A Note on Privacy, by Bo Keely

October 30, 2006 |

I read with respect your intellectual posts on privacy and the justice system, and wish to add solid ones of my own. Anyone who desires to take a job in the criminal justice system, including attorneys, first should be required to spend a night on the streets, a shift on police ride-along, a day as a spectator in court and, most vitally, 36 hours in jail. The latter I’ve formerly compared to a weekend seminar with better speakers, worse food, but it’s free. Any person who performs these four prerequisites for Life 101 may more expertly take a job of choice in criminal justice, or anyplace.

I grew up, as Ken Smith has described, as if on the cover of Look Magazine holding a fishing pool under a crescent moon. I still can’t turn my back on the shoeless kids I went to school with, but I eventually dropped the pole, went through eclectic vicissitudes, and landed at the far end of the bell-curve in Sand Valley, California.

Sand Valley is the choice toenail for ten sociopaths for good reason. Thank goodness I hadn’t this foreknowledge seven years ago on moving my belongings down from the Sierras in a utility trailer hauled behind a Honda 650 Nighthawk motorcycle with a sidecar and tow bar. I quickly learned in the Valley that the residents are obsessed and proficient at cherishing privacy.

Yet, there are constant tangles with authority since the area of my Rancho is the epicenter of what I term Desolation, California. That is the bleak region where individuality, save the Valley that is a true Galt’s Gulch (Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged), is almost smothered by authority and the worship of the group. I can write on of my neighbors’ run-ins with the law, but shall relegate here to a few personal instances.

After three months of hard work to raise the Rancho out of the sand, one morning a sheriff drove up far from his tour ostensibly to run over a little tree in my front yard. He apologized and continued, ‘An old lady suspects there’s marijuana growing in your chicken wire garden,’ that was quickly dispelled as he looked over the unplanted garden. A year after, another sheriff drove into my front yard and ran over a second tree announcing that he wanted to check out the car in the driveway (mine) that he’d not seen before. I have a clean record, and that was that. A year after, two Feds with bolt cutters and automatic rifles drove to my semi-truck van that houses a library and, as I wasn’t there, my neighbor intervened. The Feds claimed a search warrant wasn’t necessary because there was a report of a meth lab inside, but the neighbor yelled them off.

Seeking autonomy, a few years ago the 100-square mile Valley had a neighborhood meetin’. They elected a Mayor, Sheriff and Judge to oversee their private affairs. A few auspicious discrete events followed_. The shotgun brandishing Mayor stopped a Marine convoy of tanks crushing his private road and turned them back to Yuma. The Sheriff grabbed a local cop, lifted him off the ground, and dialed 911 to make a citizens arrest for trespassing. The Judge sued the U.S. government and won a few thousand dollars after the Marines riddled his roof with helicopter machinegun fire. So, my personal anecdotes are minimal next to what can be done by seasoned privacy nuts.

The upshot is that anyone who wishes to take a job in criminal justice could consider, aside from a short trial on the streets, cop ride-along, court spectator, and jail, also visiting a beacon of privacy like Sand Valley within the dark depth of Desolation before it engulfs America.


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