Keene, New Hampshire, Activists in I.R.S. Office Civil Disobedience

The folks at the New Hampshire Underground, returned to the Keene, New Hampshire IRS office — to the scene of the crime where Dave Ridley had been arrested for leafleting. Ridley was serving a four-day sentence for contempt of court after refusing to pay a $125 fine for illegal “distribution of handbills.” (See The Picket Line .)

Undergrounder Kat Kanning announced that she’d be engaging in civil disobedience:

After seeing my friend Dave Ridley put behind bars for the “crime” of Distributing Handbills, I decided that I must stand up to this oppressive government, even if only a small way. So tomorrow I will sit in the Keene IRS office with a sign saying, “Taxes pay for torture” until I’m hauled away.

I first realized the federal government was completely evil when I watched as church people in Waco were burned alive by federal agents. Since then, this government has engaged in a war of aggression against Iraq, killing perhaps 700,000 Iraqi civilians. It has become the open policy of the US to torture prisoners and hold them without charges or trial. Somehow, good people in this country have been able to justify in their minds that this is necessary for our protection. I want to make a stand so people will rethink these kinds of justifications. How can our freedoms come from torturing others, who have not even been shown to have committed any crimes? I don’t want this kind of freedom. I want the kind of freedom where initiation of force against others is the exception, rather than public policy.

In times such as these, it is incumbent upon each individual to look at his own actions and decide, “Am I aiding this atrocity or resisting it? Am I giving them money? Am I working for them?” I don’t want to have to explain to my grandchildren why I didn’t stand up against the murder and torture — and at least attempt to put a stop to it, no matter if the attempt seems like “tilting at windmills.”

While protesters held signs outside the office pointing out the connection between federal taxes and the U.S. torture policy, two of the protesters — Kanning and Lauren Canario — went inside with signs and a stack of leaflets. They were arrested, processed, given citations for “disorderly conduct and loitering, failure to obey a lawful order,” and released. They, too, have no intention of paying their $125 fines. Writes Kanning:

When asked if I had any dangerous items on me, I answered that I had two very dangerous flyers in my pocket. The guy gave me this blank stare then said “Oh: sarcasm.”

Free Talk Life covered the protest and civil disobedience action: