Publisher’s Note: I was intrigued when I ran across D. Brian Burghart on the web. He is the editor/publisher of the Reno News & Review, a dual-master’s student and journalism instructor at the University of Nevada, Reno. He started Fatal Encounters, www.fatalencounters.org, which went live on Feb. 27, 2014, to create a crowd-sourced, objective and comprehensive database of people killed during interactions with police and the circumstances surrounding the killing. Please understand that while Brian may not be a subscriber to the philosophy of this website and the abolitionist community, he is working toward a common goal. My questions are in italics. -BB

What brought to this Fatal Encounters project? Give us a little background on your interest in this.

 This project was metaphorically conceived on May 18, 2012, as I was driving home from my job at the newspaper. A bunch of police cars had a street cordoned off, and I could just see that something serious had happened. My guess, and I was right, was that police had shot and killed somebody. When I got home, I was just curious how often that happened. I couldn’t find the information for the city, county, state or country. In my research, I discovered there was no national database focusing on circumstances in which police killed people. In the 21st century, I just could not accept that absence of data. I was offended that our government wanted us ignorant with regard to this. I thought about the ramifications of this lack of information for quite some time. That’s when a naked, drug-addled, unarmed, 18-year-old college student, Gil Collar, was killed by a police officer at the University of Southern Alabama. No less lethal methods of restraint were tried. On that day, I realized that somebody was going to have to create a system by which regular people could build this database, otherwise it was never going to exist. To sustain the metaphor, that was the day Fatal Encounters was born.

With over 19,000 departments and nearly a million statist badged police in the US, the culture of violence has ramped up significantly. Is police violence against civilians reaching epidemic proportions?

 My numbers suggest closer to 1.2 million full- and part-time sworn and full- and part-time “civilian” state and local police, and that doesn’t include federal officers, but my information is a few years old, maybe its gone down. I don’t know the answer to this question. It certainly seems like incidents have increased, but since the database is not yet complete, we have no way of knowing whether numbers of incidents have increased, or whether it’s just our awareness has been raised by things like social media, but the numbers of incidents have actually decreased.

Why is it worse now?

 Again, I’m not willing to say it is worse without the solid numbers. From my own experience as a journalist, I can say that government agencies are more antagonistic to giving out public documents or being transparent with their actions. I know that ex-military personnel get preferential treatment in hiring for government jobs. I know that there are a lot of military surplus weapons and vehicles being made available to state and local law enforcement. I know that government surveillance of citizens has increased post-911, which creates a society that flip-flops the citizen/government relationship, which would tend to make those who represent government authority more willing to take forceful action against citizens.

What is the impact or negative contribution of the DoD/Pentagon 1033 program and other lend/lease deals for the police departments?

 Increased militarization of gear, personnel and training creates situations in which police response is already heightened and more intimidating, which tends to escalate crisis situations. While the apparent intention is to tamp down crisis situations with ostensibly overwhelming force, my feeling is that the result is often the opposite.

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Publisher’s Note:  Gavin and I are acquaintances and he sent me this brilliant essay to publish for your delectation. Please enjoy and feel free to comment here or email Gavin directly at Gavinflanagan@hotmail.com. -BB

Before we begin: There is no ‘The People’. There is six billion individuals with very similar needs but differing interests and desires. Sure we all need food but some want a vegan diet and others love a good burger. ‘The people’ is a meaningless term, like ‘the poor’ and ‘the rich’. I recently watched a documentary on Brazil, one section covered a family who lived on a rubbish dump, the parents, of seven children, made a living collecting and selling recyclable materials. They had a small hut with a microwave, a coffee machine and a flat screen television, two mattresses that served as beds for the whole family, and an old small truck with no brakes. Both the children and parents looked happier and more grateful than most people I know, including myself. Yet we would look upon this economic situation with patronizing sympathy and consider it poverty. Perhaps it is, but if indeed it is, what is the true meaning of ‘poverty’ and what is the true meaning of ‘wealth’. The majority of us in the West are considered economically wealthy.

Economically I would agree, but ‘wealth’ ‘poor’ and ‘rich’ I think are words that encompass much more of a persons state than just financial. This is where politicians proposing to ‘help the poor’ becomes a muddy self serving ideal. Not everyone wants to be helped, and not everyone wants the actual help that is on offer, as in most cases the help is what the politician or some civil servant determines suitable, rather than what would be helpful to the receiver. Of course I would consider Bill Gates rich, but I’m not sure at what point he became rich, his first billion? First million? First hundred thousand? Who decides the figure? Can we each decide the figure? Can we each define what ‘rich’ actually means to us? Or will some elected narcissist define those words for us? Will that definition be set in stone, worldwide, forever and ever? Will all of us taxpaying slaves agree with the definition? Unlikely. I’m immediately suspicious of any person who holds instant answers for any of these questions.

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“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.”

– Charles de Montesquieu

For the sake of argument, both the American Left and Right embrace law and order as the primary building blocks and cement to create civilization. Both of these collectivist memes wish to form societies through the threat and initiation of violence. Both of these political combines see state monopoly on a full range of violence from kidnapping to caging to maiming and death as the primary means to keep people virtuous and productive. They embrace the impossible moral equation of employing immoral means to achieve moral ends. It is yet another first principle violated that turns every government into the straitjacketed corpse factories that pepper the planet and have stained human history from the beginning.

Thomas Jefferson: “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

The basic conceit of state governance no matter the apparent flavor is the ceding of self-ownership to a small nomenklatura who put the worse people in charge of every aspect of human existence to protect the tax cattle from a few bad actors. Most government is a curious hybrid of the Milgram/Stanford experiments and the Stockholm Syndrome, the latter weaponizing the former by maximizing the victim’s advocacy for their own destruction.

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Publisher’s Note:  I took a stab at modifying the 1776 American Declaration of Independence to present standards of governance, moral malpractice and cowardice and discovered that much would be left out on the cutting floor and severe alterations to verbiage would be necessary to keep the Homo Sovieticus Booboisie in America from filling their pants and gibbering in abject fear at the prospect of freedom with risks and costs not underwritten by their neighbors. I had to erase over half of it and wipe out any reference to any behavior absent government permission. So I had to move on to the more fitting document for human bondage and perpetual government, the Constitution.

The Declaration of Independence continues to be a masterwork of brevity and directness in its promise to sever ties and formalize a divorce.  There is no sizable sector of America today that would even have the temerity to sign it much less live up to it.Well, maybe at an abolitionist meeting but I digress.

So I scrapped that project and found a document more in keeping with the modern 21st century American mood.

Now the Soviet Constitution is something that most Americans can cotton to with the slightest modification in verbiage.  I chose the latest of three variants from 1977.  I have included a link to the original text at the bottom.  All I changed were the descriptors and none of the prospective language.

On another note, in a nation that has institutionalized theft and torture and turned it into rule and color of law, I figured the Supremes would get around to the codification of taxing inactivity which is the secret sauce in the recent ruling.  On page 193 of the infamous recent decision, Thomas says the most important observation in all the pages of painful and obtuse totalitarian apologia for ObamugabeCare:

“As I have explained, the Court’s continued use of that test “has encouraged the Federal Government to persist in its view that the Commerce Clause has virtually no limits.” Morrison, supra, at 627. The Government’s unprecedented claim in this suit that it may regulate not only economic activity but also inactivity that substantially affects interstate commerce is a case in point.”

Most of the ahistorical tax cattle automatically associate the 4th of July with the wretched Constitution anyway. Constitution Day is in September but why wait when the DI has been so famously and ingloriously betrayed in every aspect of its essence and message.The majority in that decision would applaud the Soviet Constitution not that the earlier American version was any shakes when it came to liberty.

The Fourth of July is the same day in 1863 that the defeats at Vicksburg and Gettysburg snuffed out any hope of the South prevailing in its divorce proceedings during the Second American Revolution and the Lincolnian juggernaut would take the Constitution to its final stages of expanding and securing a place for the leviathan state in North America.

