By Ken Ottinger
Anticipation. Fear. Apprehension.
The moment had come for the final leg of my journey. Part of me wanted to stay in Ohio. I wanted help with the amazing activism happening there, to compound upon the works being done in the realm of police accountability, but I knew my path led elsewhere. Towards a larger, and more complex community than I could have imagined. The Free State Project.
The name alone generates images of an idealized world. A world where individuals are free to make their own choices in regards to their bodies and property. Free to associate with those of their choosing, the very definition of an intentional community. Free to fail, or succeed, based on their own merits, ability and perserverance. One where force, deception, fraud, and aggression are frowned upon,(and often result in ostracization and a reduction in the quality of all lives involved) and techniques and ideas of peaceful moderation and discussion of every issue small and large, by the entire community, are fostered. Where contracts provide proof, cameras contribute to legal/societal compliance and firearms impress upon others to hold to a moral aquiescence. Although, such techniques are not adhered to as strictly or as pervasively as one would wish, nonetheless, it would be a mistake to forget that this is still the ground floor of one of the most amazing and enlightening human experiments in recorded history. As such every individual would do well to maintain an air of forgiveness and compromise never, forgetting that to err is human, and to forgive is divine.
I procrastinated as long as I could, anticipating a caravan of activists to hit the road together. But, it was not to be. So, at 12 noon, with my equipment all loaded back into my van, and hugs and well wishes past, I departed Parma, Ohio.
My path out of Ohio would take me ironically north of Orwell, a rather fitting name for the times we all live in. The weather was acceptable for early march, a light dusting of snow was beginning to set in. The true intent of mother nature, however, was still incognito. Unknown to myself there was a rather large winter swell dogging my tred marks. One that would not impose its will upon me and my van until late in the night. I had planned on viewing the next episode of The Rebel Love Show in person, which went live on LRN.FM at 10 PM that Tuesday, and then memorialize my move at the new movers party anon. The weather had other ideas though.
As it got darker, the roads got worse. What started as a light rain, soon became sleet, then snow. The temperature drop had me concerned about black ice. I resigned myself to 55 miles an hour. Thankfully, the road had the rumble strips on it to notify me when i was going too far over….. but it would have been better had they been solar freakin roadways. No fuss, no muss. I soon got concerned about my time frame, and began pushing my van harder. Doing 75 on ice and snow, in a fully loaded rear wheel van, is not the safest option for an individual moving to the free state, but, I am solely responsible for my own safety, none other. Had I wrecked that is what insurance is for. Had I hurt someone that would have been properly dealt with, between myself and the injured party. Luckily, there were no incidents.
Around Albany, I noticed my gas gauge was pleading to be adjusted. The oasis I stopped at was poorly managed and incapable of providing adequate service that that moment, considering they were doing a drop, not to mention the young lady behind the counter seemed fairly new, and ignorant of the procedures. I took the delay to eat a bit of tuna I had brought with me. Forgetting in my haste to depart Illinois that can-openers were a useful tool.
After both the van and myself were fueled, I continued on my way. Through great ravines, over enormous hills, and down treacherously steep grades, I was undeterred by the weather. After the god awful plow tactics employed by The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, I arrived in New Hampshire at approximately 2:05 am and promptly removed my seatbelt, and exhalted with a resounding cheer. The Rebel Love Show was long over, and so, off to The Quill, the private club for Free Staters, where the new movers party was held. After a brief interaction with some of the members, many of whom I had known prior to my arrival, and others I had only known on Facebook, we headed back to the Rebel Love Pad.
The next few days would be a whirlwind of Celebritarians, and those aspiring to be one. All yearning to change the world within their own spheres of influence. From Carla Gericke, and Jeffery Tucker, to Carlos Morales, Brett Veinotte, Ian Freeman, Rich Paul, Joel Valenzuela, and the incalculable various other influences I had on my activism and the evolution of my own personal philosophy, everyone was there. Some already my best friends and some soon to be. But the fun is just beginning. The next four months will be an amazing ride. Acts of civil disobedience, meant to inspire and convince, and thought crimes meant to enlighten and open the minds all pouring forth from this small geographical location we free staters affectionately refer to as The Shire. I hope to share it with you all right here.