Thursday, December 12, 2013

Doing the right thing

I received some mail recently from DeKalb County, Georgia. This piece of mail indicates that if I don't send DeKalb County $369 by December 17, for an alleged infraction of the law, they're going to have my Ohio driver's license suspended.

Would you like to know what heinous crime I committed in Georgia several years ago? Unfortunately, I really can't tell you, because the citation I was given was written by someone who obviously doesn't know the meanings of the words she used to describe my alleged violation, nor the meanings of the words she was supposed to have used to describe my alleged violation.

Here's what happened: While I sat on a guardrail, minding my own business and not interacting with anyone, a cop stopped and harassed me, then cited me for "Solicitation in Right Away," which I could not possibly have been doing, considering the cop's description of my alleged violation is complete gibberish.

If a cop or anyone else doesn't know the proper terminology to describe a law, that person cannot possibly know what that particular law means. If that person doesn't know what the law means, and he or she proves it by using horribly wrong terminology to describe the law on an official legal document, that person is not competent to enforce such a law. The cop who wrote my citation proved that she is incompetent simply by writing the citation, yet I'm still expected to pay a fine for breaking a law that she made up.

The only reason I was given a citation that day is because this cop profiled me and instantly deemed me less than worthy of being treated like a human, just because I had a large backpack. This cop played judge and jury when she decided she had the authority to manufacture an infraction of the law that I never committed.

I haven't done any research, but I bet that's against the law.

Still, let's just pretend for a minute that I had been cited in DeKalb County for something the cop legitimately thought was an actual violation of the law. If you're reading this, you probably already know I've never kept it a secret that I have solicited many times when I've been on the road, in many places.

Was I soliciting when I took the picture of myself in Hollywood, holding a sign that said, "PLEASE HELP A HUNGRY TRAVELER. THANK YOU"? You bet I was. And I could have been cited for it. But I wasn't cited for it, for many reasons, including the fact that almost every cop alive is above that.

Was I soliciting when I sat on a guardrail in DeKalb County, Georgia? Nope. I've never solicited in DeKalb County, Georgia, or anywhere else in Georgia.

So why is DeKalb County, Georgia planning to have my Ohio driver's license suspended? Why is DeKalb County, Georgia extorting me? Why is DeKalb County, Georgia terrorizing me?

I have enough BS to deal with already. Here's something I've never shared on this blog: I have multiple sclerosis. I am in constant misery that's never going to end. My left leg does almost nothing, and my right leg isn't much better. My left optic nerve is screwed up, too, so my eyes don't work together and I pretty much always have a headache or nausea from it. Although I didn't know it at the time, MS is why I had so much trouble walking when I was in New England a couple years ago.

I can barely walk now. I always use a cane, and I had to use a wheelchair when I went to Ikea with my mom a couple months ago. Someday I'm probably gonna have to use a wheelchair all the time. I drop things all the time because I've lost so much feeling in my hands. That's pretty stressful, and the stress only makes the MS worse. So as you may have guessed, the stress of being victimized and extorted by people who are paid to protect me also makes things worse.

I'm not going to pay this bogus ticket. I don't even have the money to pay it. If anyone reading this knows how I can fight back against the terrorist county of DeKalb County, Georgia, I'd appreciate your help. Or if you know someone who may be able to help me, I'd appreciate if you'd share my story with them.

I may have seemed like a dick to a lot of the people who have read this blog over the years, but unlike the DeKalb County, Georgia police, I don't fuck with people. And if I did have it in me to do something like this to someone, I would quickly realize I've done wrong, and I would do everything I could to undo it, because that's the right thing to do.

Someday I'm gonna get a similar piece of mail from San Bernardino County, California, too, and it will cause me even more stress.

Here comes the good part of this post. It's a story I've never shared on this blog (because I'm not the kind of person who attempts to draw positive attention to himself for doing the right thing; for doing what almost no one else would have done if they were presented with the same circumstances).

When I was walking into Providence, Rhode Island in the fall of 2011, I noticed a money clip in the grass several feet off Albion Road, just east of George Washington Highway. Seeing right away that there was a driver's license in the money clip, I decided I would send it to the address on the driver's license whenever I got a chance. However, as I bent down to pick it up, I saw that there was some cash on the ground. So I picked up the $65 and instantly decided I had to walk to the address on the license and return the money clip AND THE MONEY to its rightful owner.

So I walked at least a few miles out of my way, to 86 Darling Street in Central Falls, Rhode Island. There was no answer when I knocked on the third-floor door, so I left a note on the door or in the mailbox, with my name and phone number, telling Mr. Gomes that I had found something he had lost, and that he should respond ASAP because I was on foot, walking away from his home. An hour or so later I received a call from Mr. Gomes. I told him I would meet him at the McDonald's across the street from my present location.

After Mr. Gomes arrived on his motorcycle to meet me, I could tell that he was very stressed out over this. When he found me inside the small McDonald's, I quickly gave him the money clip, including everything that was in it when I found it. Once I was sure he was the person on the driver's license (only a few seconds later), I also gave him the $65, which was more money than I had in my life savings. Because there were a lot of little pieces of paper in the area where I found the money clip, which I assume came out of the money clip, I opened my phone's map application and showed Mr. Gomes exactly where I found the money clip.

Before leaving, Mr. Gomes gave me $20 from the wad I had returned to him, as a reward. He didn't have to give me any money, and it would not have upset me if he had chosen not to give me anything. Having the satisfaction of knowing I did the right thing was reward enough. And I'm not saying that just to make myself sound like a good, moral, honest person. That's truly how I've always felt about it. That's why I never said anything about this publicly in the 2+ years since it happened.

A couple hours later, as I walked south on the sidewalk of the main road between Providence and Pawtucket, with my earbuds in, I heard a commotion on the road, maybe 50 feet from me. When I looked over, I saw that it was Mr. Gomes on his motorcycle, trying to get my attention as he was stopped at a red light on the other side of the street. I turned off my music and talked to him while he was stopped. He was much more relaxed this time, obviously relieved that he had been saved from the trouble of canceling all his credit cards and whatnot. When the light turned green, he motored off, and that's the last time I ever saw him.

Now here's part of a story I did share here on the blog: Three days after returning the money and money clip to Mr. Gomes, as I walked into Westerly, Rhode Island, I was taken into police custody and put in jail for 16 nights, again after breaking no laws; just walking down the road carrying a large backpack.

My Rhode Island jail story has a little different context now, don't ya think?

Despite what you may have always thought of me, I do the right thing whenever I can. Why is it so impossible for people who are paid to do the right thing to do the right thing?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Ryan's Pizza Blog

Hey everyone, come check out my new pizza blog if you want to learn how to make the best pizza on the planet in your own kitchen. I share ALL my secrets on this blog (because I'm less of a dick than you probably think I am).

Underside of a NY style pizza I made on
the grill. One of my favorite pics.

This New York style post is just for you, ER. (No it's not. It's for everyone who might be able to take something from it. You think you're special or something?) I've also written a post about how to make Malnati's style deep dish and a post about how to clone Pizza Hut thin. Step-by-step instructions and lots of pictures in every instructional post, with more on the way as I continue to make different styles of pizza and take pictures of the pizzas I make. Plenty of other posts, too, about the right kinds of equipment to buy, as well as anything else that might help beginning pizzamakers become expert pizzamakers. I'm totally serious when I say this blog will eventually be the best, most thorough pizza instruction resource on the internet, if it's not already.

Looks like Malnati's to me, except my pan is half an inch too deep.

I'd love it if y'all would "like" the blog on Facebook so I might be able to reach more people and rescue those who are stuck in a neverending cycle of looking in the wrong places for answers to their pizzamaking questions.

This just occurred to me: I went to jail a year ago today for walking. Land of the Free, baby!

If you've been wondering if I'm ever going to hit the road again or share any more of my stories from the time I've already spent on the road... All I can say is I don't know. I'd love to hit the road again, and I'd love to have a TV show about it so I can share with you what no one else can. Even though I sometimes seem like a miserable prick in my blog posts when I'm on the road, there's no better way to live.

I've even thought about offering my services as a guide for people who would like to hit the road Aimless-style for a week or two, to take the kind of vacation that you just can't buy. Almost every American guy over 30 always wanted to do the things I've done but never had the balls to try it. Then they got married and had kids, and the window of opportunity closed essentially forever. Yeah, well what if there was someone out there who could guide them and cram a year of learning this stuff into a week or two of amazing adventures and travel? Yup, that's me. And there's basically no one else who can offer this service. So what's it worth to you? I figured I could start off by charging $500 a week, plus possibly travel expenses (for me to get to and from wherever my clients live, in conjunction with their busy schedule). It would be the best $500 you've ever spent.

But right now I have more important things to deal with, like trying to make my legs work again. I'm not totally unable to walk (or even close to that), but it's really hard for me to walk, and I can't run. (I'm not going to elaborate right now.) Hitting the road would probably be good for this condition, just like it was when I hit the road last year. I don't know if I ever said it, but I could barely walk when I left home last year. Then I walked 350 miles before being locked up one year ago today, for 16 nights.

http://ryanspizzablog.blogspot.com

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Court in Rhode Island

Whydibuy asked in a comment on the previous post how my court appearance went. Unfortunately I can't answer that because they did it without me; I was in a holding cell during my court appearance. I didn't even know it was happening until after it happened. From what I've heard, though, the prosecution extorted my folks for a couple hundred bucks.

I didn't even know my parents were coming to Rhode Island until my mom showed up to visit me in jail the night before my court date. They made the trip because we couldn't communicate and because they didn't know if I was gonna have ANYTHING when I was released. That's because the people who work in RI's Department of Corrections are a bunch of criminal scumbags who tell you with a straight face that all your shit will be thrown away before you get out of jail. They refuse to let you do things like make one phone call to let your family know you're not dead. And when you go to the property window to obtain your street clothes before you board the bus to the courthouse, they tell you your clothes were already thrown away, thus leaving you wearing jail jumpers to the courthouse (and possibly out of the courthouse). They are the biggest pieces of shit you could ever hope to meet. Except two of them: a sheriff at the courthouse named Carl and lady in the jail named Nunez.

I'm in suburban Baltimore now. Probably gonna take a train to DC this afternoon to visit my good friend Jeff. It's cold and raining/snowing.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

How I ended up in jail for 16 days

I know at least one person has been waiting patiently for this story, so here's why I was in jail:

After I stepped into the ocean near Westerly, RI, as I walked back toward town, a cop stopped and asked me if I had seen some guy on crutches. The cop said there was a report that someone was stealing mail from mailboxes. Like always, I cooperated with the cop until he asked me for my ID. (When I get treated like a suspect for no reason, I respond how someone who's being treated like a suspect for no reason should respond: I stop cooperating and I assert my rights.)

Anyway, the cops took me down and cuffed me, never informing me that I was under arrest or why I was under arrest or that I had the right to remain silent (as required by law), which is all I was doing anyway. They roughed me up a little and put me in a cell at the Westerly police station, then wrote some bullshit report that I still haven't seen. Next day I went to court and pleaded not guilty to obstruction. Judge set my bail at $100 and set my next court date for 10/14. I had $44. I couldn't make any calls. I couldn't contact anyone.

When they took me to jail, all I could do was hope my mom would figure out that no blogging + no tweeting + no phone data usage = I'm in jail somewhere, instead of dead or a million other things. They would not let me call my mom to let her know that I wasn't dead; they exist just to fuck with people.

Eight days after I was "arrested," I received a piece of mail from Mom. I could finally exhale, knowing Mom wasn't freaking out, thinking I was dead. Just seeing the envelope with Mom's handwriting on it brought tears to my eyes because I finally knew she wasn't still in the dark.

I could have been out of jail after only one day if those piece-of-shit motherfuckers hadn't gone way out of their way to fuck with both me and my mom, breaking countless laws in the process just because they enjoy making people hurt.

By the time I received Mom's second letter, which informed me that I could post bail, I only had a couple days remaining until my court date. I decided to just wait it out.

So much more to it than that. Wait till you find out what happened only three days before I was put in jail. I originally was not going to write about it, but things changed, and now I think it's a very relevant story.

Oh yeah, and the walk is over. I have no need for any more of this kind of bullshit. (You now know about 10 percent of the story.)

I've been hanging out in Manhattan the last five days. (You would have known that five days ago if you followed me on Twitter.)

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Jail

I just spent the last 16 days in jail. I should have a lot to say about it pretty soon.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

State #5


I made it into Rhode Island at 12:17 yesterday. This is the sign they gave me, instead of a "Welcome to Rhode Island" sign. If you wanna know more, follow @AimlessRyan on Twitter.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Home


This one's for you, ER. This is where I slept last night. I think it's at the first intersection south of NH on Rte 78 in MA (about 4 miles into MA). I know it's a shitty picture, but I've been getting up and moving really early lately. Not much I can do about that.

Midnight Cowboy


This staircase in Brattleboro, Vermont reminded me of the staircase from the party scene in Midnight Cowboy.

State #4


This was yesterday at 6:00 or so. I did 20 miles yesterday. Don't ask me how I'm doing this because I don't know. Looks like the rain may have killed my pedometer this morning.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Smokin'


I made it to Vermont at about 3:40, I believe. That was a very quick 13 miles for my current condition, which is still pretty gimpy. Looks like I'll be in Assumchusetts sometime tomorrow. By the way, that was a very difficult sign to get in a picture with myself, particularly because of where the sun was.

Apple earbuds blow


Apple earbuds are literally the most useless product I have ever used. They suck in every way they possibly could suck. I would be happier with my iPhone if it came with no earbuds instead of these stupid, worthless, irritating earbuds. Apple should be ashamed of themselves for even creating this garbage, which is beginning to make me hate my favorite music.

I may have a lot more to say about this retarded-ass product, so come on back to this post every once in a while.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Walking again


This morning at about 7:00 I heard someone walk up to my tent, which was all wet from rain. I figured they were gonna tell me to scram. Instead, they set a sandwich down by my vestibule and walked away. The person came from the parking lot of Amherst Village Dental. If that person ever finds this post, thank you.

I resumed the walk yesterday, after taking it easy in Manchester/Bedford for five days, I think, to rest the hip. Hip felt all right for about five miles, but then it started feeling like this walk will be over soon. Later it felt better, but not good. I ended up doing about 11 miles. I expected the hip to feel pretty messed up today, but so far it feels pretty decent (after about 7 miles). Maybe I'm gonna be able to do this.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Hip flexor?

I spent today sitting around at Burger King, Wendy's, and Dairy Queen, in an effort to give my hip a rest. I think this is the first time I've ever just sat around all day during a walk, excluding the rare occasions when I actually had somewhere to stay during last year's walk.

Oh, the hip... Yeah, um, my left hip is messed up. I just started feeling it two or three days ago, when I was finally starting to feel human again. From what little I know, it seems to be a hip flexor issue. When this injury is at its worst, it's nearly impossible for me to walk, plus it puts me at risk for other injuries. So I'm just hanging out right now, and I may just hang out tomorrow, too, to try to give it a chance to heal. All I know is that if I keep having to limp all day just to make it 9 or 10 miles, this walk will have to end.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Lovely day


I only put the vest on the outside of the rain jacket when I know it's gonna be raining for a long time. After raining all night, this is gonna be going on for at least several more hours. Several miles south of Epsom, NH.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

More obstacles


OK, first thing you need to know is that this is a picture of the road Google directed me to use. This is where all the bullshit started this morning. I was able to get around this body of water by finding a route through the forest. (And yes, this is a forest, not just "woods.") But over the next hour or so, I had to find my way across/around 14 more of these things. As you can see by the fallen trees spanning the road in two different places, no one uses this road. That's why I wanted to make sure people knew where I was. I can't even tell you how many ways I could have gotten hurt back there, especially in my gimpy condition. Honestly, I don't even know how I made it beyond the first ten miles out of Portland, and I certainly don't know how my legs manage to transport me and my gear over ten miles every day, with my mileage increasing every day (13 miles yesterday).

Two-state walk...


This is one of the biggest milestones ever for me because a week ago I was 90% sure this walk wouldn't last any longer than ten miles. Anyone who has spent any time around me over the last 11 months is probably just as amazed as I am because I've barely been able to walk AT ALL since last September.

Back on asphalt

I'm safe now. Man, that was fucking scary; the scariest position I've ever been stuck in. Every step presented about a hundred different ways for me to die. No one would have found me. I'll post some pictures later, when I get a chance to charge.

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See what I mean

If I don't update within the next hour or two, it means I'm on Half Mile Road and I'm in desperate need of help. I'm fine right now, but I'm in a very dangerous place, where no one will find me if I get hurt and lose consciousness, which is very possible.

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Different kind of road


This is the kind of road Google Maps is steering me down this morning. Six miles to New Hampshire.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Friday, September 02, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bridge outta Portland


2.34 miles so far. Not much, but it's a start. Tells me I should be able to hit my goal of 10 miles today.

Walking

48-state walk began at 7:50 this morning in Portland, Maine. Can I actually do it? I don't know, but I'm gonna try. Actually, I know I can do it; I just don't know if I can do it right now because I'm still so beat up from last year. Every step I take is dangerous because my nerves are messed up. There's a ton of muscle in my legs, but that doesn't mean much if your nerves are messed up. My first step is just to try to do at least ten miles today. I'll let you know how that works out.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Maine

I took a train from Boston to Maine tonight. That means the proposed 48-state walk has technically already begun. Officially, however, it begins with my first step tomorrow morning. My legs and hips have felt a little better the last few days, so I might actually be able to do this.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

More surfing


I just realized I like this one, too. Notice how far the skateboard is in front of him. That oughtta give you a clue how fast he was going when he was still on it.

Fun with hurricanes


This guy's objective was to remain atop the skateboard while Irene was blowing him. Some girls are just a little too aggressive, though.

Home 2


And here's a pic from the other side, sans rainfly.

Home 1


ER, you asked for pics of where I sleep, so here you go. This is at Storrow Dr. & Charlesgate, in Boston. The storm (Irene) really didn't do anything here. It just rained hard for a few hours, with some strong wind occasionally.

I have to stay in Boston for another night because all the trains to Portland are fully booked today, due to the fact that Amtrak shut down yesterday, in anticipation of Hurricane Irene.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Boston


This is my first ever glimpse of Boston, from Roslindale, on Washington. I'm closer than I realized. I didn't take the train from Providence because they jacked the price up. (You would have known that a couple days ago if you followed me on Twitter.) Probably gonna take the train to Portland tomorrow. It should be $19.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Train to Maine

I probably won't be writing many long blog posts for a while. Instead, I'll more likely tweet pretty regularly during this adventure. So go over there -------> and start following me on Twitter. I'll probably keep posting pics here regularly.

Right now I'm in downtown Providence, where I intend to get on a train to Maine in a few hours, for $33.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Optic neuritis

In addition to my recent injuries and the lingering injuries from last year's walk, I've been dealing with optic neuritis in my left eye for about the last four months. Basically this means I can't see shit out of my left eye because my optic nerve is scarred. I've been through this a couple times before with my right eye, and it only lasted a couple months those times, so this is very frustrating. Optic neuritis makes it really hard for my brain to translate what I'm seeing, and it also affects my depth perception, which makes walking with a heavy pack pretty dangerous. Hope it gets better soon.

Still at the truck stop in Carlisle, PA. Pretty cool place to be stuck for a while.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Nice trees


I got a ride to Carlisle, PA with an old friend who's a trucker. This sign was just too cool not to share here. My injuries are feeling a little better, but still painful.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Not a good start

Five or ten minutes after my folks dropped me off at a truck stop last night, I stepped in a hole and fell down. I twisted my right ankle, jammed my left thumb, and also jammed the second and third toes on my left foot. Probably broke something, but I'm out here trying to get a ride east anyway.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Test 2

Test #2. (Edit: Oh, cool. This means I can post via e-mail from my phone, which will be a lot easier than posting via the tiny internet. And I'm pretty sure there is no character limit this way.)
Test.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Social media


I've had the same phone for like four and a half years (pictured). Even though it is ancient and useless for most people, I like it pretty well. I especially like it when I'm on the road, precisely because I CAN'T use it to get to Facebook or any other brain-wasting web sites (which is almost all of them nowadays). It's nice to get away from the internet, sometimes for months at a time.

However, as I learned in Pennsyvania last year, sometimes you absolutely need internet access because sometimes you can't get a state map until way after you need one, and sometimes a good state map isn't good enough to help you figure out what you need to figure out. Sometimes interactive maps are the only feasible way to plan a route. If you want to better understand what I'm saying here, take a look at a Pennsylvania state map and try to figure out how you intend to walk across it, entering the state on US 40 at the West Virginia state line, with the intention of walking to NYC.

Seriously, give it a try. But before you plan your route, be sure to keep these things in mind: 1) After having already walked 3,000 miles, you want to find the shortest possible route across PA; and 2) You want to choose a route that'll put you in a town at least every 10 miles or so, which may require using a route that's not the shortest. Now look at your Pennsylvania state map again and tell me your route. See my point?

Last Monday I went with my mom to the phone store, hoping she'd be willing to help me get a phone that was at least equipped to handle the internet. When we got there, she went straight to the iPhone display. Long story short... I have an iPhone now.

With the iPhone, not only will I be able to look at maps whenever I need one, but I will also be able to use social media on the road now. Not only will it be easier for me to blog, but it will also be possible for me to tweet and upload videos from the phone. And some other things, too.

I'm not saying I will use all this stuff on a daily basis now just because I can. But I'm not saying I won't, either. I'm just letting you know I now have the tools to more easily share my upcoming journey. I want to share this journey as much as possible (without turning into an attention whore), but I already know I'm gonna need a lot of Ryan-time, and Ryan-time comes first. Also, I already know the iPhone battery drains pretty quickly if you spend much time messing with it, so I'm gonna have to limit my usage most of the time to keep from killing the battery.

So far I do not find the qwerty keypad any more useful than number keypads because 1) It's nothing like typing; and 2) I'm always hitting the wrong letters anyway because the "keys" are so small, which constantly makes me have to delete and re-type. I'm sure I'll get better at it in time, but I'm still hoping I can find and obtain a good lightweight, roll-up keyboard to use with the iPhone. I'd say I can type ten times faster on a keyboard than I can on any kind of keypad. That means a blog post that takes five minutes to compose on a real keyboard might take around 50 minutes on the iPhone. That's 45 minutes I could be resting instead of typing. Hopefully I can get something worked out.

Here's one of the major benefits of having an iPhone: With the iPhone, I will almost certainly end up with some very compelling video of cops committing crimes against me. Y'see, when I walk, I always pay attention to what's going on around me. (If I didn't, I would have been dead at least a year ago.) So whenever I see a cop pass me, then slow down to turn around, I'll have more than enough time to turn on the phone, clip the phone to my sternum strap, and capture video of almost everything from a first-person perspective. The cops will never even know it's on because the display will be against my chest (in the case).

Better yet, I will be able to upload videos to YouTube from the phone. And if I manage to push all the buttons right whenever I see it coming, this shit will blow your mind.

However, I don't think I'll get any good asshole-cop videos for a while because the east coast is mostly urban. City cops rarely go out of their way to start shit with people like me. But I don't know what to expect when I get to Georgia, Alabama, and all the other southern states. Regardless, I know my rights. I cooperate with cops until they start treating me like a criminal. But once they start treating me like a criminal, without any justification or any reason, I respond like someone who knows and values his rights and the limitations of law enforcement officers.

In case you're not aware of my rights or the limitations of law enforcement officers, here's a beginner's course: The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution says cops cannot force me to identify myself to them, nor can they search me for ID (or anything else) unless they have a court order or damn good evidence that I've committed a specific violation of the law. The Fifth Amendment says I don't have to say a word to them if I don't want to. (This is true even before they tell me I have the right to remain silent.) On the other end of the spectrum, the First Amendment says I have every right to tell them to go fuck themselves, which I have done more than a couple times.

I took this picture with the iPhone.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Underdog, idiot, or bad-ass?

I'm gonna hit the road to begin the 48-state walk on about August 17th, even though I'm still nowhere near recovered from the punishment I put my body through last year. 'Handicapped' is an appropriate word to describe my current physical condition. My feet are still kind of numb and my legs feel heavy when I walk, which makes me very prone to tripping. I also get worn out pretty quickly whenever I do any kind of physical activity because I usually can't move my hips or legs how they're supposed to move, which forces me to put extra work into every move I make. In addition to all that, I don't have any endurance because I've been physically inactive for the last 11 months. However... my condition has definitely been improving, slowly, and I finally feel like I know how to continue improving.

The big picture: Even though I've trimmed a lot of weight from my gear, the odds are not on my side, and I may find after a month that I'm physically unable to do this. That means I might have to quit after a month or two. So don't be surprised if I end up quitting (or postponing) this ridiculous megawalk.

You may wonder: If I'm in such bad condition, why am I even considering doing such a long, difficult walk, and why do I have to start now? Here's why: If I don't start now, I probably won't be able to start until this time next year. I need to start in Maine in late summer, then make my way south through autumn and into winter, for obvious reasons. I need to head north again during the spring, and so on. It's important for me to be in the right places at the right times because this will be a continuous walk (with no extended breaks), and I will sleep outside almost every night regardless of whether it's 10 degrees or 90 degrees at night.

Even in my current condition (which is worse than I've made it sound), I think I can do this. By doing the right stretches and by using a tennis ball to simulate massage of the muscles I've ruined, I THINK I'll be able to walk and heal simultaneously. And if I'm wrong, all I have to do is quit.

But even if I realize after a month that I should quit, it doesn't mean I will quit.

Even with all the trouble I'm having, I remain optimistic because I remember how I felt last year during the final month of the coast-to-coast walk. Whenever I stopped for more than a few minutes, my body would tighten up so much that I could barely walk. But once I started moving again, my mobility would return after a few minutes. So as messed-up as I was, I still managed to average over 21 miles a day for the last month of the walk, mostly in mountains. And that average includes a couple days off. (Yeah, I was trucking.) So I remain optimistic.

(ER: You will be very pleased to hear what I have to say in my next post.)

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Aimless
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Product Review: Gregory hipbelts last forever

Pack: Palisade 80
My rating: 4.75 stars (out of 5)

PROS
Comfortable
Easy to Load
Good Padding
Good Suspension
Large Capacity
5 different hipbelt angles
Interchangeable hipbelts

CONS
Nothing worth listing

BEST USES
Extended Hikes

Introduction
Unlike most of the people who write product reviews, I've put my gear through hell. My gear is my home. If you want to know what you need to know about Gregory packs, read this review thoroughly because it will be very helpful.

You've probably read a lot of Gregory reviews that mention broken hipbelts, bad zippers, and weak seams. These are mostly old reviews, and these reviews are about old models. Gregory has made a lot of improvements to their packs since 2009, but these improvements don't seem to be showing up in reviews yet, so I'm gonna start that discussion.

Problems prior to 2010
I bought my first Gregory pack in 2008. I loved it. However, shortly after I began using it, the hipbelt panel broke. When I took the pack to the retailer I'd bought it from, they replaced my broken panel with a new one from a pack in their stock. The new panel quickly broke, too, so I exchanged it for a new Whitney 95, which also ended up breaking even though I took extra special care of that pack.

Frustrated with all the broken belt panels, I wrote a review on the retailer's web site, giving the Palisade one star (out of 5). I also wrote a nearly identical review on this blog. After reading my review, a Gregory representative contacted me and and informed me that Gregory had fixed the hipbelt problem. He said the unsatisfactory belt panels were an isolated incident caused by a bad batch of plastic, and he offered to send me a new pack, which I happily accepted.

The belt panel on my new pack lasted a lot longer than the others, but it wasn't quite as durable as it needed to be, and it ultimately broke, too. However, it did give me a clear signal that Gregory was making an effort to get it right.

The turnaround since early 2010
In January 2010, shortly after the panel broke on the replacement pack, I dropped in to Gregory's headquarters in Sacramento. When they replaced the panel, someone told me the new one was made of a prototypical material that is also used to make guns. He said if I could find a way to break this one, he'd buy me lunch.

The panel never broke. Even after carrying the pack another 1,800+ miles, the belt panel never showed any signs of breaking. After replacing the Whitney with a new Palisade, I carried the Palisade 1,900 miles, from La Junta, Colorado to New York City. This pack is still in very good condition.

So here's pretty much everything you need to know: Gregory hipbelts are now made to last. The zippers on the newer packs are also made to last. Additionally, I've had no further issues with seams, either. So basically every problem I've ever had with a Gregory pack has been fixed. Not just improved, but fixed. These pack components are rock solid.

Things I really like about Gregory packs:
  • Adjustable hipbelt angle. I almost always use angle setting #5, which cannot be simulated on other packs.

  • Interchangeable hipbelts. I use a medium pack with a small hipbelt. I absolutely need the small hipbelt because a month or two on the road makes me very skinny. (By the time I got to New York, I was so gaunt that even the small hipbelt was too big.)

  • General stuff about hipbelts. To me, the hipbelt is by far the most important part of a backpack. I pull my hipbelt as tight as it'll go because I prefer to carry my pack almost entirely on my hips, not my shoulders. Gregory's hipbelt system kicks ass.

  • The people who work for Gregory. When I went to the headquarters in Sacramento in early 2010 (before they moved to Salt Lake), I met just about everyone who worked there, including Wayne Gregory. They really impressed me. When I've had problems with packs in the past, the people at Gregory went out of their way to fix my problems.

  • Gregory packs cost less than comparable packs from other brands. I haven't tried the other brands' packs because I haven't wanted to. I haven't even tried them on in stores because I've found that Gregory packs work for me.

I have one or two minor issues with certain components of Gregory packs, but nothing really worth mentioning. For example, sometimes it's kinda difficult to return my water bottle to its holder when I'm carrying the pack, but that's not really a big deal. I can't even think of any other issues.

I'm about to begin a 48-state walk that will last two years and will cover over 10,000 miles. Care to guess whose pack I'll be carrying?

If you ever have any unexpected issues with your Gregory pack, contact the company because they will take care of you. It's a hassle you shouldn't have to deal with, just like I shouldn't have had to deal with it, but I'm convinced they really are working hard to make everything right. If I didn't honestly believe it, I wouldn't have written such a positive review.

BOTTOM LINE: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.

Become a fan of Aimless on Facebook.

--
Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Friday, July 22, 2011

48-state walk

Less than three weeks ago I started thinking about doing a 48-state walk that'll last two years, covering around 10,000 miles. Within a few days, I had pretty much decided to go ahead and do the walk. I plan to begin this walk late next month, even though my legs still don't work very well. (Actually it's my hips, but when your hips don't work, it feels like the problem is in your legs.)

The plan is to start in Maine in late August. From there I'll go down the east coast to Florida, veering a little bit out of the way to hit WV, KY, and TN. I should make it to Florida by December, then spend the winter walking across FL, AL, MS, LA, AR, and into TX. From there I'll start heading north in February or March of 2012, hitting OK, KS, MO, NE, IA, and MN before heading west again as summer begins.

I'll spend the summer walking across SD, ND, MT, WY, ID, WA, and OR. From Portland I'll head south toward Los Angeles during the fall of 2012 and into winter. From southern California I'll head back east beginning in early 2013, following much of the same route I took last year, veering a little bit out of the way to hit NV, WI, and MI. State #48 is Ohio. I could end the walk in Ohio if I choose, but I'll probably continue on to NYC again, to make it a coast-to-coast-to-coast walk.

No, I'm not gonna have "a cause" because I'm not a fraud or an attention whore. Yeah, some media attention would be nice, but I'm not going to seek attention. After a while, media attention will probably be unavoidable anyway because nobody does what I'm about to do. Also, since I'll probably be able to blog more regularly this time, the blog might generate a little buzz, even though that's not my objective when I blog. (My objective is to share parts of my story with people who find it interesting.) I refuse to do anything specifically to attract attention to myself. If I get attention from the media, it'll be the result of others telling the media about me. If you ever want to tell the media about me, I would certainly appreciate it.

Do you really want to know my true cause? I'm warning you, the honesty might disappoint you. Well, here's my true cause: Like everyone who goes out and walks for thousands of miles, my true cause is that I'm sick of all the unnecessary bullshit that everyone loves to dish out in "normal" life in this country. I feel at peace when I walk, even with the police harassment, extreme cold, extreme heat, extreme hunger, extreme pain, poverty, etc. I choose not to have "a cause" because I have integrity. Due to the fact that I never portray or promote myself as a hero with a cause, I actually meet real people when I walk, instead of people I fooled into believing I'm some kind of hero. You probably can't understand this, but my way is a million times more gratifying and worthy of your respect than it would be if I walked for a phony cause like everyone else does.

I will wear sandals through the entire walk, just as I did for the previous walk, for more reasons than I can mention here. I probably won't disclose the brand name of the sandals ever again, though, because the manufacturer apparently does not understand why it would be in their best interest to hook me up with 8 or 10 pairs of sandals, which would cost them essentially nothing. They offered me one free pair when I contacted them regarding prospective sponsorship. I told them they're funny.

You know what's the first thing people notice about me when they see me walking or when they meet me? The first thing people notice is that I wear sandals, because almost everyone expects to see boots. Regular people notice my sandals, and journalists notice them, too. And if there's one thing I know about journalists, it's that they love stories like what I'm about to do. Furthermore, they love the sandal story just as much as everyone else does. So my offer to the sandal manufacturer was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them, since I alone could give them countless avenues to free advertising, as well as my genuine endorsement on TV and in newspapers. As someone walking 10,000 miles exclusively in their product, they should've seen dollar signs with me, but they just didn't get it.

Last but not least: If I have to spend any more time in jail for knowing my rights when cops perpetrate crimes against me, I'll probably quit the walk because I have nothing else to prove to anyone ever again.

Become a fan of Aimless on Facebook.

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Aimless
Aimless Video Evidence

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shameless self-promotion

I'm seriously thinking about re-starting Aimless with a new objective. My objective has always been to let word-of-mouth generate a small buzz that could spread like a virus, but that never happened and it's never going to happen. So now I'm thinking maybe I should try the shameless self-promotion route, first to prove that it works, and second to rip it apart.

I already know it works. The proof is in the "cause walkers" like George Throop and Mark Klodzinski, who successfully attract tens of thousands of fans even though their stories aren't remotely interesting. It also works for Morgan Spurlock, who has lost essentially all my respect. And it would have worked for me, too, had I ever been willing to sacrifice substance for attention.

Well, maybe now I am willing to sacrifice substance for attention... sorta. Y'see, I have nothing to lose by trying the shameless self-promotion route. In fact, I have everything to gain. To begin, it would almost certainly lead to a TV show (which I would turn down if producers tried to force me to remain a sellout). But even if it doesn't lead to a show, this would give me yet another topic for a book.

Prospective methods of shameless self-promotion: 1) Always wearing shirts that say www.aimlessmovie.com. 2) Making extra effort to blog on a very regular basis, usually without actually saying anything other than 'look at me.' 3) Always being ridiculously and unrealistically positive in blog posts. 4) [Please share some of your ideas.]

If I do this, it's gonna make me miserable for a while because I do not crave unearned attention. Still I think it's a damn good idea because it could give me a chance to make a point that would be essentially impossible to counter, seeing how I'd probably be the only living person who's actually lived both sides of the argument.

Who else does that? No one.

You may have thought Aimless is dead, but it's just getting started.

Become a fan of Aimless on Facebook.

--
Aimless
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who wants to capitalize on my misfortune?

I'm shocked that I haven't received any phone calls or e-mails from attorneys or civil rights groups in response to the 'Land of the Free' series of posts. In Corporal Jon Chadd's arrest report, his own words establish that I did not commit any infractions. In fact, his report implicates himself in the commission of several serious crimes against me, including police brutality, false arrest, false imprisonment, and kidnapping. This stuff is black and white; there is no gray area. If you don't believe me, read the arrest report and the transcript of my acquittal (if there is one). And if that doesn't convince you, read the law.

What Corporal Chadd and Sheriff Fenwick did to me may not be the most heinous crimes ever committed, but they're still very serious crimes that have been ignored by the justice system. Corporal Chadd's arrest report effectively says, "Mr. Powell committed no infractions. However, I committed serious crimes against Mr. Powell." It's begging for prosecution and a lawsuit. So why hasn't anyone contacted me in an attempt to capitalize on this?

Yes, I want some money out of this because I was victimized by people who are paid to protect me. Corporal Chadd's crimes against me cost me money. Corporal Chadd's crimes against me cost my parents money. These crimes caused me a lot of physical pain and emotional distress that still has not gone away (and may never go away).

What I want most out of this, though, is to make a difference by showing dirty cops that there are consequences to pay when they break the law and commit crimes against people they're paid to protect. I want the American people to know their rights so they don't have to fear that this kind of thing might happen to them. Police misconduct is probably the single biggest threat to the freedom of the American people, but almost no one is talking about it. Well, now I'm talking about it, and I want you to talk about it. When it happens to you, I want you to know your rights. And if you don't know you're rights, I want dirty cops to fear that you do know your rights. And if they still victimize you like they victimized me, I want them to pay for it and I want you to get paid for it.

NEVER talk to cops. Nothing good can come out of it. If you've actually committed an infraction, identify yourself to them when they ask for your ID, and maybe give them some small-talk, but don't tell them ANYTHING. If they ask to search you or your property, don't let them. They have no right, and nothing good can come out of it.

When cops want you to cooperate more than you already have, they lie to you. Cops are trained to lie to you to get what they want because 1) It works; and 2) The law does not give them any other options. Cops lie so much, most of them don't even know the difference between the truth and lies. Don't talk to them! Don't cooperate with them! Don't let them intimidate you! Nothing good can come out of it.

