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Bunkerville Was Not the BLM’s First Rustler’s Roundup

27 Apr

The raiders arrived at dawn. Contract cowboys backed by BLM rangers and other heavily armed law enforcement personnel fanned out across the desolate but alluring Nevada countryside to confiscate livestock owned by a family who – under a controversial claim of sovereignty — had allowed them to graze on public lands without paying fees to the federal government.

“They have been overgrazing and damaging the land for years,” asserted BLM spokesman Mike Brown, who also pointed out that the family – the last holdouts in the region – had been fined millions of dollars for trespassing on public land. In defiance of federal judicial rulings and the “consensus” of their representatives, the family persisted in claiming that they had a right to graze cattle on land their ancestors had settled many decades ago. The dispute had been going on for decades, and the institutional patience of the federal government had been exhausted.

A previous roundup nearly resulted in tragedy when a member of the family doused himself in gasoline and threatened to set himself on fire. The 59-year-old man, who had no previous criminal record, was tackled, beaten by law enforcement officers, arrested, and prosecuted on terrorism-related charges.

After spending several years in prison, that supposed terrorist, Clifford Dann, was allowed to return to the tiny, ramshackle homestead he shares with his 82-year-old sister, Carrie, who is the same age their elder sister Mary was when she died in an accident while repairing a fence in 2005.

Like the Cliven Bundy family, their distant Nevada neighbors, the Dann family spent two decades fighting in federal courts to defend their property against the depredations of the federal government. As members of the Western Shoshone nation, the Dann family had inherited land that was protected by the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley and the U.S. Constitution – parchment barricades against aggression that were quickly reduced to ashes by the flame of elite ambitions.

When the United States assimilated northern Mexico following the aggressive war of 1846-1848, it exacerbated the regional tensions that would lead to the War Between the States. Nevada’s continuing status as a quasi-colony, rather than fully realized state, is a lingering echo of that conflict.

Such statehood as Nevada enjoys resulted from partisan machinations by Republicans who wanted additional congressional seats in the event that the election of 1864 was thrown into the House of Representatives.

Statehood was rushed along with the help of an enabling act promising that Washington would sell off surplus lands beyond what would be necessary for the construction of military bases and similar facilities.

The promises made to statehood advocates proved to be as ephemeral as assurances of marriage and strict fidelity offered to a reluctant young woman confronted by an irrepressibly libidinous suitor. Washington’s treatment of the Western Shoshone was immeasurably worse.

Although the territory that would become Nevada was included in the cession made through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico never had a permanent presence there, and the Shoshone, quite understandably, ever considered themselves to be Mexican subjects. The territory acquired huge strategic significance after the war began, owing to its abundance of silver and its location astride transportation and communication routes from California to the East. This is why Article 2 of the Ruby Valley Treaty specified that in exchange for leaving travel routes “forever free, and unobstructed,” and for allowing stage and telegraph routes to continue “without hindrance, molestation, or injury,” the US Government promised that the then-extant boundaries of the Shoshone bands would remain inviolate.

The Ruby Valley Treaty, like all such measures, acknowledged the supposed authority of the US President to consign the Indians to reservations when he considered it “expedient for them to abandon the roaming life, which they now lead, and become herdsmen or agriculturalists….” Those reservations were to exist within the boundaries of their ancestral lands, which once again were promised to them in perpetuity. The Shoshone were likewise promised annuities from the United States, and “compensation and equivalent for the loss of game and the rights and privileges hereby conceded.”

Those promises, like all others extended to American Indians, may as well have been written on the wind in disappearing ink.

“The Shoshone kept their end of the bargain,”recalled Western Shoshone National Council Chairman Raymond Yowell. “The United States did not. As more and more emigrants settled on ourlandsd, he promise of peace wasn’t enough for the United States. Instead of dealing with us as a sovereign nation, the United States implemented a scheme to acquire title unlawfully.”

In 1946, the Regime in Washington created a pseudo-judicial body called the Indian Claims Commission (ICC), the purpose of which was to dispose of outstanding land claims. The 1946 act permitted that Commission (it is axiomatic that any body called a “Commission” was created to facilitate fraud) to recognize as authoritative tribal spokesman any “identifiable group” within a given tribe, no matter how unrepresentative it might be.

In 1951, one tiny Shoshone band, the Te-Moaks (descended from a signatory of the 1863 treaty) filed an ICC claim on behalf of the entire nation. Eleven years later the ICC settled that claim by ruling that the Shoshone claims had been extinguished through “gradual encroachment” of American settlers. Furthermore, the Commission ruled that the “taking” had occurred on July 1, 1872 – a date used to establish the value of the land, long before discovery of gold and other valuable minerals had occurred. In 1979, the Commission offered the Shoshone a $26 million settlement – an amount equivalent to about fifteen cents an acre for the same land commanding $2.50 an acre when purchased by gold mining interests.

When the Shoshones refused to accept the settlement – which had been reached ex parte – the Department of the Interior paid that money to itself, absorbing it into an Indian trusteeship bureaucracy that was riddle with corruption and fraud.

About a decade ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sponsored a measure that would have “settled” the longstanding dispute with a one-time payment of $26,000 to each member of the Shoshone tribe. That bill was never enacted, and the money remained unpaid – which suited the Dann family just fine. They had never agreed to surrender their land, had never signed any documents, and insisted on exercising their right to raise livestock on land that had been peacefully and productively used by their family for generations.

In 1974, the US Government sued the Dann family, claiming that they had committed “trespassing” by grazing their horses and cattle on land that legally belonged to them. Successive rulings by federal judges upheld the Government’s claims.

The Supreme Court declined to hear the Dann family’s appeal, insisting that the matter was closed when the federal government paid itself $26 million to consummate the theft of the Shoshone lands. The Feds would eventually claim that the impoverished Indian family owed nearly $5 million in grazing fees and interest.

The BLM staged its first cattle rustling raid against the Danns in April 1992. At about 4:30 in the morning, the ranch lands were invaded by a column of vehicles that decanted a platoon of BLM Brownshirts. Not intimidated by the bullying display, Carrie plowed through the picket line and cast herself into a cattle chute to prevent hireling cowboys from loading her stolen cattle onto a truck.

“My land has never been for sale,” Carrie told Eureka County Sheriff Ken Jones, who rather than defending his constituent’s rights was aligned with the invaders. “It’s not for sale now, it’s not for sale tomorrow, either. And that’s the way it is, Mr. Jones.”

As would happen more than twenty years later at Bunkerville, the BLM backed down and withdrew, restoring the stolen cattle to their rightful owners. But this gesture was purely a public relations ploy.

