Volume 3, Issue 12 | September 2023
"The Second Amendment is timeless for our Founders grasped that self-defense is three-fold: every free individual must protect themselves against the evil will of the man, the mob and the state." ― Tiffany Madison
In this issue…
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I doubt Dickens had North Carolina in September of 2023 in mind when he wrote those iconic words, but they fit.
On one hand, we see NC’s own authoritarian export Mandy Cohen promoted to fill the criminal shoes of Mr. Fauci with mask mandates beginning to pop back up and distancing being discussed, a prominent reminder that we are not even a year removed from the covid dictatorship in our country, and no one has been held accountable.
Runaway inflation and poor employment prospects have crushed the economic situation of the average American family. This reality hurts even more in a state like ours, where much of the economy is people who actually produce things, like farmers and manufacturers, crippled under the weight of increasing cost of goods on top of extortion in the form of taxes.
Everything a politician doesn’t like is now an “emergency” or “crisis” and officials use that manufactured nonsense to ignore Constitutional rights. Our feckless tyrant governor is no exception with his ridiculous declaration of an “emergency” around public schools over education policies that have failed our children for decades.
Infrastructure is crumbling while property taxes increase, crime in the state is going up while police violate rights over victimless crimes with increasing impunity, and attention-whore politicians with no soul turn a tragic targeted killing into a “mass shooter” event to drive sentiment intended to chip away at our second amendment rights.
And yet, I am here to tell you, it is the best of times, and I have hope!
We have a slate of candidates running for local offices in 2023, all of whom are inspiring, principled Libertarians, drawn to run to defend our rights. Many of them have a real chance of winning, and they are running campaigns to make that a reality. And we have more in the pipeline for 2024. We’ll hear from them in the podcast at the start of next week.
While coward politicians cowed before their NRA masters when it came to Constitutional Carry, we did get a repeal of the racist pistol permit restrictions. Tyrant sheriff departments that hid behind arcane and poorly defined background check requirements are facing lawsuits over their feet dragging when it came to granting concealed carry licenses, and the tides are beginning to turn.
Push back against ridiculous eyesore coastal wind farms, which reliably kill dolphins instead of generating power, is gaining traction. So is support for clean, efficient, reliable, and affordable nuclear power expansion.
Education reform remains far too stagnant, with power concentrated in the hands of state-loyalist bureaucrats, but we have seen significant legislative movement toward taking power away from these unelected, unaccountable monsters and back in the hands of the families who love and support their children.
But mostly, I have hope because of you all. Our overall numbers are up over 50,000, growing every day. Donations are increasing, volunteer numbers are growing and the hours and diversity of skillsets of our volunteers is increasing dramatically.
But make no mistake, we have a long way to go, and, like in the Empire Strikes Back, we can expect the state to defend its hegemonic control aggressively and decisively. We need all of you. As we get back to school and as we are reminded of the beauty of North Carolina in autumn, I am asking you to join us, even if you can only do a little. Help a campaign – we need it. Give five bucks a month – we need it. Volunteer to phone bank for an hour – we need it. Or go to the next event at your nearest local affiliate, volunteer to table, or just reach out to active Libertarians near you. I promise, we appreciate it so much, your actions will go so far, and you will meet like-minded people who will become lifelong friends.
-Ryan Brown, LPNC Chair
Meet the 2023 Candidates
Chelsea Kurtz - Town of Holly Ridge Council Member
My name is Chelsea Kurtz, and I am running for Holly Ridge Town Council.
I decided to run for town council because of Holly Ridge’s important intersection with growth and infrastructure. We are in a delicate position to do the right things for the future and I have the patience, determination, and forethought to make sure we embark on this venture properly and carefully.
The time is now to execute positive change in Holly Ridge.
It's time to get back to basics. We need to assess the needs of our community, and take the steps to address those needs, not fall whim to the desires of the few.
We have no emergency care, we barely have any business, we have no amenities. We need them, but we need them brought in responsibly.
Our little town requires more infrastructure, more commercial investment, and more residential growth to keep in pace with the growing community. But they must be done delicately, with a council that acts as a good steward of the people's tax money.
Holly Ridge lacks diverse representation, it lacks servanthood to the constituents, and we need a council that is able to realize the vision at hand. The new council of 2024 will be extremely crucial to protecting and servicing the community for decades to come.
Holly Ridge is in desperate need of town council members who aren’t afraid of the some of the "old establishment" members currently running our locality.
As a mother of a young child and a local business owner, I stand for my fellow neighbors to serve them with humility, dedication, and integrity.
We have two big events coming up.
Don't miss these opportunities to get involved, meet Liberty-minded people, and have a great time.
NC State Fair 2023Thu Oct 12, 2023 – Sun Oct 22, 2023
The NC State Fair is a major outreach event for the LPNC and our candidates. As thanks for helping out, we will give away a COMPLIMENTARY TICKET to enjoy the Fair! Come help table and talk to people about Liberty. It is one of our most anticipated events, as volunteers always have a great time.