One other tragedy regarding what happened to me in Indiana is that there was no one there to capture it on film. You know how much money that would have been worth, folks? It would have been worth A LOT of money. It probably even would have made more noise and social change than the Rodney King tapes because, unfortunately, Americans are more appalled when cops beat up a white guy than when cops beat up a black guy. And they'd probably be even more appalled to learn that it was someone who was 2,600 miles into a peaceful walk across the United States.

Fortunately there's still hope for you, NBC and every other network, because I can make it happen all over again just by going out and walking for a few days. Y'see, that's how corrupt our nation's law enforcement agencies have become. And I'm probably the only person with the knowledge, the experience, and the balls to expose it. But I can't do it alone.

I'm willing to take another beating if someone else (like a network) is willing to send out a small crew to capture it on film. As I've already pointed out, it would be worth a shitload of money. Oh yeah, and if you do it, you'll also end up with a revolutionary new travel show without even trying.

You're welcome.

Become a fan of Aimless on Facebook.

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Aimless
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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Land of the Free, Part VI

Land of the Free, Part I
Land of the Free, Part II
Land of the Free, Part III
Land of the Free, Part IV
Land of the Free, Part V

With my court appearance scheduled for 8:45 am on Friday January 21, 2011, my mom and I left for Indiana on Thursday afternoon. Due to the heavy snow and single-digit temperatures, the drive was both dangerous and time-consuming. Nevertheless, we made it to Putnam County in one piece.

Early the next morning at the courthouse, we met my public defender, Scott Adams, for the first time. Considering there was no merit to any of the charges against me, Mr. Adams was confident that I would be acquitted. Still, even though I knew the charges were baseless, I was very nervous because I'd been screwed over by the legal system before. Just the fact that I had to be there for court that day is a pretty good example of what I'm talking about, considering I was the victim of serious crimes, not a perpetrator.

In the courtroom, I was surprised to see that both Sheriff Fenwick and Corporal Chadd showed up to testify against me. I figured they had satisfied their sadistic need to victimize me several months earlier when they harassed me, beat me up, kidnapped me, and ultimately forced me to spend three nights in jail. But apparently that wasn't enough for them. So here they were again, taking pleasure in their quest to further punish me for crimes they committed against me.

(Every time I read that last paragraph, I feel so much disgust and hatred for those piece-of-shit scumbags. It takes a really sick-minded person to commit crimes against someone you're paid to protect, then to go out of your way to try to punish the victim even more than you already have. And that's after having six months to grow a conscience. Unbelievable!)


* * * * *


With court in session, the prosecutor called Corporal Chadd to testify. At this time Scott Adams requested that the judge instruct Sheriff Fenwick to leave the courtroom during Corporal Chadd's testimony. When Sheriff Fenwick left the room, testimony began.

As Corporal Chadd began his testimony, he explained that in response to a report of a suspicious pedestrian walking east near the Putnamville Correctional Facility, he stopped his vehicle near the Lincoln Park Speedway and established contact with a pedestrian who met the description of the suspicious person. When the prosecutor asked Corporal Chadd if he could identify the suspect, he said he could. Quickly identifying me as the suspect, Corporal Chadd then added that my hair isn't as long as it was when he stopped me. I don't specifically remember much more of what Corporal Chadd said as a witness for the prosecution.

Eventually Scott Adams began his cross-examination of Corporal Chadd. As nervous as I was, I don't remember any specific questions Mr. Adams asked Corporal Chadd, but I do remember Mr. Adams masterfully setting the bait to reel in Corporal Chadd. With the greatest of ease, Mr. Adams took Corporal Chadd out of his comfort zone, much like I had done in July of 2010. This time, though, Chadd had to think even harder to keep his responses in line with the lies he had already told. This time he was being watched, so he couldn't just make things up and get away with it as he had done the previous summer when the only witness to his crimes was his co-conspirator, Sheriff Steve Fenwick.

Without much effort, Mr. Adams used a kind of intellectual misdirection to confuse Corporal Chadd into unknowingly admitting that his suspicion of me was based entirely on hearsay, rather than any real evidence. Once Corporal Chadd finally realized he was saying exactly what Mr. Adams wanted him to say, Corporal Chadd had already damaged his story beyond repair. As a result, Corporal Chadd began altering minor details of his story, trying to make it appear as if he was clarifying his story, hoping no one would notice.

With the minor changes, Corporal Chadd's new story went something like this: "Actually my first contact with the suspect was in the cemetery near the speedway." By saying this, Corporal Chadd apparently hoped to establish that he initially encountered me more than a couple hundred feet from the road, with me trying to hide in a wooded area. If that had been true, it may have suggested that I actually was behaving suspiciously, thus justifying his investigation. However, Mr. Adams quickly reminded Corporal Chadd that his own testimony and arrest report had already established that I was neither hiding nor attempting to hide. Here's what Corporal Chadd said in the arrest report: "When I arrived in the area, I observed a male subject sitting in the grass on the north side of US 40, just east of the Lincoln Park Speedway entrance." (That doesn't really make it sound like I was trying to hide, does it?)

Corporal Chadd is not a good liar. In fact, he's a very bad liar, and every word from his mouth made his story even more difficult to believe, especially because Scott Adams is damn good at catching the lies, then asking follow-up questions that expose the lies. Over and over, Mr. Adams pointed out the inconsistencies in Corporal Chadd's ever-evolving story. As a result, Corporal Chadd's testimony unintentionally helped my case. Corporal Chadd's testimony effectively proved that his "investigation" of me was based entirely on hearsay.

Well, hearsay is almost never admissible as evidence. Legally, this meant that as far as Corporal Chadd was concerned, there was never a suspicious person to investigate. And if there was no suspicious person, Corporal Chadd had no reasonable suspicion that I (or anyone else) had committed an infraction or violated an ordinance.

This law exists precisely because of situations like what happened to me. The report of a suspicious person was a total lie. Since there was not actually a suspicious person in the area, there was nothing for Corporal Chadd to investigate. If a cop tries to investigate someone for something that never happened, that person doesn't have to cooperate. In fact, the prison guard's false report of a suspicious person is the only crime that had occurred prior to Corporal Chadd's arrival on the scene.

In case you still don't get it, think about it like this:

If I had called 911 yesterday from a pay phone and reported anonymously that the resident of 123 Main Street murdered Ryan Powell (yes, me), then left Ryan's body in "the woods near the high school," the first thing the cops would have done is attempt to contact Ryan in case he was actually still alive. If they were unable to contact Ryan, they would have immediately begun searching for his body in the woods near the high school. (In fact, they probably would have done both of those things concurrently.) If they couldn't find a body in the woods near the high school, yet they still thought that Ryan may actually have been killed, the cops would probably have then attempted to contact the resident of 123 Main Street to ask some questions about the reported murder. However, since there is no evidence that a crime has even occurred, the resident of 123 Main Street would not have to cooperate with the cops, nor should he. Until there is some evidence that Ryan is actually dead, the resident of 123 Main Street cannot be considered a suspect in Ryan's murder, particularly because I am obviously still alive.

No one can be forced to cooperate in the investigation of a crime that hasn't happened. Because I am alive right now, the resident of 123 Main Street cannot possibly have killed me. Furthermore, he doesn't have to prove that he did not kill someone who is very much alive. Similarly, because there was no evidence that a crime had occurred that day in Indiana, I could not have been suspected of having committed a crime that never occurred. And since I was not suspected of having committed a crime that never occurred, if a cop chose to treat me like a suspect (which is what happened), I had the right not to cooperate. End of story.

