as people are doing safe things on their own, and there literally would be no enforcement,’ said Ward 12 Alderman Keith Hirschmann. ‘Seems this administration is following a national agenda.’
‘While I encourage people to wear a mask when they cannot socially distance themselves from others, I stand firm in my opposition to the government mandating an unenforceable ordinance demanding they do so,’ said Alderman-at-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur.”
In “‘High-risk’ behavior by some blamed for Manchester aldermen going remote” the aldermen set themselves up for a lawsuit by admitting they simply don’t want to face the public:
“‘High-risk behavior’ by members of the public is being cited as the reason Manchester’s aldermanic meetings will now be held remotely, after officials said the health and safety of staff and others were put at risk…
Ward 8 Alderman Mike Porter reacted to the decision in a social media post.
‘If elected officials can’t meet in person at City Hall — appropriately socially-distanced, wearing masks when moving about … then clearly masks are not the answer,’ he wrote. ‘Furthermore, if this is the precedent then schools should also be fully remote. If we as elected leaders can’t meet in person then kids and teachers should not meet in-person.’”
Wake up, New Hampshire! 124,000–ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND!!!–Granite Staters have lost their jobs–that’s the equivalent of ALL of Manchester and Amherst! This is ?% UNACCEPTABLE!
It is NOT the government’s job to pick winners or losers in the economy. It is NOT the government’s job to lockdown free people. It is NOT the government’s job to destroy the economy. It is NOT the government’s job to tell us who is essential and who is NOT.
On Saturday, I will stand with my fellow Granite Staters against the destruction of our lives and livelihoods through this outrageous government overreach.
Free people move freely! We are ALL essential!
Fwiw, I will be wearing a mask and gloves and open carrying because you can CRITICIZE THE GOVERNMENT’S AUTHORITARIAN RESPONSE and still take reasonable precautions based on YOUR OWN RISK PROFILE AS A FREE HUMAN BEING. If you are scared of getting sick, please stay home.
FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY: People have asked whether the police will arrest us. I doubt it, but that is a lawsuit I am willing to fight all the way to the Supreme Court, baby! Based on my past experience protesting at the State House, law enforcement will likely send an unmarked drone to take photos (although people will be masked, so good luck with your “we don’t use facial recognition software”). Based on my reading of the AG’s memo to law enforcement, the police are only authorized to issue verbal warnings. If they’re feeling particularly Big Bro and dick-ish, they might try to escalate the situation by telling the First Amendment protected assembly to disperse, and then issue misdemeanor citations, followed by trying to arrest people who do not leave. I have already decided I will not disperse and will peacefully submit to being arrested if it comes to that–but again, it probably won’t. You should decide beforehand what your appetite for risk is, and act accordingly–but don’t be afraid! I am confident you will be given an opportunity to leave first. My intent is to be courteous and peaceful at all times, and I encourage you to be the same.
Sign the petition to #ReOpenNH, HERE.
To Gov. Christopher Sununu and the N.H. Legislature
We the undersigned, understand that SARS-Cov-2 (Covid-19) is a highly contagious and potentially dangerous virus;
We understand that N.H. Gov. Christopher Sununu declared a state of emergency on March 13, 2020 in response to the outbreak of Covid-19 in New Hampshire and renewed that order on April 3, 2020 until April 24, 2020, as authorized under RSA 4:45;
We also understand that prior to March 17, New Hampshire had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, and since March 17, at least one in seven New Hampshire workers have lost their jobs and many businesses have shut their doors, perhaps permanently;
We understand that the People of New Hampshire are guaranteed certain Natural Rights, such as the freedom to assemble, the freedom to associate, the freedom to engage in commerce, the freedom to worship, and the freedom to freely travel, among many others, and that a state of emergency does not suspend these Natural Rights;
We believe free adults should be able to make their own decisions and assume the consequences of their actions, and people who are at risk or fear they are at risk have the right to isolate and protect themselves;
We believe the emergency orders issued by Gov. Sununu are arbitrary and unbalanced, particularly in determining “essential” and “non essential” organizations and allowing people to assemble in the supermarket but not in their place of work or community, which are equally susceptible to transmission of the virus;
We believe that the occasion of this virus does not warrant the suspension of liberty that has been attempted, and that many citizens of New Hampshire are suffering undue hardships from loss of livelihood, purpose and community, and that such suspension of liberty is unwarranted, and now, the “public liberty is manifestly endangered;”
Now therefore, we the undersigned hereby petition Gov. Sununu to end his declared State of Emergency on April 24, 2020 or prior, and allow free adults to make their own decisions about whether they want to open their businesses or other organizations, seek gainful employment, or patronize businesses and other organizations, as is their right.
