Tag Archives: limited government

Throwback Thursday: Ferguson Troubles Began in Garden

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Three years ago today, I shared news about a man in Ferguson, Mo., — yes, the same town where the Michael Brown incident took place in August 2014 — who was fighting for the right to grow food in his garden without first obtaining permission from the city. Below I share that story again, along with an update and some observations.

Karl Tricamo received a citation for gardening without permission.

On April 23, 2012, Karl Tricamo received a citation from the city of Ferguson, Mo., for gardening without permission.

During World War I and World War II, it was considered one’s patriotic duty to plant a “victory garden” in order to reduce food costs.  Doing such a thing today, however, could result in one man having to pay a hefty fine or worse if officials in the backward city of Ferguson, Mo., get their way.

According to a news release from Dave Roland at the Freedom Center of Missouri, Karl Tricamo never imagined that it would be especially controversial when he decided to plant a garden in his yard in order to secure cheap, nutritious, organic produce for his family.  Just to be sure, however, he looked up all of the relevant ordinances in the city just north of St. Louis and confirmed that he would not be violating any laws.

Tricamo found that nothing in the ordinances prohibit citizens from growing healthy, organic produce on one’s property.  In fact, the city’s zoning ordinances specifically allow residents to cultivate community gardens and urban agricultural uses in residential areas.

Because he planted the garden in front of his house instead of behind it, Ferguson city officials soon began to pester Tricamo, going so far as suggesting that his garden was illegal.  Roland described the chain of events that followed:

In March, shortly after he had tilled the garden in preparation for planting, the city sent a letter commanding that the yard be covered in straw and planted with grass seed – even though nothing in the city ordinances requires yards to be planted with grass or prohibits the planting of a garden on residential property.

Six weeks later city officials sent another letter demanding the removal of the vegetables from his yard because the property was not zoned for “agricultural” use, but of course the relevant section of Ferguson’s zoning ordinances explicitly allows gardens to be grown in residential areas.  Then the City sent Mr. Tricamo a notice (below) alleging a violation of Ferguson ordinance number 7-133 – but that ordinance addresses the structural elements of residential buildings such as foundations, walls, windows and doors, stairways, chimneys, gutters, roofs, and buildings’ exterior surfaces.  It says nothing about yards.

When Mr. Tricamo confronted the City about this violation notice, they rapidly backtracked and claimed that it had been sent by accident!  The City said he should disregard the notice, but have continued to insist that Tricamo’s garden is illegal.

According to Roland, this situation illustrates a common practice among some city officials; when all else fails in their attempt to control citizens’ behavior, they sometimes just make stuff up.

UPDATE: Barely three weeks after publishing the article above, I received another news release from Roland. Dated July 26, 2012, it contained the paragraph below which summed up the outcome of the case:

The Board of Adjustment took up the matter on Wednesday evening and heard arguments from the City, Mr. Roland, Mr. Tricamo, and several members of the community. In addition to the legal arguments that the Freedom Center advanced, the testimony pointed out the growing movement in favor of organic, locally-grown produce and the well-documented challenges that low-income families face in finding reasonably priced vegetables in grocery stores. In the end, four of the five members of the Board of Adjustment agreed that Ferguson’s zoning laws do not prohibit citizens from growing gardens in residential areas. Ferguson’s residents are free to grow vegetables in their yards as long as they are not violating a specific ordinance or endangering the public health or safety.

In light of events that put Ferguson on the world map for all the wrong reasons some 25 months later, I suspect many city residents and officials wish this gardening fiasco had been the worst of their troubles.

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Retired Navy SEAL Fears Loss of Liberty

EDITOR’S NOTE: Two years ago this week, I shared the piece below under a headline similar to the one above. In light of the continuing assaults on individual freedoms of Americans, I decided to share it again and hope you will, too.

New York Army National Guard Sgt. Adama Ilbouda, left, and NY Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. David Tayler distribute fuel at the Staten Island Armory during the Hurricane Sandy response, Nov. 3, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy.

New York Army National Guard Sgt. Adama Ilbouda, left, and NY Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. David Tayler distribute fuel at the Staten Island Armory during the Hurricane Sandy response, Nov. 3, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy.

On May 13, a “Final Rule” on “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies,” according to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, took effect.  I became aware of it today after a retired U.S. Navy SEAL friend sent me a note containing this link to a Government Printing Office web page on which the rule was published online April 12.  His note appears below:

“I had to contact my lawyer to translate this,” he wrote, “but in a nutshell, our liberty is shrinking faster than most folks think and this regime is setting itself up to subjugate us all…  Please read and forward to anyone who you think gives a shit about losing this country to socialists.”

Anytime someone like this, a guy who’s “been there and done that,” uses this kind of pointed language to describe something he finds troubling, I tend to pay attention and take his advice.

The main portions of the published language of this Final Rule appear below, modified only slightly in format and accompanied by the language of two published comments as well as DoD’s responses to those comments:

Executive Summary

I. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

a. The purpose of this rule is to implement the statutory requirements for the Department of Defense support of civilian law enforcement agencies. This rule provides specific policy direction and assigns responsibilities to Department of Defense key individuals providing support to Federal, State, Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies, including response to civil disturbances within the United States, including the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and any territory or possession of the United States or any other political subdivision thereof.

b. The legal authority for this rule is 10 U.S.C. 375, “Restriction on participation by Military Personnel.”

II. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Rule

a. Support in Accordance With the Posse Comitatus Act — The primary restriction on DoD participation in civilian law enforcement activities is the Posse Comitatus Act. It provides that whoever willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute U.S. laws, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, shall be fined under title 18, U.S.C., or imprisoned not more than two years, or both. Section 182.6 (a) describes in detail the assistance that the Department of Defense may and may not provide civilian law enforcement agencies.

b. Support During Civil Disturbances — The President is authorized by the Constitution and laws of the United States to employ the Armed Forces of the United States to suppress insurrections, rebellions, and domestic violence under various conditions and circumstances. Planning and preparedness by the Federal Government, including the Department of Defense, for civil disturbances is important due to the potential severity of the consequences of such events for the Nation and the population. The employment of Federal military forces to control civil disturbances shall only occur in a specified civil jurisdiction under specific circumstances as authorized by the President, normally through issuance of an Executive order or other Presidential directive authorizing and directing the Secretary of Defense to provide for the restoration of law and order in a specific State or locality.

III. Costs and Benefits

This rule does not have a significant effect on the economy.  However, the Department of Defense may provide support to civilian law enforcement entities on either a reimbursable or non-reimbursable basis depending on the authority under which the support is provided. The benefit to the elements of the Department of Defense providing such support may include a benefit that is substantially equivalent to that derived from military operations or training. Additionally, the recipient civilian law enforcement agencies benefit from the Department of Defense’s substantial capabilities when those capabilities are not needed for Department of Defense missions.

Public Comments

On Tuesday, December 28, 2010, the Department of Defense published a proposed rule (75 FR 81547) requesting public comment. Two comments were received. Below are the comments and responses.

Comment #1. Comment on Proposed Rule: 32 CFR Part 182 DOD-2009-OS-0038. The definition given in Sec.  182.3 of “civil disturbance” is overly broad and encompasses any number of situations that the Legislature and DOD entities might not have in mind at the time of drafting this rule. It is my recommendation that specific reference be made to DOD Directive 3025.12 within Sec.  182.3 to allay any possible misreading of 32 CFR part 182. If Posse Comitatus is going to be suspended in times other than those specifically authorized by the Constitution, Congress must act to make the language clear and unambiguous. In addition, the definition of “Emergency Authority” in Sec. 182.3 and DOD 3025.12 is unclear. In what sort of a civil emergency can prior Presidential authorization be “impossible” to obtain. These two definitions read together give an extraordinary degree of latitude to DOD entities within the borders of the United States. Finally, I question whether a rule is the appropriate venue for an expansion of this nature. Perhaps this is a task best left to congress for full public scrutiny and debate. Should this really be a task left to the DOD to make a rule essentially gutting 10 U.S.C.A. 331-4? Despite the fact that this rule has received certification by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), I seriously question whether there are not significant implications for its enactment under Executive Order 13132 (Federalism). If it is left to the DOD to determine when force is necessary, absent a Presidential order and absent the cooperation of local authorities, Posse Comitatus is for all intents and purposes at an end.

DoD Response: No action required. This instruction cancels DoD Directive 3025.12. “Civil disturbance” is an approved definition in the DoD Dictionary and makes no reference to the Posse Comitatus Act being “suspended.” Also this rule does not make reference to the suspension of Posse Comitatus Act. It lists those actions that are permissible and restricted under the Act. The author also recommends that Congress, rather than DoD, make the language “clear and unambiguous.”

Comment #2. The Posse Comitatus Act, 18 U.S.C. 1385, clearly applies to National Guard troops which have been federalized and are deployed under Title 10 authority within the United States. However, the courts have not definitively ruled on whether the Act applies to troops deployed under Title 32, and generally it is assumed that the act does not apply under those circumstances. If Sec.  182.4(b) of this rule is meant to clearly state that the National Guard is, in fact, to act in compliance with the restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act while in support of civilian law enforcement officials while deployed under Title 32 authority as well as Title 10, then this is a welcome clarification of DoD policy.

DoD Response:  No action required. National Guard forces operating under Title 32 are under State control, and the Posse Comitatus Act would not apply. State law governs what actions state officials and state National Guard forces may take.

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For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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Mass Murder Fiction is Sure to Make Conservatives Smile

On the heels of the Republican-controlled and -led U.S. House of Representatives passing a $1.1 trillion cromnibus spending bill, I thought I’d share an excerpt from my just-released crime-fiction mystery novel, The National Bet. Shown below, it’s guaranteed to make conservatives smile — even if it only takes place inside a fiction novel:

Click image above to order a copy of the book.

Click image above to order a copy of the book.

No longer willing to accept such political posturing and double-speak, Americans began calling for resignations and launching recall petitions.

Amidst news reports about ammunition and body armor sales going through the roof, the nation’s top elected officials began to sense the end was near, that the tipping point had finally arrived. And they were right.

On Tuesday, June 30, 2015, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and leaders of both the House and Senate heard from members of Congress, state governors, and others from a wide array of academic, business and professional groups of a loose-knit coalition of people with long track records of supporting limited government. Their demands were clear: resign immediately or face criminal prosecution on a laundry list of charges, up to and including treason.

If that doesn’t whet your appetite enough, you can read other excerpts from the book here, here and here.

To find out what happens before and after these excerpts, order a copy of The National Bet.

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 1:28 p.m. Central: Check out the limited-time free-books offer here.

If you like this article and my other efforts, please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.