Happy Dependence Day, comrades. -BB

 

PREAMBLE to the 1977 Soviet Constitution slightly modified to American standards:

The Great November Democratic Revolution, made by the workers and peasants of United States under the leadership of the US Government headed by its Presidents, overthrew capitalist and landowner rule, broke the fetters of oppression, established the dictatorship of the voter, and created the American state, a new type of state, the basic instrument for defending the gains of the revolution and for building government intervention and democracy. Humanity thereby began the epoch-making turn from capitalist to government intervention.

After achieving victory in the elections and repulsing free market intervention, the American government carried through far-reaching social and economic transformations, and put an end once and for all to exploitation of man by man, antagonisms between classes, and strive between nationalities. The unification of the American Republics in the Union of American Democratic Republics multiplied the forces and opportunities of the peoples of the country in the building of government intervention. Social ownership of the means of production and genuine democracy for the working masses were established. For the first time in the history of mankind a democratic society was created.

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I returned from PorcFest on Sunday and had a terrific time visiting with past friends and finding new ones. We had originally winged from Arizona on the previous Monday with minimal interference from Thugs Standing Around and even traveled through TSA pre-screen with out even signing up for it. I always travel with a Glock so I was surprised that it was so easy. On my departure from Manchester, I even saw the overweight TSA agents who hassled Davi and I back in February in an incident the TSA still denies occurred.

We traveled the two-plus hour trip to Lancaster from Manchester with our driver, Riaz, who was a recent émigré from Florida and happy to be in a less policed state. We stayed at the hotel at Rogers Campground the entire week. Lilo and I got to see and mingle with all the modern rock stars of the libertarian universe such as Carla Gericke, the President of the Free State Project and Nick Gillespie of Reason magazine. I got to meet Tony Stiles and appeared on Jeff Berwick’s Anarchast, Ernie Hancock’s show and Free Talk Live. Got to hang with my new best friend, Ben Stone and the crew at Michael Dean’s Freedom Feens. Michael even caught my demo of a modified clutch flag on the stripper pole at Buzz’s Big Gay Dance Party on Friday night at PorcFest. Buzz does an amazing job on this party, where everyone is free to be whatever or whoever they are. A truly free experience. Lilo and I enjoyed talking and dancing with Angela Keaton from Antiwar.com, as well as a lot of other fun individuals romping about.

Got to see Larken Rose again and meet Josie the Outlaw in the flesh.

Jeff Tucker was there in all his sartorial splendor and did a magnificent job in the rendition of Ayn Rand’s play that was featured at PorcFest. Robert Anthony Peters was there, my close friend from Tucson who has toured the liberty festivals with me for years. He is one of the only libertarians on Earth who truly groks the relationship between art and liberty.

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I will be attending and speaking at Porcupine Festival 11 next week in New Hampshire. I will be giving three speeches, participating in an abortion debate (I am pro-life) and conducting a half-day seminar on Irregular Warfare: History and Practice on Saturday. I will also have two additional speeches to fill in for no-shows.

I will also be interviewed by Jeff Berwick of Anarchast and hope to get a some additional media events while there.

My speeches:

Zerogov: Limited Government, Unicorns and Other Mythological Creatures A tour of my evolution to abolitionism, the Constitution as an engine for big government, why abolitionism and an invitation to join the brotherhood Without Banners.

Police State USSA A tour of the American Stasi state, the growing murder culture of cops, incentives to police violence and remedies for the existential problem of the police state.

Abolition and the Stoics A history of the most practical philosophy in the world and its relationship to liberty.

Additional Speeches:

I Am Simon Jester: Grokking the Underground An examination of the history and practice of non-violent undergrounds and movements.

19th Century Abolitionists and the Modern Movement: Lessons in Resistance to the Maximum State An overview and examination of the efforts of William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass and how it may have been another bulwark for the fight against the state.

Debate:

PorcFest Abortion Clinic I will be on the panel to defend the pro-life position.

Seminar:

Irregular Warfare: History and Practice A half-day seminar on the history and modern implications of asymmetrical warfare, insurgency, counterinsurgency and guerrilla conflict.

The Free State Project sponsors the events and I look forward to meeting any of my readers there.

It will be great to see old friends and make new acquaintances.

Self-defense and pacifism are two distinctly different concepts in human liberty. The former is the notion, in the private sphere, of defending one’s life against initiated aggression. The latter is the material conditions for a self-extinction event. Don’t get me wrong, I agree and admire the base reasons for pacifism but object to the implementation in the real world versus its ideation.

Whether the conscientious objectors in WWI and WWII, draft dodgers in all the wars or the principled religionists in every sect who live by the creed, they go with the Gods.

I think the Amish and the Mennonites are superior examples of peaceful living and I applaud the steadfast refusal for their creed in the US to pay Socialist Security or abide by regulations the rest of Americans are saddled with. But the state is a death cult and eventually, it will manage to threaten the most peaceful among its flock with gulags or murder if compliance is not quick to come in the larger sense.

But self-defense is truly an inalienable right if not the primal right of every human when all others are either stripped away or the origin for their existence is sought. Rights can only be rights if they can be employed to serve an individual without putting a non-consensual burden on the other individuals who may be around him. So the silly construct of a right to work, health care or even a jury trial is nonsense.

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June 12 is the national holiday known as Russia Day where the Eurasian tax cattle in that particular jurisdiction celebrate nationalism and big government much like the celebration of Dependence Day in America on July 4. It was adopted in 1992 by the new Russian Federation also known formally as the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic under the then Chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Boris Yeltsin. But like all these holidays is simply an excuse to give yet another work day off to government employees and make citizens happy about their chains and manacles.

I thought it appropriate to call your attention to a speech I did in 2010 at the Freedom Summit hosted by Ernie Hancock. I talked about the coming deSovietization of the USSA and how that may play out. I look back on the speech and am rather nonplussed at how much worse it is right now and how the cleansing and purging may take longer than I surmised. Much like the Russian experience, when one trades one government for another, they take on eerie similarities that simply do not get better with time.

The speech almost did not happen because I lost my voice the night before, a happenstance many would applaud.

Orwell and Huxley were merely astute observers who saw how all states evolve over time and until economic collapse, war or death by bureaucratic sclerosis, the USSA and its analogs world-wide will continue to chug along.

Today is the 70tht anniversary of D-Day. My father soldiered in WWII toward the end of the conflict and with the advent of VE Day in April 1945, was getting ready to ship to the Pacific to invade mainland Japan. Fortunately, that got turned off and he instead exercised Patton’s horses in Germany and returned to the states in one piece. Almost. The experience rippled through his life until he died in 2013.

On reflection, despite the nonsense about the Greatest Generation and other such self-congratulatory back slapping, the end of the war quickly devolved into a bipolar world which would eventually find hundreds of millions living in slave states in the East and slave state aspirants in the West vying to see who could outdo the USSR in economic illiteracy and the adoption of socialism as the formative building block of government and society. WWII supported the grand illusion that immoral means could yield moral ends, an impossible moral equation.

The American political world after WWII or the War to Save Josef Stalin to more accurately identify why the conflict took place, used the “Communist menace” to buttress the incredible growth of the American and Western European state. At least the French, British and Italians were honest enough to have significant voting blocs of self-avowed communists in their countries while the same were hounded in America despite the child-like reverence for the power of the state demonstrated by both major parties in America. Ironic that the Soviets had penetrated the Roosevelt White House so thoroughly in WWII. As the Democrat party started to evolve into the Socialist International after 1968 and the Grand Old Politburo stumbled behind with its incoherent statist/progressive agenda, the US became the Olympic Gold winner in the new era after the USSR simply just fell apart in 1989-91 getting the Silver Medal to build the bigger state.

The US was a hairs-breadth away from staying out of what was essentially the next phase of WWI if Lindbergh had defeated the odious and bloody-minded FDR in 1940. The America First Committee boasted almost a million members and wielded considerable influence on the dissenting voices. After eight years of clownish performance and a slobbering devotion to socialist and fascist ideas, FDR still secured the majority of the vote from the American booboisee and quickly set the groundwork to get the US involved in the European war and the Pacific war in the larger sense.