Know where you can now find lockdowns and para-military police squads that go around shooting and killing people at night? In the “Live Not So Free” state of New Hampshire.
On Sunday, according to the Union Leader, the police shot not one, but two people under questionable circumstances. A 22-year old Windsor man was shot in Concord during a confrontation in White Park after a burglary at the skate house (“Pursuant to protocol, the name(s) of the officer(s) involved in the incident is being withheld pending the conclusion of the formal interview. No additional information is expected to be released until the conclusion of the formal interview(s), and in Manchester, the police shot a man on Lake Shore Road, possibly related to an arson at another address. [UPDATE: SHOT AND KILLED]. [UPDATE 04/07/20: AUTOPSY, DEATH RULED HOMICIDE.]
But who knows? Few details are available for either incident because when law enforcement shoots someone, you better not want to know what really happened, because, unlike any other investigation in which one human being is shot by another human being, these “officer-involved shootings” are “special,” with special kid-glove rules designed to protect the officer when an investigation is started by the Attorney General’s office.
The pristine, trustworthy New Hampshire Attorney General’s office, the same AG’s office that is actively fighting to keep a list of about 260 dirty cops secret from you even though a judge ordered last April (a year ago) that the Exculpatory Evidence Schedule or Laurie’s List is NOT confidential, is NOT subject to any exception of the Right-to-Know law, and should be made public. Instead of doing the right thing, the AG appealed this decision, meaning they’re now seeking a New Hampshire Supreme Court judge just shady enough to rule that keeping a list of rotten cops secret from the people they purport to work for is A-OK. Does this sound like open and transparent and accountable government to you?
That same Attorney General’s office that has never once ruled that an “officer-involved shooting” is unjustified, even when a fleeing man was shot in the back and killed, or when TWENTY FIVE PERCENT (25%) of all firearm deaths in 2017 were people shot and killed by New Hampshire law enforcement (the national average is 6%), or when LEOs tear-gassed two twenty-something drugs users to death in a hotel room last year, and even now, a full year later, not a peep… THAT Attorney-General’s office is going to bring us independent, trustworthy investigative reports about what is going down while Granite Staters are “ordered” by “decree” to “stay-at-home.” Umm, m’kay…
Let me make it simple for you to understand. Here’s exactly how this will go:
- The officers involved will have at least a week to get their stories straight before meeting with an “investigator,” who will be someone they know and who definitely works for the same boss. No conflict of interest here, right?
- Somewhere along the line, someone will say they thought they saw a gun. Whether there was an actual gun or not at the scene of the crime does not matter. Your active imagination, if you are a law enforcement officer, is all you need to get out of jail free! (Think I am exaggerating? When I was arrested back in 2010 in Weare, NH for filming police officers from behind a white picket-fence, more than 30 feet away, and after telling them I was audio and video recording, when they arrested me and chained me to a pole for several hours with a handcuff that they painfully tightened when I complained about how I was being treated, the officers paraded through the holding area and several told me ‘we’re going to say we thought the camera was a gun!’ They even wrote it into the police report, saying my camera’s red light looked like a laser on a gun… except, we proved there weren’t any lights on the camera at all. Huh, go figure.)
- The officers may or may not be put on administrative leave, but my guess is the officers involved (see? we don’t even know their names, how accountable!) won’t be put on administrative leave. I am, however, 100% confident that they will still get paid their full $80,000-100,000+ salaries, they will still accrue vacation time and all their really, really enviable bennies, and if they are placed on administrative leave, that time will still count towards their lifetime pensions. When you wonder what’s happening in America, remember, you will probably never be able to retire because you will have to continue to work in order to pay the pension of someone who will have stopped working when they were fifty-years old. Sure sounds like “we’re all in this together,” eh?
