Monday, March 19, 2007

The Right to Resist

John Coffin heard his wife Cynthia screaming. After racing to the garage, he saw her prone, agonized form pinned to the floor by two armed strangers who had violated the sanctity of his home.

Despite the fact that he was an unarmed, 55-year-old heart patient, Coffin did the right thing: He beat the intruders to within an inch of their lives.

As it happens, the thugs who assaulted Coffin's wife, Cynthia (a nurse with no criminal record) were deputy sheriffs who had visited the home to serve John with a restraining order filed in a landlord-tenant dispute last April. Coffin had been served the same papers a few days earlier.

When Cynthia answered the doorbell and was greeted by deputy James Lutz with the TRO papers, she told him that John was in the bathroom. She then shut the door – which is exactly the right thing to do, given that police are now trained to seize on any opportunity to conduct a “consent search” -- and went to find her husband. She also began to lock other doors and close blinds; this is also entirely appropriate.

In his report, Lutz claimed that Cynthia was “obstructing his lawful duties.” In fact, she was protecting her family's rights. Lutz didn't have a search warrant, and she was determined not to let him confect “probable cause.”

Why were the Coffins so leery of police? Like an increasing number of honest, unassuming Americans, the couple had noticed that the police have turned feral. Their knowledge of this unfortunate fact is not derived from headlines, but rather a product of an unjustified assault John experienced in October 2003 after an unnecessary traffic stop conducted by a 24-year-old deputy named Grant Steube, who claimed that there was a problem with the license tag on John's car.

At the time of the stop, John was in his sister's driveway. He got out and demanded to know what the problem was. Steube ordered John back into his car and then – without legal cause or provocation – pepper-sprayed the then-52-year-old man, and then beat him repeatedly with a metal club called an asp.

Steube later admitted – gee golly Ned, oopsie-daisy, my bad, and all that – to misreading the license tag. As is always the case in such incidents, it was the victim of state-authorized violence who was charged with “resisting arrest” and “obstruction” of a police officer, but those charges were dropped. Steube, the assailant, was never charged or sanctioned in any way, (reg. required) and a lawsuit filed by the Coffins was summarily dismissed.

Given this history, it's understandable that the Coffins would treat an encounter with the Sheriff's department the way they did during the incident last April.

When John didn't materialize at the front door as quickly as Deputy Lutz thought he should, he summoned Deputy Stacy Ferris (a she-police, and hence useless). The two of them decided to invade the Coffin property without a warrant, by walking into the couple's garage. When Cynthia confronted them about their crime, she was threatened with arrest if she displayed “further resistance” -- a characterization containing a lie, since she had not “resisted” anything.

As she turned to go back into the house, Cynthia was seized by the deputies and placed “under arrest,” which in this case means she was assaulted and kidnapped without legal cause. When she struggled to get away, the deputies threw her to the garage floor, dislocating her arm. Her screams summoned John, who dispatched Deputy Stacy with a blow to the face, then grabbed her Taser and used it as a club on Deputy Lutz. After a brief struggle, Lutz pulled his gun and arrested John.

Asked by columnist Tom Lyons of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune how the Sheriff's Department could justify the invasion of Coffin's home and the violent arrest of his wife in the absence of a warrant or predicate crime, department spokesman Chuck Lesaltato simply muttered that the deputies “felt they had cause” and “felt they had been obstructed.”

It is all about their feelings, it seems,” Lyons wrote in disgust. “But how much will deputies and prosecutors take into account the feelings of the husband who found two cops pinning his wife to the floor because she had the nerve to lock them out of her home?”

Last week, in a ruling as unexpected as it is uncommon and badly overdue, Circuit Judge Rick De Furia threw out all but one of the six charges against John Coffin (the surviving charge dealt with taking the Taser from one of the deputies) and reduced his sentence to the eight days he had served in jail and $358 in court costs.

Law enforcement was responsible for the chain of events here,” ruled De Furia. The critical fact is that the deputies “broke the law” by invading the garage without warrant or probable cause; they committed an armed home invasion, and criminally assaulted an innocent woman.

What took place in the house was unfortunate,” concluded De Furia, “but Mr. Coffin ... had a right to resist.”

Given the nature of the crime committed against his home, Coffin had a moral and legal right to gun down the invaders, irrespective of the costumes they were wearing. Given that I prefer not to see anybody violently killed for any reason, I admire and appreciate the restraint – and the courage -- he displayed in merely beating them severely.

