June 2023 - From the Chair

It's time to fight back against oppressive central authority, and petty politicians with little man complexes. We need your help to do so! Today, I am asking you to join us, and telling you how. 

We are all in this together, and so one of the most important responsibilities I see myself as having, as your Chair, is to communicate with you honestly, without spin, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Of course, I prefer sharing good news with the state, and I imagine people prefer it as well, but I am not naïve. I know things will go wrong, because of our missteps and because of things outside of our control. If we are not honest about what happened, we have no hope of fixing it.

Occasionally, though, something happens that supersedes all pretense of rational response, and we are reminded that we are fighting a machine with near limitless power that has learned and evolved for decades, perfecting the cruel art of subjugating anyone who stands in its way.

If you have not heard already from Mike Ross, it is from a position of equal parts rage and sadness that I want to tell you all that the City of Gastonia has hit Pastor Moses Colbert with fines of over sixty thousand dollars. This is in addition to all the fines and citations he has been forced to endure over the last three years.

If you need a refresher, Pastor Moses runs an entire ministry dedicated to helping those in greatest need. He feeds and shelters the homeless. In fact, for three years of Pastor Moses operating his shelter, there had not been a single homeless death from exposure.

But then Pastor Moses had the audacity to speak out against the two Gastonia police officers who assaulted, tased, and falsely arrested homeless veteran Joshua Rohrer, and also tased his service dog, Sunshine, who was killed the next day as a direct result of police negligence.

For this grave sin of giving a voice to those without one, Pastor Moses was punished by the city (who swear it was totally unrelated), and his meager shelter shut down because of fire code violations found during a surprise inspection shortly after he came to Joshua’s defense publicly.

The entire saga is long, horrific, and ongoing; we have covered it extensively if you are interested in learning more. At the beginning of this year, members of the LPNC worked with You Are the Power and Pastor Moses to get two shipping containers that could be used as a shelter that passes inspection. And we all thought, at least on that front, the city was quieting down. Apparently, we underestimated their propensity for heartless cruelty and evil.

There is no such thing as a “bad cop,” there are only criminals who masquerade as cops. Public servants are here to serve. Yet it seems that every time the administration and the law enforcement sides of our state apparatus join forces, the results are bleak.

Look at the unresolved case of Monica Ussery, arrested to settle a score for protesting. Or the case of Jada Johnson, who was shot 17 times, but the cop was exonerated by a grand jury and we are forbidden from seeing the body camera footage. Or Jason Kloepfer, a disabled man who was awakened by a SWAT team ordering him outside, and then shot as soon as he opened the door. The police were laughing and joking until they realized he had it all on his video camera, and they couldn’t control that.

But we will not sit back idly and accept this oppression and tyranny. We have several plans to push back, starting with this Saturday, June 17. We will gather at noon at Pastor Moses’ Faith, Hope and Love Ministry for a rally and a march. We need you there.

We do this because it matters, and because it is the right thing to do. But our task is daunting, our challenges massive. We need everyone reading this to do what you can. Call the City of Gastonia and let them know what you think. Join the LPNC, or your local affiliate. Make a donation. Come to one of our rallies. Don’t get discouraged by the enormity of what we face; those who pull the levers are counting on you getting disheartened.

Starting by showing up this Saturday.

-Ryan Brown, LPNC Chair

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  • Rob yates
    published this page in From the Chair 2023-06-13 01:27:10 -0400
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