Freedom Fire Fest 2023
Come one, come all, and celebrate freedom in North Carolina at the second annual Freedom Fire Fest, hosted by the Cape Fear Libertarian Party. Socialize with like-minded people who are working for the same Liberty in our state as you. Meet local candidates, share ideas, participate in discussions, and then join in the festivities. The first Freedom Fire Fest was a blazing success!
by Joshua D. Glawson
North Carolina has a long history of autocratic control, especially regarding individual liberty. Whether that be freely pursuing the career one wants, building where one would like, or consuming what one wishes, North Carolina is not known for its freedom. When it comes to indulging in marijuana, North Carolina has been notoriously despotic.
Marijuana, which is hemp especially prized for its nonlethal psychoactive properties, has been controlled since 1937. Democrat U.S. Congressman Robert L. Doughton of North Carolina was at the forefront of spearheading an aggressive campaign against Liberty and the consumption of marijuana at the state level as well as the federal level. Doughton’s program was known as the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which was only one year after the propaganda film Reefer Madness (1936). With the passing of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, came the heavy prohibitory taxation and destruction of the marijuana and hemp industry in the United States.
In 1971, U.S. President Richard M. Nixon (R), who was a graduate of Duke Law class of 1937, began one of the most aggressive campaigns against Liberty and the consumption of marijuana in United States history. Nixon’s notorious War on Drugs has actively criminalized anyone who grows, buys, sells, transports, or consumes marijuana-related products. Some have speculated over the years that Nixon’s outright criminalization of marijuana and other drugs was directly targeting African Americans, Mexican Americans, and "hippies" who had a culture of consuming marijuana and butting against the overreaching government.
Over the past 10 years, many states have begun resisting federal government laws to control marijuana with Colorado being among the first states to legalize it in 2012 (#BecomeUngovernable). Since then, a total of 23 states across the country have legalized marijuana for recreational use and 38 states have legalized it for medical use. Even the states that have not completely legalized have turned a blind eye to small quantities of marijuana possession or consumption, including the state of North Carolina.
In 2023, North Carolina was presented with an opportunity to legalize marijuana for medical use. However, the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act (Senate Bill 3) was turned down. Perhaps the wording, intent, or another aspect of the bill were why it was rejected, but North Carolina went another year without even medically approved marijuana.
Just weeks after that bill was turned down, as of September 7, 2023, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) have stepped up and approved growing, selling, buying, consuming, and distributing marijuana-related products on their reservation, regardless of tribal status or affiliation (with some exceptions and steps required). Notably, the ENCI is the only Native American group to have been an LP affiliate.
This is fantastic news for those who wish to consume marijuana products and a small win for liberty in the region. Furthermore, it is a win for medical freedom, because where the state of North Carolina only wishes death and misery upon the good citizens, the Cherokee Native American tribe of the Carolinas is here for the rescue.
Marijuana has been used to aid in pain relief while not having the risks that come with opioids and opiates, reducing the severity and frequency of epileptic seizures, assisting those wanting to stop consuming alcohol, used as a form of stress and anxiety reduction, to relieve insomnia, creating a sense of hunger and reduced nausea for those on chemotherapy, reducing inflammation, and more. And, to this day, no one has been reported as having died from consuming marijuana-related products.
In fact, the federal government is finally coming around to possibly reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I (associated with heroin and meth) to a Schedule III (associated with anabolic steroids and ketamine).
All while Republican U.S. Congressman Chuck Edwards of North Carolina wants to push to continue having marijuana illegal at the state and federal level with his proposed Stop Pot Act. It is doubtful that Edwards’ Act will get very far, but it is frustrating and disheartening to see yet another North Carolinian politician stomp on the Liberty and autonomy of peaceful individuals.
While Liberty is being attacked by authoritarian politicians like Doughton, Nixon, or Edwards, people find ways to circumvent the overreach of a draconian state. If there is one thing that prohibitions of all sorts have shown us throughout history it's that freedom will prevail. Whether that freedom is for the recreational imbibing of a joint with loved ones, or a cancer patient suffering through pain and the detrimental effects of chemotherapy in need of medicinal properties from marijuana, peaceful Liberty will overcome the state’s death grip.
Joshua D. Glawson is a writer and speaker in the Liberty Movement. He has been active with the Libertarian Party of California since 2015. He now resides in his home state of North Carolina. Check him out at Home - Joshua D. Glawson (joshuadglawson.com)
by: Rob Yates, LPNC Communications Director
So often, we confuse being principled with gate keeping, and the party suffers for it. When people are succeeding in politics on Liberty messages, we should own that. We can do so without betraying who we are. We just need to understand how and when to do it.
Being a Libertarian is not a choice. Call it being red-pilled or black-pilled (or some other catchy thing), it means that you are aware of things of which you can no longer be unaware. Once you see it, there’s no amount of bourbon in our ABC-tyranny-ridden state that can erase that memory. Trust me on that one.
A downside of this is that we have incredible distrust of institutions, with more distrust reserved for larger organizations, especially as they drift further from being subject to moderating market forces, making government institutions those that are the least worthy of trust. This extends to representatives of the government, from unelected bureaucrats to celebrity candidates, and everyone in between.
This perspective makes it very difficult for us to really support candidates from the uniparty. On a local level, it probably matters less in specific cases, as we can hold individual’s feet to the fire in their commitment to Liberty, regardless of the letter before their respective names.
But at higher levels, federal especially, giving credit to any politician who comes with an R or a D is a different pill, one that we generally have more trouble swallowing than John Fetterman has forming a complete sentence.
We do this to our detriment, and we are doing it currently. And I hope you will bear with me as I explain why, but right now, we should be fully supporting Vivek Ramaswamy and RFK Jr.
I will respectfully pause while a number of you yell at the screen, or curse my name, or disavow me and all my future generations. I get it. One of our favorite things to say is that someone isn’t a “real Libertarian” because of some belief that doesn’t align with our own. I think that this sensitivity comes from the huge number of people who really aren’t Libertarian but love to say that they are, like it’s some flex, and then turn around and support the Iraq War, or corrupt cops, or imprisoning people for smoking pot, or banning gas stoves, or asserting the right of the state to make medical decisions for a child, and so on.
And we’ve been burned. False ambassadors who market themselves as Libertarian while bowing at the altar of the almighty state, proving themselves beholden to their political careers and not Liberty through actions grossly at odds with individual freedom. See Jared Polis, Bill Richardson, Bill Weld, and Paul LePage. All four of them deserve our contempt and nothing more.
So, when some new political figure garners national attention, riding on Liberty messages, and members of our party began to support that person, our collective recoil is justified. We don’t want scarce financial and volunteer resources to be redirected from actual Libertarians to support some random republicrat because that person said taxes are too high (or something like that). Sometimes, things even go as far as endorsements, and the blowback is warranted.
Before I explain why it’s different here with Vivek and RFK, there is one point I have to establish. I am firmly convinced that our primary goal is to spread Liberty, not to get politicians elected. If we lived in a country that respected the NAP and individual Liberty, but a bunch of uniparty narcissists wanted to play “government” while leaving us alone, I can’t imagine caring. Unfortunately, we have ceded so much of our power and freedom to the government, though, that getting Libertarians elected is by far the biggest way to advance Liberty, so I don’t see advancing Liberty and electing officials as mutually exclusive.
What it means is that we have to be aware of the moment, and take advantage of every opportunity given us. This is where Vivek and RFK come in.
I am well aware of the policies they have proposed that should be antithetical to every single person in this party (honestly, if you support any of these, then you really aren’t a Libertarian). Vivek wants a massive estate tax, he’s staunchly anti-immigration with no hint of irony, he weaponizes the culture war to drive support, and he has proposed invading Mexico. RFK loves celebrity rep AOC’s Green New Deal, he’s called for his political opponents to be jailed in a way that makes the Biden administration jealous, he’s advocated for wealth redistribution plans, he has stated that fraudulent speech (i.e., “misinformation”) is not protected speech, and he is historically anti-2A with only a tepid backtracking in recent months.
To these things I say, so what.
Vivek and RFK Jr. have captured the attention of much of the nation, and they have done it not based on those policies listed above, but on a message of Liberty. At a moment in time when it appears we are careening toward another shameful election battle between an incontinent dementia patient who heads a crime family and a megalomaniac sociopath who also heads a crime family (think this is hyperbolic? I bet you know exactly who each one is…), it is foolish and counterproductive to not embrace the zeitgeist around these two and the Liberty message that is propelling them.
This is not an argument that we should abandon our candidates. We have a few intriguing Libertarians who have entered the race. In particular, Lars Mapstead has set a goal of winning one electoral vote, and has the strategy and finances to make it a real possibility. Not two weeks ago, Lars registered over a percentage point on a WSJ poll, and we are more than a year from the election.
But that’s the important context. We are, in fact, more than a year from the election. Lots is going to happen, and lots is going to change. (He who shall not be named) D*n@ld Tr*mp could run from a prison cell. Prez Joey B could actually dissolve into dust while wandering off stage to the sound of an ice cream truck. We are likely facing a significant economic crash – it’s more a matter of when and how bad it is. So look at the situation right now.
Vivek wants to abolish the FBI, the CIA, the IRS, and the Department of Education, among ten total departments he would eliminate, he wants to crush the Fed down to almost nothing, he wants to implement national constitutional carry, he wants to pardon Snowden and Assange, and he wants to aggressively roll back and limit the bureaucratic state. RFK Jr. has made a career challenging the revolving door between industry and regulators, and he wants to destroy the FDA and the CDC, and hold mass murderer Mr. Anthony Fauci accountable for his blood money crimes, as well as abolishing the CIA. Both of them are virulently opposed to Central Bank Digital Currencies, want to pursue a peaceful resolution to the Russia-Ukraine war, and generally oppose foreign military intervention and imperialistic policies.
All of those are squarely Libertarian policy positions (except the Fed thing doesn’t go far enough #AbolishtheFed). And it is messaging specifically for those policies that is behind the messengers’ surge in popularity. How is it possible that we are losing ideological ground to a Republican on military intervention or to a Democrat on regulator overreach?
So understand the moment, be aware of the context, and react accordingly. Right now, we should unapologetically be supporting Vivek and RFK Jr. Not completely, not through defending their awful policies, and certainly not with money or volunteering. But we need to be aggressively owning the messaging that is driving their popularity, and right now, we do that by supporting them in a way that drives productive conversations. Back Vivek or RFK Jr. and point out to their non-Libertarian supporters how much they love those two candidates’ Libertarian messaging.
Then, when the zombies who somehow get to vote on my freedom inevitably put us back into a fever dream reality show where we are expected to choose between, on one hand, a soulless, racist, rapist career politician who turned his first wife’s death into a campaign opportunity and leveraged his position to enrich himself and his family only to finally become president when the beta amyloids in his brain took over, and, on the other hand, a soulless, racist, rapist stay-puffed marshmallow man with weird orange hair who uses lawsuits to never honor contracts and eats steak well done with ketchup, we can say, “there’s another choice…”
Instead of choosing between these two poor facsimiles for human beings, we can tout the great, principled, moral, pro-human defenders of Liberty we have in our party. And we can do so in a way that resonates with people, supported by the fact that we backed their candidates previously based on Libertarian messaging. The only difference is the person saying it.
Since the founding of our party more than 50 years ago, there has never been a moment like right now. The country hates the uniparty, but they don’t see another option. People are so afraid if they don’t vote for their side, then the other side will win and hell will be unleashed on earth. In reality, it doesn’t matter who wins, the government still gets in, and we lose more incremental rights.
If someone asks me what I think of Vivek, I am going to say, “I love him. He is great on eliminating useless agencies, pardons for Snowden and Assange, and second amendment protections. You know what’s even better? You should check out our platform.” And if someone asks what I think of RFK Jr., same thing. I will say, “He’s fantastic. He’s especially good on exposing the racket that we are told is regulatory oversight of big Pharma. As long as there is incentive, there will be regulatory capture, but market forces can fix this. Let me explain.”
So stop with the natural recoil when someone mentions Vivek and RFK Jr. Instead, support them, but be clear why you are doing it. Stick with it. Keep at it. Transition the discussion from the person to the message. Then show people there is a better way. This is how we win votes, and, ultimately advance Liberty.
The LPNC's very own Susan Hogarth joins Liberty Dad for a weekly discussion on Sunday evenings, looking at the great work affiliates are doing around the country.
Your rights, all the time. Nothing more, nothing less, no exceptions. Simple as that.
Welcome back for the third season of Liberty iNC, your Liberty-linchpin, constitutional-conundrum-crossroads, posh-porcupine-political-perspective podcast. This season, we have an extraordinary lineup of guests that some people are saying might be the best lineup in the whole history of podcasting, which we can neither confirm nor deny.
If you like it, let us know at [email protected]. And if you don’t like it, let us know then too. We welcome feedback, critiques, ideas, and suggestions. And if it's something you think might interest you in helping out, we have plenty of interesting stuff to do.
Keep an eye out for a new episode each weekend.
Find all episodes here. Available on YouTube, Spotify, Rumble, Google Pods, and Prime.
Joe Garcia, Union County LP Chair
This month, the Tar Heel is chatting with Joe Garcia, Chair of the Union County LP Joe Garcia. Joe was the prior Chair of the LPNC, offering some stability during a time of turmoil. Now he is focused on his local affiliate.
Union County LP is known for service projects like road cleanups, regular meetups for politics and friendship, and energy contributing to local and adjacent events, like the Joshua Rohrer and Pastor Moses situations in Gastonia. It is also marked by its proximity to Mecklenburg, though there is a notable difference in the politics of the two locales.
We asked Joe about his background, his motivations, his goals for Union County, and we had to touch on Charlotte FC.
Tar Heel: Joe, starting off, you are famously an ex-NYC cop. What differences do you see between the way things run in New York and the way they work here, or is it mostly the same, different packaging?
Joe Garcia: Not sure about the famously part, but yes, I am a retired NYPD Detective that put in 20 years of service for the City of New York. The biggest difference between New York State and North Carolina is that most of NY State is conservative, with the big exception being New York City which is quite liberal and NYC pretty much dictates what happens in the rest of the state, whereas NC is mostly conservative but has a purple tinge to it due to the more liberal/progressive populations in places like Charlotte and Raleigh, but is still a fairly conservative state. At the end of the day though, we realize that the republicans and democrats are just two sides of the same coin. It really doesn’t matter which side of the coin you vote for.
Tar Heel: In particular, you had an experience on September 11 that few can imagine. How has this shaped who you have become today?
Garcia: Before September 11, 2001, as a voter I was pretty independent minded and always looking to vote for the best candidate who I thought would do a good job. Then the attacks on 9/11 happen. I lost two civilian cousins that were killed when the first plane struck the North Tower and almost lost an aunt who was almost struck by someone who jumped out of building 1 as she was fleeing building 5. That day I pretty much became a neo-conservative. I became very angry and was a “bomb the desert into glass” type of guy for a while, that was, until I saw Ron Paul on stage at the Presidential debates in 2007. I watched as he spoke about blowback for the actions of the U.S. Government over the decades. I watched at how everyone on stage seemed to gang up on him, with my former boss Rudy Giuliani demanding an apology. It was that moment that I realized something was off. I started reading and researching more. I finally broke the anger and propaganda-colored glasses that I had worn for six years. That is where my journey to libertarianism started.
Tar Heel: You are also famously a powerful advocate for police accountability and criminal justice reform. What aspects of your time on the job have contributed to your mentality now?
Garcia: Going back to Dr. Paul’s thrashing of Rudy Giuliani on the debate stage back in 2007, I started to apply the lens of Blowback to law enforcement. In doing so, I realized that in the past I had enforced certain laws wherein I either issued a ticket to or had arrested someone who had not hurt anyone or taken their stuff, and there really was no victim. Laws such as not wearing a seatbelt, driving with a suspended license, and shoplifting, to name a few. In the instances of shoplifting, it isn’t that I don’t think that shoplifting is wrong, it is, but stores usually did not want to bother with restitution. They wanted the person arrested and that was that. There should have been an alternative way to handle that from the get-go. I will say that thankfully I was never a drug warrior type of cop and never made that a focus of my time in the department.
There must be more accountability for law enforcement officers. They are granted the authority by government to take away a person’s freedom or even their life. For that, they must be held to a higher standard than the public they serve.
Tar Heel: What parts of being a cop do you think most Libertarians miss?
Garcia: Most Libertarians forget where they came from. Most of them were not consciously Libertarians the moment they were born. They were brought up in households that were either conservative or liberal, and they were subject to the same upbringings and exposure to government/entertainment propaganda that everyone else was. Guess what, so were the people who became law enforcement officers. I remember growing up watching cop shows/movies and pretty much most of them (except for the movie Serpico) showed police in a good light and never really tackled corruption at any level. I became a police officer to do good for other folks. I have saved quite a few lives in my time on the street. It wasn’t until my “blowback moment” in 2007 that I started to see things for what they were, and that I was just the armed extension of (mostly) bad laws that caused people to either be fined or lose their freedoms. It is quite a sobering experience when you I was “taken out of the matrix.”
Tar Heel: OK, enough police talk. Union County is right next to Meck – Mint Hill even splits between the two – and yet it is decidedly Republican while Meck is pretty staunchly blue territory. What are the biggest local issues you see driving the electorate in Union County?
Garcia: Aside from the regular restrictions and corruption of government, a big issue is overdevelopment without the infrastructure in place to handle it. Take a town in Union County like Waxhaw. They are building new homes/apartment complexes like crazy there. North Broome Street/Providence Road from downtown Waxhaw to Rea Road is about a six-and-a-half-mile stretch. It is also only a two-lane road. Due to the explosion of out of state transplants (like myself) traffic is out of control. About six years ago I remember attending a town commissioners meeting where we were told it would be about 10 years until there was funding from the state to widen the road to accommodate more traffic. Yet they keep allowing new homes to be built. If you live on that stretch of road, it can take some time to make a turn out of your development. That stretch is crazy when the school year and rush hour is happening together. People have finally begun to wake up on this issue, but I wonder if it is too late.
Also, like in more areas of NC, the residents are pretty overwhelmingly in favor of their police force. People here will always give law enforcement officers the benefit of the doubt most times.
Finally, our county is a pretty “Red” area and not overwhelmingly open to the LGBTQ+ community.
Tar Heel: In this paradigm, where do you see opportunities for Libertarian messaging to make inroads?
Garcia: Unfortunately, most people will vote on party lines (even in the non-partisan races) and aren’t really looking into their “preferred” candidates positions or voting history. So for that, it is a matter of encouraging people to either make it out in person or watch the live stream of their town/city and county meetings to stay informed. I also like to take to the Interwebs to comment on posts related to police actions to offer a different opinion. Lastly, for the first time we will be tabling at the Union County Pride festival. I believe that the Libertarian position of love who you want to love and be who you want to be, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone or taking their stuff, goes a long way in the LGBTQ+ community.
Tar Heel: Notably, Union County has had some higher margin votes for third parties, especially in 2016. Do you think this is an anomaly or a trend, and how can we leverage it to springboard into growing prominence?
Garcia: As we are seeing across the country, more and more people are leaving the two old parties and becoming independent because they are tired of being lied to repeatedly. I believe that if we stick to Libertarian principles, have a consistent message that speaks directly to the issues that normal people (not the political class in Washington D.C.) hold dear, and maybe get a few folks elected to local office here in NC, we can show voters that Libertarian solutions work. The trick is, you can’t tell people that you want to abolish everything on day one. Voters will tune out candidates if they do. Candidates need to offer a solution that gradually chips away at the system so that people don’t go into panic mode thinking they will lose whatever services they find important.
Tar Heel: You have a unique perspective having been Chair of the State party. With that as a reference, what strategies can local affiliates employ to grow membership?
Garcia: County affiliates need to hold regular meetups. Not every meetup needs to include party business, but they must meet regularly. My suggestion is once a week in the beginning and meeting at the same time and place each meetup. You can relax that to maybe bi-weekly once you have a regular group that is showing up. Next, make sure that you have it in a family friendly place. You may have single parents or parents that could not get a sitter that would otherwise not show up. Next make sure that you have signup sheets for attendees to collect their contact info. Finally, make sure you are keeping abreast of the goings on and issues in your County for discussion.
Tar Heel: You have also been vocally involved in the current governor race in the LPNC. What characteristics do you think make someone a good candidate, and do these translate into being a good leader if elected?
Garcia: In general, no matter what office you are running for as a Libertarian, do not be a paper candidate. Be active and get yourself out in the public. In addition to attending LPNC county affiliate meetings to meet other Libertarians, it is very important to attend major events in the State (like the State Fair), county fairs, Pride events, etc. Candidates should be organizing volunteers and running door knocking events, as well as phone banking to get the word out about their campaign. They need to try and make connections with news media or even try and become a guest on non-Libertarian podcasts. Run your own “Meet the Candidate” events if you can.
Tar Heel: Looking at your time as Chair, is there one thing you accomplished about which you are prouder than anything else?
Garcia: Growth. I had worked a lot with Brent DeRidder when he was vice-chair/chair on trying to get our organizational structure set up, and while it wasn’t perfect, it was leaps and bounds better than what we had before. By the end of my term, we had had more active affiliates and more active members volunteering in the LPNC than where we stood when I first got elected as an At-Large member of the Executive Committee back in 2019.
Tar Heel: Following up on that, what did you try that you wish you could get a mulligan?
Garcia: I think there were times where I tried to do too many things at once to grow the LPNC faster. To do it all over again, I would have been a little more methodical.
Tar Heel: Union County is reliably active. You have regular meetups and road cleanups, and members can generally be counted on in a pinch. What have you done to foster this environment? How does it translate to success?
Garcia: Basically, I keep in contact with our core members who tend to show up to all of our meetups/events. We talk to each other regularly. I consider them all friends, and we have developed a close bond with each other. When I first moved to NC in 2016, Union County had one member and it wasn’t active. Today we have about 10 active members with some others who drop in when their schedules allow it.
Tar Heel: As you build on that success, what is your vision for the Union County affiliate over the upcoming months and years?
Garcia: First, I am working on plan for a recruitment push. Second, once we have a larger pool of volunteers, I am hoping to have a good support system in place to recruit a few folks to run for office in Union County in the future.
Tar Heel: OK, now, the most important question of the interview. What is Charlotte FC doing right, what are they doing wrong, and what is your prediction for them this season?
Garcia: As far as what they are doing right, they are promoting some talented youth from their NextPro club, Crown Legacy, who have been successful at making an impact on the pitch for the team.
Tar Heel: Finally, something we like to ask everyone, what message would you like to send to other Libertarians, Liberty warriors, and even those who are Liberty curious around the state of North Carolina?
Garcia: Get off the sidelines. If there is an affiliate in your county, start showing up to their meetings. If you have the time, volunteer locally or with the LPNC. If there isn’t a county affiliate in your area, consider helping to get one organized and started up. The best way for us to grow and get our message out is if we have as many people as possible involved.
Tar Heel: Joe, thank you so much for your time today. Fascinating conversation, and we appreciate it. Looking forward to seeing what you have in store.
Policing in America - A Libertarian Perspective
by: Trevor Miles, LPNC
Criminal justice, and related reform, has been a divisive, hot-button topic in the United States for more than a century. From corrupt cops getting rich with tyrannical prohibition enforcement, to racially disparate law enforcement, into Rodney King through Georg Floyd, and so many others who have suffered under the crushing yoke of qualified immunity and prosecutorial discretion, the conversation about restricting violations of life, Liberty, and property by the police has always been subject to the balance of a populace that wants to live in a safe environment, free from violent crime. I believe the conversation would be aided by the opinion of someone who has both worn the badge, like myself, who also believes that the system is in need of substantial improvement. I intend to provide that opinion in this article.
First, to understand the heart of the issue, one needs to understand the beginnings of policing in the United States. In colonial America, up to the 1800s, policing was placed in the hands of magistrates, sheriff, and citizens, in the form of temporary deputization, night watchman, and slave patrols (and sometimes angry mobs). The first professional police force was the Boston Police, formed in 1838, followed shortly thereafter by New York and Philadelphia. From the very beginning, policing in the United States was used to harass the minorities of this country, from African Americans to poor people to Eastern European and Catholic immigrants. I only point this out because, unfortunately, the state has seen fit to continue this tradition into the 21st century. To be clear, that isn’t to say that all police are discriminatory, nor that all police actions are unnecessary. I would wager that most police don’t even realize the laws they enforce have the consequence of targeting both the poor and ethnic minorities of this country, or that they’re unconstitutional.
However, in order for there to be any substantive change in the way policing is done in this country, we must enact several key reforms to the criminal justice system overall. The first reform is stated above. We need to repeal all unconstitutional laws. This includes immigration laws, gun laws, and all laws which create victimless crimes, including drug laws. This will have the instant effect of reducing negative police contact with the public, which will in turn reduce police uses of force and consequently, excessive force. It will also keep more cops safe. Secondly, we need to end this concept of qualified immunity for all levels of law enforcement. It has no no legitimate legal basis in either statutory law or common law, and is actually in contradiction with both Section 1 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871 and Section 1983 of 42 U.S.C, as it effectively prevents citizens from exercising their legal right to bring a civil action against a government agent who violates their rights. By removing this legal protection, and forcing law enforcement to carry liability insurance, we would essentially render uninsurable all cops who continue to violate rights unconstitutionally, which would force them out of the law enforcement field entirely.
We also need to end the militarization of the police, which would require ending the war on drugs, the original impetus for the militarization of police, as well as ending the 1033 Program, which permits the transfer of supplies and material from the DOD to civilian law enforcement agencies. We also need to restrict the involvement of police in non-law enforcement issues. The reality is that police should exist to enforce laws, not serve as counselors and social workers. Other, non-law enforcement, community-run programs could easily supplement this.
Now, to inspire more trust from the public, it would behoove law enforcement to do three things immediately. One, provide better access to police records to the public, including body camera footage and disciplinary records, which would enable everyone to observe the enforcement patterns by law enforcement agencies. Two, require all officers to use body-worn cameras anytime they interact with the public, and make it a crime to fail to do so for any reason. Three, transition all unelected law enforcement leadership positions into elected positions. The leaders of all law enforcement agencies in this country need to be accountable to the general public, not a gaggle of bureaucrats and politicians.
Finally, we fundamentally need to change the way police are trained. When I was trained, an “Us vs. Them” mentality was taught, with them being anyone who isn’t a police officer. This is unacceptable. The police are not a standing army. As a matter of fact, the legal precedent in the United States firmly places the military and law enforcement in two distinctly separate camps, as they should be.
Having explained the reforms that I feel are necessary, I now want to take a moment and clear the air. I don’t hate the police, I do consider their job as necessary, and I don’t regret my time wearing the badge. I also appreciate the knowledge that was bestowed to me by my FTOs and instructors, and the friends that I made through that season of my life. It is this appreciation of law enforcement that makes me want to advocate for reforms in the way policing is done, and I won’t stop until I draw my last breath.
Shotguns are for Birds, Not Bad Guys
by Justin Hinckley, LPNC Second Amendment Issues Coordinator
"Fire two blasts outside the house."
"You don't need an AR-15. It's harder to aim, it's harder to use, and in fact you don't need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun."
Look, ordinarily I would type a long-winded response about the inferiority of the shotgun as a platform. In the modern era, I need only cite Joe Biden's endorsement of the shotgun and condemnation of the AR-15 and that should be argument enough for all of us to dispense with the shotgun and install the AR-15 as the preeminent home defense tool. Since I have you here anyway, I may as well make a declarative statement: shotguns suck as home defense guns and so do you if you use one! Nerd.
That said, rule one of every gunfight is: have a gun. By that metric shotguns are adequate. But let's have a little fun and assume everyone reading this has "a gun" and now we're arguing about the best gun. And unless we're talking about birds or breaching, shotguns ain't it.
First, I'll define my terms. Unless otherwise noted, I'm referring to a 5.56 AR-15 with a 16" barrel using modern defensive or ball ammunition in a standard 30-round magazine. When I discuss shotguns, I'm referring to a tube-fed 12 gauge shotgun firing modern 00 buckshot with a 6-10 round capacity, either in pump-action or semi-automatic platforms. I won’t really discuss slugs because buckshot is my main concern as far as ammunition selection. Both guns are assumed to be properly zeroed and using quality parts in order to eliminate whataboutisms of specific brands.
Let's begin around the edges of the biggest issue in any home defense scenario: target discrimination. We only want to shoot the bad guys. Why is this relevant to the shotgun versus AR discussion? In order to appropriately discriminate a target from a non-target (friend from foe, as it were) we need accountability. Accountability in this context is the ability of a shooter to account for every round fired and all of that round. With an AR, this issue is mitigated. One trigger pull is one round. With a shotgun, the common home defense format includes buckshot, which typically carries 9 pellets per shell for 00 buckshot and the pellet count goes up based on other buckshot loads. This means that, with every trigger pull, there is more uncertainty in accounting for every "round" (each pellet being a fraction of a round) as I engage my threat. When I engage a target with a shotgun, the affected area usually starts at about 1 square inch and increases in size as the distance from muzzle increases. This means if I shoot with an imperfect sight picture, such as at a moving target, the chances I achieve a "partial hit" (only putting some of my pellets into my target) has relatively high probability. Relative in comparison to an AR-15 anyway, where partial hits are not really a thing, as the affected area remains the same at all distances. I have one round to account for and those rounds only go where I'm aiming.
