Update: boingboing has a picture of Ed Brown, here.
And this man’s castle has a turret with a 360-degree field of fire. Somehow I don’t think that “doing the right thing” is exactly how it’s going to work out:
U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier released a statement Monday saying he remained hopeful the situation can be settled without violence.
“The U.S. Marshals Service is committed to resolving this peacefully,” the statement read. “Edward and Elaine Brown can end this today by doing the right thing, which is to call us and make arrangements for their surrender.”
I’m not a huge fan of federal income tax, especially in light of where our federal government has chosen to spend the money we give it for the last six years. And I recognize that people can have a difference of opinion about what “the right thing” might be in a given set of circumstances. But I’m also pretty sure that private US citizens preparing to shoot at federal officers over unpaid US income taxes probably isn’t “the right thing.” Kudos to US Marshal Monier for making a responsible statement of what the law is, rather than responding to threats with violence.
But then, it’s easier for the US Marshals to do the right thing, becuase they’re on the side of the law here, and the Browns don’t have a leg to stand on.
It’s like this. The Browns live in New Hampshire, which is (like it or not) part of the United States. If you live on United States soil, you must acknowledge US sovereignty. If you don’t, you are fundamentally in rebellion against the US government- and that’s treason.
If you do acknowlege the supremacy of the United States federal government, then you must acknowlege the legitimacy of the government’s power (within Constitutional limits) to use properly enacted laws to impose taxes on income and real property. Despite recent examples to the contrary (I’m thinking of Presidential signing statements, FISA and Hatch Act violations, and those who seek to excuse or justify Scooter Libby’s perjury), individual citizens do not have the privilege to decide which aspects of US federal law apply to them. We are a nation of laws, and the law must apply equally to every person. There are no two ways about it.
So the Browns are either in open rebellion against the US government, or they’re just common tax cheats who failed to think through the possible consequences of their actions. Just as Libby must go to jail because he lied under oath, the Browns must bear the punishment for their violations of the law.
Now, if you look at the penalties, which position looks better to you? The penalty for tax evasion is a fine, and maybe some jail time. The penalty for rebellion or treason could be execution. Do the Browns really want to sign up for Death Row over an unpaid income tax bill?