'Keep your head clear and know how to suffer like a man.' -Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, 1952

Dying For Liberty (Not a Good Idea)

by Ethan Glover, Fri, Jan 02, 2015 - (Edited) Wed, Jan 10, 2018

Police murdered a man for refusing to show his ID at an animal shelter last Tuesday. Why did they demand his ID? Because he was handing over a stray cat. The people at the shelter told him he couldn't leave until he showed identification.

The victim, Robert Earl Lawrence, happened to be a "sovereign citizen." He followed people like Michael Badnarik who is famous for not driving with a license or plates. Robert told the workers at the animal shelter that he's not required to give them and ID. Instead, he gave them a piece of paper that declares him a sovereign citizen. The shelter employee's response to this was to call the police.

Let's pause and think for a second. The situation never had to get this far. Robert could have refused to show his ID and walked out. Unfortunately, I get the feeling he wanted to show off his sovereign card and maybe convert a few minds.

I have no complaint about that, I do have a complaint about him sticking around for the police to show up. He should have left and let the shelter deal with the cat and the cops.

I've been in these situations before. Most people care more about winning the argument than the argument itself. Shelters don't care about not seeing the IDs; people leave animals at night all the time. What they care about is someone telling them no. Walk away, the discussion is over, they huff and puff for a while and it ends.

Here's an example:

Do you think that guy saw another cop afterward? Or do you think it was a bluff? (It was a bluff.) The airport just wanted to get its paperwork right, that doesn't mean you have to help them. I think it's polite to do so, but it's not required.

My most recent threat was a university telling me I couldn't leave the premises because there was a tornado threat. They told me I had to go to the basement with everyone else. I said no and left.

I'm sure someone has threatened to call the cops on you at some point. Most of us ignore it and don't wait around for it to happen. Get too stubborn, stick around, and it has to happen. The person's pride will compel them to make the call. Besides, they want to win the argument too.

If they called the cops, they would've complained to them like a child telling her parents about what her brother did. The cops would've took some notes, made a reassurance, and gone to get a donut.

If the shelter got a license plate number the police would've stopped by Robert's house. They would ask why he didn't show an ID. At that point, the situation is over. Any shrugged off half answer and they'll say, "Well… don't do it again, they have to check ID's because… [Insert dumb transient reason here]."

Note that this wouldn't happen if you start an argument, remember, pride. They want to win too. Be the bigger person and let it go.

Instead of leaving, Robert stuck around and got in an argument with the police over his "sovereign status." They got in what the cops allege as a "physical altercation," because the police tried to arrest him. The charge? Resisting arrest. Which is just another way to say, "We assaulted a man and made up a charge afterward."

The resist, as it often does, got Robert shot and killed. Guess he won't be telling anybody about sovereignty anymore.

Stay Alive

Many people out there think violence is the way to go. Christopher Cantwell mentioned that the two cops killed in New York caused a huge drop in arrests. From "Dead Cops Means Less Oppression:"

One black power Marxist killed two police officers in New York City, and did more to reduce State violence than all the efforts of the entire history of the Libertarian Party.
In the face of such staggering data, it's very difficult to say that violence solves nothing. One would require a religiously incoherent obsession with non-violence to make the suggestion.

A drop in arrests is great, but that's not to say cop killing is the way to make things better. Sure, it may have worked this time, but it only takes another and one speech from the boss to "rally the troops" and things get worse.

You won't see Cantwell going around killing cops. Nor will you see him hiring mercenaries to "protect" him. (As he fantasizes in his article.) In fact, I asked Chris if he'd be willing to kill anybody for liberty. One of his fans told me that it would result in Chris's death and, "an insufficient number of minds have been freed for any such action to have any positive result toward freedom."

This "freeing minds" is exactly what Chris claims to be not working. (We'll ignore the contrary evidence for the moment.)

I'll be honest, as far as people seeing the truth of what's going on in the world, it's taken care of. Just because someone isn't a libertarian doesn't mean they're an idiot. Something Chris has also claimed. A claim for which I've provided a response.

People are smart; some people want to live their lives as best as possible. To them, that doesn't mean recording cops and blogging about it. It means working and living, without the burden of politics on their shoulders.

Whenever someone claims that their goal is to "educate the masses," my mind always goes back to one of my favorite TV scenes. An Occupy Wall Street interview from The Newsroom.

Sure, we need people out there speaking out and using their voices. Of course, according to Cantwell, martyrs are better, and Chris, you'd make a hell of a martyr for a few people. Go make it happen if you believe that getting yourself killed is the way to make things better.

Ignore Folly, Be Calm

I get that the results from the killings in New York have been a net positive. That doesn't mean we should want people to die, just to keep the streak going. Deaths don't save lives. At some point, deaths just create crises. They create war. (No, cops won't take your side just because the "masses" decide to "stand up." Let's not take lessons from movies.)

I don't want to see anyone with even a little influence suggesting to anybody that if they're not doing a good enough job to spread liberty, killing cops is the answer.

In the case of Eric Garner, he shouldn't have gotten argumentative and aggressive with the cops. He should have played things down. In that case, he would still be alive. I get the arguments for not pandering to the power trips of police officers, but don't lower yourself to their level. Live to fight another day.

I mentioned earlier that Robert was a fan of Michael Badnarik who doesn't drive with a license or plates. When police pull over Michael, do you think he gets in arguments? Of course not. He tells cops he'll take the ticket and see them in court. In a polite manner. (Yes, I've seen his constitutional classes.)

The reason Badnarik can get away with it is that he's good at defending himself and never takes things too far. He never fights cops on issues; he goes to court and argues with people whose job it is to hear arguments. That is, he doesn't fight the "fat, stupid, cowards," he fights the "cunning sociopaths." (In Cantwell's words.)

Don't Be a Cult Follower

You don't see people who are good at "converting" others and teaching a message dying over their beliefs. It's not smart and it's not reasonable to expect anyone to do it.

Even if you're not influential (like me). If you don't know how to put a website together. If you don't know how to write. If you don't know how to put a video/podcast together. If you don't live around like-minded people.

If you don't know how to "spread liberty," getting yourself killed isn't going to help anyone. Despite some recent and limited statistics in a particular city over a particular case.

You'd only be one good life lost to save a few parking tickets. Police abuse and victimless crimes shouldn't exist. Yet, two wrongs don't make a right. Handling things with violence only proves to the world that anarchy is at best no better than government. (I'd believe it too if this happened often.)

There are good ways to handle things. Whether it be fighting tickets in court, working down the political system, or moving to a place like Keene, New Hampshire.

I thank the people who are willing to think outside the box and not act like "fat, stupid, cowards" as Cantwell can sometimes act.

Please never suggest to anyone that dying solves anything. It's the easy, cowards' way out. It's for idiots who can't think of anything better. Dumb brutes who can't tell the difference between a few days' worth of statistics and the entire world's history. You're better than that.