Brandon Ross: When your own police label you a terrorist
I MOVED FROM Maryland to New Hampshire in 2010. Why? I walked into my corner grocery store in Maryland and all the lights were off. Reason: the small-business owner couldn’t afford the new countywide carbon tax. That was the last straw for me. I was exhausted by the ever-present bureaucracy and taxes near Washington, D.C. So I moved here.
Now, according to Concord police, that makes me — and other people moving to New Hampshire for a better life — a domestic terrorist. Seriously.
Concord Police Chief John Duval recently begged Washington, D.C., for more than $250,000 to buy a military-style “armored personnel carrier” — the Lenco BearCat G3. Chief Duval claims he needs this military personnel carrier because of groups like the “Free Staters.” He stated in his application that their threats were “real and here” and are providing Concord police “daily challenges.”
A “Free Stater” is a person loosely participating in peaceful, social and economic migration: to move 20,000 Americans who believe in smaller, responsible government to New Hampshire. I did that. I came to New Hampshire for that very reason. So, yes, I guess I am a “Free Stater.” I am also a Republican, a lawyer and a computer nerd.
Concord police want a military-style vehicle because of people like me? Most of my “Free Stater” friends have families, children, jobs, student loans and mortgages. What unique “daily challenges” are they giving Concord police?
It is sobering for police to label you and your friends “domestic terrorists,” to hear that you are the enemy. And Chief Duval quickly flip-flopped, telling the Union Leader that he needs a BearCat to protect “life and property.” Or maybe to serve warrants? And some police officers — not in Concord, but elsewhere in America — are killed on the job each year. So isn’t that a good reason for Concord taxpayers to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new toy?
In 2011, a similar saga unfolded when Keene police asked for a quarter-million dollars to buy a BearCat. Keene also ignored the public opposition to that wasteful spending. And Keene police also got their shiny new toy.
Still today, one Keene city councilor calls Keene’s new BearCat a waste of money. Keene public records show that of the 21 times that Keene used its BearCat, only two were for questionably legitimate uses. The other 19 times were for “training purposes” — to prevent their BearCat from collecting rust.
That could have been a learning opportunity for Concord on wasteful spending. But it’s a foregone conclusion: the Concord police will get their BearCat. And every year, Concord taxpayers will waste even more money maintaining a military-style vehicle that Concord doesn’t need. But wasn’t that the Concord Police Department’s underlying motivation: earmarking more money for their budget — by labeling some of their own citizens as terrorists?
I was born in our nation’s murder capital. I’ve driven through bombed-out parts of Detroit with my doors unlocked. I’ve walked through dangerous parts of our nation’s capital at night. And, in my job, I’ve sat in locked rooms across tables from convicted murderers and rapists.
But I am far, far more scared to hear our civilian police say they need more military weapons because the people they are supposed to protect are terrorists.
A terrorist is a person who uses fear to achieve a political goal. Isn’t capturing more taxpayer money to buy new toys a political goal? Doesn’t labeling some of us as “domestic terrorists” inspire fear? If Concord Police Chief John Duval is searching for “domestic terrorists” in Concord, he should start with the man sitting behind his desk.
Brandon Ross is an attorney in Manchester and a former resident of Concord.
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Niel Young said:
I am glad that I took the time to read this. Reviewed the words twice. We have 11 million plus law-breaking Invaders in this country, and all the Obama administration can do is to hand out grants for equipment to keep us natives in line! Those of us in NH who were born here (me) or moved to our state are not the enemy, but some days I have to wonder. Since the 60's the US has lost lives in other countries in the name of peace and freedom. Yet now freedom loving Americans are the bad guys. email@example.com
August 7, 2013 7:16 am
Michael Stevens said:
I recently read a projection that due to climate change that as much as 90% of the country of Mexico will become uninhabitable by 2050. Which means about one hundred million people will be displaced and heading north fairly soon. Then all of sudden all this militarization of the police, building the “great wall” of the southwest and whatnot starts to make sense to me. Except for the fact that these are right-wing policies and of course the right-wing doesn’t believe in climate change.
