Yet Another Victim of the State… and Facebook?

This is the transcript of episode eight of The LAVA Spurt podcast. You can listen to the audio of this Podcast episode here:



This is eighth episode of The LAVA Spurt, The Another Victim of the State Edition, where we talk about the death of another woman at the hands of police, and Facebook’s complicity.

The next time you think, “there ought to be a law,” remember that every law is backed up with the threat of violence, and even death. To make my point, let me tell you a little story.

Victimless crimes

Karryn Gaines, a 23-year-old mother, was driving on March 11th and was pulled over by police for not having proper plates and registration and not having vehicle insurance. While being detained by a man with a gun for a completely victimless crime, she was also charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, and littering, all misdemeanors. Sounds to me like she pissed the cop off so he stacked charges on her. Either way, all of these crimes are non-violent, victimless crimes, with the possible exception of the littering, which was likely done on a public road.

Fast forward to July 13th and Gaines was charged with failure to appear in court, so a warrant was issued for her arrest. Again, a completely victimless, non-violent “crime.” So, on August 2nd, the Baltimore County Police in Maryland decided to serve that warrant. When they came to her home to kidnap her, she picked up her shotgun that was legally purchased a year before. She refused the officers entry into her home even though they had a warrant because she didn’t want to be kidnapped and taken away from her 5-year-old son.

SWAT Team involvement

When the initial officers realized she had a gun, they called in the SWAT team, and the SWAT team did what the SWAT team does best, they escalated the situation. Instead of remaining outside the home and trying to peacefully resolve the situation, the SWAT team breached Gaines’ home and stood inside her home while trying to negotiate with her.

At one point, apparently, Gaines pointed her shotgun directly at one of the SWAT officers inside her home and said, “If you don’t leave, I’m going to kill you.” An officer then decided he’d had enough and fired at Gaines, who then returned fire, missing the officers. The officers then fired again, killing her and shooting her 5-year-old son in the leg.

Funnily enough, the Associated Press showed a clear bias in their reporting of the situation by calling the gun a “pistol grip shotgun” to make it sound much more menacing, and said, and I quote, “An officer shot at her and Gaines fired two shots, but missed the officers, who returned fire and killed her.” So, it was the police who returned fire, even though police fired the first shot? Wrong. It was Gaines who returned fire. When even the Associated Press can’t be trusted to report the news in an unbiased manner, we have gone way over the deep end.

Now look, this woman did lots of stupid things. First, she rode around like a sovereign citizen with her home-made cardboard license plate. Then she argued with the cop and got very belligerent during the initial stop. Then she didn’t show up in court, presumably because as a sovereign citizen, the court has no jurisdiction over her. Granted, none of these actions are punishable by a death sentence, but she could have handled this a lot better.

We live in a world where men in costumes and robes have declared sovereignty over our lives. Is that immoral? Yes. Is it evil, even? Yes. But, it is the world we live in, and if you value your life, at this point anyway we have to play by their rules or face death. That is the hard, cruel reality of living in a police state.

But, I beg all of you to think of this lady the next time you say “there should be a law.” We already have laws on the books for crimes that involve a victim, like murder, theft, kidnapping, etc. We don’t need more laws on the books, we need less.

Is Facebook complicit?

One of the most disturbing pieces of this story is that Facebook when asked by police, deactivated Gaines’ social media accounts, including Facebook and Instagram, both owned by Facebook, to stop her from videoing and transmitting what was happening to the world. Facebook even has a special portal set up for “Law Enforcement Online Requests” which gives law enforcement the ability to not only request data be provided to law enforcement but to also quickly request accounts be taken down in situations such as this one.

Facebook regularly cooperates with police in this was, receiving nearly 1,500 “emergency requests” from government agencies last year. An emergency request is one in which authorities identify an immediate risk and do not have a court order or subpoena. Facebook complied with 73 percent of those 1500 requests.

In this situation, on-scene officers made the request to Facebook to deactivate her accounts because, apparently, Gaines’ followers were encouraging her not to comply with officers and this was interfering with the negotiations taking place. It took Facebook less than an hour to deactivate her accounts in this situation and keep the world from seeing what was happening. While Facebook has said they have not deleted any of the videos Gaines took prior to the accounts being deactivated, once they deactivated her accounts she could not post any more video at all, so we have no idea what happened after that. So, now, all we have to go on is the word of the police, since no one else was there and there was no video of the final incident.

In my opinion, this action by Facebook makes them complicit in the actions of the officers. I have commended Facebook in the past for adding encryption to their WhatsApp messaging app and for working on encryption for the Facebook Messenger as well. However, any good will they may have received from these acts should be immediately dismissed with these new revelations.

Don’t rely on Facebook

I recommend not relying on Facebook or other social media sites for getting your video out in situations such as this. Use products like Bambuser and Cell411 which will not only allow you to keep a copy of the video on your phone but will also stream a copy on their sites as well. Cell411, in particular, was created by a voluntaryist and is an excellent product that I support 100%. It’s completely free on Android and iPhone, so check it out.

Until next time… keep striking the root!

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Rodger Paxton
Rodger Paxton
Rodger, who runs the LAVA Flow Podcast, is a long-time libertarian activist and former Chairman and Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Arkansas. Rodger and his wife Jessica are Free State Project movers who unschool their children at home.