More thoughts on Brandon Raub

Brandon Raub

There have been a couple of stories about Brandon Raub here at United Liberty.  This is one of those stories that is bound to get some legs in the pro-liberty community, so it’s no wonder that we’re discussing it.  It’s a story that has all the hallmarks of something we could sink our teeth into.

Marshall McCart wrote:

As of last night, Mr. Truth himself, Ben Swann, stated that he was on it. That makes me feel good. Ben will get to the bottom of it. He has said that at this point—it does not seem to be passing the smell test. Also, the Rutherford Institute has now come out in support of Mr. Raub. But until more information presents itself, I just can’t make an informed analysis; however, I will say this—if he wasn’t involuntarily committed in a proper way…if this was just the government deciding that they would detain this man for words he wrote. Then—we might have a problem. This might be a game-changer. This could be one of the biggest stories in America that hardly no one knows about. If this was done improperly, then the United States Government may have just committed an egregious error.

Meanwhile, Kevin Boyd wrote:

Call me a statist shill, a neo-con, a sheep, or whatever but I think the authorities have acted appropriately in this case, especially in light of the recent mass shootings in Wisconsin and Colorado. It is not a crime to believe in conspiracy theories, no matter how absurd they are, or to criticize your government. Nor should it ever be. The problem is that Mr. Raub has advocated violence and/or has demonstrated that he was willing to consider it. This is not a free speech issue nor is this an issue about the indefinite detention provisions in the NDAA. This is not the Soviet Union or any other totalitarian state declaring a political opponent mentally ill just to silence them. This is a guy who is being held for psychological examination by a local government for advocating violence. Given the content of his Facebook wall, it appears necessary to do so to protect the general public.

So, the question is, who is right?  Well, to an extent, both of them are.  Honestly, Raub looks like a guy who believes in some really crazy theories.  I suspect that if we look deeper into things he believes, we’ll find a plethora of conspiracy theories that he is convinced are true.

Raub isn’t unusual, as much as some in the pro-liberty movement would like to believe he and his beliefs are.  Those who are skeptical of government have little difficulty believing that a government would dump horrible chemicals onto its people, or blow up buildings to justify war.  Those of us who don’t believe them usually fall into another camp of the pro-liberty movement: Those who know how inept the government usually is and therefore have trouble believing they’re pulling stuff like this off.

Mr. Raub is fairly common in another way as well.  He’s a guy who shoots off his mouth.  He talks a big game, just like a lot of people who talk about overthrowing the United States government.  Oh, he’s “Sharpen up my axe; I’m here to sever heads”  Yet he’s done nothing.  The FBI hits him and most likely searched his home.  No illegal weapons, no explosives, nothing.

Now, should his threats have been taken seriously?  Honestly, I’m inclined to argue no.  In particular, because there was little direct threat against any specific targets.  Obviously, Kevin disagrees with me.  That’s fine.

The truth of the matter is that I have to disagree with Kevin on one significant point.  The fact of the matter is that this really is a free speach issue.  Raub’s comments might be able to be construed as threats, but should that be regulated speech?  This is particularly important because most of these “threats” weren’t against any specific target.  It’s was a bunch of smack talk.

Now, should we regulate what people actually say?  Some would argue that a threat against an individual or a group should be illegal, that it impacts their liberty.  Others may argue that words should be unregulated, and only acts should be deemed illegal. After all,these folks might argue, you have no inherrent right to be confortable.

Me? I think both sides do have a point.

However, reports of involvement by the FBI and the US Secret Service has me a bit concerned.  Raub is a crackpot, and he shot his mouth off.  So far as I’ve been able to find, there were no threats against the president, so why is the Secret Service involved? Why are the FBI involved in what should probably just be a local matter?

The FBI denies that they arrested Raub, though it does appear that both agencies did question him.

So far, Raub hasn’t been charged with anything.  In fact, it’s entirely possible that he won’t be charged with anything.  Dee Rybiski, spokeswoman for the FBI Richmond field office, told ABC News, “When we left we had not arrested him, we did not touch him, we did not detain him. There are no charges pending.”

If there were no charges pending, then it sounds like there wasn’t any grounds for Raub to be picked up in the first place.  Even if it’s not the FBI’s call, someone out there certainly seemed to feel like they had the right to determine what one can say.  That makes it a free speech issue.

The real discussion is where do your rights end and someone else’s begin when it comes to words.

Image courtesy of CutDC

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