When the raiders returned the following November, Clifford used a vehicle to block a road, cutting off a convoy of BLM trucks carrying the family’s livestock. Sitting down in the bed of his pickup, Clifford immersed himself with gasoline and threatened to set himself on fire unless the federally licensed rustlers relinquished the stolen animals.

Feigning sympathy with the Dann family’s plight, Sheriff Jones told Clifford that the cattle weren’t being confiscated and invited him to see for himself. When Clifford stepped down from his truck, he was surrounded by a thugscrum of BLM Brownshirts, some of him sprayed him with fire extinguishers, others surrounding the 59-year-old man and assaulting him.

“Get him down! Get him down!” exclaimed Sheriff Jones. “Break his f**king arm if you have to!”

Carrie ran to help her brother, only to be seized from behind by a BLM agent.

“You’re hurting me – I’ve got a bad shoulder!” cried Carrie.

“Then be a good old lady and quit struggling,” sneered BLM special agent Terry Somers, his voice dripping scornful condescension.

The stolen livestock escaped – but Clifford did not. Beaten and bloodied, he was taken into custody. Four months later he was sentenced to nine years in prison for “assaulting an officer with gasoline” – that is, for being seized and beaten by BLM agents after he had poured gasoline on his own body. As he pronounced sentence, Federal Judge John McKibben pointedly said that the severity of his ruling was intended “to send a message to journalists, activists, and the Western Shoshone.”

With their brother behind bars, and their supporters understandably intimidated, the Dann sisters weren’t able to resist as several subsequent federal raids systematically deprived them of their stock, much of which was left to die of neglect by the BLM.

For decades the BLM had accused the Danns of damaging the delicate Crescent Valley ecosystem by “overgrazing” their herds – even though BLM commissar Somers admitted in 1994 that there was no evidence to sustain that charge. Once their grazing lands had been denuded of cattle and horses, the BLM leased it to a Canadian conglomerate that gouged huge open-pit mines out of the landscape and left the countryside contaminated with lead, mercury, and cyanide.

It should be recalled that the Department of the Interior placed the value of the Shoshone lands at fifteen cents an acre. It charged gold mining companies up to $2.50 an acre for leasing the lands that had been stolen from the Dann family. Gold mining is a worthy undertaking – when it is carried out through honest, mutually beneficial commerce, rather than government-abetted theft.

The Dann family and the Western Shoshone, acting out of desperation, made a futile effort at redress by filing a grievance with the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the United Nations, an organization that is utterly worthless when it isn’t being aggressively harmful. In the meantime, the BLM directed its malevolent attention at non-Indian ranchers in Nevada.

In 2001, BLM hired contractors to steal the cattle of Nevada ranchers Ben Colvin and Jack Vogt, whose argument against paying grazing feeds was similar to that made by the Danns, to wit: The US Government had no legal and constitutional authority to claim ownership of the range land.

The BLM and Forest Service likewise pilfered cows belonging to rancher Wayne Hage, who like the Danns spent decades fighting the Feds in court. Last year, in what must be regarded as little short of an epoch-shattering miracle, a federal judge ruled that those agencies had conducted a criminal conspiracy against Hage and recommended that their administrators face criminal prosecution.

Unlike the Bundys, who are materially comfortable but not opulently wealthy, the Danns — like many American Indians — are desperately poor. Their ancestral claim to the land is stronger than that of the Bundy family, but this didn’t prevent the Feds from stealing their livestock and leaving them destitute.

Despite the significant differences separating the Bundys from the Danns, both families are involved in what can accurately be described – without the unfortunate ideological baggage – as an anti-colonialist struggle. The US Government had no legal right to ratify the theft of Western Shoshone lands, nor does it have the constitutional authority to occupy and claim to own more than eighty percent of Nevada’s territory.

Cliven Bundy and his family were hardly the first Nevada ranchers to confront federally licensed cattle rustlers who operated under the protection of militarized law enforcement agents. They were, however, the first to fight back.

 

Nevada Standoff a Symptom of Increasing Authoritarianism

27 Apr

The protests seem to have worked, at least for now, as the government appears to have backed off from direct confrontation. Sadly, some elected officials have inflamed the situation by labeling the Bundys and their supporters “domestic terrorists,” thus justifying any future use of force by the government. That means there is always the possibility of another deadly Waco-style raid on the Bundys or a similar group in the future.

In a state like Nevada, where 84 percent of the land is owned by the federal government, these types of conflicts are inevitable. Government ownership of land means that land is in theory owned by everyone, but in practice owned by no one. Thus, those who use the land lack the incentives to preserve it for the long term. As a result, land-use rules are set by politicians and bureaucrats. Oftentimes, the so-called “public” land is used in ways that benefit politically-powerful special interests.

Politicians and bureaucrats can, and will, arbitrarily change the rules governing the land. In the 19th century, some Americans moved to Nevada because the government promised them that they, and their descendants, would always be able to use the federally-owned land. The Nevada ranchers believed they had an implied contract with the government allowing them to use the land for grazing. When government bureaucrats decided they needed to restrict grazing to protect the desert tortoise, they used force to drive most ranchers away.

By contrast, if the Nevada land in question was privately owned, the dispute over whether to allow the ranchers to continue to use the land would have likely been resolved without sending in federal armed agents to remove the Bundys’ cattle from the land. This is one more reason why the federal government should rid itself of all federal land holdings. Selling federal lands would also help reduce the federal deficit.

It is unlikely that Congress will divest the federal government’s land holdings, as most in government are more interested in increasing government power then in protecting and restoring private property rights.

A government that continually violates our rights of property and contract can fairly be descried as authoritarian. Of course, the politicians and bureaucrats take offense at this term, but how else do you describe a government that forbids Americans from grazing cattle on land they have used for over a century, from buying health insurance that does not met Obamacare’s standards, from trading with Cuba, or even from drinking raw milk! That so many in DC support the NSA spying and the TSA assaults on our privacy shows the low regard that too many in government have for our rights.

History shows us that authoritarian systems, whether fascist, communist, or Keynesian, will inevitably fail. I believe incidents such as that in Nevada show we may be witnessing the failure of the American authoritarian warfare-welfare state — and that of course would be good. This is why it so important that those of us who understand the freedom philosophy spread the truth about how statism caused our problems and why liberty is the only solution.

 

Why Does Ron Paul Think Bitcoin Does Not Fit The Definition Of Money?

27 Apr

Answer by Ron Paul, Former Congressman from Texas, on Quora,

Bitcoin is a very interesting subject because for many years in Congress, I was a champion of legalizing competition in currencies.

We have a terrible monetary system today. We have a government that purposely counterfeits and debases the currencies and I believe that the alternative would be a competition. That means that anything that wants to substitute for the American dollar should be permitted. There should be no prohibitions; there should not be a monopoly and a cartel running our monetary system because it so often benefits the privileged few. We certainly saw this in the bailing out of the financial system where the wealthy bankers got bailed out it in this recent and severe recession. I am a strong believer in competition. Bitcoin is an introduction to that.

Though I don’t personally believe that Bitcoin is true money, it should be perfectly legal and there should be no restrictions on it, there should be no taxes on it. The people who operate Bitcoin would, of course, be prohibited from committing fraud but the people should be able to have competition whether it is a basket of commodities or crypto-currencies – it should be perfectly legal. For this to operate, we need to have freedom from government intervention when it comes to the Internet. I am concerned that the government ultimately wants to curtail the Internet and there have been attempts to do so.

The internet is the salvation for those of us who believe in liberty because it is an alternative way of getting around the system not only in the spreading of our ideas in this instance but in in terms of getting around the monetary system on the whole if they do permit crypto-currencies and other forms of transactions. So, this is something that we should all be concerned about whether we endorse it or not.

What we should all argue for is the use of freedom rather than having a monetary system with regulation domination that is run by a cartel and the special interests – that is the kind of system we have today. We want a system that truly challenges the government in their ability to take care of the very wealthy at the expense of the middle class and the poor.

This question originally appeared on Quora: Why does Ron Paul think Bitcoin does not fit the definition of money?

The Second Amendment: A Symbol of Freedom or An Invitation to Violence?

27 Apr

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” – The Second Amendment to the US Constitution

You can largely determine where a person will fall in the debate over gun control and the Second Amendment based on their view of government and the role it should play in our lives.

Those who want to see government as a benevolent parent looking out for our best interests tend to interpret the Second Amendment’s “militia” reference as applying only to the military.

To those who see the government as inherently corrupt, the Second Amendment is a means of ensuring that the populace will always have a way of defending themselves against threats to their freedoms.

And then there are those who view the government as neither good nor evil, but merely a powerful entity that, as Thomas Jefferson recognized, must be bound “down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” To this group, the right to bear arms is no different from any other right enshrined in the Constitution, to be safeguarded, exercised prudently and maintained.

Unfortunately, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, while these three divergent viewpoints continue to jockey for supremacy, the U.S. government has adopted a “do what I say, not what I do” mindset when it comes to Americans’ rights overall. Nowhere is this double standard more evident than in the government’s attempts to arm itself to the teeth, all the while viewing as suspect anyone who dares to legally own a gun, let alone use one.

Indeed, while it still technically remains legal to own a firearm in America, possessing one can now get you pulled over, searched, arrested, subjected to all manner of surveillance, treated as a suspect without ever having committed a crime, shot at and killed. (This same rule does not apply to law enforcement officials, however, who are armed to the hilt and rarely given more than a slap on the wrists for using their weapons against unarmed individuals.)

Just recently, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case of a Texas man whose home was subject to a no-knock, SWAT-team style forceful entry and raid based solely on the suspicion that there were legally-owned firearms in his household. Making matters worse, police panicked and opened fire through a solid wood door on the homeowner, who had already gone to bed.

Earlier in the year, a Florida man traveling through Maryland with his wife and kids was stopped by a police officer and interrogated about the whereabouts of his registered handgun. Despite the man’s insistence that the handgun had been left at home, the officer spent nearly two hours searching through the couple’s car, patting them down along with their children, and having them sit in the back of a patrol car. No weapon was found.

In 2011, a 25-year-old Philadelphia man was confronted by police, verbally threatened and arrested for carrying a gun in public, which is legal within the city. When Mark Fiorino attempted to explain his rights under the law to police, police ordered him to get on his knees or else “I am gonna shoot ya.” Fiorino was later released without charges.

A provision in a Washington State bill would have authorized police to search and inspect gun owners’ homes yearly. Connecticut has adopted a law banning the sale of large-capacity magazines and assault weapons. And a bill moving through the New Jersey legislature would reduce the number of bullets an ammunition magazine could hold from 15 to 10.

Under a proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services, anyone seeking mental health treatment—no matter how benign—could find themselves entered into the FBI’s criminal background check system and have their Second Amendment rights in jeopardy. They would join the ranks of some 175,000 veterans who have been barred from possessing firearms based solely on the fact that they received psychiatric treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Meanwhile, the government’s efforts to militarize and weaponize its agencies and employees is reaching epic proportions, with federal agencies as varied as the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration placing orders for hundreds of millions of rounds of hollow point bullets. Moreover, under the auspices of a military “recycling” program, which allows local police agencies to acquire military-grade weaponry and equipment, $4.2 billion worth of equipment has been transferred from the Defense Department to domestic police agencies since 1990. Included among these “gifts” are tank-like 20-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, tactical gear, and assault rifles.

Ironically, while the Obama administration continues its efforts to “pass the broadest gun control legislation in a generation,” which would include bans on military-style assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets, expanded background checks, and tougher gun-trafficking laws, the U.S. military boasts some weapons the rest of the world doesn’t have. Included in its arsenal are armed, surveillance Reaper drones capable of reading a license plate from over two miles away; an AA12 Atchisson Assault Shotgun that can shoot five 12-gauge shells per second and “can fire up to 9,000 rounds without being cleaned or jamming”; an ADAPTIV invisibility cloak that can make a tank disappear or seemingly reshape it to look like a car; a PHASR rifle capable of blinding and disorienting anyone caught in its sights; a Taser shockwave that can electrocute a crowd of people at the touch of a button; an XM2010 enhanced sniper rifle with built-in sound and flash suppressors that can hit a man-sized target nine out of ten times from over a third of a mile away; and an XM25 “Punisher” grenade launcher that can be programmed to accurately shoot grenades at a target up to 500 meters away.

Talk about a double standard. The government’s arsenal of weapons makes the average American’s handgun look like a Tinker Toy.

It’s no laughing matter, and yet the joke is on us. “We the people” have been so focused on debating who or what is responsible for gun violence—the guns, the gun owners, or our violent culture—and whether the Second Amendment “allows” us to own guns that we’ve overlooked the most important and most consistent theme throughout the Constitution: the fact that it is not merely an enumeration of our rights but was intended to be a clear shackle on the government’s powers.

When considered in the context of prohibitions against the government, the Second Amendment reads as a clear rebuke against any attempt to restrict the citizenry’s gun ownership. As such, it is as necessary an ingredient for maintaining that tenuous balance between the citizenry and their republic as any of the other amendments in the Bill of Rights, especially the right to freedom of speech, assembly, press, petition, security, and due process.

