Evil Overlady

Silence Equals Complicity

Carl Drega – Part 2

Shared with the very kind permission of original author James D Macdonald. Keep in mind the extreme age of the original article, which has been cut and pasted in its entirety onto this site, including any comments that were made to it. As it was retrieved from archive(dot)org, some links may no longer work properly, but when and where possible, new links will be generated to similarly retrieved older links.

Your Evil Auntie’s own note:
Vin Suprynowicz, called out by Jim in this article, seems like an early “Sovereign Citizen” type, judging by some of what Jim has chosen to highlight and comment upon.

August 19, 2008

Carl Drega, Part II
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 02:42 PM * 122 comments

I wrote this some years ago, 11 September 2002, on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and e-mailed it to myself. It has to do with another terrorist attack. Not the one on New York and Washington; an attack on another town. The events I’m talking about took place on 19 August 1997. Later I posted the letter in our newsgroup over at sff.people.doyle-macdonald.

Make no mistake: This was a terrorist act. When Tom Tancredo came around preaching about the danger of an armed attack by Muslims unless we put up a barbed wire fence along the Canadian border, you could feel the few people in the audience, at least the ones who were here that day, bristle. Someone already brought that act to town, and he wasn’t named Mohammed.

Continued below the cut.

Article 14450
From: [email protected] (James D. Macdonald)
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 03:40:45 GMT
Subject: Re: EMS
Newsgroups: sff.people.doyle-macdonald

I wrote this back on September 11th of this year.

From: Self 

Subject: Comments On Vinnie
Date sent: Wed, 11 Sep 2002 14:39:12 -0400

From http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/libe57-19991015-01.html (the same text is repeated on many other sites).

Live Free Or Die:
How Many More Carl Dregas?

by Vin Suprynowicz
[email protected]

Special to TLE
Originally released 9/21/97

Go where the land meets the water, anywhere in New England, and you will begin to understand how deeply the region of my birth lies in bondage to the Cult of the Omnipotent State. Town and state governments throughout New England traditionally buy and dump tons of sea sand — or whatever will pass for it — along the shorelines of their municipal beaches and parks. It doesn’t matter whether the shoreline of the lake, river or ocean cove in question was originally a reeded marshland, naturally filtering away pollutants while offering pristine habitat to waterfowl and a hundred other creatures — the kind of place I (for one) would far rather spend my time communing with nature during that nine months of the year when it’s NOT “time to turn, so you won’t burn.” 

How nice for him.

No matter: What the majority of taxpayers want is a sandy beach for picnicking and sunbathing (in fact, precious little “swimming” ever transpires), and that is what they darned well get. 

Unsupported statements, but irrelevant in any case.

Actually, the institutionalized destruction goes much deeper than this. “Urban Renewal,” in New England, often includes development of new office complexes and highways on “unused” or  “blighted” land. For 40 years now, the larger New England cities have bulldozed interstate highways through the “seedy, decrepit”

Unattributed quotes, but still irrelevant.

areas of docks and profitable but low-rent private businesses which used to line their waterfronts,

“low-rent” and “waterfront” in the same sentence. What planet is this guy on?

throwing small business owners on the dole 

Name three. Hell, name one.

and erecting their new throughways atop impassable 20- foot concrete embankments, until two whole generations have grown up within a mile or two of the ocean or the navigable Connecticut River in Hartford, Springfield, New Haven or Boston without so much as SEEING the water that gave their cities birth, except as a distant glitter far below the highway bridge they take to work. 

This is silly. It’s also demonstrably false. If any such persons exist (two generations worth of ‘em!) they are willfully avoiding the ocean or the Connecticut, as the case may be. And still both irrelevant and immaterial.

But let a private citizen try to turn a slice of his own private, rocky shoreline into a boat dock, a sliver of sandy beach, or even a well-intentioned but “unpermitted” refuge for turtles and wood ducks (yes, I know of just such cases, in Connecticut and New Jersey) 

Really? And this is relevant to a paranoid schizophrenic in northern New Hampshire … how?

— let him try to similarly adjust nature to his needs or wishes — and suddenly the state authorities descend like locusts, seizing and destroying the privately-held turtles, demanding to see all the required permits, showering liens and injunctions like a freak April snow shower. 

What very colorful language! Still irrelevant, however. (And in the part of New Hampshire we’re talking about, there’s nothing “freak” about an April snow shower.)

What’s more, the very populace who blithely speed along on the shore-destroying freeways, who consider it their civic right to lie in pure white sand where geese and fox and a hundred other creatures used to raise their young, cheer with glee as these “greedy” private “despoilers of nature” are brought low,

More unattributed quotes. Moreover, irrelevant to the case at hand. The populace of Colebrook, New Hampshire lives a hard hour’s drive from the nearest freeway, and a bit over three hours from the nearest sandy beach.

for daring to offend against the state-enforced religion of Environmentalism … on their own property.

This absolute right to property. Fascinating. Would Vinnie mind if I bought the lot adjacent to his house and put in a private mosquito-raising lagoon, complete with a supply of malaria? How about if I dumped pig offal into a stream on my private property that fed into a pond in his back yard?

How dare such troglodytes tamper with sacred resources belonging to all the people, doing whatever they please with no more justification than the fact they happen to hold some bogus “private deed”? Of course, the notion that one need only “apply for a permit” is nothing but misdirection,

The fact that one has applied for a permit does not guarantee that the permit will be granted, you know. Sometimes the answer to a request is no.

equivalent to telling the Jews as they boarded the trains to the East that they should be careful to “label your luggage carefully for when you return.”

Vinnie loses, under Godwin’s Law.

Big commercial developers who make big campaign contributions may well get some kind of hypocritical
“certificate of environmental compliance” for their plans to pave and channelize the local waterfront … requiring yet more government seizure of private property for another big “flood control project upstream …

Vinnie likes floods? What happens when the flood washes away private property?

but the little guy faces years

Or possibly minutes.

of hoop-jumping as his permit applications are lost, or returned for re-filing on updated forms, before they’re finally denied. 

Or granted.

At which point, the poor sad sack will learn to his dismay that it’s too late to declare, “Well then, your whole permitting process is bogus, and I’m going ahead anyway.”

The rule of law doesn’t apply to me. Anyone who dares to thwart my slightest whim is wrong. 

What an infantile opinion.

At that point, the long-suffering citizen will be advised by a stern-voiced judge that he waived his right to appeal the validity of the permitting process when he filed his application (way back in the days when he was told “That’s all there is to it,”) thus tacitly acknowledging the right of the state to either grant or withhold its permission for the project in question! 

Can you come up with even one instance? No? I didn’t think so. That’s because the state does have the right to grant or withhold permission. That’s what the state is for. That’s what democracy is all about. The majority rules.

Just ask 67-year-old carpenter Carl Drega, of Columbia, N.H.

The first lie. Carl Drega was of Bow, New Hampshire, not of Columbia NH. He was a rich summer person with a vacation home in Columbia. Columbia, population 741 in 1997 when our story takes place. A summer person with an attitude that these hicks can’t tell me what to do.

Bow, New Hampshire: Median Household Income: $83,567 
Columbia, New Hampshire: Median Household Income: $42,143

Laughed Out Of Court

In 1981, 80 feet of the riverbank along Drega’s property collapsed during a rainstorm. Drega decided to dump and pack enough dirt to repair the erosion damage, restoring his lot along the Connecticut River to its original size. 

Violating a thousand years of common law on the spot. We’re talking about a meandering stream here. With a meandering stream, if one year the meander takes away five feet of pastureland, you’ve lost five feet. Your boundary is defined as the water’s edge. If another year the meander deposits ten feet of land, you’ve gained ten feet of pasture, and it’s yours. This is all assuming that Drega’s claim was true. There’s no reason to believe it. The bank of Connecticut along Drega’s property is large, smooth, waterwashed boulders.

A state conservation officer, Sergeant Eric Stohl, claimed

Ah, the magic word “claimed”! Attempting to imply that Eric was lying. BTW, Eric wasn’t a conservation officer, he was Fish & Game.

to have spotted the project from the river while passing the Drega property on a fish-stocking operation.

Probably true, though anyone could have spotted the same activity from Rt 102 in Vermont, on the other side of the river. Recall that the Connecticut is about twenty feet wide at this point, and forms the state boundary between New Hampshire and Vermont.

(The river’s natural ecology harbored huge runs of shad and Atlantic salmon, as well as native pike, pickerel, and brook trout. So most New England states — these devoted acolytes of environmental purity — now routinely stock bass, and brown and rainbow trout, none of which is native and few of which survive long enough to reproduce.) 

And this is entirely irrelevant.

The state hauled Drega into court, attempting to block his tiny “project.”

Quite rightfully. And eighty feet, when you’re talking about a river twenty feet wide, is hardly “tiny.”

This was piled atop earlier actions by the Town of Columbia, some dating back more than 20 years, and
starting when the town hauled Drega into court and threatened him with liens, judgments and (ultimately) property seizure over a “zoning violation” which was comprised of his failure to finish a house covered with tarpaper within a time frame which the town considered reasonable, former selectman Kenneth Parkhurst told the Boston Globe.

That was in 1975. Drega was the sort of man who reacts to every slight or wrong, real or imagined, that he receives by plotting revenge, and reacts to every slight or wrong he delivers to others by preening himself over his own cleverness. If Drega didn’t want to finish his summer house in a timely manner, he could have come to Town Meeting. But he didn’t. He thought the law applied to you and me, but not to him. He could have built his summer vacation cottage somewhere else. It wasn’t like the zoning rules were secret. But no, Carl Drega wanted things his way. He was a sociopath, in other words.

Drega tried for years to fight the authorities on their own terms, in court. Needless to say, as a quasi- literate product of the government schools, 

His literacy has never been established. His sanity, however, has been called into doubt. Drega’s victims, one might add, were products of the same schools….

and no lawyer, 

Though certainly rich enough to hire one.

his filings became a laughing stock both in the courts and in the newspapers to which he sent copies, begging for help

Those two little facts appear to be the product of Vinnie’s imagination… 

“The dispute, punctuated by years of hearings and courtorders, became an obsession for Drega,” wrote reporters Matthew Brelis and Kathleen Burge in an Aug. 20 follow-up in the Boston Globe. Drega “filed personal lawsuits against the state officials involved and contacted newspapers, including the Globe, imploring them to write about the injustice being done to him.” 

In court in 1995, the Globe reports that Drega explained, “The reason I’m like this on this case, when I started my project 10 years ago I was issued permits and everything I needed. When I reapplied 10 years later, that’s when Eric Stohl came in and the Wetlands Board had absolutely no records. …

Is it possible that the records were discarded during the ten years that Drega forgot about his “case”? Perhaps after five years of inactivity? This is assuming that the Drega was telling the truth at all. Perhaps the truth as he saw it, which may be very different from objective reality as you and I know it.

I am liable for everything that’s done there.

Of course you are. As Vinnie keeps pointing out, it’s your “property.”

In the New Hampshire Wetlands Board, if it’s not done according to the plan, they can take it out.

That’s what plans are for.

And if I don’t have the money to take it out, they’ll take it out. And if I can’t pay for it, they’ll take my property.” 

He could afford it, easily.

I sort the incoming letters-to-the-editor for a major metropolitan newspaper. The receipt of such sheafs of heartfelt, illiterate pleadings from folks at their wits’ end (child custody leads the list, though property rights also feature prominently), pleading for help from someone, has become an almost daily occurrence. 

And therefore?

Since such tirades are too long, rambling, 

Does this suggest mental imbalance on the part of the letter writers?

and “not of general public interest” to run as letters, I diligently forward them to the city desk, in hopes an editor there may occasionally assign a reporter to check them out.

Why don’t you diligently follow up yourself, Vinnie? What’s the matter? Big mouth but no guts?

They never do … unless the author shoots somebody, at which point there ensues a mad scramble through the wastebaskets. In newsrooms around the country, the running joke when a large number of such missives or phone calls come in on the same day is that “It must be a full moon.”

Think about it. Your fellow reporters recognize these people as loonies.

Reporters cover the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy is adept at putting out its version of events in reasonable-sounding, easy-to-quote form. Those who can’t get with the program are generally ridiculed by reporters as “gadflies,” “malcontents,” and (more recently) “black helicopter conspiracy nuts.” 

Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie. Did someone land a punch close to home?

Their rambling, disjointed stories don’t tend to fit well into the standard 12 inches. 

