by Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume
Back in February of 2007, I wrote about an encounter I had with one of the State’s Game Keepers (See Liberty v. Fish Cops and Federalies). I am sad to report that the situation in the police state has deteriorated substantially since that time.
Some time between 4:30 and 5:00 PM on Friday, November 7, 2008 my wife and I arrived at the entrance to the property in Terrell County, Texas referred in the 2007 article cited above. The entrance to our private road (belonging to the property owners association) is off of US Highway 90 approximately 5 miles south of the small town of Sanderson, Texas. The gate is normally kept locked.
My wife had been driving on the highway. As we normally do, we stopped just inside the gate to switch drivers, stretch our legs, “water the dog,” etc. The wife had walked on up the road with the dog (a small Chihuahua-Terrier cross named “Nemo” by a grand child). I had busied myself with adjusting the seat to suit my longer legs, closing the doors and preparing to continue our journey. We had not yet shut and locked the gate.
Suddenly, a green pick-up truck with the markings of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service entered the gate and stopped behind our vehicle (a short-bed, step side, GMC pick-up loaded with tools, lumber and animal feed). The driver (a uniformed Game Warden) exited the state vehicle and approached. We exchanged the standard greetings; “How are you?” “Fine, thank you.”
I finished adjusting the seat and turned to walk around the back of my vehicle to close the passenger door so we could proceed to our destination. As I walked in front of the young man, he inquired, “Where are you coming from?” At that time I made the decision to invoke and refuse to waive all of my constitutional rights and privileges—including being forced to talk to a functionary of the state (See: The Police Contact). I informed him that where I was coming from was none of his “bleeping” business.
He immediately flared. “YOU NEED TO SETTLE DOWN!”
I thought, ‘I need to settle down? Sounds like you are the one that needs to settle down’ as I proceeded to return to the driver’s side of the vehicle. It is difficult to recall the exact sequence of events under such stress, but I believe this was about where I (for the first of at least ten times) asked him, “Am I under arrest?” I also informed him that, legally, “if I am not under arrest, then I am free to go.”
He never gave me any indication that I might be under arrest so I proceeded to enter my vehicle and close the door to continue my journey. I noticed that the door seemed hard to shut. I glanced down and he was using his hand to block it. He released his resistance and the door closed.
I proceeded slowly up the road, stopped and picked up the wife and dog and continued along our private road. He returned to his vehicle and followed closely behind. I could see in the rear view that he was talking on the radio. ‘Probably running my plates,’ I thought.
We continued for approximately ½ to ¾ miles at which time he turned on his flashers. It was unsafe to stop (we were just beneath a steep, blind hill) so I tried to hand signal him to wait until I got to the top of the hill. But he insisted that I stop in that unsafe area by putting on his alarm (that god-awful sound that can no longer be called a “siren.” I stopped and he stopped ten or so yards behind me.
He immediately got on his bull horn and instructed me to “remain in the vehicle.” So, I remained, and I remained and I remained some more. This went on for at least 15 minutes (which seemed like an eternity). In the meantime, I retrieved a copy of the “ Notice to the Government Functionary” (found at the bottom of The Police Contact) from behind the visor. I intended to present it to him at first opportunity.
As it turned out, it would be quite a while before I would get the opportunity. While we waited, he remained in a tactical over-watch position glaring at me through the obligatory (cool guy) sun glasses from behind the door of his vehicle while he talked on the radio. I suppose he (erroneously) thought that a vehicle door might offer some protection.
I sat with both hands out the window. I wanted to be sure that he could see that I was un-armed. He had already impressed me as the type that could find the slightest excuse to shoot someone. I held the “Notice” (a simple piece of white paper) in one hand.
Numerous times during the wait I would ask, “Am I under arrest?” No Response. “If I’m not under arrest, then please allow me to leave.” No response. “Why are you detaining me?” No response. “You have already detained me much longer than you have the authority to do.” No response.
By this time, another vehicle arrived. It was another property owner whom he also detained by not allowing them to pass (we had the narrow, unimproved, rural road blocked).
Finally, just like on TV, the infamous “back-up” arrived. Another State vehicle disgorged another uniformed agent—a kid that, I swear, if I saw him on the street I would guess his age to be between 14 and 16 years old.
Now embolden, the primary perpetrator got back on the bull horn. “Mr. LaBaume, please exit the vehicle.”
I thought, ‘how did he know my name? It couldn’t be from running the plates because the vehicle I was driving belongs to a corporation to which I provide professional financial services. My name should not be associated with that particular vehicle in any public way. Could it be because of my open public stance on behalf of private property rights, free markets and the rule of law (which also applies to government functionaries)?
As I got out of the vehicle, it was just like on TV. He began to scream. LET ME SEE YOUR HANDS! LET ME SEE YOUR HANDS! DROP THE PAPER! (I interjected, “but you need to read what is on this paper.” DROP THE PAPER! (So I dropped the paper.) PUT YOUR HANDS UP! HIGHER! TURN AROUND! TURN AROUND! PICK UP YOUR SHIRT! TURN AROUND! PICK UP YOUR UNDERSHIRT! (Obviously, he was looking for a gun. I didn’t have a gun but I did have a knife, the end and pocket clip of which was clearly visible protruding from my front trouser pocket.) He didn’t see it and continued. TURN BACK AROUND! SPREAD YOUR LEGS! MORE! SPREAD THEM MORE! PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK! BEND FORWARD! FURTHER! BEND FORWARD FURTHER! (By now I am about to fall on my nose in the rocks from the Chinese split position.) OPEN YOUR FINGERS.
