By David P Shirk
As I was going through my nightly news, I was given a ‘must read’ article by James Cox. The article was about an arrest made right in front of a local courthouse in Allentown PA.
What immediately caught my attention was that the incident happened not too far from where I lived, and that it involved the US Marshals. In brief, a few people were handing out Fully Informed Jury Association pamphlets in a fully legal manner. At some point, the group was approached by some US Marshals. When one of the Marshals approached and engaged in dialogue with the group leader (Julian Heicklen), a minor verbal incident began to erupt. When one of the Marshals ‘assaulted’ Julian (an elderly man), and Julian told her to back off, a libertarian named George Donnelly began to video tape the incident. Yet as he attempted to capture the whole scene on tape, he was ‘taken down’ by the other marshals. He was not held and released, but was arrested.
At first I assumed that there was more to the story then what was being told. I was right, but the rest of the story worked for George Donnelly – not against him. First of all, Donnelly was attempting to help hand out pamphlets for a movement called the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA). After going to FIJA’s site and reading all their literature, I found a very well presented list of documents that informed Juror’s of their rights. There was nothing subversive or unlawful in it. On the contrary, it was merely a site dedicated to informing Juror’s of their legal responsibilities. The only other information I could find on George, was that he is pro second amendment, and loves liberty. In other words – clean as a whistle, and about as American as you can get (in a good way).
Even more odd to me was why was he arrested? All he was doing was videotaping the eruption of a situation. If anything, the Marshals and court system should have been happy to have the video as evidence of the incident. That is if they were not doing anything wrong themselves. First off, Julian (no offense to him) is an older man, and the idea of a Marshal even laying a finger on him while he was peacefully (and legally) handing out pamphlets thoroughly disgusts me. Then to add insult to injury, they then arrest the innocent bystander (Donnelly) who was only trying to do what any good citizen would. Finally, they cart Donnelly away from one correction facility to another, and only in the last hour has anyone heard anything about his location.
Now this is hardly the first report I have heard on any such occurrence. However I never thought it would ever be so close to my own home. If videotaping anything that happens on public soil is illegal, then a free country we are not. If peacefully protesting anything on public property is illegal, then a free country we are not. Well guess what – we are not a free country anymore.
As the focus of national security becomes more and more damaging to our freedoms (something our founders warned about), the more and more censored we become. From pamphlets to the internet itself http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Cyber-Space-Two-Step , we are quickly becoming the biggest victims of big government. First, the government seeks to expand itself into every facet of our society in every industry. Then when someone attempts to fight back (whether through protest or informing the public via any other means), they claim that there is a security risk, and tighten the noose.
What Donnelly is a victim of is not breaking the law, but standing up for what’s right. I am not sure of the details so this is pure speculation: the Marshals may have thought that when Donnelly was reaching for his camera, that it might have been a gun. Even though this sounds fair to officer safety, I could not disagree with it more. First, even if he had a gun, the officers had no right or reason to approach them in the first place. Second, once the camera came out, there should have been apologies all around. Third, Donnelly just watched an old man whom he was aiding in a public service get physically harassed, so the Marshals should have attempted to diffuse the situation by reasonable verbal means, not through physical force.
Yet this is what happens when you have a government that is rapidly growing in size and power. They can lie, and get away with it. They can ignore the principles our country was founded on – and receive praise. They can take as much as they want from you, and there is nothing you can do about it except to beg for their leniency. If not, you end up like Donnelly.
This is absolutely disgusting America. People like Donnelly who are attempting to do what’s right using their last available means to do so, are being assaulted. People like James, Michael, and myself are often called paranoid – even after we watch this all fall down in front of us. We are the great minority of society who have bothered to do our homework, and see what is coming. What still boggles my mind is how many more Donnelly’s will it take before people finally see this for what it is?
I said that if the current trends go unchanged then we would fall completely by 2012. From what I am seeing and hearing, it may just come a lot sooner. You better start taking action people – educate, spread the word, and do not compromise your votes in favor of a ‘party votes’. We are following a pattern that has never failed to destroy whatever nation/empire that adopts it – from ancient Rome to France post WWI, we are allowing the very foundations of our country to be eroded by the idiocy of the masses backed and enforced by an ever growing powerful government. It cannot go on, and must be stopped. Go ahead and call me paranoid if you want – it is a badge of honor to me. But whatever you do – stop the nonsense, and fight back with words and votes while you still can, before you find yourself fighting with something else. Finally, how does this happen on the watch of the same man who won a Nobel prize for spreading Peace? Simple – its all a big lie.