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no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Conservative Blogs Circulating Fake Court Records for Freddie Gray Jr

April 29th, 2015

NOTE: Updated at 2:31pm Eastern to reflect new or updated information.

A few conservative blogs are circulating some unsubstantiated rumors that Freddie Gray Jr. had spinal surgery a week prior to his fateful arrest and subsequent death in Baltimore Police custody.

Examples of the allegations can be found on Snopes, since I’m not interested in linking to those other blogs. Snopes currently lists this rumor as “unconfirmed”, although they indicate:

The claim appeared almost simultaneously in three places: The Facebook page of Baltimore-based Fox affilate WBFF, the blog The Conservative Treehouse, and the blog The Fourth Estate.

Public records from Maryland County courts were linked, but much of the claim hinged on “sources” and dot-connecting.

At the time of my search, I found this case for Fredericka Gray (Gray’s mother).

unaltered screenshot of a case involving fredericka gray

Due to some 404 errors (the Maryland public records search may have been temporarily offline or overloaded with requests), I was initially unable to find the related 13C14101574, I mistakenly concluded that this screenshot had been doctored to use Freddie’s name in lieu of his mother’s. Case 13C14101574 is from the original screenshots, and so they do not appear to have been altered, as I had originally suspected. Here are the screenshots from that case number:

fake freddie gray court records

In any case, this case involve Gray as party to an out-of-court civil settlement with Allstate, and not from a “recent car accident”.

The Baltimore Sun has since reported that these cases involve the restructuring of that settlement.

Court records examined by the Baltimore Sun show the case had nothing to do with a car accident or a spine injury. Instead, they are connected to a lawsuit alleging that Gray and his sister were injured by exposure lead paint.

Of course it is still possible that Gray was involved in an automobile accident and/or had spinal surgery a week prior to his arrest, but the dots certainly do not connect in the manner that the conservative blogs would have you believe.

And even if Gray had a recent surgery, that still does not absolve the Baltimore Police Department of what appears to be obvious neglect of a suspect in their custody.

Update

WBFF, Baltimore’s Fox affiliate network has since pulled the story from their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FOXBaltimore/posts/10152842719584607

Snopes has gone back and forth on this all day, sometimes it is listed as “False” and sometimes as “Undetermined”. Until evidence supporting the “Car accident and surgery” narrative surfaces, though, I’m inclined to believe it’s false.

“Synthetic Cannabis” is NOT Synthetic Cannabis

July 6th, 2012

The wiki article on “synthetic cannabis” mentions this:

There is controversy among calling herbal Spice and K2 synthetic cannabis, since none of the chemicals contained in the products are copies of anything found in Cannabis.

Derp. Of course not. There are only a few reasons why people would consciously refer to this stuff as “synthetic cannabis” or “synthetic marijuana”, neither of them are honest:

  • By pretending this is a pot-substitute, the producer can con people in to buying something that isn’t anything at all like pot.
  • Prohibition-mongers adopt this term because it serves their purpose, too: perpetuating a false sense of danger about a non-toxin like cannabis, by associating it with other more dangerous substances. This is the same reason they have to argue that pot is a “gateway drug”.

In both cases, the intention was never to accurately portray these compounds, but rather to create a false association between these compounds and cannabis. As a marketing ruse, this terminology is designed con people in to a false sense of security. As propaganda, it’s designed to instill fear of actual cannabis.

It is important to recognize lies and propaganda when you see them. It is also important to understand that so-called “designer drugs” only exist because of the prohibition on considerably safer alternatives, like actual cannabis.

It’s all fun and games until you’re faced with the difficult proposition of martyring yourself for a cause

May 9th, 2012

Note: Deanna Aenead has set up a fundraising page where you can lend a hand to help those who have been arrested as a result of Stacy’s coerced police informant work. Because we should always be looking out for, and taking care of our own, I encourage you to donate whatever you can to assist in their defense. 

 

I don’t have a dog in this fight but I think it is important to flesh out the issues. William Gillis has a perfectly succinct synopsis to get you up to speed:

A prominent left market anarchist activist but dropped off the radar last year, just publicly admitted she got nabbed on some serious charges [dealing drugs] in September and collaborated with the state to bust several people on drug charges. Her account of fear and ignorance is harrowing, as they usually are, especially when people don’t have immediately accessible community and legal support (something we should really work on). She says she did what she did to minimize net damage to radicals by redirecting the feds. But snitching alters the landscape in an inescapably categorical way. You don’t get to be an activist after you snitch. You don’t get community support. Otherwise every single instance of collaboration would get hemmed and hawed over, leaving us even more riven with tension and divisiveness. …It’s infinitely easier and more efficient just to draw the obvious hard line. [She] is on her fucking own.

It’s all fun and games until you’re faced with the difficult proposition of martyring yourself for a cause… She made a conscious and calculated decision to get involved in the war on drugs the moment she decided to play Robin Hood (or the pot-dealing equivalent of Robin Hood whatever his name is…), which was an enormous tactical blunder.

As George Donnelly notes, “You can’t be a prominent and public anarchist activist and engage in illegal activities on a sustained and significant basis at the same time. The two roles just aren’t compatible in today’s political climate”  (you really should head over there and read the rest of George’s post).

Bad decisions have a way of compounding themselves

Ultimately it is this decision which allowed law enforcement to target her, apply leverage over her and turn her in to a tool for their own purposes.

Further, did she err, by not reaching out the broad network of likeminded individuals and fellow activists who may have been able to provide support (legal, financial, moral, or otherwise)? No question. Was she lied to and manipulated by law enforcement after she was nabbed? Absolutely. Under duress? You betcha, that is their MO. Was she given lousy legal advice by a barely competent attorney who was probably just looking to cash a retainer check for just-another-nobody who would never be any wiser? Almost without a doubt. Did she the sell out others in order to save her own ass? Yep.

It is disheartening to me that she made the bad decision of jeopardizing others’ lives in order to save her own ass. It is understandable even if not forgivable.  For the implications on others’ lives this would be the worst of it. But it’s not.

What saddens me the most is how she reationalizes this decision. Although she paints this as a matter of “survival”, it was in-fact only a matter of comfort. This wasn’t life-or-death and she did not have to roll over in order to “survive”. Perhaps this verbiage is a defense mechanism to assuage her own sense of guilt, or perhaps I have taken it somehow out of context but I read it like “This can’t happen to me because my life’s work is more important or more significant than others'” and/or “I can do more good for the cause/etc. if I am not stuck behind bars”, etc.

Of course, nobody is duty-bound to become a martyr, but it’s not like she didn’t know that, if she ever got caught, they’d apply leverage like this. There has to be some moral obligation not to drag other people down with you, otherwise we’ve already lost.

Although I am disappointed in some of her decisions, I appreciate her candor now. I am initially inclined to believe it was a lapse in judgment and hopefully not indicative of her character when she elected to throw others under the bus (although this point is contested by several close acquaintances, see Mike’s comment below, as well as Deana’s thorough synopsis). I am also in 100% agreement with Donnelly’s assessment: We all have a breaking point and it would not be very difficult for the long arm of the law to exercise similar leverage, with similar results, over most of us any time they want.

I want to also mention the vitriol I have seen in some comments, up to and including threats of physical violence. I get that, or at least I hope that, these reactions are simply the manifestation of disappointment, anger that one of “our own” could have been compromised in such a manner and that cooler heads will ultimately prevail. Although many are posturing moral superiority, I don’t think this is an appropriate response. I would of course prefer the course of events had taken a different turn, but we all have a breaking point; this is not a condemnation, a character assassination, or even moral judgment.

But what’s done can’t be undone, and so that’s why I also fully understand why others may have a very hard time putting their faith & trust in her again.

I can’t blame them.

Post Script

THIS is possibly the best piece I’ve read, to date, about why she was wrong to do what she did and remains wrong for trying to rationalize it and wronger still for blaming others for her terrible decision-making.

This is not about whether I think the actions she was nabbed for should be legal (I do, see here, here and here).

Further detail on this particular incident provided at the nominally anyonymous Drug War Victim blog.

 

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics