A menace to society, seen here in his lair: Telecommunications professional, inventor, and law-abiding gun owner Gregory Girard (above, left) hard at work to support his wife and son, along with the tax-fed parasites who plunder his paycheck. Below, left: The photograph released by police to demonize Girard after a squadron of stormtroopers dragged him away to jail on spurious firearms-related charges.
All of the serious charges against Gregory Girard have been dropped, yet he remains behind bars and denied bail until the people responsible for putting him there can devise a suitable "crime" to justify his imprisonment.
This task shouldn't tax the malicious creativity of the Salem County Prosecutor, given that Girard, a resident of Manchester-by-the-sea, Massachusetts, is a middle-aged male gun owner and unreconstructed "right-wing extremist."
As Josef Stalin's secret police chief Lavrenti Beria put it: Find me the man, and I'll find the crime.
In early February, police learned of Girard's unremarkable gun collection -- invariably described as an "arsenal" or "cache" by the statist stenographers who call themselves local journalists -- when his wife, a psychiatrist, told them that she was afraid to return to their home following an argument.
On the following day the police were contacted by the ATF, which relayed a report from someone described as a "friend" of Girard's wife who supposedly saw hand grenades in the condo.
At the time, Girard held a Class A firearms license and had dutifully registered all of his weapons. A "license," of course, is a document that redefines an innate right as a government-granted privilege, and its purpose -- as Girard would learn -- is to simplify the process of revoking that "privilege" at the whim of a government functionary. Glenn McKiel, Chief of the Manchester-by-the-sea Police Department, revoked Girard's license and called in the Cape Ann Response Team (CART) -- the Homeland Security State's local paramilitary affiliate -- for a joint assault on Girard's home.
Would you trust your life to these guys? Well, Gregory Girard didn't think it was a good idea, either. Below, right, we find an example of the Massachusetts State Police Tactical Team conferring the blessings of order on an unarmed, outnumbered, helpless protester.
Among the specific concerns related to the police by Girard's wife was his supposedly alarming view that martial law is imminent.
Since it is unacceptable for people to believe that government agents will carry out paramilitary raids to confiscate firearms, a paramilitary force was sent to Girard’s home to confiscate his firearms.
Stormtroopers from CART, the ATF, and the state police surrounded the condo, evacuated two units, and then called Girard to invite him outside. Seeing his home surrounded by a ring of heavily armed, black-clad bucketheads clearly possessing malign intent, Girard understandably declined the invitation. After the police barged into his home, Girard put up no resistance, beyond insisting that his "hand grenades" were innocuous and perfectly legal smoke grenades.
The first media accounts of the incident were a bulimic recital of pre-chewed soundbites fed to the press by the police.
Girard’s collection of “approximately twenty” firearms — in fact, he owned 11 rifles and two handguns, all legally purchased and duly registered — suddenly became an “an alarming, nearly military-grade stockpile.”
In similar fashion, Girard's food storage, flashlights, batteries, and camping gear were also described as "military-style items."
I suspect that the only reason Girard's home wasn't similarly transformed into an "armed compound" is the fact that it was a multi-family condominium.
In addition to the firearms, Girard’s arms cache reportedly included “four police batons” he had “illegally” acquired.
Clubs in the "right" hands: Blackshirts employed by the Massachusetts State Police deal with a "suspect." This image, incidentally, is from the SERT's webpage; they're proud to offer "service" of this kind.
That’s right: Civilian disarmament is not limited to “gun control,” but includes “club control,” as well.
In the hands of the armed servants of the tax-feeding class, tear gas, pepper spray, and batons are considered “less-than-lethal” weaponry. But such items become dangerous implements of violent disorder when they fall into the hands of mere Mundanes. Accordingly, Girard was charged with four counts of possessing “an infernal device” and four counts of possessing a “dangerous weapon.”
Girard also reportedly converted his third story into an “illegal indoor firing range,” complete with what was described as an “illegal ballistic plate” (apparently possession of metal plates of a certain thickness is now impermissible without explicit government permission).
“We feel our community is safer having this kind of weaponry off the street,” intoned a police spokesman as he performed the familiar post-raid gun-grabber liturgy.
As it happens the “weaponry” in question was never on the “street” to begin with -- and its mere possession by Girard wasn't a crime even in a positivist sense.
No charges were ever filed relating to Girard's "arsenal" of firearms. The charges of owning "infernal machines" -- five "explosive" hand grenades -- have been dismissed because, as he had patiently tried to explain to the armed marauders who abducted him, the objects in question were perfectly non-explosive gas grenades. The charge of "carrying dangerous weapons" was also vacated, since Girard was never accused of carrying a knife or baton outside his home, and no state or local ordinance forbids private ownership of knives or clubs.