Establishing that Corporal Chadd's "investigation" was based entirely on hearsay is all it took for Mr. Adams to dismantle the foundation of the prosecution's case. Corporal Chadd's argument essentially became, "When I saw some guy sitting near the side of the road, I assumed he had committed a crime, just because. I treated him like a suspect, and he didn't like it, so I charged him with offenses that he could not possibly have committed, then I sent him to jail."

Sadly, as obvious as it was, I don't think the judge ever figured out that Corporal Chadd had lied with almost every word he spoke, both throughout the arrest report and during his testimony. If the judge did figure it out, he didn't care.


* * * * *


I remember essentially nothing about Sheriff Fenwick's testimony, I guess because there was nothing memorable about it. All I remember is that when Mr. Adams had finished his cross-examination of Fenwick, Mr. Adams asked me if I wanted to testify. He indicated that he felt good about how everything was going so far, and that I didn't need to testify if I didn't want to; he was just making sure I knew I could now testify if I wanted to. I responded by telling him that I trusted him and that I was too nervous to testify.

Since I chose not to testify, the prosecutor gave his closing statements. Mr. Adams then followed with his closing statements.

I was already impressed with Mr. Adams, but his closing statements blew me away. Having established long ago that Corporal Chadd's suspicion was based solely on hearsay, Mr. Adams used that as a stepping stone to his remaining arguments. Citing the case of Adam Starr vs. State of Indiana, Mr. Adams demonstrated that "a passenger in a car is not subject to the same criminal penalties by refusing to identify himself when, unlike the driver of the vehicle, there was no reasonable suspicion that he had committed an infraction or violated an ordinance."

OK, toss out the 'Failure to Identify Self' charge. That was easy.

Now let's take a look at Bobby Greeno vs. State of Indiana:
"The Fourth Amendment permits a police officer, without any reasonable suspicion of any wrongdoing, to approach a citizen to ask questions; however, that citizen remains free to ignore the questions and walk away. Accordingly, when a citizen in such a circumstance walks away from the officer, the officer must have reasonable suspicion a crime is, was, or is about to occur prior to yelling stop and chasing the citizen. Because the officer had no reasonable suspicion when he yelled for Greeno to stop and then chased after Greeno, his warrantless search of Greeno was improper."

This says that Corporal Chadd had the right to approach me and ask me questions, but it also says I didn't have to answer any of his questions. Since the report of a suspicious pedestrian was hearsay (which effectively means there was no suspicious pedestrian), and since I was not legally obligated to identify myself or speak at all when Corporal Chadd approached me, at no time was Corporal Chadd enforcing a law. This means I could not possibly have resisted law enforcement, no matter how hard I tried.

That means we get to toss out the 'Resisting Law Enforcement' charge, too.

With that charge gone, since I had not committed ANY violations, the search that yielded my pipe was a warrantless and illegal search. The pipe was fruit of the poisonous tree, and thus it never really existed.

Slam dunk. 0 for 3, prosecution.

The judge clearly wanted to rule that I was guilty, without even hearing a word of my side of the story, but Scott Adams gave him no choice. Mr. Adams basically said, "Here's the law. The law clearly says he didn't break any laws. We're done. See ya."

The judge took a minute to look through a couple law books before APOLOGIZING to the prosecution team for the 'Not Guilty' ruling he was about to make. He said, "If I convict him, it's just going to end up being overturned in appeals court." After explaining to the prosecution team (particularly the sheriff) why he had to find me not guilty, the judge then lectured me about how I'm such a punk for doing what I did. He said if he had been in the cops' position, he would have done exactly what they did. He said if I was his son, he would have kicked my ass.

Basically, the judge revealed that he is almost as much of a scumbag terrorist as Sheriff Steve Fenwick, Corporal Jon Chadd, and the Putnam County District Attorney. He showed that they all believe they're above the law, and that it's wrong for the general public to know their rights. Even more unbelievable, he obviously thinks it's wrong for someone to stand up for his constitutional rights when he's been victimized by the people who are paid to protect him. Essentially, he proved that they are all very stupid, and that they all get off on wasting the taxpayers' money to fuck with people who clearly have not done anything remotely illegal.

So yeah, I'm gonna have to disagree with you on that one, judge, because YOU ARE WRONG. You are very wrong and I was very right. Not only was I legally right, but I was also morally right. If I had it to do over, I wouldn't do anything different. So you can go fuck yourself, and you can also thank me for standing up for your rights, asshole.

With all the bullshit I'd been through, all it took was about 200 words to prove that all the charges against me were bogus. Like I said several posts ago, this was not a difficult case. So if any of the people who were trying to crucify me are reading this, what do you have to say now?


THE END



* * * * *


Now that it's all over, let's flash back to something Corporal Chadd said in his testimony.

Remember when Corporal Chadd identified me as the suspect, when he said something about my hair being shorter now than it was back in July 2010? That remark was kind of interesting because the day I went to court, my hair was actually about an eighth of an inch longer than it had been when he victimized me last summer.

Could it be that Corporal Chadd's memory was just off a little when he said that, or did he actually possess something that he thought was an accurate reminder of the length of my hair? Something like my drivers' license, which I haven't seen since he illegally confiscated it from me back in July 2010 near the Lincoln Park Speedway?

I took the following picture a week after the false arrest (and I didn't get a haircut during that week). My hair is the same length in this picture as it was when Corporal Chadd identified me in the courtroom.




It's kind of interesting that his memory told him my hair was longer during the incident than during court, considering it was actually shorter. Again, I wonder if his inaccurate memory of longer hair has something to do with the fact that I haven't seen my drivers' license since the moment Corporal Chadd illegally confiscated it from me. I'm not alleging that he kept it as a trophy (like serial killers keep their victims' possessions), but the evidence seems to point in that direction.

This is about how I looked in my drivers' license pic:




* * * * *


One more thing:

In case you're wondering, I almost never smoke pot. In fact, I almost always turn it down when someone passes me a joint or a packed bowl. However, the weed I found was a gift from the tramping gods, as was the pipe, so hell yeah I smoked it. I most certainly did inhale, and I also enjoyed it. I'm not ashamed to admit it, just as I'm not ashamed to admit I drink a beer every once in a while, too. If that lowers your opinion of me, I'm over it.

Also, Scott Adams, if you ever find your way to this story, I want you to know I have tons of respect for you, and I truly appreciate the passion you displayed in your quest for justice. Keep it up, man. Thank you!

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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Land of the Free, Part V

Land of the Free, Part I
Land of the Free, Part II
Land of the Free, Part III
Land of the Free, Part IV

I was taken to the Putnam County Jail sometime during the evening of Saturday July 24, 2010. There's not much to say about this except that I was there for almost three full days. The dude who was responsible for scanning my fingerprints didn't even know how to use the scanning machine, even though it gave him clear instructions with every step. Since it took him at least three tries with each finger to get an acceptable print, I kept suggesting that he try it a different way (the way the machine kept telling him to do it), but he just didn't get it. It was a scene straight out of Idiocracy.

After two days in jail I was transported to the Putnam County Courthouse in shackles and cuffs, along with five other male prisoners and two female prisoners. Since all but one of the other male prisoners were frequent guests at the jail, these prisoners helped me get an idea of what to expect during court. Blown away by the ridiculousness of the charges I was facing, especially considering I was 2,600 miles into a coast-to-coast walk, these guys expected the judge to throw out my charges.

The judge didn't throw out my charges.

Instead, he accepted my 'innocent' plea and set my bail for $3,000, although I only had to come up with 10 percent of it (or $300) to be released. (I don't know the proper terminology here, and it's not very important, so if I got it wrong, just deal with it.) I was then given a piece of paper that contained information regarding my next court date, as well as the contact information for the public defender who had been assigned to my case.