Folks, if you have never been handcuffed by an armed agent of the State (the entity that murdered some 100 million people during the 20th century), you can take it from me—those cuffs make a distinctive sound when their jaws close. And he ratcheted them down tight—to the point that the indentions in my wrist did not disappear for several hours after being released. My wrists were bruised and sore the next morning.
Somewhere during the course of all of this, I had informed him that the contortions were hurting my old arthritic shoulders. I also complained about the tightness of the cuffs. I even accused him of “police brutality” but only jokingly—I knew already that, coming from an old white guy, it was to no avail.
STAND OVER THERE! Then the questioning began, initially taken up by the man-child “back-up.” “Where is your ID?”
“I don’t have one.”
“You don’t have a driver’s license? Don’t you know that you must have a driver’s license to drive on the public’s highways?”
“I wasn’t driving on the ‘public’s’ highways. My wife was driving up until we entered onto private property. You do realize that you are on private property, do you not?” No response.
In fact, the man-child must have been a hair smarter than the primary perpetrator. He shut up and retreated to the safety of the over-watch position behind the pick-up door. I couldn’t get him to say another word—even when I asked him how old he was. Blank stare, straight ahead, eyes hidden by the obligatory (cool guy) sun glasses.
After I told them that I didn’t have an ID, the primary perpetrator decided to pat me down. That is when he finally found the knife which he retrieved from my pocket and placed on the hood of his pick-up.
By now, additional “back-up” had arrived—a Terrell County Deputy Sheriff and yet another Game Warden.
So, let’s review the scene. Here we are: a 65 year old, grey haired, arthritic, grand father (and veteran of a 35 year career in the Marine Corps, including two wars), spread eagled and cuffed and being screamed at like a violent criminal in front of his wife of 40 plus years (the mother of their three children and grand mother of their 8 grand children), and her little dog. God bless America.
This begs another question. The wife was asked a few questions (more on that below) but was never made to get out of the vehicle much less cuffed. If this guy thought I might be Clyde Barrow (which is how he treated me), what made him think Grandma wasn’t Bonnie Parker (actually, the most dangerous half of the duo)? I don’t think he did. I think his motive was pretty simple. Seeing himself as judge, jury and executioner, he was punishing me. The old guy had to be “spanked” for having the audacity to insist that his God given, constitutionally guaranteed human rights be respected.
Of course, separating the two “suspects” to see if their stories jive is a favorite tactic of these goons. Numerous times (at least three) during the questioning, the chief perpetrator would walk to our vehicle and talk to the wife. Upon his return from one of those visits, he referred to me as “Dr” LaBaume. I later asked her if she had told him that. She had not. Again, how did he know? Thinking about the answer is scary.
Grandma did a wonderful job of handling the situation—by pleading ignorance on most counts.
He had found a 357 magnum pistol in the driver’s side pocket of the door panel. He removed, unloaded, and put it in his vehicle. He asked her if there were any more guns in the vehicle. She said she “had no idea” (there were at least three, one of which was easily within her reach had she been a “Bonnie Parker” type.)
He asked her why I didn’t have my driver’s license with me. She “had no idea.”
He asked her if there was any reason why I wasn’t driving on the public’s roads. Her response was, “that’s just how we always do it.”
He asked her if she had a driver’s license (obviously an effort to entrap me in the story that she had driven on the public’s roads.) She said she did and handed it over when he asked to see it. (That was after he had referred to me as “Mr. LaBaume” so he could not have guessed that based on her license.) He took it and returned to his vehicle and apparently ran it.
Throughout all of this, I had repeatedly plead, “Please read what’s on that piece of paper” (gesturing with my head toward the paper that still lay on the ground). Finally, after all these gyrations, he decided to pick it up. He and the man-child retreated to the rear of his vehicle and I could see them reading.
It was shortly after that that he returned the pistol and the ammo to my wife. Then, in a separate trip, he returned the knife the same way. All the time, I was still cuffed. He finally took the cuffs off. As soon as he did, I turned around, offered my hand and said, “I’m Jimmy LaBaume. What is your name?”
He told me and then made one last attempt to lecture me: “When a ‘police officer’ approaches you, you need to be cooperative and answer his questions.”
“No, no, no, my man, you’ve got it backwards. You work for the citizenry. The citizenry does not work for you.”
He accused me of having “acted aggressively toward him.” I had not and I reminded him that I never made anything that could be interpreted as any sort of aggressive gesture. The absolute worst thing I might have done is use the adjective, “bleeping” to modify the noun “business” and I said that while walking AWAY from him and NOT toward him—as I would have had I intended to be “aggressive.”
During this brief conversation, I placed my hands into my pockets. GET YOUR HANDS OUT OF YOUR POCKETS, he commanded.
“Damn dude, you’ve already searched me. You should know that I don’t have anything in my pockets.”
I’ll swear, an IQ of at least 80 must be the standard for this job.
At that point, I attempted to take a quick inventory to see who had showed up and could, therefore, be held responsible at least for being an accomplice to the crime. But, I think you, dear reader, can understand how I might have been anxious to remove myself from that general area as quickly as possible.
As we were driving away, I glanced at my watch. It was 4:45 PM. I had been unlawfully detained for almost an hour—all because I told an agent of the state’s Gestapo that where I was coming from was none of his business.
Anybody know a good Constitutional lawyer?
The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits. by Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume. Click here to buy the paperback version from the FlyoverPress aStore.
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