One can see that if WWI had not been entered by the US, the whole sordid chain of events that led to the advent of WWII may have been avoided. The sealed train to Russia to inaugurate the conflicts of the Red and White armies that would fight until 1923 would not have transpired and the ambitions of Hitler would have been crushed before they even started by the limited victories of the Central Powers and the absence of a Versailles Treaty that cruelly set the conditions for future slaughter and mayhem.

The subsequent seizure of the White House by avowed socialist revolutionaries in 1933 would march hand in hand with the rise of Hitler and Mussolini learning at the knee of Josef Stalin and his more murderous but frankly more honest campaign to enslave his nation and others.

The entry of America in WWII in concert with the Communist menace in the USSR, married at the hip, to make the world safe for the savage collectivism that was the joint vision of the Allies to include Churchill and De Gaulle was a prophecy fulfilled. At the time of the landings at Normandy celebrated on this day, it was a mere sideshow compared to the gargantuan land-borne fights that had savaged the Germans and Soviets alike since the launch of Operation Barbarossa in 1941. While the Allies diddled in the Kasserine Pass being schooled in failure and loss and mounted glacially-paced campaigns on the Italian peninsula, the Germans and Russians schooled each other in the crushing of armies of men, hundreds of thousands of soldiers locked in mortal combat that would see plenty killed and millions injured and wounded away from the small sideshow at Normandy.

Not one American should have ever stepped foot on the European continent unless on a tourist passport. The rippling effects of the foothold and the eventual “liberation” of Europe from the National Socialists would merely usher in Hitler’s vision absent the liquidation of certain undesirable groups such as Jews, gays and Slavs. That liquidation would continue apace in the USSR and the Warsaw Pact. One would be hard pressed to look at the NSDAP platform of the Third Reich and not find most of its ambitions accomplished in the European states after the war and then rocketing to prominence in the modern socialist entity of the European Union.

From the civilian bombing campaigns to repatriation of Soviet émigrés to Operation Keelhaul and its analogs (like the Blaiburg Repatriations) to the savage Allied occupation of Germany in the aftermath, WWII put the final stamp of approval on the maximum state and its evolution on post-WWII Earth. Niall Ferguson calls it a “war of the world” but more accurately it was a war to snuff out individual autonomy and liberty.

WWII gave America the withholding tax, rationing, perceived legitimacy of Keystone Keynesian economics, price controls, imprisonment for biology and genetics and the nationalization of the economy. It provided the gargantuan life support to the brutal and homicidal regime in the USSR and the means to use that regime’s post-WWII ambitions to start building a welfare/warfare state in the West that would outlive the foe that gave it life.

The aftermath of the war would on the one hand insist orders weren’t enough to absolve crimes against humanity for the losers but pardon the murderous bombing crews and give a blank check to Allied barbarity against the Europeans after April 1945.

This is not to say Hitler was an admirable man; he was a sullen and existentially cruel psychopath who provides the clarion example of just how bad democracy can be. Had the US not stepped in, the collectivist forces of the National Socialists and the Communists would have battered each other senseless without giving one advantage over the other but Stalin’s assisted victory made the world safe for Communism in the Eurasian sphere and collectivism planet-wide. The Nazis killed millions of innocents and the Soviets did the same; the serial killers club had simply gone to war with itself.

One need only look at the numbers to see that the entry of the Allies in the Western theater in Europe was merely a slight feint compared to the gargantuan enterprises in the east. The Soviet-Japanese war in August 1945 would reveal just how lop-sided a contest it was for Russian victory. But the USSR could not have had any of that if not subsidized substantially by the West.

In essence, on this day in 1944 70 years ago, a sizable Allied force was securing a beachhead to race the Russians to victory in Berlin to see who could get the most spoils. Roosevelt’s intimate relationship with Stalin should leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth but Churchill was no better in his manipulation and flirtation with the Soviet premier.

