The Great Kansas Newspaper Raid

I’ve long held it a truism that the smaller the puddle, the more vicious the fighting to be on top in it. In nature, very true and you get to see nature red of tooth and claw rather clearly. In a company, whatever is going on at the top, go to the smallest and least important department and watch the fighting to be top in it. For all that national politics can be a literal blood sport, if you want to see blood literally spilled, lives lost, and other lives ruined, go check out small town politics.

A recent bit of such vicious local politics has gone international, with national implications for free speech, first amendment rights, and the survival of local journalism. Police in Marion, Kansas, made use of a loophole in federal law to raid the “aggressive” local paper that apparently was looking into several things that the police and local politicians did not want them to look into. In addition, they also seized the electronics of a local official. To top it off, the 98-year-old co-owner apparently died as a direct result of the raid, which also included the homes of the owners and employees.

First up, I’m not sure anyone involved in this raid, including judge Laura Viar who signed off on something apparently illegal under Kansas law, thought at all. Certainly not past the end of their nose. If they did indeed want to bury a story about a local business owner having a DUI and other issues, they didn’t succeed. Not only that, but it turns out judgywudgy has some DUIs and history of her own. The police chief, Gideon Cody, seems to have left his previous job right as he faced discipline for insulting and sexist comments to a fellow officer. One does wonder what else may turn up in the days ahead, as both LE and every facet of journalism is digging into the story and even the White House has weighed in with concern.

The KBI took over the “investigation” pretty quickly, and equally as quickly withdrew the warrant. The newspaper is having the returned electronics forensically examined to determined if they were illegally accessed, since any effort to access them on the basis of the withdrawn warrant would be illegal. Meantime, Cody, Viar, and others seem to be doing their best to avoid questions or answers.

For all that I expect a lot of sound and fury over this, I really don’t expect anything to happen. The only reason I will give any odds on anything being done other than wrist slaps is that they fucked up and attacked the media arm of the Democratic party (hence the White House viewing with concern). I would love to be wrong on this, more than I can say. But…

Those behind this raid have blood on their hands. Yes, the lady was elderly, but they knew it and did it anyway. All of the officers in that police department took part, and not one refused an illegal order. You know my thoughts on that. So, that leaves only one way to stop the spread: give them and the incident all the publicity possible; mock them for the authoritarians/totalitarians they are; and, shun them. Yes, they are getting a lot of attention now, keep it up and make it rain. Odds are they, like the West Yorkshire Police, are going to try to hunker down and hope it all goes away. It’s not, it should not, and it really is up to everyone to make sure it doesn’t. BTW, go read the ratios of the WestYorks in the posts where they try to pretend nothing happened.

Don’t count on the courts, other judges, or LE to do the right thing. The only way to make clear that this type of behavior is unacceptable is for each and every member of society to reinforce that it won’t be tolerated. Without that social pressure, nothing is going to change.

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2 thoughts on “The Great Kansas Newspaper Raid”

  1. May her memory be for a blessing. Dreadful for her, dreadful for all who are ruled by such a clique. May she receive justice, and may those who did this to her receive justice, and may all the people of Kansas be delivered from evil, amen.

    I mean, what else is there to say? Is there some way in which this makes sense? Did they even have a motivation? A business deal? An affair? Who twisted whom? Is this the first time they’ve abused their power?

    Uvalde is another rat’s nest that will never be untangled, I wot.

    1. On Uvalde, afraid you are right. I doubt the full truth will ever out, and sure as shooting the people responsible will skate.

      On this one, it seems it was local politics and business, combined with terminal stupidity. That no one on the police department, the judge, or anyone else involved realized that raiding a newspaper would go international in a heartbeat, or otherwise thought the news would be contained on a purely local level, pretty much says it all about that brain trust. It was all about intimidation, silencing opposition, and trying to prevent information from getting out. That worked out so well for them…

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