- In about a year, after everyone has forgotten, a report will quietly be issued by the AG’s office that will exonerate the officers involved. If any action is taken, it will be something lateral, like transferring the officer off the streets and placing them in a government-run school instead, like Officer Joshua English who shot and killed someone in 2010 and who last year attacked a 15 year-old from behind and threw him on his head on a school floor at Keene High School. The officer was not reprimanded, but the child who was thrown to the ground and the student who took the video of the incident were suspended. Sounds about right!?!
While you are ordered by the “State of New Hampshire” to sit at home, while you lose your business or job or salary (but don’t worry–local government employees are getting raises and it was announced last week your property taxes will be going up!), maybe now is a good time for a crash course in what the government agents who literally have a license to kill you have been up to the past decade. I hate to break it to you, but it ain’t pretty. Go ahead, Google “police brutality” on YouTube, or actually, just go read the NH Attorney General’s own reports online, and let me know what you think.
I sent the following Letter to the Editor to the Union Leader last week in honor of national Sunshine Week. Since they failed to publish it, I’m posting it below. If you are wondering what the legal ramifications of Governor Sununu’s “stay-at-home” “order,” you can read his own take HERE (this quote from Chris lightened my concerns significantly, “I want to be clear, though. We are not shutting down our state, sheltering in place, or closing our borders. No state has taken such actions nor does any Governor have the authority to do so.”), the Attorney General’s memo to law enforcement HERE (they have discretion, it’s a misdemeanor, and you will be arrested under “disorderly conduct”–if you get arrested, let me know!), an article about that discretion and law enforcement’s duty to inform HERE, and the Union Leader’s editor’s take, “Questioning authority: A healthy thing even in crisis.”
It’s Sunshine Week when we typically celebrate government transparency and openness. Given the government’s COVID-reaction, our rights are at risk. Before law enforcement knocks on your door, wouldn’t you like to know who to trust?
The Attorney General keeps a list of officers who have been identified by their own police chiefs as having “sustained findings of misconduct.” This list is kept secret from the public.
Yes, you read that right.
The AG keeps a list of suspect LEOs called the Exculpatory Evidence Schedule (formerly the “Laurie’s List”) with about 260 officers’ names on it, all blacked out, with only their departments and misdeeds viewable: falsification of records or evidence; lying in court; egregious dereliction of duty; and excessive use of force.
In April 2019, a judge ordered the list’s disclosure, stating it was “not confidential,” “not exempt from disclosure under RSA 91-A,” and that it is in the public interest to know who these officers are. Doh! Instead of releasing the list, the AG appealed at our expense to maintain its secrecy. Double doh!
Secrecy creates distrust and suspicion, undermining faith and confidence in government and law enforcement. As today’s paper stated: “Trust in public institutions relies on our ability to shine sunlight wherever we find shadows.”
Almost 1,000 Granite Staters signed an online petition started by Right-to-Know NH, a statewide nonpartisan coalition of open government advocates, asking Governor Sununu to end the appeal and release the uncensored list. Banish the shadows, Governor, and help us restore trust!
I will write a longer piece soon exploring the legal side of “shelter-in-place” orders and advisories, but here in Manchester, at least, in 2016 after the West Manchester Lockdown we were assured by then police Chief Willard that all shelter-in-place statements made by MPD are advisories. Sadly, NHPR’s show today was disappointing, and lacked any exploration of under what authority and color of law these orders might be issued. Here’s the statement I sent in, which did not make it on air:
“Granite Staters should VOLUNTARILY take all reasonable precautions like decent people do, but I doubt a shelter-in-place *order* would go over well in NH. If it truly becomes necessary for the entire state to stay at home, an *advisory* from Governor Chris Sununu should be sufficient. Basically, people should be considerate, not be jerks, and do everything reasonably necessary to mitigate risks, but it should not be ILLEGAL to go about your life. Free people move freely, and, as the old Ben Franklin wisdom goes, ‘They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.'”~ Carla Gericke
If you are wondering how YOU can help, it is CRUCIAL that pro-liberty folks start emailing and calling in to these shows to at least bring up our rights, what freedom is and why it matters, and what the legal consequences of martial law is.