But Without Government, Who Would Steal Huge Amounts of Property and Ruin People's Lives for Absurd and Indefensible Reasons?


Sure, we'd still have some wretched villainy from the private sector, but it rarely has the resources or will to devote to life-destruction on the level of this story of the theft of Shannon County, Missouri's, Camp Zoe, as told by William Grigg:

Entrepreneur and musician James Tebeau, whose Camp Zoe concert venue was one of Shannon County, Missouri's largest employers, has accepted a plea agreement in which he will forfeit his 350 acre property and serve a prison sentence for "maintaining a drug-involved premises."

Tebeau played bass in an ensemble called the Schwag Band and hosted a number of concert events including the annual "Schwagstock" festival. The agreement stipulates that Tebeau neither participated in drug sales, nor did he profit from them. Yet he faces a prison term of two and a half years and the loss of his property.

According to the Feds, Tebeau's crime was to permit the sale of marijuana, LDS and mushrooms, while instructing employees to evict people who sold heroin, cocaine, crack, meth, and nitrous oxide. However, the same can be said of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, which abetted the sale of many controlled substances for four years following an August 2006 arrest of two people at the camp for selling hallucinogenic mushrooms. Over that four-year period, informants employed by the State Police conducted hundreds of undercover purchases, including many of the hard drugs Tebeau was seeking to ban from his premises.

Why do we hire people to sell buy drugs to fuck up people's lives for selling drugs? It's the only way to do it, alas, since people involved in a mutually desired trade of drugs for money usually aren't going to turn themselves in….

Besides, it's all thoughtcrime anyway. Selling the right drugs with the right permission is cool, while using certain words marks one as guilty:

The "Justice" Department's press release (which was reproduced nearly verbatim by the few media outlets that covered the story) made a point of noting that Tebeau "was aware that the term `schwag' was a slang term for low-grade marijuana and he purposely adopted that name for his music festivals and band." If this is evidence of evil intent, the Feds should begin criminal proceedings against the Doobie Brothers and the management of any venue where that classic rock band performs.

Be of warm heart, liberals, because it's true: it takes a village to raze a peaceful village:

At about 7:30 a.m. on November 1, 2010 – a few hours after the finale of the annual "Spookstock" music festival — a multi-jurisdictional task forceinvaded Camp Zoe. According to one eyewitness, "Every letter of the alphabet was represented…. There were people from the DEA, the IRS, the Highway Patrol, from Homeland Security, the local police and country Sheriff's Office. There was a group from the Rolla Police Department, which is two counties away from here." 

One camp staffer was briefly stopped by police on nearby Highway 19 as he was driving his children to school. He was separated from his wife and children at the point of an M-16 rifle. The detainee was taken into the camp and briefly questioned before being released.

Camp Zoe was placed under lock-down while the raiders rummaged through every corner of the campground, intimidating staff and visitors and seizing personal items (including cash). As this was going on another federal contingent was dispatched to clean out the personal and business accounts of Jimmy Tebeau, the musician and entrepreneur who owns and operates the campground.

The Feds "just siphoned away all of his money, and then filed a civil asset forfeiture lawsuit seeking to seize his property," protests attorney Dan Viets, who has volunteered to represent Tebeau. "This would mean that he wouldn't have the money needed to fight the seizure in court." The Feds clearly sought to confiscate Camp Zoe from the beginning, and they took exceptional care to guarantee that Tebeau couldn't mount an effective defense of his property.

All's well that ends well: peaceful entrepreneur who enriched many lives through his hiring and the services he provided destitute and in jail, and the government–without whom we would have enjoyed none of this, at our expense–has a bunch more cash and land. They might need it to launch the next vital life-destroying assault on the innocent.

From a longer Grigg report on the Camp Zoe case:

"If they succeed in seizing Camp Zoe, we can expect the same tactics to be used against music venues nation-wide," Dan Viets told Pro Libertate. "This is a major test case that is being watched very carefully by people who hold music festivals and other large events, and who might find their property and profits subject to seizure without even being accused of a crime, let alone convicted of one."

Reason archives on asset forefeiture.