August 7, 2013 8:27 am
George LeMont said:
Michael Stevens it's more about our leaders not believing in the rule of law. Somehow they got the idea that they had the power to pick and choose who laws get enforced on. But as always its nice of you to try and turn it into a left or right thing, when it's both of them and a room full of arrogance. They now spend more time catering to illegal aliens than they do the citizens who were born here and are forced to obey the laws. I can't stand my government and have little doubt that will get me on some sort of list. But this is what a lazy, dumb society gets when it votes with their emotions for leaders who know exactly how to prey on them. They then spend their time blaming one party over the other rather than looking at themselves and the arrogant leaders they put into office.
August 7, 2013 8:40 am
Michael Stevens said:
George, a hundred million refugees is not exactly an illegal alien problem anymore!
August 7, 2013 8:54 am
Michael Layon said:
An excellent article. How on earth peace loving and peace practicing Americans are labeled terrorists is DISGUSTING. Militarizing the police and doing so with a budget that rivals the US military was a campaign promise of king Obama. He is most certainly following through on his promise. Look at the stimulus (ARRA)-hundreds of millions of dollars flowed into NH for the express purpose of buying new toys for law enforcement and firefighters. Thank JEanne Shaheen and Carol Che-Porter (CCP) for joining the president in voting for that and saying it was the right thing to do. They however did not start the process of militarizing civilians with badges, that was done by the US congress and signed into law by president Clinton in the 1997 NDAA, section 1033. I would MUCH prefer a return of law enforcement to their roots of being peace officers. Sheriffs came from "Shire Reeves" who were keepers of the peace, not wannabe paramilitary squadrons. Can we not restore that in New Hampshire?
August 7, 2013 8:58 am
George LeMont said:
Of course that's a fantasy number you decided to use. I'm still in favor of letting a twenty million Americans cross the Mexican border to illegally populate any part of Mexico they desire. Just so we can see how evenly open borders really are. No lines and no waiting and having the Mexican tax payers help us out should be interesting for their economy. But somehow I just don't see the Mexican government helping out all of us as part of diversity. That's why we should do what they did and release our prison populations and say they're forgiven so long as they go to Mexico. Bye bye now you get a chance to start over with a clean slate and no records in Mexico.
August 7, 2013 9:03 am
Michael Layon said:
Ah, leave it to Mr Stevens to bring up the contentious and disproved hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change. The evidence to support man causing climate change is about as strong as evidence to label peace activists, terrorists. You claim to "believe" in climate change Mr Stevens? Do you also believe in the Easter Bunny and that a big fat guy climbs down your chimney and leaves presents? "Believing" without substantiating facts is exactly what the COncord police are using to argue for a federal grant. Climate change has been going on since Earth formed thanks to a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is a giant yellow thing in the sky and the dynamic core or earth. Some proposed that man was and is responsible for such change-starting in the 1920s with fear mongering over global warming, in the 1980s about global cooling and again in the 1990s about global warming. NEVER has an equation been found which describes or predicts the change in temperature, winds, humidity and other measures of "climate". Ironically the ONLY federal grants on climate change are grated to those who promote its existence. There never has been a consensus on it as Mr Steven's fellow non-scientist, Al Gore claimed. Mr Stevens you can believe in goblins it does not make them real. The Concord PD believing peace loving citizens and residents of NH are terrorists is quite similar. Thanks for a salient example....
August 7, 2013 9:08 am
Michael Stevens said:
Michael Layon, I thought the right only denied man-made climate change, not naturally occurring climate change? There have been climate change refugees throughout history. I would think a conspiracy minded fellow such as your self would at least wonder why we would need to have such overkill on the southern border.