I would suggest that we can take a moment to reflect on the losses (some say sacrifice) of the tens of thousands of young Americans who died during the conflict and especially during the near-fatal Allied general officer malpractice that would be Arnhem and Ardennes in the next six months of the war. In the end, the war simply accelerated the socialist evolutionary turn in the American state and allowed the USSR to have a new lease on life after nearly expiring in 1940.

June 6th is not a day of memorial or celebration but the anniversary of a wake to pinpoint yet another fork in the road to create the maximum state in the West and give a new lease on life for dictators yet unborn.

 

Books are the staff of intellectual life and the thousands published every year always deliver a few gems usually from indie or small presses. For the longest time, the big city publishing houses acted as gatekeepers to ensure the public didn’t get the deep critiques of the sate that the last twenty years have delivered in spades whether through original works or the Ludwig von Mises Institute gargantuan efforts to populate known space with the forgotten or neglected great works or the efforts of the Liberty Fund project.

These are three of hundreds I have read in the past few years and I will be sure to host some more reviews in the future.

The Permit by William Scott is a father’s fictionalized catharsis after the murder of his son, Erik Scott, in Las Vegas by local cops on 10 July 2010. One can read the account and see that the Corners Inquest justification for the murder of Erik was simply another fabrication by police across the country making them literally above the law with a license to kill. I have discussed many of the horrific aspects of the police state in America elsewhere and will not belabor this review. I have to say that my anti-police state bias certainly set up high expectations when I jumped into this novel. I am halfway through the first draft of my first novel and find myself both a reader and a student of the craft as I read now.

The fictionalized circumstances of Erik’s death at the hand of the local gang in blue in the book is difficult to appreciate absent a background in the actual murder by the thugs in black and blue so I recommend you take the time to apprise yourself of the actual events before reading The Permit. Scott tells a compelling story with some fantastical coincidences that demand much suspension of disbelief and a last chapter or epilogue that I found simply inaccessible. Altogether, a satisfying experience with some well-fleshed characters and plenty of one dimensional characters who serve as mere set pieces in story arcs. The deepest and most tragic figure in the story is the fictionalized father whom Scott indulges with what appears to be plenty of autobiographical ventriloquism.

I won’t spoil the story by describing any of the plot turns and surprises but the main premise of a Federal government agency taking matters into its own hands by taking on the corrupt Las Vegas Metro legal tangle with both cops and politicians on the take simply beggars belief. The imprimatur of a White House authorization to maim and kill members of the law enforcement community to “fight corruption” is a rich premise but would not stand up to scrutiny. The barbaric nature of the police community in the US is a direct result of the increasing Federalization of cops and crime, rapid militarization and the evil War on Drugs that makes America home to twenty five percent of the incarcerated population with five percent of the world’s total population.

But a novel is necessarily granted flights of fancy because fiction riffs off reality and tightens and compartmentalizes the narrative of intertwined lives. I am in the middle of my first work of fiction and novels are complex creatures that demand a tremendous amount of work and attention to detail. They are living beings that start to write themselves in different ways than your initial outline decided. The character arcs are alive and take on a compass point of their own.

For those who enjoy techno-thrillers with a dollop of anti-authority musings, The Permit is for you. For those who realize that government is never the answer, you will be disappointed that while the Federal government appears to do the right thing in the book, the cavalcade of calamities that is Metro Las Vegas and American policing across the land is a direct result of the central government creating the very monster they attempt to contain in in this novel. I salute Mr. Scott and his loss and hope this book inspires people to not only consider the murder of his son but the larger implications of tolerating the monstrous state of American policing.

A personal friend of mine penned Modules for Manhood: What Every Man Should Know (Volume 1 of 3) by Kenneth W. Royce so I wanted to extend full disclosure for this brief review. Kenneth, also known as Boston T. Party, is a prolific author and his revised Boston’s Gun Bible has been on my nightstand for nearly thirteen years as a fixture and influenced thousands of dollars directed per his recommendations for my armory and training. I own everything he ever wrote (I even have a rare hardcover edition of Molon Labe). Over the years, whenever Ken and I find ourselves at conference, we tend to hang out together as the resident graybeards in a increasingly younger crowd at libertarian events.

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