Keene, NH resident and Free State Project participant Russell Kanning is on a mission. Wearing overalls, a straw hat and carrying a pitchfork, the thirty-five year old libertarian activist is out to expel the Federal Government from his city. And, despite his lack of sophisticated weaponry, he has triggered quite a response from Washington.
Plain clothed officers and uniformed Department of Homeland Security agents were present in force to meet him at noon today as he appeared at Keene’s IRS office with several supporters. But it wasn’t his pitchfork or his friends that had agents seeing red, it was his handful of….flyers.
“I want them to quit their jobs,” he says, referring to the one or two IRS agents that staff the part-time office on Main Street. His flyers contain a form which he is asking IRS agents to sign, pledging they will stop working for the agency because of what he considers the “evil things” it funds.
Kanning says he is most upset by their use of tax dollars to underwrite the Iraq occupation and also displeased by their arrest this May of Plainfield resident Ed Brown, a prominent tax resister.
When Kanning entered the building, “authorites” quickly interposed themselves.
“I think we could call it tilting at windmills,” he joked. After bantering with the perplexed agents for a few minutes, Russell slowly walked toward the single flight of stairs leading to the IRS office. Officers then quickly, but carefully, placed his hands behind his back and cuffed him.
Activists from NHfree.com, including a professional videographer crowded in to document the event but were elbowed back by agents. They then placed him, his straw hat and his overalls into a DHS squad car minus the pitchfork but grinning and waving to photographers.
He ended up being booked and released from Keene Police Department around 3 p.m., but that’s where the story gets interesting. Instead of going home, Kanning returned to the IRS office and walked straight toward the door (sans flyers), whereupon he was cuffed, booked, and released again, this time, as before, on charges of disorderly conduct.
“I never got to talk with the IRS workers,” he says, “but I did get to ask some Homeland Security guys to quit.”
More details on this unfolding situation are on the NHfree.com forums. Russell, who also happens to be an editor of the Keene Free Press, announced on Free Talk Live tonight that he doesn’t plan on showing up for his court date, which is tomorrow. Stay tuned to FTL for the latest!