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas understood this tension well. “The Constitution is not neutral,” he remarked, “It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.” In this way, the freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rightsin their entirety stand as a bulwark against a police state. To our detriment, these rights have been steadily weakened, eroded and undermined in recent years. Yet without any one of them, including the Second Amendment right to own and bear arms, we are that much more vulnerable to the vagaries of out-of-control policemen, benevolent dictators, genuflecting politicians, and overly ambitious bureaucrats.

When all is said and done, the debate over gun ownership really has little to do with gun violence in America. Eliminating guns will not necessarily eliminate violence. Those same individuals sick enough to walk into an elementary school or a movie theater and open fire using a gun can and do wreak just as much havoc with homemade bombs made out of pressure cookers and a handful of knives.

It’s also not even a question of whether Americans need weapons to defend themselves against any overt threats to our safety or wellbeing, although a recent study by a Quinnipiac University economist indicates that less restrictive concealed carry laws save lives, while gun control can endanger them. In fact, journalist Kevin Carson, writing for Counter Punch, suggests that prohibiting Americans from owning weapons would be as dangerously ineffective as Prohibition and the War on the Drugs:

“[W]hat strict gun laws will do is take the level of police statism, lawlessness and general social pathology up a notch in the same way Prohibition and the Drug War have done. I’d expect a War on Guns to expand the volume of organized crime, and to empower criminal gangs fighting over control over the black market, in exactly the same way Prohibition did in the 1920s and strict drug laws have done since the 1980s. I’d expect it to lead to further erosion of Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure, further militarization of local police via SWAT teams, and further expansion of the squalid empire of civil forfeiture, perjured jailhouse snitch testimony, entrapment, planted evidence, and plea deal blackmail.”

Truly, the debate over gun ownership in America is really a debate over who gets to call the shots and control the game. In other words, it’s that same tug-of-war that keeps getting played out in every confrontation between the government and the citizenry over who gets to be the master and who is relegated to the part of the servant.

The Constitution is clear on this particular point, with its multitude of prohibitions on government overreach. As 20thcentury libertarian Edmund A. Opitz observed in 1964, “No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words ‘no’ and ‘not’ employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights.”

In a nutshell, then, the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms reflects not only a concern for one’s personal defense, but serves as a check on the political power of the ruling authorities. It represents an implicit warning against governmental encroachments on one’s freedoms, the warning shot over the bow to discourage any unlawful violations of our persons or property. As such, it reinforces that necessary balance in the citizen-state relationship. As George Orwell noted, “That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer’s cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

Certainly, dictators in past regimes have understood this principle only too well. As Adolf Hitler noted, “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.” It should come as no surprise, then, that starting in December 1935, Jews in Germany were prevented from obtaining shooting licenses, because authorities believed that to allow them to do so would “endanger the German population.” In late 1938, special orders were delivered barring Jews from owning firearms, with the punishment for arms possession being 20 years in a concentration camp.

The rest, as they say, is history. Yet it is a history that we should be wary of repeating.

 

Cohan the Barbarian Assaults the Truth (Again and Again)

27 Apr

When I picked up my new copy of William D. Cohan’s new book on the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case, The Price of Silence: The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite, and the Corruption of Our Great Universities, I discovered that the book was very light, despite its large size. Indeed, if there is anything symbolic about that moment, it is that Cohan has written a very large book that is empty of substance.

(I will point out that he quotes an LRC blog post that I wrote on pages 409-410, and he quotes it in the right context. Unfortunately, he then draws conclusions that conflict with everything that I and other bloggers had been pointing out.)

For all of the praise this book receives from The Usual Suspects in publishing, i.e., the New York Times, Financial Times, and The Wall Street Journal, it is a book that defies logic, and takes known facts and either ignores them or tries to change them on the fly. While I already have reviewed this book, the fact that Cohan has about 700 pages of material means there is a lot of stuff I could not cover in one article, and as I go through material again and read articles countering Cohan’s claims, it becomes obvious that he has no intention of being reasonable or telling the truth, or at least a truth that might disagree with Michael Nifong’s version of “truth.”

Second, Cohan has been on a big publicity book tour, making the rounds on talk shows, and I had the “pleasure” of hearing him on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show. (I say “pleasure” in the way that hemorrhoid surgery would be pleasant or having a dentist remove my wisdom teeth without using anesthesia.) Knowing this case as I do, I truly was stunned at what he said, not because he was sharing “new information,” but rather was taking established facts and twisting them in order to try to make the accused players seem to be guilty.

Before, I take on some of the most egregious errors that Cohan has made in both the book and on his recent book tour, let me urge readers to visit K.C. Johnson’s blog, Durham-in-Wonderland. K.C. and co-author Stuart Taylor wrote Until Proven Innocent, a detailed account of the case that is not filled with innuendo, half-truths, and interviews with disgraced and disbarred prosecutor Michael Nifong that try to make the man look to be credible. The popular blog daily skewers Cohan’s book and his talk-show comments, and K.C. pulls no punches, although his language always is restrained.

The fact that Cohan goes on talk show after talk show and makes unfounded declarations that Nifong is credible and “something happened in that bathroom” where the alleged rape supposedly took place invites a response from people who actually know a few things about the Duke Lacrosse Case. I’d like to think I am not beating a dead horse when I take on someone trying to resurrect every false notion about this case that supposedly was debunked when North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper declared Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans to be “innocent” on April 11, 2007.

However, the truth of the case has come into direct conflict with the American Left, which never can accept the truth about anything should the truth go against their dearest beliefs and narratives. As I see it, Cohan is trying to rewrite the case’s history, and because he already is a darling of the set of New York literary folk that believe The New York Review of (Each Other’s) Books is a stronghold of truth and reasonable thinking, he is getting a near-free ride.

From what I can see, Cohan seems to be motivated by both leftist principles and by his disgust at the kind of behavior he sees from students at his alma mater Duke University. Indeed, I do share his disdain for the decadence that rules the modern campus of our citadels of higher learning, although I must admit that I am not shocked, SHOCKED at the logical results when the modern university makes promoting and enforcing the tenets of the Sexual Revolution front-and-center in its educational “mission.” We should expect decadence at places like Duke University when university officials openly hand out condoms, celebrate the utterly-decadent event called “Sex Week,” openly welcome the Sex Workers Show onto campus, and encourage students to be sexually active.

Furthermore, why should anyone be surprised that high-prices “elite” private universities like Duke are going to be populated mostly by the children of wealthy whites, since middle-class students and most minorities cannot afford to go there unless they receive vast amounts of financial aid? In our increasingly bureaucratized and stratified society, going to “the right school” is more significant to a student’s future than ever before, and the people with the wealth and best connections are going to be standing at the head of the line.

(The supreme irony is that American Progressives claim they hate stratification, yet they are the most responsible for the current situation because they have used their political power and their places in the “commanding heights” of civil society to impose a state of affairs that brings about the very social structures they claim to despise. The one thing that would do more to change this current stratified status quo would be to liberalize the economy so that entrepreneurs can transform the economy, but Progressives despise entrepreneurship and they despise a free-market economy even more.)

As noted before, Cohan has written a long book and K.C. Johnson is devoting himself to chronicling the errors. I’ll just deal with a couple of the most egregious claims, the first being Cohan’s claim that the DNA results in the lacrosse case were irrelevant, and the second being his attempt to infer that David Evans and Reade Seligmann actually may have raped Crystal Mangum after all.

DNA DOESN’T MATTER – EXCEPT WHEN COHAN WANTS IT TO MATTER

Cohan in both his book and also in many of his radio and TV talks show interviews has stated that the DNA results – finding no DNA of any lacrosse player (not just the three accused) and the discovery of DNA of at least four other men on her body and in her “body cavities” – was a “red herring.” In other words, the DNA results were irrelevant.

Why? According to Cohan, since there were rape prosecutions (and acquittals of and convictions for) before DNA results became part of forensic science, DNA results then should have no bearing, at least in the rape accusations against Seligmann, Finnerty, and Evans. To bolster his claim, Cohan quotes Nifong, who declares, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

Forget that the “fishing expedition” non-testimonial order that came from Nifong’s office (he claims he had nothing to do with its creation) declared that the DNA results (which were then taken from each white lacrosse player) would both determine who was guilty and who was innocent. Only after Nifong had committed himself to prosecuting this case at all costs, and after he got the word from North Carolina’s crime lab that there were no DNA matches to be found in contact with Crystal Mangum, did Nifong then decide that DNA should not matter, anyway.

Thus, Cohan (and Nifong) have constructed a most interesting syllogism which goes as such:

  • No DNA from any lacrosse player, including the three accused, was found on or in the body of Crystal Mangum, despite her account to police and to the medical staff at Duke University Medical Center that the three players had beaten her, forced her into oral sex, and ejaculated on her body, in her body, and in her mouth;
  • Before DNA testing was developed for forensic purposes, rape cases were pursued, with the evidence being other factors, including physical trauma, personal testimony, and the like;
  • Therefore, DNA results should have no bearing on the outcome of the Duke lacrosse phony rape case.

Tell that to prosecutors who regularly get convictions because of DNA results; tell that to people associated with the Innocence Project that DNA can never be exculpatory because testimony from alleged victims always trumps DNA. Tell that to all of the people who have been released from prison and their convictions for rape, murder, and assault.

At the same time, Cohan tries to convince readers that while the absence of DNA means nothing – even though the three lacrosse players were indicted because police told grand jurors that the young men carried out a rape in a manner that certainly would have left a massive DNA print – he then insists that David Evans must have done something awful to Crystal Mangum because his DNA profile was found on one of Mangum’s fake nails that was put into the trash can in the bathroom in the house on Buchanan Street.

Numerous times throughout his book and also during the talk shows (I heard him make the claim on the Dianne Rehm Show), Cohan asks the question: “How did David Evans’s DNA get onto Mangum’s fake fingernail?” For example, on page 562, speaking of the testimony that David Evans, Sr., gave to the North Carolina State Bar during Nifong’s June 2007 trial (in which Nifong was disbarred), Cohan declares:

Not surprisingly, Evans’s father made no mention of the evidence regarding the possibility that his son’s DNA was on Mangum’s fake fingernail when he took the stand. In an interview, Nifong explained why he thought neither the defense nor the media made more of the fingernail evidence.

Nifong goes on to claim that this “evidence” almost was completely ignored. Not true. Nifong based much of his indictment of Evans on the so-called evidence, and journalists and talk show hosts like Nancy Grace declared at the time that it was something of a “magic bullet” for the prosecution. Once again, we see both Nifong and Cohan trying to rewrite history.

The prosecution’s story was that in the assault of Crystal Mangum, Evans ripped off her fake fingernail, hence his DNA on it. There is a huge problem with that account, however, one that apparently Cohan either does not understand or, more likely, does not want to understand.

There was no singular DNA profile of David Evans or anyone else on that fingernail. Instead, it was part of a DNA mixture that featured very slight (for DNA purposes) traces of approximately 15 people, all members of the lacrosse team. If the Cohan version were true – that Evans got his DNA onto the fingernail as a result of assaulting Mangum – then it would be necessary for there to have been 15 assailants.

The much more likely explanation is that Evans lived in the house, and a lot of other players also had thrown something into the can. Their DNA was on whatever they put into the can, and the DNA then transferred to the fingernail and other objects into which the material came into contact. Scientists call it DNA transfer, and because there were slight profiles of so many others, the only sensible explanation is that the transfer occurred in the trash can.

However, Cohan wants to the readers to believe Nifong’s account, which is that the profiles of all of the players except Evans came through DNA transfer, but Evans had his profile on the nail because he attacked Crystal. That might seem logical to Cohan, Nifong, and their supporters, but scientifically speaking (and we all know how Progressives worship “science”) it is an absurdity.

To put things into perspective, when Brian Meehan, the DNA specialist who did a private examination of the rape kit and the fingernails for Nifong, he was wearing near-space suit protective clothing, yet his DNA profile – a profile stronger than that of Evans or the other players – appeared in the DNA results of Mangum’s rape kit and fingernail. If we were to apply Cohan’s “logic,” at least the “logic” he uses when discussion David Evans, Brian Meehan would have to be a rape suspect.

So this is what Cohan wants us to believe: three young men can beat a woman for a half-hour, ejaculate in her mouth, ejaculate in her vagina and on her body, crawl naked over her, and not leave one speck of DNA. (She did have DNA of at least four unidentified men – none lacrosse players – in her vagina, her anus, and in her underwear.) The DNA testing was so sensitive that even Meehan while wearing protective clothing left a full DNA profile in her rape kit, but Cohan claims that not leaving DNA somehow is “proof” of a rape, while the fact that others left DNA on her is a “red herring.”

As one easily can see, Cohan is being utterly dishonest, but in that regard, he simply is channeling Nifong, a person Cohan claimed on the Dianne Rehm Show as being “an honorable man trying to get to the bottom of what happened.” (Emphasis mine) When those efforts to “get to the bottom” of the accusations veered into outright dishonesty, Cohan ignores that point. Like Nifong, Cohan presents a “head I win, tails you lose” version of the case.

WHEN IS AN AIRTIGHT ALIBI NOT AN ALIBI? WHEN COHAN SAYS IT IS NOT

Cohan does not slander only David Evans. Instead, he stoops even lower to try to implicate Reade Seligmann in the alleged rape, and he lies in the process of smearing this highly-regarded young man. (Seligmann recently was graduated from Emory Law School and now is clerking for a federal judge in Camden, New Jersey. He also is involved with the Innocence Project.)

Mangum “identified” Seligmann during a so-called photo lineup in which Mangum was shown only photos of the Duke lacrosse team and told to pick out three of them. (The process, which was run by Nifong and a rogue Durham cop named Mark Gottlieb, clearly violated all state and federal standards for photo lineups and almost certainly was illegal. Of course, Cohan defends that action, too.)

There was a major problem, however, and that was that the timeline that the police and Mangum constructed for the alleged rape was such that Reade Seligmann was more than a mile away when the alleged rape was supposed to have occurred. He had proof.

About midnight on March 14, Seligmann decided he did not like the tone of the party, and he had not suggested bringing strippers, anyway. (Two of the captains had made that decision on their own.) He called a cab company and asked for the cab to meet him at a house around the corner, thus avoiding the congestion of cars at the Buchanan Avenue house.

Moez Elmostafa, an African immigrant, picked up Seligmann, drove him to a bank teller, where Reade took out some money, and then took him to a restaurant where he got takeout food. Elmostafa then drove Seligmann to his Duke dormitory, and Reade gave him a $7 tip before going into his dorm, swiping his dorm key card.

This was significant because Seligmann was with Elmostafa when the supposed rape was occurring. After Elmostafa was interviewed on TV news as backing Seligmann’s story, Nifong had him picked up on a bogus shoplifting warrant. Before arresting Elmostafa, however, a Durham police officer asked him if he wanted to change his story; when Elmostafa refused to lie, the officer – and Nifong’s directive – slapped handcuffs on him.

(Elmostafa faced a trial later in the summer of 2006. With police officers literally leering and trying to intimidate him, Nifong’s office presented what amounted to non-evidence and Elmostafa was easily acquitted. This was after the Durham County DA’s office had promised it had “convincing” material that would become obvious when the public viewed the tape from a store camera. In other words, it was clear that the prosecution was nothing more than an attempt to intimidate a vulnerable immigrant into lying to support Nifong’s dishonest case.)

I bring up this account because Cohan in his interview on the Dianne Rehm show claimed that there was no intimidation at all, and that the action against Elmostafa was perfectly legitimate. (Cohan, unfortunately, cannot get the man’s name correct in the book, calling him “Mostafa.”)

Likewise, the Seligmann’s actions that I have described above are “evidence” to Cohan that Seligmann did “something” to Mangum. Why? He went to a bank teller, and Nifong told Cohan that he must have done it because he knew he would be recorded, and then he went to a restaurant because he knew there would be electronic evidence that would prove his whereabouts. But it gets better. Nifong also claims that Reade gave Elmostafa a $25 tip, ostensibly to bribe him to…tell the truth.

One has to understand the depths of the depravity in which Cohan and Nifong have descended here. Nifong had Reade Seligmann indicted for rape according to a timeline that directly contrasted with all of the cellphone records, a bank camera recording, and a visit to a restaurant, and that is supposed to mean that Seligmann raped Crystal Mangum. You see, Reade planned all of this as an alibi, according to Nifong, and Nifong and Cohan are having none of it.

Seligmann’s then-attorney, the late Kirk Osborne, tried to give Nifong the alibi evidence in April 2006, but Nifong refused to accept it, telling Osborne that “I don’t read fiction.” After Osborne put the information on the Internet for the world to see, Nifong then told his assistant DAs that none of Osborne’s criminal defendants would be permitted to plead out, which essentially ended Osborne’s business in Durham.

To counter Seligmann’s alibi, Nifong changed the timeline in December. This ran into problems, however, as a number of phone records, gas card records, and time-stamped photographs counter Nifong’s it-happened-an-hour-earlier-than-we-thought thesis.

But Cohan isn’t through digging up bogus “evidence” against Seligmann. During one of her conversations with police, Mangum said that one of the rapists said he could not go through with it because he was getting married the next day. During his testimony to the State Bar, Seligmann said that he was known to be a “nervous Nelly” of his team because he got flustered a lot.

Thus, reason Nifong and Cohan, that must be proof that Seligmann raped Mangum because Mangum described someone who was too embarrassed to actually complete a sex act with her. I am not kidding. (Cohan includes that one on page 554.

And there is one more thing; Cohan quotes Nifong, also on page 554, claiming that Seligmann committed perjury in his State Bar testimony: “Not everything he said was true, but he did come off well,” said Nifong.

QUESTIONABLE COMPANY

On his tour, Cohan claimed to have been the first person to make Tara Levicy’s SANE report “public.” That was untrue, as a number of sources, including Until Proven Innocent, had put the report into public view. Cohan then claims that “something happened” in the bathroom during the party, but he does not specify what the “something” might be.

The fact that Cohan does sloppy research and fails to interview people directly involved in the investigation after making false claims about what they did speaks much about his integrity and competence as a writer and researcher. By uncritically repeating Nifong’s claim that special prosecutors Mary Winstead and James Coman were “sandbagged” and “shocked” at Cooper’s declaration of “innocent,” Cohan conveniently fails to tell the readers that Coman and Winstead wrote the report that Cooper used to base his claims of “innocent,” and was following the directive of the two prosecutors.

This is dishonesty at its worst, and it happens in broad daylight. But there is another thing that points to the craven character of William Cohan, and that appears in the book’s acknowledgements. At the end, he thanks a number of people for giving him guidance. One is an HBO producer who was going to take Until Proven Innocent and change to plot to have Mangum actually raped. (That project fell through, although one cannot help but wonder if Cohan’s book will have its own HBO movie to follow.)

He also thanks Bethany McLean, the same Bethany McLean who wrote dispatches from the criminal trial of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling that were nothing more than pro-prosecution propaganda. The reason McLean’s articles and commentary were suspicious was that at the time she was writing the material, she was in a “relationship” with the federal government’s lead prosecutor. (They married after the trial, but denied having any pre-trial relationship, even though people in Houston did see them together as a couple beforehand.)

But there also is one other person of questionable integrity who served as a friend and advisor to Cohan: the infamous “Client Number Nine,” who also is known as the disgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Given all of the lies, innuendos, and smears that make up this disgrace example of New York publishing, I don’t think anyone should be surprised to know that Cohan believes that Mike Nifong and Eliot Spitzer are men of integrity.