The right to resist is what separates a citizen from a slave. God bless John Coffin for exercising that right, and Judge De Furia for recognizing and protecting it.

And let us pray that, somehow, the right to resist illicit state violence will likewise be recognized in the case of Cory Maye, before that young man is murdered by the State of Mississippi for the supposed crime of defending his home.

(Note: Part II of the Rio, Wisconsin story will be posted later.)

Be sure to visit The Right Source for news, commentary, and talk radio from a freedom-centered perspective.


dixiedog said...

I agree 100% with Mr. & Mrs. Coffin's actions in this situation and your post title is apropos. The damn police had no warrant and Mr. Coffin, on whose property those State agents trespassed, merely reacted (with extreme restraint I'd add) the way he would when any thug (and a thugina in this case) assaulted members of the family and broke into the residence. As usual, agents of the State (especially those making up the LE tentacle) almost always escape any negative repercussions.

For some reason, when police are attired in their "stately" uniforms, they think that should auto-allow them to act vicariously as judge, jury, and/or executioner and make the ordinary civilian instantly become their doormat. Well, no. Yet, on the other hand, it's not really surprising that they behave in such manner given the culture (been over that already).

Anyhow, that said Will, I'm afraid that these kinds of antics are only going to become more and more common. Heck, all you have to do is watch the plethora of propaganda shows on the booby, like the one on Court TV just the other night I happened to catch late, Disorder in the Court 2.

During the playback of, and especially during the brief intermissions between, these taped episodes unfolding in a given courtroom somewhere in the country, the program parades a myriad of Court TV personages on the screen giving their pro-statist view of the episode in question. Not one brought up constitutional issues, never questioned any of the judicial decisions, some of which were beyond questionable, or any extreme police behavior on display, except for a tazering of a defendant who didn't seem to pose no physical threat to anyone. And that, of course, was deemed quickly to be of no real consequence since this particular defendant was said to be a "cop killa" and was convicted of that, yes. But the parrots simply agreed that it was probably revenge orchestrated by the police for the convict killin' their man and that that should be expected. No big deal. Yet if you act out of revenge, you're a vigilante. Yeah ok...whatever.

In another case, a defendant, who simply was holding his Bible while trying to give a statement, was attacked and brutalized by the police in the courtroom and you hear only mockery and/or ridicule of the defendant by the Court TV parrots in the background.

Needless to say, this documentary made my blood pressure rise precipitously and after that particular episode I turned the crap off.

This is in essence the problem. The booby molds or programs the mass mind, which is why companies spend millions producing commercials on the medium. In the same way adverts affect minds, programs produced by self-proclaimed "experts" do just as well.

As for me, I'm exactly the opposite of most folk I assume as the more outlandish and/or the more numerous the commercials I happen to see promoting a given product the more I loathe the product and the company behind it.

For instance, two of the worst offenders of the above I'd never do business with: Geico Insurance, Progressive Insurance. But that's just me. Whatever.

Sorry for the tangent there, Will ;).

Anyway, unless in the most unlikely event that libertarians and constitutionalists can grab a sizeable piece of the primetime booby pie, forget it. The Internet and books just doesn't cut it as whatever becomes popular on those mediums are often driven by the booby itself.

I sometimes hear people say something like, "Oh, but we have the Internet now! F-r-e-e-d-o-m of information reigns!" Hardy, har, har! And I say they misplaced their cluestick somewhere. The vast majority of the sheeple herd their woolly selves into the ABCNNBCBSFOXMSNBC corral of Internet sites for their news and current events, the same places they're familiar with on the booby, not the alternatives. And even a sizeable quantity of those few who do go to "alternate" sites, usually herd up at the lapdog blogpens parroting the same ABCNNBCBSFOXMSNBC trope.

And many of the hugely popular sites on the 'net, like Wikipedia, cite many their sources from booby documentaries and other mainstream media organs.

Captain Kirk said...


You said, "This is in essence the problem. The booby molds or programs the mass mind..." this gave me pause to recall Bradbury's "Farhenheit 451". Not knowing if you have read this novel or not, I offer the following very brief synosis.

In this tome the State was supreme. Information was controlled. One means that the State used to control information was to outlaw the possession and reading of books. Any books that were discovered were incinerated along with the structure that they were housed in (this discoraged potential book stashes as people knew that if discovered, not only would they lose their books, but their house too). The other way was to provide a sort of immersive 3D TV system called The Parlor (if memory serves me correctly) whose content was controlled by the State. Once and again, it appears that life is imitating art to some extent, in that while books are not banned and burned, they are ignored. The TV has become the main source of crebral input and in a subtle way, as you pointed out with the example of one of many Statist pro-enforcement propaganda programs, content is more and more controlled.

