Compelling Testimony in Support of Texas Liberty Preservation Act (HB149) to Nullify NDAA Indefinite DetentionSubmitted by RobHino on Wed, 03/27/2013 - 22:16
The following compelling testimony is from my good friend Chris Howe.
My testimony in support of HB 149 by Larson; the bill nullifying the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA.
I have given public testimony now on about a half dozen bills this legislative session.
This is the first one I'm offering in writing because I'm not sure I can get through it without choking up.
I got heavily involved in politics in 2007 because of a presidential candidate who spoke out against our foreign policy and the rise of a tyrannical government.
I went to sign waves, went door to door passing out literature, put bumper stickers all over my car with nifty little quotes about liberty.
It was an intellectual experience for me at that point; talking about "utopian" society and how things "should be"...While empathizing with the families that were being harmed over seas.
I continue to be extremely involved in politics today. However, it's no longer an intellectual or empathetical experience.
In 2010, while I was outside of the 100 foot boundary at a polling place, I was told by police that I had to put away a sign that I was holding.
I felt comfortable and emboldened that I was surrounded by a community of friends and acquaintances and I told the officer that I would not put away my sign.
I ended up being arrested for saying "no" to having my constitutionally protected rights being violated.
I spent a mere five hours in jail. I've spent longer than that sitting through some of these committee meetings.
In those five hours, I knew I had several friends sitting in the lobby of that police station, not more than 200 feet away.
I knew I had an attorney running around the county getting judges to sign habeas writs.
In those five hours, I could hear the jailer receiving hundreds of calls from people asking about me and why I was being held.
Even with all that support, in those five hours, those intellectual exercises on what liberty is became very real to me.
I ended up settling with the city that arrested me for $40,000. So, it was a happy ending in that front.
I'm constantly reassessing how my life has changed in the last three years.
I'm even more vocal in groups fighting for liberty.
I'm active in political campaigns. I come testify at legislative hearing.
I even moved down here from Tarrant County for the legislative session to be more actively engaged in the process.
I'm ashamed to admit it and it's why I was worried that I wouldn't be able to give this testimony in person. But there's one thing I don't do anymore.
I don't put bumper stickers on my car.
I can go all over the place and feel so comfortable being so politically engaged where there is community surrounding me.
But I am terrified to be driving home from one of those events and instead of my bumper sticker being an expression of my speech, I view it as identification.
The indefinite detention powers in the AUMF and the acknowledgment of those powers in the NDAA will be used against political enemies.
Maybe not in this administration or the next. But it will be.
It will be used to create political prisoners. It is only a matter of time if it's not happening already.
Time equals distance.
I spent five hours surrounded by a community that many don't have.
Indefinite detention takes you far away from that community and the support that they offer.
Nobody accused me of being a terrorist. Nobody accused me of maybe knowing someone that was one.
Nobody suspected me of anything that serious at all, yet it left a lasting imprint on my life.
I urge your support of this bill so that Texas will join me in that community and protect people like me.
With Texas in my community, I might be able to some day feel comfortable again to put a bumper sticker on my car.
I always thought that people would be worried about being identified if they sported a car badge or bumper sticker on their vehicle. Perhaps I chose the wrong business! Haha!