August 7, 2013 9:20 am
Rick Mitchell said:
Between its nutty police chief and nutty newspaper, perhaps Concord should be carved out and plopped down south next to Cambridge. Or to Mexico, where there will be plenty of room once 90% of that country becomes uninhabitable in the next 37 years (good lord, what the climate alarmists will believe).
August 7, 2013 9:37 am
Rck Walters said:
I agree with the author that the vehicle is an unnecessary waste of money, but to make the jump to a state conspiracy, and suggest that the police chief is himself a terrorist is irresponsible, juvenile pap. No wonder free-staters get a bad rap. There is a much simpler explanation. The bearcat is just another shiny new toy, and Americans--especially middle aged men--love to collect the latest new toys, whether I-phones, flat screen TVs, or riding lawnmowers. Police always have to have the newest, coolest firearms, technology, or cruisers, and justify the expense by pointing to "public safety". This is just an extension of that impulse. Nothing feeds the ego like the accumulation of wealth--in all its forms.
August 7, 2013 10:58 am
Bill McGonigle said:
@Rck: I read that as rhetorical flourish - "see, anybody can wrongly accuse anybody else of being a terrorist" - not a serious accusation. Surely the point is to show how it feels to be wrongly accused of such a thing.I suspect there was overlap between this op-ed being written and the story today about the Chief saying his application was "poorly worded". That still leaves me wondering, though, what wording was intended that included the three named groups as a justification for needing a BEARCAT? Not shouting - I just learned from another article that the name is an acronym for "Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck". I'm really unclear on who they're intending to counter-attack. Nobody from any of those groups has ever threatened to pick my pocket nor break my leg.
August 7, 2013 11:36 am
Len Cannon said:
@Michael Stevens: "I recently read a projection that due to climate change that as much as 90% of the country of Mexico will become uninhabitable by 2050" I've got news for you Mike... most of Mexico is already uninhabitable. Face it. The place is largely a sewer of lawlessness exacerbating a rapidly declining vacation industry as a result. Decades of absolutely corrupt and incompetent Third World leadership has produced this gem of a country from which millions are fleeing. As for your "climate change" projection.... the reason most people know it's bunk is because the global warming clowns, now climate change clowns, were caught red handed fudging the climate reports. Basically, they lied about all of it. Al Gore (aka: Mr Stone) is a total fraud but a very rich one thanks to lemmings on the Left.
August 7, 2013 1:02 pm
Rck Walters said:
Amidst all your venom Len, you missed Michael's actual wry observation which made no pretense about Mexico being a wonderful place. Something awfully bad must have happened to you in Mexico . . . Despite what some self-serving knuckleheads might have done to inflate or distort data, the hard science remains, and even "conservative" scientists acknowledge that climate change is real, measurable, and dramatic. The conversation evolved quite a while ago Len to focus on whether or not the cause is mankind. When you, or anyone else still argues that there is no climate change, the next thing we expect you to claim is that the earth is flat.
August 7, 2013 1:20 pm
George LeMont said:
Rck Walters I hate to burst your bubble and claims but just last month 44,000 scientists signed a petition stating there is no actual proof global warming or climate change is taking place or is being caused by humans. You and others must be fooled that the melting of the ice sheets that covered New Hampshire 8000 years ago and were a half mile thick, then slowly melted to where they are today was supposed to stop when Al Gore and your power hungry politicians said they should have. It's just one more scare tactic your party has been using for decades on any fool who will lend them an ear.
August 7, 2013 1:58 pm
Rck Walters said:
George: Have we met? Didn't think so. When you say "your party" who are you referring to? Can't be Democrats since I am not one. And "power hungry politicians" do not belong to me anymore than they belong to you. Show me your source, and I am willing to bet right now that these are NOT 44,000 climatologists or scientists who are trained in that field. What a microbiologist says about climate change is of little consequence. Now I am sure that there are many scientists and climatologist who question if climate change has been caused by humans. In fact, that is exactly the heart of the discussion right now, and I have not taken any position on that, have I? Show me a majority of climatologists who do not believe the earth has warmed and I will stand corrected. Good luck with that.