Captain Kirk said...

I just re-read my post and noticed a few typos...sorry...mea culpa. I need to slow down when I type and actually take the time to proof the darn thing before I hit send.

liberranter said...

The only mistake the Coffins made was not being armed to respond with deadly force to the unlawful invasion of their home by two thugscum pigs. Let us also hope that Judge de Furia's decision survives the inevitable appeals by the minions of the State (I'm not at all optimistic about this). This judge deserves a seat on the SCOTUS if this is typical of his rulings.

Anonymous said...

Swine will be swine. You will reap what you sow, swine.

Anonymous said...

A lot of these baby cops are not trained properly in constitutional
law. Also the baby cops have been watching too much television. Shows like COPS, and other law enforcement reality programing reinforces their holier than thou attitude. Give me Sheriff Andy Taylor anytime. I was in law enforcement myself for a long time and I don't respect cops the way I use to. Also a lot of cops stab each other in the back, you just don't hear much about it.

brat242 said...

I was Googling John Coffin and his wife Cindy, as I had lost touch with them. I am appalled as to what some law officers had done to these people. I have known this couple for over 30 years. Cindy and John are both law abiding citizens, and have never been in trouble. We are all from New England, where you are allowed to question why you are being stopped, the officers are NOT allowed to just enter your home, and people are treated decently. When John came running for Cindy, I applaud him for his actions. John has always loved his family and will protect them, no matter what. I think it is absolutely disgusting what the so called "protectors" of the law did to this couple. As a person who has known them since 1977, I am disgusted as to what has been done to them. The police force should be sued. They sound like a bunch of idiots. In Vermont, where they are from, the police DO NOT act like lowlifes. What is wrong with Fl? In New Hampshire, where I am from, the state motto is, "Live Free Or Die." Perhaps this paints a clearer picture of how civil rights are supposed to be for all people in America. Clearly I am irked by the police force in Fl. Signed, Elizabeth in California

Anonymous said...

There is only ONE WAY to stop this type of abuse from the state: Raw violence. People who invade other peoples homes simply must be put down, and their heads put on pikes to dissuade others who would invade.

When you're on the train heading to the prison camp you'll recall how radical these (above) words sounded to you when you read them, and you'll wish you'd have heeded them.

Shell Goddamnit said...

Odd - you object to police violence but call "she-police" useless. Why useless if policemen are not supposed to be inherently violent?

Anonymous said...

"She Police" are useless because the only actions they can take are to talk or shoot. Sometimes they shoot because they're just incompetent - like the one in Nevada that nearly shot her partner and the man he'd just handcuffed when she accidentally fired her gun, or the bimbo cop in Kalifornia who shot a handcuffed man in the back of a police cruiser when she accidentally used her Glock instead of her taser.

One of my favorite episodes of cops was the two police bimbos trying to arrest a guy in a bar. He had his hands on the pool table, and wasn't trying to fight them - but refused to put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed. The two of them struggled and struggled... until the bartender came over and did their job for them.

That's PART of why they're useless.

As for cops engaged in bad raids and arrests, I recall some years back in S. Florida, the cops executed a no-knock raid on a supposed drug house. Problem was, they got the address wrong. (Lots of problems could be avoided if cops would learn how to read.) Anyway, they stormed the house of an elderly couple who had already retired for the evening. As the gestapo, er, police stormed down the hallway, the elderly gent let fly with his 12 gauge shotgun, raggedly removing a largish chunk of the lead swine's skull.

He was arrested, charged, but either no-billed or found not-guilty. The police had no right to be in his house. He'd thought it was a gang attacking and had defended himself. The cops were NOT happy, but the case had the salubrious effect of cooling the police passion for no-knock raids for a time.

Personally, I think cops who get killed doing stupid stuff like this are getting off easy. If they'd play by the rules, they wouldn't be at war with honest citizens. As matters stand, my opinion of cops generally has deteriorated to the point where I doubt I would intervene if I saw one being stomped to death and could prevent it.

That's sad. There are only three kinds of people who want to be cops. Those who are out to save the world. Those who consider it just another job. And those who want to join a gang and push people around.

Unfortunately, there are far too many of the third kind. If the cops of the first and second kind would get off their asses and help prosecute cops of the third kind, maybe they could restore public trust.

I am not hopeful.