First They Came for the Vegan Protesters of HoneyBaked Hams and I Did Not Speak Out Because I Was Not a Smiths Fan…


Via the blog Against the War of Terror (yes, yes, boys, but what're you for?) comes a true story of government surveillance in action, that underscores what all listeners of Vicki Lawrence could have told you a couple of decades ago: Don't trust yourself to no backwoods Southern lawyer (instead, call in the ACLU of Georgia):

More than two dozen government surveillance photographs show 22-year-old Caitlin Childs of Atlanta, a strict vegetarian, and other vegans picketing against meat eating, in December 2003. They staged their protest outside a HoneyBaked Ham store on Buford Highway in DeKalb County.

An undercover DeKalb County Homeland Security detective was assigned to conduct surveillance of the protest and the protestors, and take the photographs. The detective arrested Childs and another protester after he saw Childs approach him and write down, on a piece of paper, the license plate number of his unmarked government car.

"They told me if I didn't give over the piece of paper I would go to jail and I refused and I went to jail, and the piece of paper was taken away from me at the jail and the officer who transferred me said that was why I was arrested," Childs said on Wednesday.

The government file lists anti-war protesters in Atlanta as threats, the ACLU said. The ACLU of Georgia accuses the Bush administration of labeling those who disagree with its policy as disloyal Americans.

Whole story here.

Info on starting a HoneyBaked Ham franchise–"You can be sure you have quality time to spend with your loved ones. After all, we're a family business too"–here.

Ratings of The Smiths' Meat Is Murder LP here.

NEXT: Federal Budget Day (Read It and Weep)

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  1. If true, this is absurd. If you, as an undercover agent, or any LEO park your undercover car in a place where people can see the license plate from a legal vantagepoint, they have the right to record it.


  2. If true, this is absurd. If you, as an undercover agent, or any LEO park your undercover car in a place where people can see the license plate from a legal vantagepoint, they have the right to record it.


  3. Well…Muslims don’t eat ham…I guess the FBI saw some sort of “connection”.

  4. Nobody’s allowed to watch the watchmen.

  5. So, if the guy in the unmarked car gets out and flashes a badge, he’s just confirmed that he’s an undercover officer.

    Way to protect the cover, dude.

  6. My brother was an environmental activist after college for a while a couple of decades ago. He and his cohorts went around the country protesting various things that weren’t going to change regardless of what some neo-hippies (my brother and his friends) did.

    Apparently any time the police got photographed or videotaped they would demand the camera or camcorder as evidence, and ugliness (arrests, roughhousing etc.) ensued when they refused to turn over their private property. It seems the cops couldn’t care less about the “evidence” when they (the cops) weren’t in the picture.

  7. Jeez, good thing she didn’t just memorize the plate numbers, she would have had to hand over her mind.

  8. I’ve said before that since cop cars are fitted out with cameras and videotapes anyway, it should be required that all cop/citizen transactions be filmed, and if the film can’t be found then the citizen is automatically assumed innocent and blameless. I’m sick and tired of this current situation, wherein film which supports the cop’s story get shown to the world, but film which makes cops look bad gets suppressed.

  9. A crack on the head
    Is just what you get
    Why? because of who you are!
    And a crack on the head
    Is just what you get
    Why? because of what you are!

  10. People who prey on poor, helpless vegetables deserve no better.

    Anyway, why does DeKalb County, GA have a Homeland Security detective in the first place?

  11. I have yet to figure out who does what in Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.

    One sees signs everywhere to be vigilant and take note of suspicious behavior. A strange man taking photographs does (and has in the past) fit the bill.
    Time for the “I Thought He Was A Terrorist” defense.
    Also, in this age of cheap and plentiful camera phones, how is it that an organized protest, in the SOUTH no less, doesn’t have a video record of every confrontation. Hell, they should have a live feed.