The only remaining charges -- discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, and two counts of illegal possession of silencers -- are made of the same alloy of dishonesty and prosecutorial desperation.
Rebecca Whitehill, Girard's attorney, has pointed out that while firing a weapon inside one's own home might be unwise, it is not a criminal offense under state law. She also insists that the objects described as "silencers" are in fact flash suppressors, private ownership of which is not prohibited by state law.
Even if he is found "guilty" on the remaining charges, Girard wouldn't face prison time. Yet Judge Richard Mori of the Salem District Court refuses to grant bail.
Prosecutor Michelle DeCourcey, the Beria disciple heading the case against Girard, insists (as paraphrased by the Salem News) that "the facts of the case have not changed, only the charges." What this means, assuming that it means anything, must be that the prosecution is following the Stalinist formula of finding a "crime" to fit the facts. And Judge Mori is willing to facilitate this fraud by keeping Girard behind bars, because Mori "still"considers Girard "to be a danger to the community."
Like assistant DA DeCourcey, Judge Mori is employing Soviet legal concepts to justify undisguised violations of Girard's individual rights.
Specifically, they are treating him as what the Soviet penal code called a "socially dangerous" person -- a designation used to justify summary punishment of political dissidents and others deemed enemies of the state, whether or not they were charged with an actual criminal offense.
More than a decade ago, the state government of Connecticut enacted a “law” permitting state agents to confiscate firearms from people suspected of “dangerous” tendencies — a variation on the Soviet idea of pre-emptive punishment of “socially dangerous persons.”
Almost exactly a month after Girard was kidnapped and his gun collection was stolen by the local police, David Pyles of Medford, Oregon endured a similar assault. Shortly before dawn on March 8, a mob of heavily armed police -- two SWAT teams, officers from two local police departments, sheriff's deputies from two counties, and troopers from the Oregon State Police -- ringed Pyles' home and demanded his surrender.
Pyles had recently made a wise and timely investment by purchasing two handguns and an AK-47 rifle. Shortly before Pyles bought the guns -- something he had long planned to do, but hadn't been financially feasible until he received a tax refund -- he had been put on administrative leave by the Oregon Department of Transportation.
This convergence of events led police to categorize Pyles -- without evidence of criminal intent or derangement -- as a "disgruntled employee" planning retaliation of some kind against his ODOT supervisor. Thus they demanded that he submit to a mental health evaluation -- an ominous echo of the Soviet regime's habit of forcing dissidents to undergo psychiatric confinement. They also seized his firearms for "safekeeping."
"They woke me up with a phone call at about 5:50 in the morning," Pyles told Reason magazine.
"I looked out the window and saw the SWAT team pointing their guns at my house. The officer on the phone told me to turn myself in. I told them I would, on three conditions: I would not be handcuffed. I would not be taken off my property. And I would not be forced to get a mental health evaluation. He agreed."
The negotiator, being a police officer, did what comes naturally to people in that profession. He lied.
"The second I stepped outside, they jumped me," continues Pyles. "Then they handcuffed me, took me off my property, and took me to get a mental health evaluation."
Within a few hours Pyles had been discharged from the hospital. He never saw the inside of a jail cell. The local police -- most likely in reaction to a nation-wide spasm of outrage triggered by their Orwellian persecution of an innocent gun owner -- returned the firearms, albeit not before lying to him again by claiming that he would have to undergo a second "background check."
All of this, according to Sgt. Jeff Proulx of the Oregon State Police, was a successful exercise in "proactive" police work. Stalin and Beria would undoubtedly agree.
Note: In the original version of this essay I mistakenly referred to Mr. Girard's Massachusetts carry license as a "federal firearms license." My thanks to commenter OldEasterner for catching and correcting this error.
Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in the annual Patriots Day commemoration on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol in Boise. The video of that event will be available soon (you'll have no trouble recognizing me; since I'm not running for anything, I was the only speaker who didn't wear a suit). Yesterday's Pro Libertate Radio broadcast dealt at length with the meaning of Patriots Day and the escalating campaign to vilify and criminalize those of us determined to preserve the principle of self-ownership.
Tune in each weeknight at 6:00 Mountain Time (7:00 Central) for your daily injection of unfiltered anti-government outrage, courtesy of Pro Libertate Radio on the Liberty News Radio Network.
Dum spiro, pugno!