I can already hear the screeching of the overpenetration crowd, so I'll address it here. This discussion is so commonly driven by rumors, urban legends, and anecdotes. (*Big sigh*) Here we go…
First the data is not conclusive as to whether 5.56 or 12 gauge overpenetrates more often because of the variability in ammo selection, barrel length, wall medium, shot placement, etc. That said, the data generally points to 5.56 as the superior round in terms of avoiding overpenetration. To disqualify an AR-15 because of overpenetration while endorsing a 12-gauge shotgun shows a fundamental ignorance of said data. Each can penetrate greater than the other depending on real-world factors, including round selection. I vehemently disagree with those who say 5.56 constantly, or even consistently, overpenetrates after striking human tissue. I challenge those who say that to produce either laboratory data or statistically significant observational data indicating such. 5.56 ball and defensive ammunition consistently catastrophically destabilizes inside human tissue, resulting in multiple small fragments which tear flesh and have minimal ability to cause damage beyond the first human target. Accuracy is the single greatest factor in how dangerous defensive ammunition is to bystanders. The greatest risk of "overpenetration" is really a miss. As it turns out, the human body is a great medium for projectiles to dump energy and reduces the overall ability to penetrate further. Our mitigation plan is simple; do not carelessly spray rounds of any caliber inside your home if you can help it. If you cannot help it, you are much better off missing with 5.56 than 00 buckshot.
The AR-15 is far superior in employment of the firearm for the shooter. I, personally, like follow-up shots. Scientifically, threats often need follow-up shots due to misses, multiple attackers, or a hit that does not stop your threat. The AR-15's recoil compared to a shotgun is minuscule and enables 2-4 shots for every 1 round out of a shotgun, typically. While a shotgun at this range is unequivocally more definitive in terms of terminal performance, this advantage exists solely on the first round and then further performance lags far behind the AR. If all you need is one round, a shotgun is sufficient, and maybe even best, but that is generally rare in a defense situation. For multiple rounds, the AR-15 prevails. You're still managing recoil with a shotgun, while with the AR you've already reset your sights, reassessed your target, and sent rounds out again or transitioned to a new target.
Then there’s the issue of round count. Hypothetically, you've managed to engage your threats for longer than an instant. You have 10 rounds, on the high end, before your shotgun is empty, which necessitates a time-intensive reload. My AR has easily thrice the round capacity and the ability to empty those 30 rounds accurately in a similar timeframe that 10 rounds can be accurately emptied from a shotgun. What's more, my magazine reload takes about the same amount of time as loading two shotgun shells. More rounds give you more options for more diverse scenarios. Shotguns exceed in a few niche scenarios but ARs carry the day when it comes to the ability to adapt to the situation. Since it is an axiom in the gun community that the scenario you train for is not the scenario you get, ARs allow us more flexibility to meet the specific context, particularly important in the moment which is likely high stress and unfolding quickly. Shotguns are hammers and we all know that when your only tool is a hammer, all your problems start looking like nails, and only nails.
While my rhetoric in the defense of ARs could continue for several more pages, I believe I have stated my case for their superiority over the antiquated shotgun. The AR-15 allows us to engage threats without doubt as to where portions of my lead went. Those rounds, which are easier to account for, also dump their energy in human tissue better than buckshot. Thanks to these two facts, I can confidently engage with a standard 30-round magazine from my AR in a faster and more accurate manner than my shotgun. Thus, I get more potential damage to more potential threats with lower potential collateral damage. Whilst I am the king of my castle the AR-15 is the King's Guard. This King's Guard should have a post in every home to protect our castles with accuracy, lethality, and adaptability. The shotgun is "a gun" and allows us to protect ourselves, but in the world where "best" exists, use it. The AR-15 is best.
TUNE IN TO THE OCTOBER ISSUE FOR THE COUNTERARGUMENT
Non Crappy Crafts
Angela Humphries is a free-spirited watercolor artist who lives by the calm, colorful waters of New Bern, North Carolina. With her loose, expressive strokes, she works to impress the magic of flora and fauna onto her canvases. Her lighthearted, whimsical mark making, infused with the inspiration of her surroundings, invites admirers to walk in nature to enjoy it’s beauty and magnificence.
Angela is a member of the North Carolina Watercolor Society and enjoys working in the privacy of her small home studio. She shares more of her work in the digital realm on her greeting card creations. Her work may be discovered in New Bern, NC at the local Bank Of The Arts Gallery, as well as the Nautical Star Coffee Shop and finally her online store via Etsy.
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