There are a couple of ways to win a war and make no mistake, we are in a war against government tyranny. You either have more bodies that you can hurl at the enemy, or you have more money to buy what you need to defeat the enemy by every legal means. This is a story of a man who has the money to defeat the enemy, using the "system" to beat them at their own game. There is no guarantee that he will win, but he will "test" them dearly. If he does win, and he has a good chance, the rest of us will win as well. Even if he doesn't win, they, the enemy, will be put on notice that more lawsuits will follow. Eventually, someone is going to win. They can "beat" you and I up mercilessly, but woe be the government official or employee that takes on a man with money and denies him his constitutional civil rights.
This is the story of a builder, one Jeffrey Sneller, who had permits to build two houses on Bainbridge Island in Washington State.
In a nut shell, Mr. Sneller received two building permits from city government to build two houses on two separate, but adjoining lots. The first home was almost completed, when he started clearing the second lot for the second home. Along comes a neighbor who files a complaint with the city, that Mr. Sneller is clearing a wetland. He wasn't. It gets ugly from there. Shortly after the neighbor's complaint, Mr. Sneller's first house, almost finished, was torched. It burned to the ground and was ruled arson. The arsonist is still on the loose. Mr. Sneller then proceeded to rebuild the torched house and started by clearing the unsightly, burned trees around the house. The city then fined him for cutting down the burned (dead) trees. The result of the neighbor's complaint was that the City of Bainbridge Island then pulled Mr. Sneller's valid permits. That action has cost Mr. Sneller a great deal and needless to say, he is angry.
Sneller is suing the city of Bainbridge Island, its mayor, several city
employees and officials at the State Department of Ecology, all individually,
in Federal court under 42 USC Section 1983, wherein it states: Civil Rights
Violations by Government, etc.
Mr. Sneller was denied due process of law. Mr. Sneller had valid permits pulled for invalid reasons. Mr. Sneller was the victim of arson by persons unknown. Earthfirst or some "liberation front" come to mind. Mr. Sneller complied with the law and yet was denied his most basic constitutional rights. Mr. Sneller has the money to take on the "system" and has.
Government officers and employees are protected by what is called "qualified immunity".
As outlined by the Supreme Court in Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 (1982), qualified immunity is designed to shield government officials from actions "insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known."
But this qualified immunity can be broken and the government officials or employees can be found to be liable for damages under 42 USC S 1983, individually. Mr. Sneller's case will be precedent-setting if the individual government officials and employees are found to be individually guilty and have to cough up, out of their own pockets, to reimburse Mr. Sneller for his losses. As it is, they will have to defend themselves individually and pay for their attorneys out of their own pockets, unless the city uses taxpayer funds to defend them. Mr. Sneller is fighting your battles, using his money, to uphold basic constitutional rights. Everyone of us owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. Sneller for taking on the "system". There should be a legal defense fund set up for Mr. Sneller to reimburse him for what this legal action is going to cost he and his family. The legal costs will be significant.
We garner two specific points out of this situation. One, if you have money, you can fight back. Some with money have won, even though the system is corrupt. And two, If you don't have money, you had better have thousands of protestors who will take on the government for redress of grievances. Tens of thousands would be better. Government will yield, if enough people object, especially if those people could cast votes that would unseat government officials at the next election. Just ask the brave folks of Jarbidge, Nevada, but that's a whole other story.
One man, or even a small group of men and women, without huge sums of money, will have little or no effect on the juggernaut that is government tyranny. Only massive amounts of money directed at the legislative and judicial systems and many sympathetic bodies, will reverse the tide of government's abuse of power that has grown exponentially over the last 80 years. Next to that, the only other alternative is revolution, the outcome of which is entirely unpredictable.
All of you who are in the sound of my "voice", if you think that we will regain freedom and liberty on the "cheap", think again. We are almost powerless without money and your enemy knows it. And the enemy has a good portion of your money, which they use to fight you. Those who are defending your freedom and liberty are trying to do it on the "cheap" and in most cases, they are blowing into the East Wind. Just think of what they could do, if they had money.
to visit our first
YOUTUBE video. It features the song we wrote about 9/11 and the sixth
anniversary of 9/11 is rapidly approaching.
published at ecologic
Powerhouse on April 04, 2007. Republished with permission of the author.