Think about that, too, Vinnie. “Rambling.” “Disjointed.” Are these signs of a well mind?

By 1995, it was obvious that Carl Drega was running out of patience. Town selectman Vickie Bunnell, 42 (since appointed a part-time state judge) accompanied a town tax assessor to Drega’s property in a dispute over an assessment.  Drega fired shots into the air to drive them away. 

A great deal of trouble could have been saved by putting Drega in the hard-bar hotel, where he clearly belonged, for the rest of his life right then.

(In New England, special property tax assessments are common, and especially cruel to old folks. The courts have ruled that if the town decides to run a municipal water or sewer line along a street fronting one’s property,  the property owner can be assessed the amount by which the town figures the property’s value has been enhanced — usually in the thousands of dollars — even if the property owner has a perfectly good well and septic system, and opts not to tie into the new municipal lines. Failure to pay can eventually lead to eviction, seizure, and auction.) 

Irrelevant. There wasn’t a municiple sewer line fronting Drega’s property. Assessments can also bring values down. Maybe Vickie was going to lower the taxes, due to that missing land along the Connecticut. Ever think of that, Vinnie?

But here’s what Drega saw: Someone was telling him that he couldn’t do what he wanted to do. To a psychotic, that’s a challenge to self that results in gunfire.

Carl Drega could see what was coming. He couldn’t have been ignorant of the government tactics used to ambush and murder harmless civilians at Waco and Ruby Ridge.

As his paranoia reached record proportions.

He bought a $575 AR-15 — the legal, semi-auto version of the standard military M-16 — in a gun store in Waltham, Massachusetts, a state with some of the most restrictive gun laws in America.

He could have bought the same weapon, cheaper, just up the road at Ducret’s Sporting Goods in Colebrook, where all he’d need show was a driver’s license proving that he was a New Hampshire resident and over 18 years of age.

He also began equipping his property with early-warning electronic noise and motion detectors against the inevitable government assault. 


Too Light A Round

But they didn’t come for Carl Drega at home.

If he’d waited for them to “come for” him “at home,” he’d still be waiting, with the snakes in his head swarming around, eating the last of his rational thoughts.

On Tuesday Aug. 19, 1997, at about 2:30 on a warm summer afternoon, New Hampshire State Troopers Leslie Lord, 45 (a former police chief of nearby Pittsburg) and Scott Phillips, 32, arrested Drega in the parking lot of LaPerle’s IGA supermarket in neighboring Colebrook, N.H.

This isn’t the way it went down, of course. Here’s what really happened. Drega armed himself with that AR-15 and a 9 mm automatic pistol, put on a bullet-proof vest under his shirt, and got in his old orange pickup truck — the one with the expired registration. He couldn’t get it registered because it was in such bad mechanical shape that it wouldn’t pass the state inspection. (I suppose that Vinnie doesn’t like state automobile inspections either.)

Drega had a brand new silver-colored pickup parked back at his summer home, but that didn’t fit in his plan.

Drega then began showing himself around Colebrook, trying to draw police attention. Scott Philips, a State Trooper who lived on Pleasant Street, caught up with Drega in the Prescott Farms parking lot down town. He talked with Drega there. No one knows what was said, though it’s reasonable to speculate that Scotty asked Drega to get the truck inspected and registered.

In the event, Drega got into his truck and drove, not south back to his vacation home or the Town Hall where one registers vehicles, or the service station where inspections can be performed, but north, away from town.

Scotty followed, and radioed for backup. He got a response from Les Lord, a State Trooper who lived in Pittsburg. Les had been police chief of Pittsburg. He was also Pittsburg’s Fire Chief, and a Pittsburg EMT. He’d been one of the first EMTs in the northern part of the state.

(“Arrest” comes from the French word for “stop.” Whenever agents of the state brace a citizen, stop him and demand to see his papers, he has been “arrested,” no matter whether he has been “read his rights,” no matter what niceties the court may apply to the various steps of the process.) 

This isn’t true, of course. Arrest and detention are two different things. Not to put too fine a point on it, Vinnie is lying.

Why was Carl Drega arrested that day? New Hampshire Attorney General Phillip McLaughlin pulls out his best weasel words, reporting the troopers had stopped Drega’s pickup because of a “perception of defects.”

Probable cause for the stop. Determining that the vehicle wasn’t registered after the stop.

Earlier wire accounts reported they were preparing to ticket him for having “rust holes in the bed of his pickup truck.”

Clearly visible. The vehicle was, in fact, unsafe to drive.

But Carl Drega had had enough.

You’re kidding. He’d gone out that day hunting cops, and these two fellows fell into his ambush. At the IGA parking lot, Scotty got out of his vehicle and walked over to Drega’s pickup truck. Drega exited the vehicle, firing his AR-15. Scot was seriously wounded, and staggered off, toward an open field (rather than toward the IGA or the Green Mountain Snack Bar, where civilians might be hurt by Drega’s gunfire). At this point Les pulled into the parking lot, not knowing what had just happened.

He walked back to Trooper Lord’s cruiser and shot the uniformed government agent seven times.

Not true. He shot Les twice in the face through the windshield of his car as he was pulling up — Les never got a chance to get out of the vehicle. By that time Scotty was already down.

Then he shot Trooper Philips, as the brave officer attempted to run away. 

Scott had been shot multiple times by then, but bravely tried to draw Drega away from the bystanders at the IGA, rather than seeking his own safety. Drega walked over to where Scott was lying on the ground behind the Green Mountain snack bar, and as Scott pleaded for his life, shot him four times with the 9 mm pistol.

Scott had been in the Army, and served overseas in Panama. After his enlistment he’d come to New Hampshire, and become a Trooper. Public service was part of his makeup. He was active in St. Brendan’s Church, next door to his house. He was often seen out jogging in town, pushing his three-year-old son in a stroller.

Then Drega walked back to Les, and shot him five more times through the open window of his cruiser.

Both died. Drega then commandeered Lord’s cruiser 

No. Les’s cruiser had the windshield shot out, and the interior spattered with the friendly, helpful, well-liked and respected man’s brains. Drega stole Scotty’s cruiser.

and drove to the office of former selectman — now lawyer 

She’s been a lawyer for years. She also played clarinet in the town’s marching band.

and part-time Judge 

We’re talking about northern New Hampshire here. Everyone is part-time, and has multiple jobs. Unlike the wealthy Carl Drega, most of the citizens of Colebrook and Columbia can’t afford fancy vacation homes with elaborate alarm systems.

— Vickie Bunnell, 44. Bunnell reportedly carried a handgun in her purse out of fear of Drega.

But she didn’t have one then. She did have a restraining order on him. One of Drega’s other hobbies was making death threats against elected officials. Vickie was on his list after she called the cops to have him removed from the Columbia town offices, where he was ransacking the property room.

But if so, she evidently had no well-thought-out plan to use it.

Hundreds of people wish that she had — she’d have been carried through town on her fellow citizens’ shoulders if she’d stopped this madman’s murderous rampage right then.

Bunnell ran out the back door. Drega calmly walked to the rear of the building and shot her in the back from a range of about 30 feet. Bunnell died. 

He shot her in the back eight times. She’d stopped to make sure her clerk/secretary made it out first.

She nearly made it to the corner by Ducret’s Sporting Goods. At Ducret’s, people heard the gunfire, and within minutes there were a dozen armed men on the street, carrying weapons from the store. But they weren’t looking to overthrow the State, and finish what Drega had begun. No, they wanted to put down the madman.

Dennis Joos, 50, editor of the local Colebrook News and Sentinel, worked in the office next door. Unarmed, he ran out and tackled Drega. Drega walked about 15 feet with Joos still clutching him around the legs, advising the editor to “Mind your own (expletive) business,” according to reporter Claire Knapper of the local weekly. 

Shooting running women in the back is not some kind of private business. Dennis was a former Franciscan seminarian. He was well known for his kindness and gentleness, the last person in the world to take on a heavily-armed lunatic. He had no training, no natural talent for violence. But he minded the commandments of Jesus, and tried to save a life — at the cost of his own. Greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life for his neighbor.

Joos did not let go.

Bravely. Valiantly.

Drega shot Joos in the spine. He died.

He died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. He wasn’t shot in the spine, but was shot seven times in the back at point- blank range. Drega, in his murderous rage, had emptied the magazine into a man lying face down on the ground.

Drega then drove across the state line to Bloomfield, Vt.,where he fired at New Hampshire Fish and Game Warden Wayne Saunders, sending his car off the road. Saunders was struck on the badge and in the arm, but his injuries were not considered life-threatening. 

Who didn’t consider them life-threatening? Certainly Drega was trying to take Wayne’s life. A round striking a man immediately above his heart is certainly life threatening. Fast, efficient EMS (thanks to Stratford Ambulance Squad, whose headquarters was less than a hundred yards away) saved Wayne’s life, that and the random chance that put the bullet into his shield rather than his unprotected flesh. And this, mind you, was Drega shooting at someone who had never offered him any injury or insult in his life.

Police from various agencies soon spotted the abandoned police cruiser Drega had been driving … still in Vermont. As they approached the vehicle, they began taking fire from a nearby hilltop where Drega had positioned himself, apparently  still armed with the AR-15 and about 150 rounds of ammunition. Although he managed to wound two more New Hampshire state troopers and a U.S. Border Patrol agent before he
himself was killed by police gunfire, none of those injuries were life-threatening, either.

Drega had parked the cruiser up a lane, with the radio turned to outside speakers, the volume turned up so that he could still hear the police radio chatter. He draped a shirt over the steering wheel so that it would look like he was still in the car (perhaps a suicide), to draw officers into his killing zone, then walked back to an ambush position overlooking the trail in. But a K9 unit alerted on his ambush position, preventing further loss of life.

(Those preparing to defend themselves against assaults by armed government agents on their own property should take note that these failures do not appear attributable to Drega’s marksmanship — after all, he scored plenty of hits —

His hits after the first four murders were to arms and legs. Drega was, when all is said and done, a lousy shot. Nor should it be forgotten that this wasn’t Drega’s “own property.” This last wasn’t even in the same state as Drega’s “own property.” All of the murders and shootings, from the very first, were miles away from Drega’s “own property.”

but rather to his dependence on the now-military-standard .223 cartridge, which has nowhere near the
stopping power of the previous NATO standard .308, or the even earlier U.S. standard 30.06. (Some
states won’t even allow deer to be hunted with the .223, due to its low likelihood of producing a “clean kill” with one hit.) 

This is purest nonsense. The Israelis have never been accused of using weapons that are anything other than effective, and the Israelis aren’t members of NATO. The Israelis use .223 rounds in their Galil Assault Rifle.

The .223 is a devastatingly effective round. 

[Update: The DC snipers Malvo and Mohammed proved how deadly .223 rifle rounds, fired from a similar weapon, can be — at far greater ranges than Drega was shooting.]

Fertilizer And Tractor Fuel

Immediately, the demonization of Carl Drega began.

Actually, he’d been working on his own demonization for years, by the simple expedient of being demonic.

A neighbor told the Globe about seeing a police cruiser pull up to the Drega house at 2:50 p.m., and leave at 3:10 p.m., minutes before smoke began to pour from the house. Ignoring the likelihood that a uniformed officer might have been sent to see if Drega had gone home, “Authorities believe the fire was set by Drega,” the Globe reported on Aug. 20, thereafter reporting as a matter of established fact that Drega burned down his own home. Isn’t it funny how they always do that? 

Yeah, it’s a laff riot. Let’s see… there were exactly two state police cars within an hour’s drive of Drega’s summer house when the events started. At 2:50 p.m, one of them was in the parking lot at the IGA market, Les Lord’s body behind the wheel. The engine was still ticking over — it would be two hours before anyone shut off the ignition — and the other had been stolen and was being driven by… Carl Drega!

Drega did some other things between the time he left the IGA and the time he died in the woods, shot down like the rabid animal he was: He also changed his shirt, and he shaved. Where do you suppose he did that? Could it have been at his home?

But that mysterious State Police car didn’t just visit Drega’s house. Kenny Parkhurst was another Columbia selectman, and so was on Drega’s enemies list. Kenny was away at a dentist’s appointment while his wife was visiting friends that afternoon. But when Kenny came home he found that his door had been kicked in. The neighbors mentioned that a police car had stopped by. That was a fortunate dentist’s appointment — without it, Vinnie would have had to somehow justify two more murders of unarmed people, in their own homes, on their own property.

