Imagine you’re in prison for a victimless crime. You didn’t hurt anyone. You just broke one of the government’s rules. Maybe you drove after drinking alchohol, violated parole or got caught with cannabis. Now imagine you are in Phoenix, Arizona, the 6th largest city in the US. You’re under the thumb of Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa county and administrator of a self-admitted concentration camp in the desert called Tent City. This is a place where the drug-sniffing dogs eat for $1 per day and the prisoners for just 50 cents.
Two days ago, the temperature in your tent hit 145F (63F). As Brad Spangler at C4SS notes, roast beef is cooked at 140F. This is torture. What is going on in Maricopa county?! Many of the prisoners are just awaiting trial. They haven’t even been convicted yet. The bail is simply too high for them to get out.
Where is Amnesty International? They first weighed in 14 years ago. Where is the FBI? They’ve got Arpaio under investigation. Where is your sense of outrage? Where is the action behind that?
Cooked Alive? Not on My Watch. And You?
I don’t know about you, but that’s my limit. Cooking people alive for victimless crimes? Not on my watch. No way. I’m prepared to go to Arizona with my family and work full-time on freeing our brothers and sisters from Arpaio’s Ovens. Here are a couple ideas:
Let’s Get Creative
- Set up a 145F “Arpaio Oven” in Phoenix (Tagline: “Our ovens are hotter than Hitler’s!”) and invite members of the public to spend some time there. See who can handle it the longest. Give out prizes. Publicize it widely. Get lots of follow-on media attention. Raise seed capital to make it happen from fellow libertarians. When the cops shut it down for being unsafe, it will simply be the icing on the cake. Can you imagine they themselves saying it is unsafe?
- How to free our brothers and sisters from the Arpaio Ovens? Go there, document it, talk to the prisoners’ relatives, write a report, deliver it far and wide, lobby the decision-makers bad-ass-Gandhi style, hold vigils outside the camp, do publicity stunts like the idea I mentioned above, issue press releases. If none of that works, start the civil disobedience, general strike and such.
Let’s Make it Happen!
I hope somebody in the Phoenix area picks up these ideas or runs with their own ideas. Arpaio is vulnerable. A strong effort could not only push him out but also grab great media attention for libertarian and anarchist ideas.
I’m willing to travel to Phoenix with my small family (wife, 5 yo son and I) and work on this but I need a fellow libertarian or anarchist to put me up. We don’t need a lot of space and will pay our share of utilities. But for me to rent my own place just wouldn’t be economically sustainable. I would need funding for certain parts of the project but that’s down the road, after (and if) someone in Phoenix puts us up. If you’re willing to do this, let me know before July 9th. I’m prepared to work on this full time.
I want to work with you to make Jan 2012 Honor Human Dignity Month in Phoenix and elsewhere. Let’s prepare talks for Agora I/O “Laozi” (Sep 23-25). Let’s prepare plans. Let’s meet there and let’s put Arpaio in a 145F oven of unbendable demand for human dignity. IOW, I’m going in 6 months.