August 7, 2013 2:43 pm
Michele Schiesser said:
Ironically, Maryland's nickname is "The Free State." But given its recent past I would call it anything but free.
August 7, 2013 2:45 pm
Ken Eyring said:
Dear Mr. Ross, Thank you for eloquently putting into words what is wrong with Chief Duval's actions. The Concord City Council should have him removed immediately, for it is Chief Duval's paranoia that has clouded his ability to act as a responsible Law Enforcement Officer.
August 7, 2013 4:26 pm
Niel Young said:
Brandon Ross: If you are checking the comments please email me. Radio? Michele: My son has lived in Maryland for 18+ years. His son will graduate high school class of 2014. When that happens my son is outta there! Being from NH my son cannot take the taxes, the socialists, and other looney tune ideas from "the Free State". Not much free about Maryland. firstname.lastname@example.org
August 7, 2013 4:49 pm
George LeMont said:
Rck Walters well ask your experts why the last ice age ended and let us know what they say. It only lasted 100,000 years before it started retreating and for all your scientists know it has not finished since the changes can be very slow and take hundreds or thousands of years. There were even periods of a couple of thousand years when it retreated for a thousand years then the ice came back again. Some people today want to believe something so badly all it takes is others seeking to make a name for themselves to come along and speak it. Neither you or they have the power to stop this planet from doing much of anything. Get over it and learn to live with the fact that man is weak and small in the big picture.
August 7, 2013 9:04 pm
DAVID K TESTERMAN said:
It seems to me that the Chief should be brought up on federal charges for falsifying the application. His storm trooper tactics were on full display when he baited and attacked a citizen for speaking his mind against out-of-state anti gun fascists. This new machine is a form of mechanical Viagra for people like him.
August 7, 2013 9:14 pm
Rck Walters said:
George: you have me convinced that you are intentionally missing the point, or perhaps realize you are lost on this issue. There has always been climate change--no one disputes that--there is nothing for me to "get over" . . . so where is that source your "argument" was based upon? Thought so . . .
August 7, 2013 9:57 pm
Susan Carroll said:
When one can be arrested for fishing without a licence, but not for being here illegally you know something is crazy. This purchase is a waste of taxpayer money, perhaps needed in Detroit, but not in NH. Our "government" seems to have trouble identifying our enemies. We strip search handicapped children, grandma and nuns: but not the women in the burga. That tells you all you need to know. We give guns to Al Quada and sacrifice our Seal Team members...who do we really need this equipment to defend against...
August 7, 2013 10:13 pm
Rck Walters said:
Susan: you technically can be arrested for spitting on the sidewalk too, but how often does that happen? Let's not make the leap from the errant comments of a Concord police chief to the apocalypse, shall we? The burga? Is that like a suburb, or maybe a bad section of town?
August 7, 2013 10:42 pm
Peter Hudson said:
I escaped Massachusetts back in 2003, so glad I made the move. But over the past year or two, been seeing the likes of this Clown Chief guy and that Chase woman from Rhode Island via Keene. I'm more afraid of the State versus anyone else, thus why I own weapons to protect myself.It all about fear, intimidation and control...
August 8, 2013 2:19 am
George LeMont said:
Rck Walters thank you for admitting the climate has never been based on one set of rules that dictates the weather should be one set pattern all the time. Frankly if our so called Green types meddled in things they would most likely start a new ice age, then harp on how we need to burn evil fissile fuels to warm up the planet again. People in power have a habit of messing things up by injecting themselves where it's not needed, then when things go wrong turn themselves into the cure all over again. I'll consider myself lucky I grew up with a smarter generation as the adults and gave me a world where our leaders did not view the citizens as potential terrorists, and never would they have put up with this stuff. And the leaders then knew they wouldn't. Todays citizens are fools watching freedom be taken with barely a fight all in the name of terrorism as their leaders push an open border policy at the same time. The same leaders are also the ones who brought the terrorists into our home in the name of diversity and as always by lowering the standards of coming to America.
August 8, 2013 8:44 am
JON HOPWOOD said:
The first paragraph is dishonest. He couldn't pay the carbon tax? Are you saying the carbon tax -- which was passed by voters by an eight to one margin in Montgomery County, which is the locale I assume you are referring to -- was directly paid by individuals? Please provide an actual reputable source for this. Of course, what it did impact was electricity rates, but by how much?
August 8, 2013 1:58 pm
Hank Pepin said:
ANYONE who believes in self-reliance is the enemy of the free loaders in power today
August 8, 2013 6:49 pm
Brandon Ross said:
Jon Hopwood. I suggest you re-read the first paragraph. Not me--a grocery store. Just preposterous to be unable to buy groceries without adequate lighting because the county wanted to make a "green" statement. Also, you appear slightly misinformed: Montgomery County voters did not vote on the tax. It was passed by the county council, 8-1, at the county administrator's urging. --Local taxes aren't something voters have direct control over in Maryland. If you want a reputable source, I suggest you call the Magruder's grocery on Hungerford Drive & College Parkway in Rockville, MD. However, they may have recently closed (http://www.rockvillenights.com/2013/01/magruder-closing-in-rockville.html). I did take a photo of the signs they posted on that day with my phone, and I think I still have it. I'll send it to you, if you'd like.
August 8, 2013 10:58 pm
SANDRA GOLDEN said:
Carbon taxes are nothing but a scheme made up by politicians to collect yet another tax from businesses and the people in general. Nothing more and nothing less. When you consider the fact that most wealthy politicians who dream up these "carbon taxes" live in huge homes, ride around in limos and private jets, and are themselves an example of lives full of excess, it becomes clear that even THEY don't believe climate change is a real threat. The greatest example of this hypocrisy is Al Gore, with his fleet of cars, his limos, his private jet, and his many huge homes. If he really believed that humans were causing climate change he should be the first one to immediately downsize his life, selling off all his homes, moving into a small apartment or a condo, and getting a bicycle (or a hybrid car) as his only means of transportation. How about it, Mr. Gore????
August 12, 2013 1:56 pm
Paul Lundwall said:
It is amazing the government is spending our tax dollars for stuff like this. How about taking all of this money and put it to good use. Like putting Americans (citizens) back to work.
August 14, 2013 4:50 pm
Susan Cummings said:
New Hampshire has a very hard time identifying between the terrorists and the law abiding citizens. I found this out the hard way in Windham and Salem, NH. These two towns are also Maggie Hassan's poster children for the e-ticket devices, of which don't only scan because of a violation. They can scan everyone and anyone, at anytime and do not have to print out tickets. There are data bases being established by police departments who are willing to execute their duties, without probable cause, as Salem, NH and Seabrook, NH are fond of, with their recent Sobriety Check Points. The towns who mostly border Massachusetts, but go as far into NH as Portsmouth and Concord are very happy to abuse their power. I agree with the retired Marine. I would ask that our "law-abiding" legislators and the governed, establish new ideas on the levels of law enforcement that should be comfortable for all. I believe their is a growing need to eliminate our local law enforcement, and establish the perimeters for sheriffs instead. The local law enforcement departments have made themselves irrelevant, except in collective bargaining issues and new toys. The police today are not the police of yesteryear, and can barely read, let alone write a decent and effective report. For every mistake they make, an alleged criminal can go free, it's not only the judges fault. I am not anti-law enforcement, I am for a more smaller and efficient government. My experiences with local law enforcement are not very positive, and I would give most an "F" for failure to perform their duties as they themselves took an oath to do, and within the boundaries of our Constitution. Socialism is for the people, not the ones in charge. Don't give them anymore toys, or money, until they clean their own house, and their own mess.
August 17, 2013 10:22 pm
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