Searching the barn and the remaining property later that week, “Authorities found 450 pounds of ammonium nitrate, the substance used in the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings, as well as cans of diesel fuel,” came the breathless Aug. 31 report by Boston Globe reporter Royal Ford. Trenches on the property held PVC pipe carrying wires to remote noise and motion detectors. No remote booby-traps were discovered, though the barn and a hillside bunker contained ammunition, parts for AK-47s and the AR-15, “and a few boxes of silver dollars,” as well as “homemade blasting caps, guns, night scopes, a bullet-proof helmet (sic) and books on bombs and booby traps,” as well as “the makings of 86 pipe bombs.”
“The makings,” eh? I wonder how many wholesale hardware outlets in this country currently stock “the makings” of 860 pipe bombs? 8,600?

How many of them have their pipe ruined by cutting it into one foot to eighteen-inch lengths, and fitting each section with two end caps? Not too many. These were prepared and ready; the only thing necessary to turn them from the makings of pipebombs into actual pipebombs the addition of the explosive — and he had the makings of the explosive on hand too.

The FBI was johnny on the spot, of course, helping New Hampshire State Police Sgt. John McMaster search the three-story barn, with its “concrete bunkers”

No, the bunker was elsewhere, not in the barn. Get it straight, Vinnie.

containing not only ammunition, but also “canned food, soda, and a refrigerator.”  (I wonder if my basement would suddenly become a “concrete bunker” if I had a run-in with the law? How about yours?)
But it was the 400 pounds of ammonium nitrate (the estimate kept dropping during the week)

400 pounds, 450 pounds — those seem reasonable estimates for the same pile of bags.

and the 61 gallons of diesel fuel in five-gallon containers that gave authorities the willies. “Realizing the he had walked into the most dangerous private arsenal he had ever seen, McMaster began climbing the stairs to the second floor,” reported Brian MacQuarrie and Judy Rakowsky of the Boston Globe on 
Aug. 22. “Halfway up, (State Trooper Jack) Meaney shouted for him to stop: He had just picked up a bomb-making manual opened to a chapter on how to booby-trap stairs. … 

And we know, from the reports by the Colebrook Fire Department, that the main house that Drega had burned had contained booby traps.

“The large stores of dangerous materials, combined with the discovery of three instruction manuals on explosives and booby traps, helped persuade N.H. authorities that they should destroy the barn with a controlled burn and explosion,” which they promptly did. “Some federal agents initially questioned the plan to destroy the huge cache of evidence that may have shown whether Drega had links to militia groups or criminals,” the Globe also breathlessly reports, though the paper at least had the decency to note no such affiliations were ever established. 

Though one would have to wonder exactly how Drega got that bullet-proof vest, which had been stolen in Florida some time earlier.

(One wonders whether the newspaper would have given equal play to someone lamenting that they thus lost the chance to search for hypothetical links between Drega and the Irish Republic Army, Drega and the Ted Kennedy campaign staff, or Drega and the Buddhist nuns who laundered campaign contributions for Al Gore.) 

Vinnie throws more irrelevancies at the wall to see if any will stick.

Ammonium nitrate is, of course, a common fertilizer, sold in 50-pound bags to anyone who wants it — no questions asked — in garden stores in all 50 states. Farmers all over the nation store more than 60 gallons of diesel fuel at a time, and even know how to combine the diesel fuel with the ammonium nitrate to make a relatively weak explosive, useful in blowing up tree stumps.

And Federal office buildings. Yeah, the mix that Timmy McVeigh used was this same “relatively weak explosive.” Relative to what, I wonder?

Purchase of blasting caps for this purpose is also perfectly legal. If this and a few hundred rounds of military surplus ammo constituted “the most dangerous private arsenal” the head of the New Hampshire state police bomb squad had ever seen, he must not get out much. 

Drega was no farmer. Nor did he have a diesel engine anywhere on the place.Nor did he have tree stumps that he needed to remove. So tell me, Vinnie, what exactly do you think Drega was planning to do with those materials?

Anyway, the buildings are all burned to the ground now — just like at Waco — and the newspaper reporters — trained to just report the facts and never express opinions — had ruled within days that Carl Drega  was “diabolical and paranoid,” while they never got around to asking why on earth the officers chose to detain him for having rust holes in the bed of his pick-up in the first place. 

Drega was operating an unregistered vehicle on the public highway — unregistered because it had failed its annual safety inspection. Presumably Vinnie wants to know that the car approaching him on a curve has a steeringwheel that functions and brakes that work. That’s what registration and inspection is all about. As to why they had stopped him — it was because Drega had planned it that way. He wanted a police radio, and he wanted to draw the police away from his real target, Vickie Bunnell. 

That, presumably, would have been “disrespectful to their memory.” The remaining question is, did government agents Vickie Bunnell, Leslie Lord, and Scott Phillips deserve to die?


Next question? 

I notice that even Vinnie doesn’t dare ask if Dennis deserved to die.

Did Carl Drega pick the right time and place to say
“That’s as many of my rights as you’re going to take; it stops right here?” 

Drega hadn’t lost a single one of his rights, and we all know it.

Or is that the right question? The problem with the question is that the oppressor state and its ant-like agents are both devious and clever:

Ant-like agents? We’re talking about Colebrook, New Hampshire, population 2,500. We’re talking about Columbia, New Hampshire, population 741. We’re talking about Pittsburg, New Hampshire, population 600. We’re talking about people, neighbors, who all knew one another, selecting certain of their friends to handle the details of making society work smoothly for all of them. For getting the roads plowed in the winter. For sending the fire department to a chimney fire. For running water lines and sewer lines, and putting up streetlights. All those details that make living in a community safe and comfortable. 

Except when faced with overt resistance and a chance to make an example of some social outcasts on TV, they rarely send black-clad agents to pour out of cattle trailers in our front yards, guns ablaze.  No, they generally see to it that our chemical castration is so gradual that there can never be a majority consensus that this is finally the right time to respond in force. In this death of a thousand cuts we’re always confronted with some harmless old functionary who obviously loves his grandkids, some pleasant young bureaucrat who doubtless loves her cat and bakes cookies for her co-workers and smilingly assures us she’s “just doing her job” as she requests our Social Security number here … our thumbprint there … the signed permission slip from your kid’s elementary school principal for possessing a gun within a quarter-mile of the school … and a urine sample, please, if you’ll just follow the matron into the little room … 

Say what? There’s a gun store within a quarter mile of the elementary school here (and it’s significantly closer to the high school). Listen, Vinnie. Grow up. The government isn’t some secret society conspiracy. The government is us. “We the people.” You’ve heard the phrase? Try to act like you understand it.

“Those are the rules,” after all, “Everybody has to do it; I just do what they tell me; if you don’t like it you can write your congressman.” 

Or come to Town Meeting. Second Tuesday of March, every year. Everyone gets together, discusses what needs discussing, votes on any questions that come up, and get on with their lives. This is true representative democracy. Vinnie doesn’t know how very small scale and close New Hampshire democracy is.

When … when is it finally the right moment to respond, “I’ll tell you what; why don’t you take this steel-cored round of .223 to my congressman? In fact, take him a whole handful, and tell him to have a nice 
day … when you see him in hell!”? Carl Drega decided the day to finally say that, was the day they came to arrest him on the private property of a supermarket parking lot, supposedly for having rust holes in the bed of his pickup. Does anyone believe that’s really why they stopped Carl Drega? 

Scotty stopped Carl Drega because Drega planned it that way. Drega wanted to kill Vickie Bunnell for the “crime” of representing her neighbors in the town of Columbia, New Hampshire, where a majority of the citizens, assembled at Town Meeting, decided that they’d prefer to live in a community without tar-paper shacks. Because the people of Columbia, New Hampshire wanted to run their own community the way they liked it — and Carl Drega decided that he was above them all. It wasn’t just Vickie that Drega shot down — he was symbolically shooting every single citizen of Columbia, New Hampshire, in the back. That’s your “patriot,” Vinnie. Scott and Les were just stepping stones on his way to killing a woman who had taken the thankless but necessary task of making democracy work.

Lots More Coming

I am not — repeat, not — advising anyone to go forth and start shooting cops and bureaucrats. 

Because you don’t have the courage of your convictions, Vinnie? Or because you don’t really believe?

To start with, one’s own life expectancy at that point grows quite short, limiting one’s options to continue fighting for freedom on other fronts.  Most of us — unlike Carl Drega — also have families to think of. Third, there may be other solutions. Just as much of the farmland near Rome sat vacant by the fall of the
Roman Empire — it simply proved cheaper to move on than to endure the confiscatory Roman taxes — so do James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg predict in their new book, “The Sovereign Individual,” that Internet encryption may allow many to spirit their hard-earned assets beyond the reach of this newer, oppressive slave state, making “the tax man in search of someone to audit” the laughing stock of the 21st century. 

Interestingly enough, the people who sell these tax plans to “patriots” usually pay all of their taxes in full and on time. They’re just running scams, while the people who buy their pamphlets and try to carry out the tax-avoidance schemes wind up holding the bag. But this too is irrelevant.

And finally, such a course invites obvious risks of mistaken identity, collateral damage to relatively innocent bystanders (witness newspaperman Coos),

He means “Joos.” But what does he mean by “relatively innocent”? A bit below, Vinnie will wax lyrical about Thomas Jefferson. Ask yourself what Thomas Jefferson would say about a madman who shot down a newspaper editor? 

and an end to due process … a concept for which I still harbor some respect, even if our government oppressors do not. 

Due process? What “due process” was Drega planning to give Kenny Parkhurst for the crime of being a selectman, elected by his neighbors to speak for them? What “due process” did Drega give Vickie Bunnell, for that same crime? What “due process” did Drega give Scott, who was trying to keep the roads safe? Or does Vinnie favor people who slam into kids crossing the streets after school because their pickup trucks don’t have working brakes? 

Due process is neighbors getting together to decide how their communities will operate. And that’s a process for which Carl Drega had nothing but contempt. 

What I do know is, in little more than 30 years, we have gone from a nation where the “quiet enjoyment” of one’s private property was a sacred right, to a day when the so-called property “owner” faces a hovering hoard of taxmen and regulators threatening to lien, foreclose, and
“go to auction” at the first sign of private defiance of their
collective will … a relationship between government and private
property rights which my dictionary defines as “fascism.” 

You need a new dictionary, Vinnie. What’s your dictionary say “democracy” is?

Carl Drega tried to fight them, for years, on their own terms and in their own courts. We know how far that got him.

He made a hobby out of bullying and threatening his neighbors. This wasn’t a man who was quietly enjoying his private property. This was a man who was grinding his thumb in the eye of everyone else in the town where he had his vacation home, keeping them from enjoying their private property. This was a man who shot over the heads of tourists canoing on the Connecticut River by his “private property.”

What I do know is that this is why the tyrants are moving so
quickly to take away our guns.

Here it is, five years later, and you can still buy an AR-15 up at Ducret’s, just by showing your driver’s license to prove that you’re a resident of New Hampshire and over 18 years of age. (To buy a pistol you have to be 21.)

Because they know in their hearts that if they continue the way they’ve been going, boxing Americans into smaller and smaller corners, leaving us no freedom to decide how to raise and school and discipline our kids, 

Ah, Vinnie favors child abuse, too. Our kids are our property, and no one tells us what we can do with our property. How’s Vinnie on chattel slavery? Does he like the idea, as long as he isn’t the slave? 

no freedom to purchase (or do without) the medical care we want on the open market,

What’s he going on about? If you want medical care and you have the bucks, you can have it. And if you don’t want medical care no one can force it on you.

no freedom to withdraw $2,500 from our own bank accounts

Say what? I’ve done it.

(let alone move it out of the country) without federal permission, no freedom even to arrange the dirt and trees on our own property to please ourselves …

As I’ve already explained, Drega was probably lying about that section of riverbank, and even if he was telling the truth, the moment the river washed it away that ground ceased to be his property.

if they keep going down this road, there are going to be a lot more Carl Dregas, hundreds of them, thousands of them, fed up and not taking it any more, a lot more pools of blood drawing flies in the municipal parking lots,

I spit in your face, Vin Suprynowicz. You aren’t fit to speak the names of the heroes your boy shot down.

a lot more self- righteous government weasels who were “only doing their jobs” twitching their death-dances in the warm afternoon sun … and soon. 

Vinne, you are a sick man. Seek professional psychiatric help. I can’t help noticing the lip-smacking pleasure with which you describe violence that would leave you dirtying your britches to see.