 

For Progressives, “Thoughtcrime” is Worse than Mass Murder

27 Apr

As any reasonably well-informed attorney knows, if a police officer follows a driver long enough he will witness a violation that supposedly justifies a traffic stop. Once this happens, the officer will “build the stop” by seeking a pretext to search the vehicle for evidence of violations that can lead to an arrest of the driver, or seizure of the vehicle and its contents.

Cliven Bundy, among others, can testify that Regime-oriented journalism operates in a very similar fashion: Have a reporter from the New York Times shadow a 67-year-old Mormon rancher from southeastern Nevada long enough, and eventually the subject will say something that offends current sensibilities about race. To be specific, Bundy used retrograde racial terminology in musing aloud about the damage done to the black family by the Welfare State—which he suggested might be as evil, in some ways, as the odious institution of chattel slavery.

Mr. Bundy is unusually media-savvy for a rancher, but he doesn’t speak in sound-bites. He wasn’t lamenting the fact that black Americans are no longer required to pick cotton for other people who supposedly “own” them, but that the modern welfare state has cultivated dependency, undermined the family, and helped to bring about both the a stratospherically high incarceration rate for black men and a shockingly high abortion rate for black unborn children (a development he wouldn’t lament if he genuinely hated black people).

That perspective could have been tidily packaged for media consumption in the following phrase: “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery could not have done, the harshest Jim Crow laws and racism could not have done, namely break up the black family.”

Those sentences were not uttered by a white rancher from Nevada, but by a black academic from Virginia – Dr. Walter Williams, to be specific. It takes a remarkable gift for dishonesty to accuse Dr. Williams of indulging in racism, but Ed Shultz – who serves as MSNBC’s left-wing analogue to Sean Hannity – was equal to that challenge. Shultz apparently doesn’t consider it to be an act of paternalistic racism for a white Progressive to tutor a black academic about matters of racial etiquette.

On April 11, the day before the “Battle of Bunkerville,” President Obama found time in a schedule cluttered with drone strikes against brown people overseas to address Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention. Sharpton is man of many parts, nearly all of them loathsome. He is a shake-down artist, a racial incendiary, and – as we were recently reminded – an asset of the secret police.

The least objectionable facet of Sharpton’s record is his tax “evasion,” given that protecting one’s assets from theft is not a crime. That being said, I find it fascinating that on April 11 Mr. Obama was embracing as a role model a public figure said to owe millions of dollars in taxes, and on the next day his administration was prepared to kill a Nevada rancher described as a “deadbeat” because he refuses to pay grazing fees to a branch of government that is not constitutionally permitted to collect them.

This disparate treatment could easily be explained as a question of identity politics. J.D. Tuccille points out, the Obama-era Progressive movement insists that all anti-government activism is reductively racist. This could be seen as part of a cynical, murderous political deal struck early in Obama’s reign.

Several months into his first term, Barack Obama signed into law a “hate crimes” measurethat enriched the federal government’s power to investigate and punish improper thinking. That measure likewise diverted plundered funds to fill the troughs of left-wing pressure groups that gather intelligence on “thought criminals” on behalf of the Feds.

In order to ensure passage of the Hate Crimes measure (which we should call the Thoughcrime Enforcement Act), the Obama administration attached it to a $680 billion military appropriation measure that included at least $120 billion to fund the the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The irreplaceable Chris Hedges, a relentlessly candid opponent of the Warfare State, describedhow this arrangement managed to unite advocates of tyrannical “tolerance” on the home front with those who promote the mass murder of harmless foreigners abroad:

“It was a clever piece of marketing. It blunted debate about new funding for war. And behind the closed doors of the caucus rooms, the Democratic leadership told Blue Dog Democrats, who are squeamish about defending gays or lesbians from hate crimes, that they could justify the vote as support for the war. They told liberal Democrats, who are squeamish about unlimited funding for war, that they could defend the vote as a step forward in the battle for civil rights. Gender equality groups, by selfishly narrowing their concern to themselves, participated in the dirty game.”

The same “Tolerance Industry” that treats every uncouth utterance by an aging “right-wing extremist” as matter of transcendent outrage was willing to abet the murder of innocent people abroad in order to expand the power of the Regime to punish their enemies at home. From their perspective, cops and drones may break people’s bones, but only “hateful” words can really hurt us.

Cliven Bundy is a robustly imperfect individual, something I suspect he would eagerly concede, even if he didn’t consider his racial views to be among those shortcomings. Unlike the rampaging federal regulatory agencies arrayed against him, Bundy is not in the business of picking pockets or breaking legs. As the photograph above demonstrates, he is not a reflexive bigot. Indeed, his first reflex upon spying a little brown boy – one who strikingly resembles the children being slaughtered by the Regime overseas — was to drop to a knee and offer him his cowboy hat.

Most importantly, it should be remembered that the same BLM that has targeted Cliven Bundy and other white ranchers in Nevada did not spare the Dann family, impoverished Shoshone Indians whose livestock was seized by the agency in order to clear “public” land for exploitation by a politically connected corporation.

Obama-aligned Progressives are too busy gleefully dilating on the wickedness of Cliven Bundy to condemn the BLM’s persecution of Carrie, Clifford, and the late Mary Dann. But then again, why should this be surprising? The Danns, after all, are just a few more brown people whose rights must be sacrificed in the cause of building the Almighty State.

And while we’re on the subject…

… guess what other Nevada Mormon of a certain age has used racially insensitive language?

 

 

Should Your Kids Know How to Bug Out…from School?

27 Apr

There are many alarming trends throughout the American public school system, and one of the most unsettling relates to “terror drills.”

Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars wrote last week about “lockdown drills” run by the DHS:

The Department of Homeland Security is expanding its operations by running unannounced school lockdown drills, another sign of the federal agency’s encroachment into more areas of Americans’ lives.

“On Thursday, March 6, a team comprised of ten officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the NJ Department of Education’s Safety and Security Task Forces visited Glen Ridge High School to conduct an unannounced school lock-down drill,” reports Georgette Gilmore

While authorities justify school lockdown drills as necessary exercises to prepare for potential school shootings, the likelihood of one happening is miniscule. Critics have pointed to the fact that the drills achieve little else than traumatizing school children.

