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.
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...
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....