Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Living (and driving) in a police state

I was down at Occupy Denver (Colfax and Broadway) a few weeks ago and saw a woman making a new sign. The sign read "Are we living in a police state?" I paused, and she looked up, smiling. Conversation ensued. I realized that she had no idea that she was already living in a police state; the here and now of Denver Colorado. See also.

It is not that hard to live in a police state if you know the rules. You must know and live by their rules. This is for your own health and safety, as the authorities have pointed out to you countless times.

1. Spend most of your free time at home. You are probably already doing this.
- do not raise your voice or play your music loud.
- don't get falling down drunk or beat your wife or children.
- be aware that your neighbors already find you suspicious and are poised to dial 911.
- go outside and walk around your house at night. See how much can be seen. Note dark areas of your property. Carry a maglight as needed.
- protect yourself against home-invasion (which is becoming increasingly popular). I'll be expanding on this theme later in a separate post.

2. If you must go out by car, make sure you have every last regulation regarding the use of your vehicle on their streets fulfilled and executed down to the letter. For example,
- did you know it's a $90.00 fine if you have your registration in the car BUT HAVE NOT SIGNED IT. That's right, check yours, turn it over and see if you have signed it properly.
- and, hello, no outstanding tickets, warrants, or other things that can easily be looked up by an officer with a laptop. You must inquire for yourself and pay all of this off before you drive. If you don't, you are asking for it.
- do not slow down or stop to drop off supplies at Occupy Denver on Broadway. They are now ticketing for this infraction.
- At stoplights and signs, stop your vehicle completely and well back of the crosswalk line. This is hard to learn after a lifetime of rolling stops but the photo cameras are already in place and being used to ticket you for this infraction. Denver City Council even discussed whether or not there should be some allowable (1 or 2 inches) infraction. Their answer was NO, and be aware that the camera angle can make a difference, so stay back far enough that you can see the entire line on the street in front of you.
Yes, that's me going 40 mph in a 30 mph zone on 17th.
 And yes, I paid the ticket (aka Dumbo tax)
- know the speed limit and never exceed it, even when passing. Beware of speed limit change-ups designed to catch you going the wrong speed, and mismatched speed limits much lower than the physical road was designed for.
- make sure your license plate is tightly mounted with slot-less bolts, and that all of your car lights are working.
- if stopped, never consent to a search - actively say that you do not consent.

3. If you must go out on foot, again, you must obey all the rules.
- do not jay-walk. Selective law enforcement makes its use rare but available if they want to "detain" you.
- do not walk on the grass in parks.
- do not wear outlandish or unusual clothes or outfits. Unless of course, you want to be singled-out and beaten.
- do not wear jewelry or expensive shoes, unless you can afford to loose them.
- always carry photo ID.
- never carry more cash than you can afford to lose. You may risk offending the holdup man if you have nothing, so take just enough to satisfy him so he won't kill you for being so cheap. A $20 bill will do.
- never carry any hidden weapons. Carry your gun in a visible holster if it is legal in your state.
- never carry any contraband, which by definition, is stuff you shouldn't carry.
- do not even think about going out if you are intoxicated beyond control in "keep your mouth shut" situations.
- always be aware - look out your window before you go out your door.
- assume there are people out there who mean to do you harm.
- walk with a purpose, your body language is important and can be a deterrent.
- keep your head up and scanning. In Denver (Capitol Hill) thugs hide behind large trees in the street verge with aluminum baseball bats and take you down in one blow from behind. True.
- pay attention to the traffic lights. Do not cross against the light even if there is no traffic.
- remember that you may be on camera. See "halo" cameras on Colfax.
- beware of any curfews that prohibit your presence at certain times of day.

4. General considerations:
- don't fool yourself.
- all phones (landlines) are tapped, i.e., they all go to the Central Office where they can easily be picked out and listened to or recorded. Don't imagine that they need a warrant to do this - those days are gone.
- all emails are examined by computers for key words. Those containing key words are then read by humans.
- all emails are saved, and deleting them on your computer does not remove them from the email servers.
- act as if you are under surveillance. You may be. The good news is that you are probably not important enough to warrant specific surveillance.
- in the city, someone is always watching.
- prepare for the worst.  When it doesn't happen, you'll feel good. If it does happen, you'll be prepared.

If you think things might get worse before they get better, you may want to read this book - Surviving in Argentina.


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