But tell you what, Vinnie, if you have the names of those thousands of Carl Dregas, share them with us, so that they can be locked up or shot down now, to save reasonable, freedom loving people from the terror of their madness.

When is the right time to say, “Enough, no more. On this spot I stand, and fight, and die”? When they’re stacking our luggage and loading us on the box cars? A fat lot of good it will do us, then. Mr. Jefferson declared for us that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People, to alter or abolish it.” Was Mr. Jefferson only saying we have a right to vote in a new crop of statist politicians every couple of years, as the pro-government extremists will insist?

Thomas Jefferson would have had less use for Carl Drega than he would have had for a mad dog.

No. The Declaration fearlessly declared that the Minutemen of Lexington and Concord had been right to shoot down Redcoats who were “only doing their jobs” in Massachusetts the year before.

Oddly enough, the Declaration of Independence says no such thing.

And it put the nations of the world on notice that Gen. Washington was planning to shoot himself a whole lot more. 

Are you aware, Vinnie, that in a declared war, when one of your troopers shoots down unarmed, fleeing people that the common term for him is “war criminal”? 

“You must be kidding!” come the outraged cries. “This guy shot a fleeing woman in the back.” Oh, pardon me. Did Judge Bunnell propose to fight a straightforward duel with Mr. Drega, one on one, mano a mano, to determine who should have the right to decide whether he could build a tarpaper shack on his own property, or repair flood damage by sinking a few rocks and pilings along his privately-owned piece of river shore? 

I see. Vinnie thinks that might makes right. Vinnie thinks that Vickie was a tyrant. She wasn’t. She was a representative of the other 740 people who lived in Columbia, New Hampshire, who had gathered peacefully to decide how they liked to live and what kind of community they wanted to live in.

Of course not. The top bureaucrats generally manage to be sipping lemonade on the porch when the process they put in motion “reaches its final conclusion,” with padlocks and police tape and furniture on the side walk … or the incinerated resister buried in the ashes. 

And how about you, Vinnie? When paranoid schizophrenics take your words literally, how much soap will it take for you to wash their blood off your hands, to wash off the blood of the people they murder in their rage? Or will you sip your lemonade out there in Nevada, secure in the knowledge that the police will protect you from the people you’re inciting? 

Go watch “Escape from Sobibor.” When the Jewish concentration camp inmates finally start to kill their
German oppressors, tell me how long you spend worrying that they “didn’t give the poor, jackbooted fellows a fair, sporting chance.”  Each and every one of us must decide for him or herself when
the day has come to stand fast, raise our weapons to our shoulders, and (quoting President Jefferson, this time) water the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots, and of tyrants.

Drega was no patriot. That title goes to Vickie, to Dennis, to Scott and to Les. Those were patriots, and heros. They put their mortal bodies between a madman and their neighbors, and they paid with their lives. Who knows what Drega might have done with pipebombs? Despite Vinnie’s sputtering, there’s no other purpose that could have been served by capped foot-long sections of pipe, hundreds of pounds of ammonium nitrate and gallons of diesel oil. Vinnie would have to be as demented as Drega to claim an innocent purpose — a purpose other than taking the lives of citizens who wanted nothing more than to quietly enjoy their private property.

If you want to hand out the name “tyrant,” give it to Drega — a man who thought himself above the law, and who was willing to kill out of hand, without a second thought, in order to enforce his whims. 

Give up the right to make that decision, and we become nothing better than the beasts in the field, waiting to be milked until we can give no more, and then shuffling off without objection , heads bowed, to the soap factory. 

Oh, what colorful language! Vinnie is the beneficiary of hundreds of years of people living together, making compromises, making accomodations, living free.

What Vinnie wants is the freedom of the Nazi, to do what he wants, to oppress anyone he feels like as long as that person is weaker than Vinnie is. Vinnie doesn’t like the laws that made America great; he likes the lack of laws that made La Cosa Nostra great.

Carl Drega was a resident of New Hampshire. On the day Carl Drega decided was a good day to die — on the day they towed it away — the license plates on his rusty pickup still bore the New Hampshire state motto: “Live Free or Die.” 

Vickie, Dennis, Scott, and Les embodied that ideal.

Carl Drega was different from most of us, all right.

He was a nut job. Most of us aren’t that spectacularly insane.

He believed it still meant something. 

Vin Suprynowicz 

Did he really believe that it meant “I can do what I please and to hell with all of you?” Because that’s how he acted.

Live free or die. Tell you what, Vinnie. Send your thousands of Carl Dregas here. We’ll show you what “Live free or die” means. We’ll send them back to you in boxes.

Comments on Carl Drega, Part II:

#1 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 03:05 PM:

Jim, I hope you sent this to that louse.

#2 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 03:12 PM:

I can question two major points of Vinnie’s account based on personal experience as a smalltown newspaper reporter:

I sat through about a million Zoning and Planning Board meetings. It was the mainstay of my job. The boards love developers, they’re eager to get new construction in town, and they bend over backwards to accommodate it. 

And newspaper reporters love hard-luck stories about the little guy being trampled by bureacracy. It’s like porn for teen-age boys. Even better if the victim is semi-literate — cranks up the pathos. I interviewed the senders of a million of the kinds of letters that Vinnie describes, but only recall getting a story from one of them — the rest were, alas, basically complaining that a civil servant did his job and they didn’t like it. 

This was in New Jersey 20 years ago, but I expect things are the same all over America, 10 years ago and today. 

#3 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 03:45 PM:

Wow, this Vinnie is, to use Patrick’s phrase, gaudily deranged. But even his account without your commentary is unconvincing except to the most extreme “if anyone voted for you, you deserve to die” psycho, which he clearly is. I can’t imagine who else would read more than the first few paragraphs without realizing that it’s by and about a complete nutbar.

Jim, I’m sorry for your loss, and for all the losses of the people of that town. The victims all sound like they were well beyond the merely innocent and into the praiseworthy, even heroic. That is, of course, why evil wanted them destroyed.

May all the Carl Dregas of the world get the help they need before they turn to violence; or having set themselves on violence may they be stopped by persuasion or force before carrying it out; or failing that may they die quietly in their sleep the night before their planned attacks; or having begun their attacks may they be gunned down by the people’s lawful representatives before they actually harm anyone.

As for the Vin Suprynowiczes of the world, I don’t know what to say about them. May they see the error of their ways in time; or failing that may their words vanish harmlessly into the ether; or failing that may the harm they do be visited only on them, and not on the innocent? Seems inadequate somehow. Lords of Karma, help me.

#4 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 04:04 PM:

David Brin is fond of pointing out that a lot of the trouble in the world is caused by people who are literally addicted — thanks to endorphins — to grudges and self righteousness.

Vinne sounds like a junkie giving himself a fix.

#5 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 04:05 PM:

Xopher (#3) — a quick Google search reveals, not all that surprisingly, that’s he not only gaudily deranged, but a “nationally syndicated Libertarian columnist” and (if Wikipedia is to be believed, a former vice-presidential candidate (albeit only in one state). 

#6 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 04:20 PM:

Stefan 4: Well, David Brin would know. He appears to be addicted to the sound of his own voice raised in anger, and shouting down anyone else who wants to speak, either for or against him. 

(Why yes, I did attend a panel at WorldCon that had him on it. How did you know? I don’t know why they bother putting anyone else on a panel with him, since it’s going to be all him shouting anyway. It would be somewhat better if he and I weren’t on the same side—a side from which he drives away the polite and sensitive.)

Adam 5: Wow. Appalling. Remind me to purge my Christmas card list (not that I have one) of anyone who reads this guy from any perspective other than “know your psycho enemy.”

#7 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 04:29 PM:

I’m deeply impressed by your civility and eloquence. I have a feeling I would have burst into tears of anger and frustration long before I could have finished writing a response to such… I don’t even have a word for what that is. Thank you for sharing, and I’m sorry for your loss and for their families’ and friends’ losses.

#8 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 04:30 PM:

You know, I actually feel much less sympathy for Vin than I do for Carl D., who at least had actual mental derangement influencing his decisions and actions.

If Vin lived locally, I might be very tempted to look him up and spit in his face. He goes beyond wrong-headed into Evil.

#9 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 04:39 PM:

Jim – mind if I forward a link to these entries to the folks over at the Orcinus blog? They might find it interesting.

#10 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 04:45 PM:

What in the holy living fck?

I summarize this guy’s article thus:

“I don’t like the government putting limits on what I can do with my property just because it would affect other people. This guy didn’t like it either, so he shot a lot of people. That was cool, except he could have shot more of them, and here’s what ammo you should use if you want to try the same thing. Either way, he was bravely standing up to the government jack-booted thugs and should be a hero to all of us.”

“Also, government = Nazis.”

W. T. F. There are no words.

#11 ::: Seth ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 04:48 PM:

tamper with sacred resources belonging to all the people,

That’s code for “They want to do something that I don’t approve of.”

#12 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 05:03 PM:

What I think of “right” libertarians generally gets flushed down the toilet.

Jim, I empathize with your pain, sorrow and anger.

#13 ::: Irene Delse ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 05:03 PM:

Vin Suprynowicz seems the kind of guy who enjoys killing sprees – by proxy.

#14 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 05:24 PM:

Speaking of “Too Light a Round,” Scotty’s pistol was found in the parking lot, with the magazine empty and the slide locked back.

If he’d been carrying a weapon that could have penetrated Drega’s body armor this story would have had a happier ending.

#15 ::: Carol Kabat ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 05:32 PM:

I’m sorry Uncle Jim, I couldn’t read past the point where the POS writes, “Then he shot Trooper Phillips, as the brave officer attempted to run away.”

I don’t consider myself a violent person, but anyone who could write something that callous and demeaning needs, geez I can’t even think of anything bad enough to cover the magnitude of his sin. What removes unforgiveable smugness from dreck writers?

#16 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 05:40 PM:

Carol @15:
What removes unforgiveable smugness from dreck writers?

Writer’s block, which I certainly wish on him forthwith.

#17 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 05:47 PM:

Disclaimer: Since “Libertarians” of this kind are exceedingly rare in this part of Europe (but sadly growing in numbers a bit [1]), I know them only from the Internet or Usenet. So my view might be biased.

There, it seems to me, they maintain a cult of freedom that has chosen to ignore that the added freedoms of all the other people still weigh much more than the freedom of the one person willing to p**s all the others off. 

Who was the American frontiersman who claimed that it was time to move deeper into the wilderness once you could hear your closest neighbor’s axe? I find this “my life, my property, my decisions, no one must tell me what to do” very anachronistic in an age of a closely interrelated society. Or solipsistic.

This open disdain for social conventions and agreements or even the democratic process (I have seen it called the dictatorship of the majority) feels very alien. For a moment I thought it resulted from the fact that parts of the US are still much more sparsely settled than Europe, with more room for cranky individualism – but then, Scandinavia ist sparsely settled too and hardly and example for this.

I realize this is related to many things that irritate me: I was raised rather conservatively and taught that politeness is very important. So the glee *some* advocates of Free Speech show when maintaining “I can insult, denigrate and stir up hate against anyone I chose, since no one has the right not to be offended.” deeply disturbs me. 

Another thing is the whole concept of unrestricted property rights. I still struggle with the idea that tracts of nature can be personal property at all, but claiming that the owner should be able to do to it what he likes is … incredible, for my lack of a better word. But then, I grew up with the knowledge that the (our) constitution says: “Property entails obligations. Its use should serve the public interest.”

I guess I start to ramble, so I will stop. Sorry for the longwindedness.

[1] Those folks are getting louder who claim that society as a whole does not exist, that economics conquer all and everyone should join in a merry race to the bottom of minimal or no welfare, labor security and human dignity since “in the age of globalization, whe have to undercut the Chinese conditions of producing things by removing the legal shackles that keep our industry down.” Sorry for the polemics. 

#18 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 06:11 PM:

Well, if TOR is looking for an author who can carry on the tradition of such books as The Turner Diaries and The Iron Dream, but making heroes of such real-life characters as Carl Drega or David Koresh or Timothy McVeigh, there now is a candidate with the requisite mindset. Whether you will find any suitable SF aspect, or readership, is another matter.

Excuse me, I must go throw up now.

#19 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 06:19 PM:

I can’t shake the feeling that our politics are pretty much always rooted firmly in our sentiments. I can’t shake the feeling that V.S. believes as he does precisely so that he can hold up this pathetic stain as a misguided hero. 

There is something so fundamentally right to him in the contemplation of Government thugs and soulless, oppressive, bureaucrats being gunned down by a doughty, solid, yeoman who’s “had enough” that it doesn’t matter that the actual case bears little resemblance to this pornographic fantasy—“pornographic” because the image is so powerful for the bearer of it that it turns off rational and critical thought.

(I’m not letting him off the hook, but I do want to learn from his example and do unlikewise…where am _I_ not really thinking or seeing or judging because the picture is so compelling? If you dangled the Worker’s Paradise in front of my eyes in 1917, or my humiliated nation triumphant in 1934, who would I not be willing to kill?)

#20 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 06:31 PM:

Michael Turyn @ 19:

Heck, think how easily we USAians had revenge for 9/11 dangled in front of us? Iraq did it! So attack Iraq! (The essential message of the song “Have You Forgotten?”)

#21 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 07:47 PM:

Carol, #15: He needs to find himself in the kind of situation he constantly fantasizes about, wherein he’ll either freeze or run away shitting his pants, which might be enough to shut him up out of sheer mortification. While I am not capable of wishing for a gunman-in-the-mall situation to happen anywhere, I am capable of wishing that if such a situation were ever to happen in his area, he should be one of the people caught in it. The contrast between his bluster and his actual behavior would be instructive. 

#22 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 07:57 PM:

Addicted to hate and high on a false sense of victimhood. I saw his ilk put a sign in the lawn of their mansion: “VICTIM OF CLINTONOMICS.” I put up with his fellow puffing away in the no smoking section, and when the usher whispered politely to him, he bellowed, “I thought THIS was AMERICA!” They get their way 90% of the time, and that remaining 10% — and the thought that it might grow to 12% or 14% — eats their guts out, day and night.

I followed the link to Orcinus, and he mentions a killer who was wound up, if not set in motion, by a group (a “Club”) named after a stupid bird (the “Duck”). A distant relative — not distant enough — carried newsletters of this vile organization around, the time I met him. Said group seems to feel that taxes are just plain evil, for the usual reasons, and egg one another into thinking that if they stand on one foot and utter magic formulas by the shining of the moon, they can get by without paying them. He didn’t live far from my parents, and whenever they mentioned seeing him, I expressed my distaste for the sleazy bastard, but they wouldn’t hear a word against him. If I never hear his name again, outside the obituary pages, it’ll be too soon.

I offer all these louts, entitled by their wonderful birth and sense of superiority, the same advice I would tender to would-be suicide bombers: “Why not just kill yourself first, and see if that makes you feel any better?”

#23 ::: Flippanter ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 08:17 PM:

Christ, that’s the ugliest thing I have read in years (not your annotations, Jim).

#24 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 08:23 PM:

I have, on a very few ocaissions, told people I would be standing in the road, ready to shoot them.

On all of those, it was because they were advocating the sorts of… maunderings?, fantasies?, bizzare fetishes?, as this.

I meant every word of it then. I still mean every word of it, and the sentiments are transferrable.

I’m sorry Jim, that it happened. That this morally bankrupt buffoon is out there making the memory worse, and that you had to spend so much time on it.

My sympathies, all around.

#25 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 09:02 PM:

It’s people like this Vin why I approve my Police Chief’s request for more training, equipment and moving to a police radio band that standard scanners can’t pick up (even through it irks the crap out me personally). We have a few of these “patriots” in our Village. Including those that complain when the police run their plates (because they’re listening in on the scanners) or that we’re picking on them because they just got out of jail (DWI had nothing to do with it, we were waiting to trap them). Whenever we have to deal with them, stories like this keep playing in my head. It doesn’t change my decisions or votes, but it keeps me at a heightened alert when they’re at meetings, or I’m invited on their property to “witness” some “problem the Village caused.” 

#26 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 09:09 PM:

What does Vin Suprynowicz use as a substitute for a conscience?

#27 ::: Tom ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 09:14 PM:

This reminds me of an incident that happened not far from where I live a few weeks ago. You may have heard of Tim McLean, who was killed on a Greyhound bus around Portage La Prairie in Manitoba. Some crazy guy on the bus went to the back, picked some random person there (the aforementioned Tim McLean), and hacked him to death with a knife, carried the head around, and it’s even been said that there was some cannibalism involved. Around the time of McLean’s funeral, two groups made statements that absolutely disgusted me. The first was PETA, which compared this incident to meat-eating in general, and the second was the Westboro Baptist Church from Kansas (which I’m sure you’ve heard of, they’re the ones who picket funerals). They said that the killing was God’s way of warning us about liberal policies on abortion and homosexuality, and announced plans to picket the funeral. Luckily for the McLean family, Stockwell Day (who has gone up considerably in my opinion for this) decided that the WBC wouldn’t be allowed to cross the border, and tons of local people stood outside the funeral just in case. The WBC seems a little more insane here, in contrast with our pal Vinnie, who just seems smug and pathetic, but in both cases they’ve forgotten that the people killed were human beings, with thoughts and feelings, who didn’t deserve this.

#28 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 09:40 PM:

PETA is no better than Vin. Really.

#29 ::: Tom ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 09:42 PM:

I know, Xopher. I thought at first that PETA had crossed the line between tasteless and evil, but then I thought they had probably crossed the line several times before and I just hadn’t heard about it.

#30 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 09:47 PM:

suddenly the state authorities descend like locusts, seizing and destroying the privately-held turtles

They took away his turtles? Suddenly it all makes perfect sense! What, did this guy work out the logical arguments for his article using some sort of mad-lib technique? 

I have a feeling that this Vinnie guy wanted to go off on how the Eeeevil Government was pushing the Honest Little Guy to the brink and needed someone to use as an example, and shoehorned Drega (using the Mighty Shoehorn of Rationalization heavily lubed up with copious quantities of Slime and Bullshit) into that role in his agenda out of sheer personal convenience. 

Y’know, I’d be totally willing to contribute to a fund to purchase property next door to this hack and put in your proposed pig-offal pond. And I’d be willing to fund some gigantic fans to make sure the wind was always blowing in the right direction.

#31 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 09:51 PM:

First, Jim, my sympathies for you and your neighbors for such a horrendous experience;

Second, Jim, Kudos for the intestinal fortitude to read something like VS (yes, I mean thing) and respond so cogently and calmly;

Third, Tom, I was glad when Canada (in the person of Stockwell Day) decided not to allow the WBC people to cross the border. They are beyond the pale of society and humankindness in so many ways. Although not an active believer currently, I pray that their karmic settlement will be painfull and take eternity to fulfill.

#32 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 10:02 PM:

We had a funeral visitation this week.

#33 ::: paul ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 11:11 PM:

I read “Then he shot Trooper Phillips, as the brave officer attempted to run away” and immediately inserted the phrase “in the back” after “he shot.” 

As noted above, there are no words. if you can stomach it, hie yourself over to the newspaper that is willing to print his crap to see brave Vinnie’s warlike mien. If it were up to me, I’d make him visit Colebrook and listen to the people who still live there. Not talk, just listen. 

#34 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 11:38 PM:

Michael Turyn @19: Yes, exactly. So very well put.

IMHO libertarians are people who don’t believe humans are social animals. In the cases of Drega and VS, this goes along with full-blown sociopathology: an inability to act or *feel* like a social animal.

Jorg @17: Your insight is extremely useful.

My theory, which is mine: Historically, it has been exceptionally easy for people in the US to detach themselves from networks where others know them personally, yet to be able to depend on impersonal, industrial/capitalist networks for survival. This doesn’t *feel* like depending on other people, so it’s easy to think you’re self-reliant and independent, beholden to no man.

Speaking as an biologist, human sociality is not all that deep, evolutionarily speaking. Some sociopathology is surely a matter of a basic neuro-biological lack, a problem in the brain. But it can also be matter of upbringing or habit, so that neurologically normal people lose or never develop the mental skill of seeing things from another’s POV.

It’s not coicidence, IMHO, that Drega was a “summer person”, whose only connection to the community was property. The connections Jim and Debra have to the town and the area are far deeper, more complex, more personal and (I do not use this word casually) natural. If things like this happen more often than they used to, more often in the US than in Europe, or more often in some parts of the US than the rest, it’s IMHO these are places because sociopathic behavior is more normal, where it’s within the range of what is acceptable.

I don’t think this is unconnected to the well-known fact that if corporations were humans (not just legal persons), they would be sociopaths.

#35 ::: Renee ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2008, 11:54 PM:

I’m related, by blood or marriage, to an embarassing number of Vin-clones and Carl-wannabes.

Lee@21: It wouldn’t matter if one of these guys was stuck into the position they want others in. I recall one of the relatives getting obnoxious in a bar. Short version: he was flat on the floor in three punches, and hadn’t laid a finger on the other guy by the time the brother-in-law dragged him out. His version, three months later: It was six to two and they ran for it after laying out the six, ’cause the bartender called the cops.


The only thing you can really hope for with most of these losers is that they never get their gumption in the same room as their guns.

(FWIW, most of my relatives have so little gumption that the hoards of guns… yes, hoards… are mostly irrelevant.


#36 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 12:56 AM:

I don’t live in Colebrook, but my folks have a house in North Stratford, and I read the News & Sentinel, and, well.

Eff off, Vin.

#37 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 01:23 AM:

Boy, that Vin person is surely someone I wouldn’t want living next door to me. For one thing, I think he’d lower the property values. 

I’m often surprised by how easily adult human beings, (men more easily than women, IMO, but I could be mistaken) seem to forget that they — we — emerge from the womb utterly helpless, utterly dependent. For an infant, each morsel of food is a gift from another human being; each moment of warmth, of comfort, and of safety is the same. Dependency is the first, most natural relationship we have, and some of us spend much of our time here (on this planet, this plane of existence, or this life) denying it or refusing it — or trying to kill it. 

#38 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 03:49 AM:

Oh my, this article by this Vin person was a nasty piece of work. I almost wish I hadn’t read this thread. My sympathies are with local community in question.

Since Jörg (#17) mentions Scandinavia, we in Norway do in fact have an undercurrent of sympathy for the contrarian, which sometimes extends to accepting the worldview of outright cranks, even condoning the actions of people with mental problems. I’m in two minds about this. On one hand, as a Norwegian I, too, feel that we are right in a concern for the little man against the state, as opposed to the more elitist attitudes of the ruling classes of some of the the countries down on the continent. On the other hand, this kind of attitude also leads to the kind of right-wing populist and discontent party that citizens of other countries usually are seduced by when they are in a recession, in fact is the largest party when Norway is richer than ever, has close to zero unemployment for its citizens, etc. Of course, not everything is perfect, but it is a bit mindboggling, really.


#39 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 05:00 AM:

The message I’m getting from Vin’s article is “Killing as many people as you can who are employed by or elected to administer the state is a proportionate response to the state denying you five feet of property”.

I don’t wish flamy death on people, nor do I believe in the afterlife. However, I recognize that all humans are mortal, and wish on all self righteous fanatics of the stripe of Vinnie and Drega the apocryphal death of Elvis when it comes. 

On the crapper, with trousers around the ankles, preferably surrounded by their stocks of killing materiel. A copy of Guns and Ammo on the bathroom floor.

(Dick in hand would be a bonus*. “Rush Limbaugh, I want to be your man-bitch” scrawled on the wall may be too far.)

Tough to get yourself written up as a martyr with that image.

*Not that The King, according to the story, hand anything but a Big Mac in his hand at the time.

God, I hope “Big Mac” wasn’t a euphemism.

#40 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 05:27 AM:

Can I just intervene here and point out that the majority of people with mental illness are actually more dangerous to themselves than they are to others around them. I include myself in that number (chronic depression, which is flaring up at the moment, so I may well be over-reacting to a perceived slur rather than reacting to an actual one) – I’ve spent large chunks of my life wanting to kill myself, but not that many wanting to kill other people. Personality and socialisation disorders (sociopathy, narcissism etc) are different to the majority of perceptual, processing and emotional disorders which fall under the heading of “mental illness”, and I really wish there was a way of getting another term for them out into the public domain. It doesn’t make me feel any better about where I’m at to consider that in the public mind my depression falls under the same general heading as whatever drove someone like Martin Bryant (the man jailed for the Port Arthur massacre back in 1996) to kill over thirty people in a bid for attention.

A second point: there are cranks all over the world. Looking up “Martin Bryant” on google, I discovered a whole heap of the home-grown variety (summed up: Bryant was framed, mind-controlled, physically incapable of doing what he did, mentally incapable of doing it, etc). At least our variety find it a bit harder to gain access to weapons of mass destruction on a regular basis (which is something that Martin Bryant was at least indirectly responsible for, and one of the few bits of decent policy which came out of John Howard’s years as Prime Minister, in my highly subjective opinion).

#41 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 06:04 AM:

Since I used both the word crank and the phrase mental problems in my previous post, I hasten to add that I do not believe that the majority of people with mental problems are just waiting for an opportunity to jump at me with an axe, and I apologise if I made the impression that I espouse such a view.

#42 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 06:16 AM:

I’ve been reading up on anarchism, and I can’t escape the feeling that this sort of “Libertarianism” is anarchism with the insanity dial turned up to 11.

People such as Kropotkin had the smarts to respond to, and discredit Social Darwinism. Idiots such as Vin remain stuck in an ancient, rotting, mass of stinking ordure, sharing with the fascists the idea that there is nothing but government, and acting as though society does not exist.

A century ago, anarchism had far outreached the personal wet-dreams of Libertarianism. We’re a social species. We organise. That’s one of the biggest evolutionary tricks we have. That’s why we’re not limited to something the size of a troop of baboons. (Language has a lot to do with this.)

What anarchism challenges is the need for organisations which, controlled by the few, dominate the many.

#43 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 07:01 AM:

Excellent article on mental health, public safety and the media

#44 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 08:01 AM:

#34 ::: Doctor Science:

You seem to be taking the point of view that libertarians are the problem and corporations are the problem.

Actually, there are sociopaths in all sorts of situations, including in governments. Democracy and the rule of law somewhat limit the effect sociopaths can have, but not nearly as much as one might hope.

#45 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 08:13 AM:

Lizzy L. #37 wrote men more easily than women, IMO, but I could be mistaken

You’re mistaken. Take Ann Coulter, please.

#46 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 08:28 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 44
Having your comment, let me hastily add that my use of “libertarians” in quotes should not imply that there no libertarians derserving that name, but was meant as shorthand for “those sociopaths who try to mask their deficiencies by stealing the term”.

I was unclear due to anger about the whole thing, and if I have offended the real (ie non-sociopathic) libertarians, I apologize.

#47 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 08:31 AM:

I am not a psychologist nor educated in anything related; but I do write and sometimes promote recreational role-playing games, which has taught me a bit about the way teenage people act and feel.

Now that I have read further comments, I cannot help but see the similarities between some of these “libertarian” worldviews and the behaviour of a few (mostly male) people during puberty and the following years.

~ the basic conviction that nearly everything is about them and seeing how something affects them first and foremost

~ the complete contempt of other peoples’ needs interests and feelings – people outside their own circle. Inside that circle, effectively attacking outsiders verbally can heighten the status.

~ the extreme, beyond-rational disdain for authority, especially if it denies them their wisehs or whims.

~ the (verbal) enthusiasm for violent solutions

~ the strong tendency to see and explain everything in simplified black and white, no greyscale at all.

~ the habit of holding grudges forever 

That may be natural in a certain stadium of development, after all there is a mimimum age for voting, driving etc. But people are expected to grow out of that mindset when maturing. Except from those actively evil people like the one Jim quoted (sorry, could not read all of that and will not scroll up to look up the name), many “libertarians” sound simply very immature. 

#48 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 08:36 AM:

Lizzy L, #37: I actually know a woman who gave up her libertarian convictions because of motherhood. 

#49 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 09:34 AM:

Nancy @44:

You seem to be taking the point of view that libertarians are the problem and corporations are the problem.

No. I’m saying that humans become well-socialized in societies where you interact with a few hundred or thousand other people over the course of a life, so each relationship has personal context and depth. In a small-scale, “natural” society like that, sociopathic behavior will be rare, because people who can’t be trusted will starve.

In a modern society, we have connections to many many more people — not just because we see more people, but through the exchange of goods and money. Something as basic to my life as electricity requires the coordinated efforts of many thousands of people — but my relationship to each of those people is extremely weak.

It’s like — imagine my hunter-gatherer ancestor, anchored to other people by a web of 100 ropes, each one strong and obvious. I, on the other hand, am in a web of 10 million strands, most of which are so fine as to be invisible. Collectively, my web is thicker and more gripping than hers — she could usually make her own clothes and gather enough food for survival — but it’s harder to see. And libertarians IMHO are people who have a hard time seeing it.

#50 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 09:44 AM:

Doctor Science at 49, that is an elegant and clear answer. Thank you.

#51 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 10:16 AM:

First, I’m amazed that you can argue so calmly against someone defending a murderer whose actions hit so close to home for you. 

Now, what kind of surprised me- thought it shouldn’t- is how much the community that Drega attacked is like the places and people that the Drega-admiring types claim to speak for- small town, government to a good deal run by part-timers who are employed elsewhere in their main jobs and get elected by their neighboors, local ordinances passed by citizens’ assemblies, all that. 

Wich makes me wonder- did you (the community, not you personally), at some time in these eleven years, get visits from Drega worshippers who wanted to see the place of their boy’s actions and congratulated you for having such a hero in your midst, and then couldn’t understand the reactions they got? 

#52 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 11:46 AM:

#46 ::: Jörg Raddatz:


#49 ::: Doctor Science:

There are, of course, a lot of different sorts of people who become libertarians. From my point of view, government does a tremendous amount to destroy sociality rather than being a primary representative of sociality.

#53 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 12:04 PM:

Margaret Thatcher famously said “There is no such thing as society.” That might be a misleading soundbite, but, reading it in context, she still seems to be missing a lot of the range of human social connection. Just the family?

But she seems to be condemning a particular idea of society, and what she said does, at least, deserve consideration.

And I think she was wrong.

And not for the obvious reason. When she says that the government can’t do everything, she thinks that is Society. At least, that is how she expresses her thought. She comes across as making the same basic mistake as the people she is criticising. And if Society doesn’t exist, what is left to control government? The obligation she points to depends on a sense that there is something more than family. Ultimately, it depends on some common feeling held by large numbers of people.

Without society what oblications are left? What sense of shame can there be?

#54 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 12:17 PM:

God. The more I read this the more I want to vomit. Not the annotations/takedown, but the original. It’s this horrible deep wrongness.

Jim, I can’t imagine what it must have been like for you to read this, when I was nowhere near it and didn’t know about it until now and I still want to punch Suprynowicz in the face.

#55 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 12:46 PM:

Mr. McDonald, if you ever decide to implement the pig-offal idea, put me down for a contribution. It’s the least that disgusting, vicious excuse for a human being deserves.

#56 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 12:49 PM:

“Macdonald” of course. Being infuriated ALWAYS makes me mistype something.

#57 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 12:50 PM:

Fragano 45: If you and I take turns naming psycholoonies of the type Lizzy describes, and I name men and you name women, you’ll run out long before I do. Lizzy didn’t say this particular mental disorder NEVER afflicts women, after all.

#58 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 12:54 PM:

Another way to take the ‘fine strand’ model is that a lot of people deal poorly with recognizing that they are, fundamentally, pretty helpless.

Anyone in emergency services or farming or a parent has to find a way to deal with this; they all get to deal with cases of being unfixably too late to prevent a bad occurrence pretty regularly, and there is no actual general corrective for this.

There’s statistical pressure, educational or systemic—something I take to be one of Jim’s motivations for his educational posts on first aid and risk management—but there’s no actual “this won’t happen” mechanism. The fire does get to advanced to save the building, the kid does manage to fall down the stairs, the passenger does get killed going through the windshield, the hail flattens the crop, and there’s not a blessed thing you can do about it now.

Lots of people with poor socialization (meaning they still connect band status to being unconstrained in their behaviour towards others) need an absolute construction of how they should be able to be unconstrained, because the fine-strand web is invisible and they’re terrified by being helpless.

It’s a really tough thing to deal with, even in people who haven’t got an organic brain dysfunction, because an axiom or two have to go (either the construction of status or the terror at helplessness at a minimum) before the pattern may be escaped.

Combine that with being perfectly willing to die rather than give up perceived status—and before you decide that’s rare, consider how a lot of people drive—or actual organic brain disfunction and I think it’s a wonder killing sprees are rare.

We may be getting better at connecting people to necessary problem solving groups, even when the failures, like this one Jim’s describing, are so entirely wretched.

#59 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 01:23 PM:

One niggling point:

Needless to say, as a quasi- literate product
of the government schools…

This has been bugging me for a couple of days.

Surely in this brave self-reliant world, a man should be responsible for improving his own mind? I mean, ideally, he should educate himself entirely, so as to divorce himself from dependence on the government teat that is K-12. But even failing that, I don’t see how the government’s failure to educate him excuses his failure of self-reliance.

#60 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 01:36 PM:

57: true; almost all mental disorders are far commoner among men than women. (The single exception? Depression.)

#61 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 02:40 PM:

Renee 35: Aren’t you glad that being related to them by blood or marriage doesn’t mean you actually have to associate with them in any way?

#62 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 02:54 PM:

Dave Bell @ 53: Margaret Thatcher famously said “There is no such thing as society.”

And in a sense that’s true.

In the same sense, there’s no such thing as a government, either. Or an economic system. Or an ecosystem.

Nothing solid you can thump, touch, or point to, and say, “That’s it.”

You could “thump” some components of said systems, perhaps — people, pieces of paper, trees, etc. — but the systems themselves are less concrete.

Could we all be so lucky as to have that be what Thatcher meant?

#63 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 03:48 PM:

Pyre, are we lucky in general about what that disgusting heap of toxic waste said?

No, I think her meaning was quite Randian. Otherwise she’d have followed up by saying “there’s no such thing as property, either” or some such. (After all, she’s not denying that people exist, only that there are relationships between them that constitute society; by the same token, one would, while acknowledging that objects exist, deny that there is any relationship between them and any person that constitutes ownership.)

#64 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 03:59 PM:

Xopher @#63: Yes, that’s one of the reasons why libertarian philosophy never made much sense to me. 

#65 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 04:22 PM:

I am not sure what happened, but I composed the posting #47 before #46. So my clarification and apology was meant to cover #47 as well as earlier posts here or in the other thread.

#66 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 04:32 PM:

Dr Science #49- the corollary is that anyone too different, too daring, or what have you, will get railroaded out of town or lynched or burnt at the stake or something. Unless of course we have countervailing ideas and ideals and culture. 
Which to some extent I think we do. 

#67 ::: Fred C. Moulton ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 08:48 PM:

It should be pointed out that just because Vin Suprynowicz claims to be a libertarian does not necessarily make him a libertarian. I do not know if he is or not. And as for him running for office on the Libertarian Party ticket that does not necessarily make him a libertarian. And most libertarians I know have nothing to do with the Libertarian party and I do not consider it a useful guide to libertarianism. And can we get past the point of picking one person who claims to be part of a political or religious movement and implying that the problems associated with that one person are in some way a property of a larger movement or philosophy. As an example consider Lyndon LaRouche.

#68 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 09:48 PM:

Fred @ 67: And I’m sure there are still many decent Republicans left. So just how many INdecent Republicans will it take to say that the problems are endemic to that collective body?

#69 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2008, 10:45 PM:

Can someone explain what Real True Libertarianism is, so I can tell the difference between the real thing and the people giving it a bad name?

Serious question. I ask because every single description of the philosophy I’ve ever heard has struck me as grossly antisocial in the way it denies community ties, unrealistically self-congratulatory as regards self-reliance, and much like a spoiled brat in that it recognizes but one Unforgivable Sin, that being “Somebody told me NO!” (often manifesting in such specific forms as “They won’t let me do X with my property!” or “How dare they tax me to pay for roads and police and safety nets for the less fortunate and stuff!”).

I recognize that my negative opinion of Libertarianism may be purely attributable to overexposure to bad representatives of the philosophy. Bad representatives in the way that, say, The So-Called Reverend Fred Phelps is a bad representative of Christianity. So can someone please correct my impression? What is Libertarianism really and truly, so I can form a better informed opinion about it?

(Side question: At some point, isn’t it possible for the bad representatives to become accurate representatives? Because the good representatives stopped representing? Either through lack of energy or lack of numbers?)

#70 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 12:07 AM:

Nicole and others: I don’t want to hijack the thread, so I’ll just make a brief response. One important missing ingredient from the antisocial versions of so-called libertarianism that you have been exposed to is reciprocity. One has to respect all the rights in others that one wants to exercise for oneself. That’s my libertarian perspective — not the same as an anarchist or Randian (she wrote a book titled The Virtue of Selfishness) or Thatcherite perspective.

My charitable interpretation of “There’s no such thing as society” is that society is not some sort of organism that exists independently of the people who compose it. I haven’t cared to study Thatcher enough to know if that’s what she meant.

You asked “At some point, isn’t it possible for the bad representatives to become accurate representatives?” Yes, I’m afraid so. Maybe you were thinking of the Republican that the Libertarian Party selected as their presidential nominee. For this and other reasons some libertarians (small l) are discussing whether the Libertarian Party (capital L) has passed its sell-by date.

As for the self-reliance and denial of the web of interconnectedness, it hasn’t always been so. Back when I used to hang out with other libertarians (and even Libertarians) more often, there was always a lot of debate and conjecture and brainstorming about how various situations could be handled by voluntary organizations such as co-ops, labor unions, consumer rating bureaus, mutual aid societies, insurance companies, and on and on. All of those are quite social — they just don’t have to be governmental. There was also discussion about whether or not this or that edge case had enough externalities to justify government intervention to protect the rights of third parties.

Of course none of that fits in a bumper sticker or a sound bite, nor for that matter in the small mind of someone whose only concern is that the black helicopters are coming to take away his guns.

And to bring this back on topic: I don’t see anything in the writing of Vin Suprynowicz quoted here that would lead me to call him a libertarian. He sounds to me more like a right-wing hatemonger. (And by right wing I mean far right wing, not a run-of-the-mill economically conservative Republican.)

#71 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 12:31 AM:

Here are some links on varieties of libertarianism that may be of interest. (Keep in mind that these are Wikipedia articles on controversial topics.)

#72 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 01:08 AM:

Allan, #70: That’s an outstanding point. 90% or better of what I see represented as Libertarianism can be summed up as some combination of: 

1) “I got mine, Jack, fuck you.” 
2) “But I WANNA! And who the hell are you to tell me no?” 
3) “It’s okay, the leak isn’t on OUR end of the lifeboat.” 

And all of those things share in common that lack of reciprocity. Empathy too, but you don’t have to have empathy to recognize that reciprocity is a necessary component of human social systems — at least, if you want them to last. 

#73 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 01:31 AM:

If you read the old Whole Earth Catalogs by Stewart Brand and company, you realize that they were libertarians. They even had review / listings of books by libertarian thinkers. 

But they were libertarians before the enterprise was gooked up by property rights fetishism, free-market absolutism, and a dismaying enthusiasm for corporate thuggery.

The libertarians that write editorials, and most of the ones I run into on online fora, are firmly in the corporate babbitry wing of the movement.

#74 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 01:52 AM:

Doctor Science @ 49: “It’s like — imagine my hunter-gatherer ancestor, anchored to other people by a web of 100 ropes, each one strong and obvious. I, on the other hand, am in a web of 10 million strands, most of which are so fine as to be invisible. Collectively, my web is thicker and more gripping than hers — she could usually make her own clothes and gather enough food for survival — but it’s harder to see. And libertarians IMHO are people who have a hard time seeing it.”

That’s very well-put. Methinks I might yoink it.

Graydon @ 58: “Another way to take the ‘fine strand’ model is that a lot of people deal poorly with recognizing that they are, fundamentally, pretty helpless.”

I think this is especially true for men: social expectations (particularly in the U.S.) are that a guy should be entirely self-reliant, able to change a tire/fix the toilet/build a desk/fight a ninja/build a house/survive nuclear winter/etc. all by his lonesome. This has been reinforced by the image of the pioneer, bravely striking out to create civilization where there was none, supported by nothing but his own indomitable spirit (and equipment produced by millions of people inventing over thousands of years).

That illusion of independence peaked a while back, and it’s been becoming harder and harder to maintain. It’s a lot easier to imagine running an early American homestead on one’s own than it is to imagine running a modern farm. It’s a lot easier to raise horses than it is to manufacture and maintain cars, and cars are a lot easier than computers. For people who believe that self-reliance is the measure of the man, men have become far less manly.

#75 ::: Fred C. Moulton ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 02:09 AM:

There are many sources of information about libertarian philosophy and the history of the libertarian tradition and thus a person’s background and interesting has a bearing on what is might be most interesting. For persons interested in feminist history some of the individuals listed on American Women Resisters to Authority site had early influences on the libertarian movement. If your interest is philosophy you might consider reading Anarchy, State and Utopia by Nozick which is a reply to Theory of Justice by Rawls. Read the Rawls first for the historical sequence; both books have their faults but are worth reading. If a person is interested in Economics and social thought a good starting place might be reading Hayek, who some might not consider a pure libertarian, but he has been influential. Some might suggest Hayek’s essay Why I Am Not a Conservative and also his essay The Use of Knowledge in Society. Persons interested reading a biography might consider Mostly on the Edge by Karl Hess. David Boaz has edited a volume called The Libertarian Reader. Boaz has written a book called Libertarianism: A Primer although I have not read all of it. For those wanting a magazine go to Reason magazine site; and they also have a blog which I read almost daily. There is more that could be added to the list but this is an sampling from which to start.

#76 ::: Fred C. Moulton ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 02:14 AM:

Oops. I checked three times and still made a typo. The Reason magazine url is http://www.reason.com. Sorry about the typo.

#77 ::: lurker ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 03:25 AM:

“Who was the American frontiersman who claimed that it was time to move deeper into the wilderness once you could hear your closest neighbor’s axe? I find this “my life, my property, my decisions, no one must tell me what to do” very anachronistic in an age of a closely interrelated society.” (Jörg Raddatz, post 17)
One of the many things Libertoids don’t get, is that people who live beyond the effective reach of the state do not live without order, they just have to enforce that order themselves, in somewhat rough fashion. Where there is no government, there are no government agents to save an anti-social a-hole from the wrath of his neighbours. Mr. Suprynowicz, meet Judge Lynch.

#78 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 04:19 AM:

From Mutual Aid, P. Kropotkin, 1902.

Consequently, when my attention was drawn, later on, to the relations between Darwinism and Sociology, I could agree with none of the works and pamphlets that had been written upon this important subject. They all endeavoured to prove that Man, owing to his higher intelligence and knowledge, may mitigate the harshness of the struggle for life between men; but they all recognized at the same time that the struggle for the means of existence, of every animal against all its congeners, and of every man against all other men, was “a law of Nature.” This view, however, I could not accept, because I was persuaded that to admit a pitiless inner war for life within each species, and to see in that war a condition of progress, was to admit something which not only had not yet been proved, but also lacked confirmation from direct observation.

That follows the outline of his observations as a naturalist, at the beginning of the book.

Project Gutenberg link for the book

#79 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 09:04 AM:

Allan Beaty —
society is not some sort of organism that exists independently of the people who compose it

Oh, but it is; just like you exist independently of your genes and amino acids and constituent proteins, etc. Pattern and system are real things. (The classic example would be ‘change how a large organization behaves’; this is remarkably difficult to do, even employing Stalinist methods…)

David Bell —

There are lots of examples of mutualism and co-operation in “Origin of Species”; the problem is that “nature red in tooth and claw” had a lot more resonance with Victorian high society.

#80 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 09:58 AM:

lurker @ 77: Who was the American frontiersman who claimed that it was time to move deeper into the wilderness once you could hear your closest neighbor’s axe?

I think you’re thinking of Dan’l Boone, though the formulation I recall was “when you could see the smoke from your neighbor’s chimney”.

#81 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 10:01 AM:

Ah, excuse me, I should have addressed that to Jörg Raddatz @ 17

#82 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 10:13 AM:

Re # 69

The resources I’d recommend for a good base text on libertarian thought would be two:
Bastiat’s The Law
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

Note that libertarians (except Randians) are generally very big on voluntary social networks; the big point of difference is that we don’t accept that force-based networks are legitimate.

#83 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 10:17 AM:

Lurker, #77: Michael Longcor has a song about life in a post-apocalyptic world. The chorus is, 

“You’ve got to grow your own grain, cook your own whisky, 
Make your own powder, brew your own beer; 
You’ve got to be your own blacksmith, doctor, and police force — 
The only help you’ll get is what you get right here.” 

He notes that Libertarians (particularly of the anarcho-Libertarian variety) tend to like it for what he calls “all the wrong reasons”. What it’s really describing is how unpleasantthat life would be in a number of ways. (“…and I lost my youngest daughter when the fever came last spring…”) 

#84 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 10:18 AM:

Graydon @ 79:

Allan Beaty —
society is not some sort of organism that exists independently of the people who compose it

Oh, but it is; just like you exist independently of your genes and amino acids and constituent proteins, etc

It seems to me that if you take away all the people who compose society [insert preferred SF sound effect here, e.g. Dalek disintegrator ray plus scream of “EX-TER-MIN-ATE!”], society pretty much vanishes with a silent “whumph!” at the same moment.

Likewise, if all “your genes and amino acids and constituent proteins, etc” were to disappear, what was left of you would very quickly cease to function, and there might even be some forensic argument over identifying the remains as you.

#85 ::: Fred C. Moulton ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 11:07 AM:

Lurker 77
One of the many things Libertoids don’t get, is that people who live beyond the effective reach of the state do not live without order,

Of course there have been cases where being within the effective reach of state meant that a person might not have a very orderly life; for example if you lived under the state ran by Pinochet or Stalin just to mention two obvious examples.

If you are seriously interested in the topic of law without state control I suggest you read the book Order with Law: How Neighbors Settle Disputes by Ralph C. Ellickson. The spring board for the book is case studies of livestock related disputes in Shasta County, California; one of the interesting things is how practices evolved and in some cases in ways which did not agree with what was state law.

Also I am unclear on what you mean by ‘Libertoids’. Are you referring to me? Other persons who have posted on this thread? Or ???

#86 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 12:05 PM:

“You” are an emergent phenomenon of all your cells and amino acids etc., in the same sense that “society” is an emergent phenomenon of all the people who comprise it.

See metaphors such as “the Body Politic,” the social body founding metaphor of the Odonians in The Dispossessed, &c.

#87 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 12:06 PM:

Fred @85:
I am not lurker, of course, but I strongly suspect that s/he was using the term to differentiate between real Libertarians, as described in the very interesting links you’ve been posting, and the cranks who are giving the philosophy such a bad name.

In other words, what Jörg Raddatz @46 describes as “those sociopaths who try to mask their deficiencies by stealing the term”.

#88 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 12:09 PM:

Fred 85: I’m not Lurker, but I took ‘Libertoids’ as meaning people like Carl Drega, who think they’re Libertarians because their attitude is “I should get to do whatever the hell I want, and fuck everyone else’s rights, property, even lives.” That is, NOT folks like are commenting in this thread, which is so far pretty free of psychopathic losers like Drega.

#89 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 12:10 PM:

Yeah, like what abi said.

Also, don’t stomp the delurking on their first post. 

#90 ::: Fred C. Moulton ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 01:04 PM:

Xopher 88
I’m not Lurker, but I took ‘Libertoids’ as meaning people like Carl Drega, who think they’re Libertarians because their attitude is “I should get to do whatever the hell I want, and fuck everyone else’s rights, property, even lives.”
Thanks for the response. Perhaps I was confused because the attitude described is not even vaguely libertarian. It sounds more like a weird variant of authoritarianism mixed with dementia. But I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist so do not assume that I making a diagnosis.

#91 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 02:36 PM:

Pyre @84 —

People replace their constituent chemicals; the person is still there, despite being (potentially) entirely different atoms.

Your examples are equivalent to ‘with no atoms, there would be no life’; this is true, but it doesn’t mean there is nothing about life — that self-replicating organization of matter — which makes it distinct from the same atoms without the organization.

#92 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 03:14 PM:

At the risk of a certain sort of standard deterioriation: I keep seeing this problem, Libertarian isn’t a useful descriptor of the group. Those who claim to speak for “Libertarians” are the Volokhs (both of whom [of fame] have written for Reason, Sasha as a staff writer for years), and the fellows of the ilk we are decrying here.

I have some libertarian tendencies, I can’t describe myself as a Libertarian, because they promote people like R#n Paul (and what a sad comment that I am leery of using his name in the clear, lest it cause further derailment).

The people who are most ardently claiming the mantle are not the sorts of people whom I like, and have the desire that the word not be so tainted. But I think that horse has left the barn, and I don’t think there is any way to catch another and break it to saddle. The factious nature of the ideals is such that there isn’t going to be any doctrine all will abide, and those who have the money (a la Reason) will be of the, “Property is Sacred, and I’ve got mine” stripe.

