The City of Concord has applied to the Dept. of Homeland Security for a grant to purchase a Lenco Armored Bearcat, which is also described as a tank. From Mother Jones:
In an application to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeking more than $250,000 to purchase an armored police vehicle, the capital city of New Hampshire specified the local branch of the Occupy movement and the Free State Project, an effort to recruit "liberty-loving people" to relocate to the Granite State, as potential sources of terrorist action.
"The State of New Hampshire's experience with terrorism slants primarily towards the domestic type," the filing reads. "We are fortunate that our State has not been victimized from a mass casualty event from an international terrorism strike however on the domestic front, the threat is real and here. Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges."
The wailing, moaning, and gnashing of teeth from the FSP began immediately. FSP President Carla Gericke demanded an apology, in her trademark drama queen style, complete with the threat that her letter will be sent to all of their media contacts. It's surprising that she hasn't yet filed a lawsuit. Gericke is a lawyer, though she's no longer able to practice law in the state of California where she emigrated from. Regular readers will remember how the Free Staters crowed when they were able to influence the vote in the town of Weare to cut the police overtime budget. They were congratulating themselves on saving the town money. The very next day, Carla Gericke filed a 32 count lawsuit against the town, thereby negating any potential savings.
Now, to be clear, I am opposed to the town of Concord getting a tank. I'm concerned by the ongoing militarization of the police in this country. I'm also concerned that the Dept. of Homeland Security clearly has more money than it knows what to do with. DHS has only been around for about 8 years, yet they cannot pass an audit. Can't or won't. Given the kind of deals they're making with contractors it's likely that they wish to avoid public scrutiny. DHS has really put LENCO on the map, as The Equinox discovered, when the city of Keene was gearing up to purchase a Bearcat. On this much the Free Staters and I are in agreement. Sadly, now this whole issue is all about them. The Concord PD has given them the opportunity to nail themselves to the cross, and they're running with it.
Occupy was cited as a potential threat. Occupy NH fell apart because of the Free State Project. Occupy was very specifically a non-violent movement. Free Staters who got involved refused to leave their guns at home. They insisted on wearing them at meetings, even when asked not to. It was "their right" - and when it comes to the FSP, their rights always trump the rights others. That they were making others uncomfortable didn't concern them, because FREEDUMB! Apparently one's cup of Libertea isn't served with a side dish of good manners.
As for the Free Staters - it's true that they haven't engaged in any domestic terrorism, thus far. They claim to be a peaceful entity, though one wonders at how a group of armed colonizers can claim to have peaceful intent. (The white Europeans who colonized the west told the Indians the same thing.) I witnessed Free Staters at the near riot by gun nuts in Concord in June. They were part of the group that were shrieking at a group of unarmed people trying to have a solemn memorial vigil. They were bellowing at speakers and trying to drown them out. Is that how people intent on "peace and liberty" behave?
So far, the answer is yes. That is how they behave, because their rights supersede those of others. Always. And the opportunity to cry victim is the very best gift that the City of Concord could have given them. When a NH State Rep aired some of her concerns about the FSP, they cried about it for months. For a good six months they flogged that horse until it was dead, had decomposed, and returned to the dust from whence it came. How dare anyone speak a word against them? OMG IT WAS THE WORST THING EVER! The poor victims of the FSP cannot tolerate Free Speech - not when it comes to anyone having the audacity to criticize them - or tell the truth about them. That they are affiliated with the John Birch Society (a known hate group), and a number of Koch Brothers funded entities is true - but they go into screaming banshee mode when it is pointed out. They are thin skinned and intolerant, as they've demonstrated time and time again.
Thanks to the Concord PD, they have the opportunity to do it all over again. So, watch where you put your feet down, friends, because there are apt to be pearls all over the ground from all the clutching going on.
Here's a group of Free Staters in front of the NH State House on July 4. One is reading a speech written by Adam Kokesh, a libertarian activist, who directed people around the country to read his speech in their state. The guy who is reading, clearly has the courage of his conviction, given the bandana he's wearing to obscure his face. Unfortunately, the bandana also makes him sound as if Charlie Brown's teacher is rather ineptly reading a speech from an iphone:
It's a shame that the FSP lacks any ability for self reflection. They are an armed group coming to take over the state. Can they REALLY be surprised that some might consider them potential domestic terrorists?