  12. umm i think i would give the piece of paper to him then i would give him the finger then i would remember the licence number….of course i am not a pot smoking vegan so i have the magical power of short term memory.

  13. I’d have refused to given him the piece of paper, given him the finger, and called him a pig.

    I’d still have ended up in jail, but it’d be worth it for the bad cop-related press.

    Wait…no, I’m not a dirty hippie, I’d have gone in the store and purchased a few huge ham sandwiches. Mmmm…ham sandwich.

  14. Mmmm…ham sandwich.

    From a wonderful, magical animal.

  15. D.A.:

    Dekalb County, GA probably has a Homeland Security officer because it is home to 660,000 people, many of whom are recent immigrants, and adjacent to the city of Atlanta. It’s not podunk, if that’s what you were thinking.

    Tingy Wah

  16. “The pig is a marvelous animal. Every part of him makes a delicious breakfast.”

    I wish I remembered who said this. I love the quote.

    – Josh, frying pork chops for dinner

  17. Caitlin Childs was one of my sister’s best friends in middle school. A strange one to say the least. For anyone familiar with Atlanta, Caitlin also “works” at the Clermont Lounge, an extremely seedy and popular strip club. That’s probably the only thing she’s qualified to do.

  18. From a wonderful, magical animal.

    Mmmmm….unexplained bacon

  19. umm…no offense intended to any former strippers here.

  20. Josh, frying pork chops for dinner

    Your dinner offends certain religions and hippies. Prepare to have the former burn your house down, and the latter show up to light joints off the flames and tell you at great length about how “the system” is bad and stuff. It’s up to you to decide which fate is worse.

  21. None taken, BB.

  22. >That’s probably the only thing she’s qualified to do.

    Why make a personal attack on the woman? If her story is true, she’s experienced a serious infringement of her civil rights. I think that is the point here.

  23. Why make a personal attack on the woman? If her story is true, she’s experienced a serious infringement of her civil rights. I think that is the point here.

    Maybe it’s a form of “whistling past the graveyard.” To whit: “If I can convince myself that this woman only had her civil rights violated because she’s none-too-bright, that means I don’t have to worry about having MY civil rights violated in a similar manner.”

    I remember reading somewhere that female jurors are MORE likely than male jurors to believe that a rape victim who wore revealing clothes was “asking for it.” I think that’s the same thing–“Women only get raped if they dress a certain way, I do not dress that way; therefore, I need never worry about being raped.”

  24. joshua corning,

    OT, but I was just surfing Wikipedia and discovered that “The Finger” is at least 2500 years old! Apparently there are references to it in literature going all the way back to ancient Greece. I never would have guessed.

  25. i was thinking the same thing – veganism obviously has destroyed her short term memory if she can’t recall a license plate #.

    have some ham, lady!

    from a m’fing charming pig, no less.

  26. What are you talking about V, it is self-evident that vegetarian strippers are weird, thus, ‘civil rights’ arguments do not apply.

  27. The Night that the Lights went out in Georgia: Plot synopsis.

    “Brother” comes home from business trip, goes to bar. Friend Andy Warlow talks to him, says ‘your wife’s cheating with Seth Amos. Don’t get mad, I been sleeping with her too.’

    Andy goes home from the bar. “Brother” goes home, wife’s not there so he figures she’s left town, and gets his gun, and goes through the woods to Andy’s house to go shoot him. Sees tracks on the ground from smaller feet. Gets there, Andy’s already shot, “Brother” alerts the police by shooting into the air. “Brother” is arrested by cops.

    “Brother” is tried, convicted and hung, although he didn’t shoot anyone. Actual killer is the narrator of the song, “Little Sister”, who shot both Andy, and “Brother”‘s wife (and hid the body).

    Irrelevant post ends. 🙂

  28. To make a more relevant point :)..

    HoneyBaked ham is indeed delicious, if a bit overly sweet for my taste.

  29. I’m confused. What was the charge? We should be able to look it up.

  30. I made the personal attack on the woman because when I was in high school, my sister would bring her and their other smelly friends over. A lot of them were literally covered in dirt for some faddish reasons that I couldn’t fathom. It’s a personal dislike, and also because vegetrian strippers are weird.

    I think she did a good thing by resisting the cop’s demand to give him back the license #. It pisses me off that this police state crap is going on in general and it pisses me off more that its going on in my neighborhood.

  31. Well I have to confess that I, too, find Honeybaked Ham to be delicious. However, I’m also a serious fan of The Smiths. I can’t believe the negative reviews of Meat is Murder that appear on that link.

    When it comes down to it, I’m far too confused by my feelings to come to a conclusion as to whether she should have been jailed or not.

  32. “I must have heard that song, like, a million trillion fucking times when it was big….but I never realized until now that it was the cheatin’ wife who shot Andy!!”

    -Nice Guy Eddie, Reservoir Dogs

    RIP Chris Penn

  33. They never found the body…
    and there’s a Honeybaked Ham plant nearby…

  34. You know, one of the more common arguments found in 4th Amendment cases (e.g., garbage can searches) is that the search was conducted in an area, etc. that was directly open to general public access (basically the argument is used in regard to the reasonableness of the expectation of privacy). Its hard to see how what the cop did squares with this observation about the nature of public access to what is readily visible on the street, etc. and indeed is a rather chilling reminder concerning the government’s near natural desire to avoid observation of its activities. The state likes a (in the words of James Scott) “legible citizenry” that is more “susceptible to careful measurement and calculation,”* but the state, or rather the actors who make up the state, perfer to remain inscrutible and unseen except in managed situations.

    *Seeing Like A State, pg. 11

  35. >It’s a personal dislike,

    Well, it would be strange to come across an item about someone I personally know and dislike on a blog like this and I can see how it might lead to some improvident venting. But your comments about her were awfully harsh and jarring to read.

    >It pisses me off that this police state crap is going on in general

    Yeah, arresting someone for writing down a license # is far beyond the pale. You have to wonder what was going on in that cop’s mind and what possible justification he gave himself for his actions.

  36. >what was going on in that cop’s mind

    Wow, as I was wondering Hakluyt was answering…

    “indeed is a rather chilling reminder concerning the government’s near natural desire to avoid observation of its activities…but the actors who make up the state perfer to remain inscrutible and unseen except in managed situations.”

  37. If the sister shot Andy and the cheating wife, what was her motivation? Anger at them cuckolding her brother? Then why would she let her brother hang for her crime?

    It makes more sense that the wife shot Andy and then the sister shot the wife to avenge her brother’s execution. But then why would the sister leave tracks to Andy’s place on the night in question?

  38. Gimme –

    The sister found Andy and the cheating wife and shot them. The brother showed up after she’d left, freaked out, and shot a round into the air to summon help. He then got arrested, tried, and executed that evening, before his sister knew he was in trouble (or even in the area) and before she could confess.

  39. Maybe Little Sister is just a psychopath.

  40. “You have to wonder what was going on in that cop’s mind and what possible justification he gave himself for his actions.”

    Probably something like “L’etat c’est moi.” That would seem to be the attitude of most “public servants.”

  41. umm…no offense intended to any former strippers here.

    How about to former strippers’ current boyfriends? Such glib generalizations piss me off. No matter, you may freely express yourself.

    And no, I’m not referring to any (ex)strippers that read the blogs here whomever they may be.

  42. Thank you for reminding me of the Clermont Lounge!

  43. Jason Ligon,

    If you’re looking for the law that was broken, my guess is that it was the catch-all 16.10.24 in the Georgia Code:

    (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, a person who knowingly and willfully obstructs or hinders any law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties is guilty of a misdemeanor.

  44. …lawful *discharge* of his official duties…

    That is too funny…in a multiplicity of ways.