Some have also argued that teaching kids to “shelter in place” rather than evacuate the scene of a shooting is bad advice because it is likely to lead to more casualties. The process of having children submit to armed masked men during school lockdown drills is also contradictory in that it teaches them to behave exactly the same way towards an actual gunman.(source)

But a quick drill with guns pointed at children is not even the worst of the drills being performed. Another type of drill began occurring in 2012. These are called “evacuation drills” or “relocation drills” and the kids are put on a bus and taken to a location that is not disclosed to parents. Michael Snyder wrote:

All over the United States, school children are being taken out of their classrooms, put on buses and sent to “alternate locations” during terror drills…In the years since 9/11 and the Columbine school shootings, there has been a concerted effort to make school emergency drills much more “realistic” and much more intense. Unfortunately, the fact that many of these drills are deeply traumatizing many children does not seem to bother too many people. Do we really need to have “active shooter” drills where men point guns at our kids and fire blanks at them? Do we really need to have “relocation drills” where kids are rapidly herded on to buses and told that they must surrender their cell phones because they will not be allowed to call anyone? (source)

During these drills kids are not allowed to phone their parents and parents are not even allowed to know where their children are in many cases. In some incidences during which the school forewarns parents about the drill, the parents are told that they cannot pick up their children “for any reason” during the drill. Many schools now boast of having supplies to keep children at the school for 48 hours in the event of an “emergency” during which time the children will not be released to their parents.

And it gets even worse. In the name of predictive programming, do you recall a “drill” during which the police took over a school and practiced fighting “angry parents”? I’ve been plenty annoyed at different schools my daughter has attended, but in no way have I been compelled to attack the school, requiring SWAT teams to defend it against me and my band of likewise irate moms.

In fact, there’s only one scenario I can imagine in which parents would storm the school to take back their children. Mac Slavo of SHTFplan wrote about it:

Let’s consider the circumstances that would have to occur for not one, but two or more parents to lay armed siege to a school.

There’s only one real scenario that comes to mind, and you’d more than likely have to be a prepper or conspiracy theorist to even contemplate the possibility.

The schools which our kids attend have “shelter-in-place” emergency procedures that would be enacted in the event of an emergency such as a nuclear, chemical or biological attack. During these emergencies schools are to be locked down with no unofficial access into the buildings until the all-clear has been given. It’s unclear based on district procedures just what the shelter-in-place order means and what steps parents would need to take to get their kids out of school – or whether they could even take their kids out of school based on the emergency.

But basically, it boils down to this: If there is a widespread emergency, and a school locks down and refuses parental access to children, then and only then could we envision a scenario where parents might take it upon themselves to evacuate their children by force.

The ‘event’ in question would likely need to be mass scale, or perceived as mass scale, in order for a parent to be so adamant about getting their child out of the school that they would take to armed violence to get them out.

Is this what police are training for?

Someone, somewhere obviously thinks there is a legitimate reason for this type of training simulation. (source)

So when you put all of this together, it’s easy to see the future. The picture this is painting is that one day, a unilateral decision could be made to put our children on a bus, take them to an undisclosed location, and keep them. (Dave Hodges wrote a chilling article about the role of FEMA in these scenarios – you can read it HERE.)

Should you teach your child to escape?

Maybe it’s time to teach your child how to bug out from school.

By no means am I suggesting that this is a legitimate course of action for every child. Some kids are too young or too prone to panic and poor judgement to safely bug out. Some environments are too dangerous for a young person to take off on his or her own. Parents have to consider the skills and mindset of their kids before making plans like this. It can definitely be risky, and you have to compare it to the alternative of having your child herded along.

I have a huge amount of faith in my child. So much so that we have performed some of our own drills. She attends a part-day advanced science program at a school 13 miles from our home. She’s a lot more “aware” of events going on in the world than most of her peers because we discuss things like government encroachment and tyranny on a regular basis. She knows that she is not to get on a bus without my prior knowledge and consent.

If, out of the blue, the teachers just tell students to get on a bus, and there is no compelling reason for them to be doing so, it might be time for your child to use his or her own judgement on whether boarding that conveyance is actually a good idea.

If you feel that a school bug-out plan is a good idea for your child, here are a few things to consider:

  • If there are younger siblings at the school, your older children will need to plan how to connect with them, and whether or not to abort the bug-out if they can’t connect with the younger ones.
  • You need to set up a primary and secondary rally point where you’ll meet your kids. This should be within a couple of miles of the school, and it should be a place where your children can stay hidden from the main road. The plan should always be to go to the primary rally point, but if for some reason that is unsafe or unaccessible, there should be a secondary rally point that is reached by a different route.
  • Figure out the route your child will take to get to the rally point. Practice getting there from the school. If possible, for reasons of safety and stealth, develop a route that does not use the main road to take them there. Hike or walk this route with your child until they are completely comfortable with it.
  • There are some situations in which evacuation is actually necessary. For example, some places are prone to forest fires and you wouldn’t want your child out on foot in such a scenario. If the school building were to collapse, it’s obvious the children would be relocated to a safe shelter. This is the point at which your child’s judgement comes into play. It is vital to discuss different scenarios in which evacuation is necessary.

It is also important that your child have the proper gear to take off on foot, as well as the ability to use all of it. It’s important to practice things like filtering water in order for a young person to feel confident doing so.

  • A hiking pack (My daughter keeps this Signpost Outdoor Packable Handy Backpack Foldable Lightweight Travel Bag Daypack – Green in the bottom of her school bag)
  • Comfortable weather-appropriate footwear (winter boots, sneakers, etc.)
  • Water filtration bottle (we use THIS ONE from Berkey)
  • At least one full water bottle, but preferably two
  • Snacks like granola bars or energy bars (Clif Bars are made with good ingredients and are very filling)
  • Weather appropriate clothing (snow gear, light hoodie, gloves, hat for sun or warmth)
  • Fire-starting flint
  • Space blanket
  • First aid kit (band-aids are a must forpotential blisters)
  • Extra socks

Most of the other gear that you’d prefer your child to have is going to be deemed “dangerous” by the school. Things like multi-tools, matches or lighters, or self-defense items are frowned upon and can result in anything from suspension by a “zero-tolerance” school system that seems unable to differentiate between a tool and a threat, to felony charges by the overzealous “justice system.” These are things you must take into consideration when choosing items for the emergency kit, and you have to weigh the pros against the cons.

Will this work for you?

This is not a plan that will work for every family. Only you can judge whether or not your child or teen can keep a cool enough head to execute a similar plan and use their own judgement in a surprise situation. Only you can assess the immediate environment and decide if it is safer for your student to set out on their own or to go with the staff from the school.

Do any of you have a simliar plan for your kids? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.

NOTE: This is not a debate about whether children should be educated at home or via the public school system. This is about a specific situation that affects many families in America who have made the decision to send their children to school based on their own personal circumstances or the availability of special programs.

Reprinted with permission from The OrganicPrepper.