I also have a problem with the way libertarians (as a general whole) define force. The voluntary associations they say they want are a form of force. It may be the veiled threat of the mass action, but force is the implicit argument which lies beneath it. It always seems to me that the problem is who gets to authorise the force (but that’s usually the question)

But when these arguments are raised we get the, “X has not been tried and found wanting, X has been found hard and not tried.” The “true” practitioners of X, you see are reasonable, and if listened to we all get ponies.

Well, I don’t want the earthly paradise, I just want a place where I can “swing my arms,” and trust that when my neighbor does the same he won’t be hitting my nose. I believe in society. I think it impossible for people to live, in groups, without depending on each other, and giving to each other (which means taking from each other too). If one doesn’t want to do that, I am sure there are trackless acres someplace in which to take an axe and clear a farm.

But in the rest of the world, taxes, services, laws, and yes force, are not only needful, but carefully managed, a decided good.

#93 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 06:08 PM:

Lurker #77:

You’re thinking of Daniel Boone, who was praised in his own day for his individualism, which was seen as Romantic. From Byron’s Don Juan:

Of all men, saving Sylla the man-slayer,
Who passes for in life and death most lucky,
Of the great names, which in our faces stare,
The General Boone, backwoodsman of Kentucky,
Was happiest among mortals any where,
For killing nothing, but a bear or buck; he
Enjoy’d the lonely, vigorous, harmless days,
Of his old age, in wilds of deepest maze.

Crime came not near him; she is not the child
Of solitude; health shrank not from him, for
Her home is in the rarely trodden wild,
Which, if men seek her not, and death be more
Their choice than life, forgive them, as beguil’d
By habit to what their own hearts abhor —
In cities cag’d. The present case in point I
Cite is, Boone liv’d hunting up to ninety:

And, what is stranger, left behind a name,
For which men vainly decimate the throng;
Not only famous, but of that good fame,
Without which glory’s but a tavern song;
Simple, serene, the antipodes of shame,
Which hate or envy e’er could tinge with wrong;
An active hermit; even in age the child
Of nature, or the Man of Ross run wild.

‘Tis true, he shrank from men even of his nation,
When they built up unto his darling trees;
He mov’d some hundred miles off, for a station,
Where there were fewer houses find more ease.
The inconvenience of civilization
Is, that you neither can be pleased, nor please.
But where he met the individual man,
He show’d himself as kind as mortal can.

He was not all alone; around him grew
A sylvan tribe of children of the chase,
Whose young, unwaken’d world was always new;
Nor sword, nor sorrow, yet had left a trace
On her unwrinkled brow; nor could you view
A frown on nature’s, or on human face.
The free-born forest found, and kept them free,
And fresh as is a torrent or a tree.

And tall and strong, and swift of foot were they,
Beyond the dwarfing city’s pale abortions;
Because their thoughts had never been the prey
Of care or gain; the green woods were their portions
No sinking spirits told them they grew gray,
No fashion made them apes of her distortions.
Simple they were; not savage; and their rifles,
Though very true, were not yet us’d for trifles.

Motion was in their days; rest in their slumbers;
And cheerfulness the handmaid of their toil;
Nor yet too many, nor too few their numbers;
Corruption could not make their hearts her soil;
The lust, which stings; the splendor which encumbers,
With the free foresters divide no spoil.
Serene, not sullen, were the solitudes
Of this unsighing people of the woods.

#94 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 06:13 PM:

This may be a touchy question but: would you consider writing a full account of this for publication?

Having been a part of a small community with a dreadful murder (my son’s nanny, as it happens. Television series inc :P), I understand if it’s simply a case of “No, we’ve had enough people peering at us, thanks.” 

I guess, it just seems … a shame? … for the detail to be hidden in this small corner of the web.

#95 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2008, 06:42 PM:

This may be a touchy question but: would you consider writing a full account of this for publication?

I did, in fact, think of this. But true-crime isn’t my forte, and I am too close to certain parts of it. If some true-crime writer was interested, however, I could tell him/her who to contact and could provide introductions.

#96 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 02:24 AM:

There are fifteen five-star reviews of The Ballad of Carl Drega at Amazon. Not one reviewer gives it less than five stars. Creepy as hell. 

#97 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 08:08 AM:

I don’t suppose anyone who was aware of the facts might actually go and write a review?

#98 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 09:05 AM:

They’d need a strong stomach by the sound of it.

#99 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 10:35 AM:

Note that libertarians (except Randians) are generally very big on voluntary social networks; the big point of difference is that we don’t accept that force-based networks are legitimate.

You do. The institution of property is 100 percent based on force, and so, every network that involves upholding respect for it is dedicated to force. And since libertarians usually believe that property (depending on what kind of libertarians they are) should either always or almost always be respected, you basically want the particular kind of force that you support to be the supreme, unchangeable rule everywhere and forever, no matter wether the rest of us want that or not- while claiming to fight for freedom and complaining about being oppressed by the rest of us. 

#100 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 12:42 PM:

Terry @ 97: I pondered posting a negative review on Amazon, and decided against it for two reasons: (1) That’s paying too much attention to something that needs a swift burial and (2) why leave myself open to attack from nutters? I settled for voting against the comments posted (“not helpful”), and moved on. I did look for some way to report this to Amazon as Not Good, but they don’t seem to have a Handy Dandy Button for this kind of thing. They ought to have one.

#101 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 12:54 PM:

On every Amazon review there’s a “report this” link.

If a number (and it’s a small number) of different folks hit that link the review is deleted automatically.

Organized groups have figured out how to keep any non-five-star reviews off of their books.

#102 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 01:42 PM:

101: Ah, yes — it’s a link in smaller print, and my aging eyes overlooked it the first time. Very useful, that. 

#103 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 03:17 PM:

Ginger: I confess I did the same, and now I have Jim’s trick, though I suppose a raft of report this clicks might look less than kosher.

#104 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 03:17 PM:

SamChevre #82: Note that libertarians (except Randians) are generally very big on voluntary social networks

Followers of renowned skeptic James Randi would be Randiians, then, right? heh.

#105 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 04:37 PM:

Terry 103: You’re assuming anyone is looking. And if they did, they’d notice the organized groups reporting all the less-than-quintestellar reviews.

#106 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 05:48 PM:

A small experiment suggests itself- someone post a negative review, and see how long it lasts. 
Of course there should be no reference to “Making light”, and ideally they should have at least glanced at a copy of the book.

#107 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 05:55 PM:

Raphael, #99: Good point, that. It goes along with my contention that there is no such thing as an “absolute right” — all rights are social constructs, and as such can be granted or removed either by legal fiat, or (more inexorably) by a shift in the way a given society looks at a particular construct. In the end, any government that isn’t completely tyrannical only reinforces the desires of the people who make up the society it governs, with a lag period of anywhere from 10 to 50 years. 

#108 ::: George Smiley ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 06:47 PM:

Get with the program, Lee. 

As one of the Amazon reviewers (“we put the ass in astute”) explains, “It matters not that a ‘duly elected government’ passed this law, because the Bill of Rights are God given and cannot be usurped.”

#109 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2008, 08:22 PM:

Guthrie, that lets me out, as I use my own name here, and I’m not going to build a second Amazon account, just to write such a review.

#110 ::: Greg M. ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2008, 03:33 AM:

God, what repulsive human beings, both of ’em. There’s no hope for people like Suprynowicz. None. One can take comfort in two things: 
1)his book is so far out of print that the least you can get it for is $35
2) In this case, you really can judge him by the company he keeps–amazon’s proposed discussion topics are: “Yikes its [insert anti-semitic slur here]”
“Was Adolf Hitler a full-blooded jew?”

#111 ::: D. Forst ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2008, 08:35 PM:

I’m just stunned. I had never seen or heard of Mr. Suprynowicz’ “work” before today.

I met Drega on August 7, 1997. I was working as the outreach coordinator for NH’s Wetlands Bureau at the time. I was asked by a secretary to speak with a rather upset gentleman in the lobby that day. We spoke for over an hour. He had some valid points… there were things in the past that could have been handled differently. However nothing could justify what he did shortly after our meeting. His parting words that day leave me with no doubt whatsoever that he was looking for an excuse to act out and it was just a matter of time. When it did happen, the coldness with which he acted was what stuck with me. And yet, as inexcusable as his actions were somehow I actually managed to have some amount of sympathy for him as a human being. I don’t believe I could find any such sympathy for Mr. Suprynowicz. His twisting of the facts to suit his political purposes is far more disturbing to me than acts of Mr. Drega. 

I don’t think I could read this book to give it a review. I’d be to angry to finish it.

#112 ::: William ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2008, 12:07 PM:

Do you by chance know the exact address where he lived, the property in question?

#113 ::: Art ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2009, 06:31 PM:

Vin gets a lot of things wrong about this whole episode including Drega being some kind of misunderstood hero. He got two little things right–almost irrelevancies–you criticize I thought I’d point out. (you went through the trouble to respond to the minor points, thought you’d appreciate being set straight)

He’s right about Interstate 91 cutting people in Springfield and other cities off from their river. It’s just like a wall that keeps you from it, you’d never know it’s there and if you try to go near the river, there’s no real access points. 

Also, he’s right about the relative impotence of the .223 compared to the .308 or .30-06, it has nowhere near the killing capacity of those rounds, especially farther away. The round is a wounding round and was chosen for that reason–you take more people off the battlefield when you wound than when you kill (the wounded and those helping him). Also, a soldier can carry more rounds for the same weight. 

He’s also right that in some states it would be illegal to hunt deer with a .223–it’s too small and doesn’t kill cleanly. 

Minor points I know…

#114 ::: Calton Bolick ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2009, 04:41 AM:

Yeah, it’s been months, but the comments in the “Brooklyn pwns Westboro” post sort of brought me here again, and made me realize how disturbingly apt this old post seems again, given not so much the pathology described but that the lunatic cheering section that this Vin dirtbag represents seems to be in full cry recently.

#115 ::: Josh ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2010, 10:32 AM:

I support the vast majority of what you have written in response to the Ballad of Carl Drega, but don’t assume that because he lived in Bow that he was rich. I was Drega’s next door neighbor from about 1980-1994, if the state of his home was any indication he was not rolling in money. I seemed to be a large steel and fiberglass corrugated structure. And trust me, there are plenty of “hicks” in Bow. The median income has as much to do with people who moved in in the 80’s and beyond, lots of Concord based Dr’s and Lawyers, etc.

#116 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2011, 05:28 AM:

I suspect spam above.

#117 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2013, 08:46 PM:

There’s a DailyKos post up now that links to this (though not to Part 1 or Part 3). Mostly about Vinnie’s “literary” output. Can be found here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/10/1230293/-Carl-Drega-Folk-Hero-to-Free-Staters

#118 ::: ‘Karl Pike ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2013, 09:04 PM:

I lived, and still live about a mile east of dreaga’s house in Columbia! On the Sunday before the shootings, heard automatic gunfire from the West. Columbia is a lot better place with dreaga gone. To bad he took four real good people with him. I don’t know why that worthless piece of crap wasn’t behind bars for some of the things he pulled in my (our) town!

#119 ::: tom ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2014, 11:32 PM:

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#120 ::: P J Evans sees another hotheaded comment ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 12:01 AM:

Same guy, slightly different screen name.

#121 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 01:58 AM:

I wish I could say it baffled me how anyone could call Drega, a man who learned to read and reckon as well as he could be bothered to on the public dime, who ate food that was safe from botulism all his life, who got in a car that didn’t kill him (despite its age) and drove over functioning roads ruled by traffic laws to use a gun that was neither taken by the Man nor made so badly as to blow up in his hands to murder people, any kind of victim of “the system”. But I’m familiar with the entitled, infantile mindset.

The system gave him everything but his selfish murderous way, handed it to him on a silver platter that people the world over would envy. He could have used those tools to make any kind of life for himself and any kind of community around himself. That this is all he could think to do is a judgment on him.

Making the choices he did does not make him any kind of hero. He threw a temper tantrum that killed innocent people; that makes him a chickenshit villain.

#122 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2014, 02:07 AM:

Also, Tom, if you think you or Drega has ever “stood against system intimidation”, try being female for a while. Or black, or Hispanic, or gay, or transgender.

But somehow I don’t think those systemic oppressions matter to you.

Fck y sdwys. <– pre-disemvoweled for everyone’s convenience.

One thought on “Carl Drega – Part 2

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