  45. Heh, I was just looking at Ms Child’s picture, wondering if vegans consider human semen to be an animal product.

  46. I wonder what other crimes were committed in DeKalb County while the cops were so busy watching a bunch of militant vegans? (“Militant vegan” sounds like something from Monty Python.) In addition to the very serious civil liberties questions, I also think there’s a question here of serious waste of tax money. Surveillance like this is expensive, and I for one prefer that money spent looking for actual criminals.

  47. Heh, I was just looking at Ms Child’s picture, wondering if vegans consider human semen to be an animal product.

    In my experience, they tend to make certain allowances. 😉

  48. Surveillance like this is expensive, and I for one prefer that money spent looking for actual criminals.

    Pffft. The cops would rather do something safe like spy on vegans, than solve actual crimes, which might endanger said cops. I’m still ticked off about the time a few years ago when I was living in what turned out to be a rough neighborhood and called 911 to report a guy being beaten up by a few others right below my fourth-floor window. Nobody came, and nobody came, and nobody came. But I’ll bet that if I’d told 911 that a harmless skinny kid was smoking a joint I’d’ve had have the whole police-cruiser fleet arrive.

  49. If you want help, don’t yell “Help!” Yell “Fire!”

  50. disclamier I was making fun of the arrested woman for being a stupid dirty hippy…not for being a woman.

    That aside I hope the ACLU nails the fucktard gov cop to the wall.

  51. “Heh, I was just looking at Ms Child’s picture, wondering if vegans consider human semen to be an animal product.”

    She don’t eat meat but she sure like the bone

  52. I don’t know which band was more annoying, the Smiths or REM. Now there’s a tough question.

  53. You see, this is exactly proof as to why our government is out of control. When I am forced, forced, I say, to defend militant, pasty faced vegans, it is proof that we as a nation are lost.

    Thanks, Mr. Bush. You finally pushed me into doing what I swore I’d never do…

  54. Taking inspiration from Douglas Fletcher, I must state as way of explanation for your actions that some kleptocracies are bigger than others.

  55. This is probably why Republicans are OK with this kind of survelliance: it seems like it’s always the Quakers, or animal rights groups, or Greenpeace that gets harassed like this, and never the NRA or Focus on the Family….they can’t imagine it happening to them, since they’re patriots and not America-haters, so who cares if it goes on?

  56. The cool reference in the title is to a famous letter written by the famous lawyer Gerry Spence:
    First They Came for the Fascists
    Just in case you didn’t realize what is at stake here.

  57. Ted, I think you’re exactly right.

  58. “Awareness is bad for the meat business. Conscience is bad for the meat business. Sensitivity to life is bad for the meat business. DENIAL, however, the meat business finds indispensable.”
    -John Robbins, Diet for a New America

    “Vegetarian food leaves a deep impression on our nature. If the whole world adopts vegetarianism, it can change the destiny of humankind.”
    -Albert Einstein

    “My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chided for my singularity, but, with this lighter repast, I made the greater progress, for greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension”
    “Flesh eating is unprovoked murder.”
    -Benjamin Franklin

    “Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
    -Albert Schweitzer

  59. veganism (which i can respect as a moral stance – kind of), as a matter of nutrition is, how do i put this delicately – stupid.

    also, proponents of veganism (and/or vegetarianism) love to selectively quote all the “good people” who are/were vegetarians as if this somehow justifies it – see: argument from authority (or kewlness).

    there are plenty of awful people (as opposed to einstein, etc.) who are also vegetarians.

    furthermore, i always find it interesting the way that einstein is seen as some sort of social genius (you can’t simultaneously prepare for…).

    einstein was (in general) a political moron.

    much as somebody like chomsky can be brilliant in linguistics, but idiotic in politics , Soros can be a great investor but an idiot in politics, etc. einstein had some really dumb at worse, and naive at best political and social policy ideas.

    certainly, from a sports performance (specifically strength sports angle) veganism is absurd.

  60. So, whit, you are a licensed nutritionist, to be able to make such claims about nutrition?

    Notice the Einstein quote had nothing to do with politics, but with human disposition, and he was right on – Vegans don’t go around calling non-Vegans “stupid” and attacking them as “smelly, dirty, potsmokers.”

    Then, there’s the multitude of successful vegetarian/vegan athletes, including Carl Lewis:

    Way to make assumptions about something you obviously know nothing about (typical of non-Vegans to justify their lifestyle with false assumptions).

  61. Licensed nutritionists are generally about 10 yrs behind the curve in nutrition science. any sports scientist knows this.

    furthermore, talk about an argument from authority. if only “licensed nutritionists” can speak about nutritionists, then only those with a law degree can opine on search and seizure here? so all the people opining on various legal issues are all lawyers, or even better “constitutional law professors?”

    lol. how absurd.

    fwiw, licensed nutritionists have stuck with the absurd “food pyramid” that even the US govt. has finally given up on.

    the fact that you would think a licensed nutritionist is the only authority (or knowledgeable person) on nutrition says a lot about how much you (don’t) know about nutrition.

    i know far more about veganism and vegetarianism than you could ever imagine.

    you sound like a typical religious zealot vegan. i know them well.

    also note that i emphasized STRENGTH SPORTS angle. carl lewis was a great runner. and he was a vegetarian. exceptions exist to every rule. he also was not a strength sports athlete, although he had a pretty decent power clean #’s (most sprinter do), although nowhere near a pyrros dimas #

  62. to clarify my last, licensed nutritionists have (as in past tense) been sticking with the food pyramid for the last couple decades, but even them have largely NOW given up on it as a poor dietary guideline. of course, knowledgeable sports scientists involved in cutting edge research realized it was silly many many years ago

  63. Have you ever seen a Vegan food pyramid? The one they’ve been using for many, many years, since the FDA food pyramid was designed only to promote dairy and meat consumption.
    So you’re going to tell me that Alexander Dargatz cannot compete with non-Vegans?

    Unfortunately, in this country, the Bar Association dominates legal discourse, so yea, it does help to be a lawyer (or at least have a law-related B.S., like myself) to participate in discussion of law and politics.

    As for being a religious zealot Vegan, aren’t you a religious zealot meat-eater?

  64. I have worked with many strength athletes and trained with some national level competitors. i have yet to meet one who has been successful witha vegan diet. lacto-ovo vegetarians can do pretty well, otoh, especially with modern technology (high quality protein powders using egg protein etc.). iow, with milk proteins, egg proteins, etc. in your diet, it is actually possible to construct a reasonable diet for a strength athlete.

    your link didn’t work.

    i can tell you that there is a dearth (to put it lightly) among top strength athletes who are vegans. i am not aware of ANY. can you name one.

    strength sports – shotput, hammer throw, powerlifting, olympic style weightlifting, strongman, (and to a lesser extent ) bodybuilding.

    maybe there is one. i;m not aware of any

    i pulled up dargatz’ picture off some german website. um… lol. spare me. i’ve seen women weightlifters with more muscle than him.

    compare to Darrem Charles, Ronnie Coleman, Dexter Jackson, etc. and get back to me.

    why do you assume i am a meat eater? please compare and contrast between VEGANISM and Vegetarianism. I readily concede that one can construct a decent diet that is lacto-ovo vegetarian. veganism is another story. although for ultimate performance, meat is better, thus vegetarianism is a handicap.

    and fwiw, the reason i bring up religious zealotry is that vegans are notorious for using pseudoscience to further their cause. my favorite is their use of PCRM pseudoscience. PCRM is a political organization that does faux science to promote an ideological agendy. their crediblity is right up there with the studies promoted by tobacco companies that claim that nicotine is not addictive lol.

    as i said, i respect veganism and/or vegatarianism as a moral choice.

    proclaiming that it is a superior HEALTH choice is absurd.

  65. OT, but I was just surfing Wikipedia and discovered that “The Finger” is at least 2500 years old! Apparently there are references to it in literature going all the way back to ancient Greece. I never would have guessed.


    Yes, offhand I know it is referenced in Aristophanes’ play The Clouds.

  66. Is it absurd? What dietary-related diseases are related to Veganism? Obesity, diabtetes, heart disease, impotence; all are directly attributed to the consumption of animal products. Only a Vegan diet can reverse the effects of a lifetime of consuming animal products. PCRM is suing the companies that promote the lie that dairy can in any way promote weight loss, and you compare them to tobacco companies? What about the “pseudo-science” that says a diet packed with excessive protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol is healthy?

    Why does protein have to come from milk or animals, when there are plenty of other vegetable sources? How is that protein, which was designed for animals, in any way superior to vegetable protein?

    “Leading nutritionists Dr. Doug Graham, Rozalind Gruben, Dr. Ruth Heidrich and Dr. Rick Dina will join the athletes in explaining the science of vegan nutrition. Dr. Graham, who has trained many Olympic caliber athletes, explains: ?Every nutrient known to be essential for human health is available, in proper concentration, in plant foods. This is not so with animal-based foods, as there are many essential nutrients totally absent in them.? ”

    Vegetarian/vegan athletes:
    “Jane Black has set numerous Master’s National and World records in weightlifting, and in the process has shattered the stereotype of the “frail vegan.””
    Killer Kowalski – professional wrestler
    Carl Lewis
    and many others that compete at the same level as non-vegs

    Then there’s this study PCRM conducted with Georgetown University that showed a Vegan diet to reverse diabetes while the American Diabetes Association diet did not:

  67. I was waiting for a PCRM dietary shill to post. thanks for not dissapointing me.

    dietary diseases don’t occur because (in general) substance X (substrate, whatnot) is “bad”. dietary diseases result from excess and inbalance. it is a classic logical fallacy. PCRM quasi science. iow, because there are so many chronic diseases associated with poorly balanced diets (lack of fiber, too much saturated fat, etc.) it does not therefore follow that elimination of saturated fat (for example) is good. it is not. PCRM PETA shills use the classic “exclude the middle” fallacy to try to laughably “prove” that vegan diets are healthier. except – they are not. anytime science is forwarded with a blatant political agenda – bad science results. it ALWAYS happens that way. and PCRM/PETA is one of the worst offenders.

    going to PCRM/PETA for advice on diet is like going to galileo era catholic church authorities for answers to questions of astronomy.

    i think it was hippocrates who said any substance in the proper dose is a poison. even water. see: hyponatremia.

    vegans handicap themselves by eliminating a # of wonderful and performance and/or health enhancing substance. one example: creatine (yes, THAT creatine). naturally present in red meat. nearly absent in all other foods (this is why sports scientists have discovered that vegans actually get the best response from creatine supplementation – they have almost none in their diet). there are dozens of other examples, and many more i am sure not even discovered yet (creatine only discovered recently). There are so many others. just because (allegedly according to PCRM) you CAN get every NECESSARY substrate from a vegan diet, it does not therefore follow that vegan diets are better. also, diet is not just about getting the bare minimums of stuff necessary for life, it is about being healthy and thriving.

    vegan diets tend to result in lower T levels (as do lowfat diets in general – sorry, Dr. Ornish), and are exceptionally difficult to formulate for optimal performance. otoh, if you are a couch potato this is not as important.

    PCRM is a shill group for PETA types and others who are against meat eating and so called animal cruelty and thus selectively (and even fraudulently) mis-report the elements of nutritional science in order to forward their agenda.

    i have no problem with veganism as a moral stance. as a nutritional choice, it’s silly.

    just because EXCESS (for example) saturated fat is bad, it does not therefore follow that saturated fat is bad. in fact, saturated fat, in moderation is good – performance enhancing.

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