As we were getting ready to leave the courtroom, our female jail guard began acting friendly and helpful to me and the other guy whose bail had been set. (Jail employees mostly get off on being assholes to the prisoners, so this was a shock.) Aside from asking questions about my walk, she also said when we get back to the jail she would let me use the office phone to arrange a Western Union money transfer to take care of my bail.

Upon returning to the jail, I waited patiently for someone to let me use the phone. There was a phone in the jail cell that I could have used to make a collect call whenever I wanted, but I didn't plan to use that phone because the guard had made it quite clear that she would let me use the office phone (which I assumed would be free). A few hours later, though, I realized no one was ever going to let me use the office phone. So eventually I used the phone in the cell to call my parents collect and let them know I had been in jail for the last two days. During that call I also told my mom what I thought she needed to know if she intended to bail me out. (My dad, of course, was very pissed off at me as soon as he found out I was in jail.)

The lady guard had also told me someone from the jail staff would take me to the Western Union at Kroger to receive the bail money if I could get someone to wire it there. This would have been a lot more convenient for my parents than driving four hours from central Ohio, which would be an expensive trip considering the costs of gas and a motel room. During our expensive phone call, in an attempt to save my folks some money and trouble, I informed my mom of the Western Union option.

It turns out that the guard lied to me about this stuff, too. So after wasting all that time waiting for the jail staff to let me use the phone, I unknowingly blew my chances of getting out of jail that night. It also caused me to spend a lot more time talking to my mom, making sure she had the details straight, thus leading to a much more expensive phone call than was necessary.

Shortly after noon the next day (July 27), someone called my name through the jail cell's PA speaker. When I responded, the voice informed me that my bail had been taken care of. A guard came to the door to escort me to the dressing room near the booking desk, where I changed out of the orange and white striped jail clothes and back into my own clothes. Since the jail staff had thoroughly sifted through my gear when I was booked three days earlier, leaving a total mess inside my pack, I had to spend a lot of time and effort re-organizing it all. While I organized everything, I had to try to account for at least a couple hundred different items I was carrying during my walk.

After I'd finished organizing my gear, all that seemed to be missing was my prescription medications. (Well, there were a couple other things missing, including the glass pipe I found in Arizona, as well as the peppercorn-sized nugget of weed that remained of the bud I found way back in California. Of course, I already knew I wasn't gonna get either of those things back.)



After I brought my missing prescriptions to the attention of the jail staff, someone indicated the pills were not where they were supposed to be, so it looked like I wasn't going to get my medication back. Needless to say, this pissed me off, so I made a smart-ass remark, directed to no one in particular, yet to everyone at the same time because I was kinda sick of being fucked with, which seemed to be the only thing they do in Putnam County, Indiana. Eventually my pills turned up and I was escorted to the front of the jail building, where I awkwardly met my parents.

Before leaving the building, I realized they had not returned my drivers' license. When I brought that to the attention of the receptionist, she told me the district attorney's office probably had it. So we drove to the courthouse in downtown Greencastle, where the district attorney's office is located. I then went to the DA's office and informed the receptionist that I was told my drivers' license would be here.

They didn't have it. (What a surprise!) They told me my public defender should have it, and I needed to talk to him if I wanted my license back.

See a trend here? Yeah, the justice system of Putnam County, Indiana exists just to fuck with people.

Unable to establish contact with my public defender, Scott Adams (who is very cool, by the way), my folks and I eventually went to a bank to try to cash a check the jail had given me in place of the cash I'd carried into the jail. (The check was written for $2 or $3 less than I carried into the jail because they charged me for the shitty quality bathroom supplies I never asked for.)

Even though my mom has accounts in Ohio with PNC bank, this branch of PNC Bank would not cash my check from the sheriff's department. Instead they gave us directions to the bank that issued the check, so we chased our tails to the check-issuing bank in another attempt to cash the check. This bank's teller cashed the check for me, but she gave the impression that she was breaking the bank's normal rules by doing it. (That oughtta tell you a little more about the Putnam County Sheriff's Department.)

After all the bullshit Putnam County had put us through since my parents arrived, it was not difficult for my dad to figure out that Putnam County had been putting me through even more bullshit almost since the moment I set foot in the county. Understandably, he was no longer pissed at me. Like me, he was now pissed off at the people who caused all this unnecessary trouble.

With everything finally taken care of (excluding the retrieval of my drivers' license and my return to court, of course), my folks and I stopped for lunch at a fast food joint before they finally dropped me off outside the speedway, where my walk had been so unlawfully interrupted three days earlier.

My mom suggested that maybe they should drop me off at the border of the next county, to eliminate any possibility of being victimized again by the Putnam County scumbag thugs, but that was not an option. My objective was to walk from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, not most of the way from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.

I don't cheat, OK. I don't cheat when I walk, just as I don't cheat in any other aspect of life. Throughout this walk, I never allowed anyone to transport any of my gear for me, nor did I ever push my gear in a cart, nor did I skip even the shortest segment of my walking route. Whenever I needed to go out of the way, I walked out of the way and then I walked back, always carrying my gear. Had I made the decision to skip either ten miles or ten feet, I knew I would never be able to say, truthfully, that I walked from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.

In case I haven't made it clear yet: I didn't walk every inch of 2,600 miles just to let a couple terrorist cops ruin everything.

The day I was released from jail, even though I didn't get started again until 4:30 pm, I still walked almost 14 miles, from the speedway to Stilesville. The next day I walked a little over 24 miles, to the eastern edge of the Indianapolis airport. (I walked a few miles out of my way that day to get an x-ray at an urgent care facility because my ribs constantly hurt like hell from being beaten up by Corporal Chadd and Sheriff Fenwick. My ribs continued to hurt for the next month.) The next few days I walked 26.4 miles, 30.3 miles, and another 30 miles, ending up about 5 miles into Ohio. The next day I walked another 20 miles by 6:00, stopping at my grandparents' house for a short, well-deserved break.


* * * * *

My next court date was set for September 16. Since I wasn't sure if I could finish the walk by then, the timing of the court date kept me pretty stressed out. About ten days after being released from jail, though, I was finally able to talk to Scott Adams, my public defender, who told me it shouldn't be any trouble to postpone the court date. His reassurance eased a little bit of my stress, but the Putnam County incident had me stressed out in about 15 other ways, none of which could be eased at least until my court date.

After what I endured in Putnam County, Indiana, I spent a lot of time thinking about cops. I even considered quitting the walk because I was so stressed out from constantly worrying about the next run-in with cops. You never know when the next cop is going to stop to harass you, and you worry about it every time you see a cop car. In fact, you worry every time you see a vehicle that even looks like it might be a cop car, especially in rural areas, where cops tend to be incredibly stupid.

As you should already know, I didn't quit. After walking to my parents' house in central Ohio, I rested for a week. Following my week off, I had still only taken about 20 days off since beginning the walk 174 days earlier and 2,829 miles away. When I started moving again on August 13, I had less than 600 miles left to go (or so I thought) and 30 days to do it. My goal was to finish by September 12 because that was the final day of the Coney Island Cyclone's operating season.

Judging by what Google Maps showed me before I left my parents' house, I thought I only had maybe 560-580 miles left to go. But extra miles add up quickly, especially in places like Pennsylvania, where there are about 200 possible routes to take, with none standing out as better than any other. Google Maps tells you one route one day, then it tells you some other route on another day, and Google Maps also doesn't take into consideration whether its best route takes you through enough towns.

As beat up as I already was when I left my parents' house, I really had to bust ass, averaging at least 20 miles a day over the next few weeks, if I could to expect to have any chance of finishing the walk by September 12. And I did bust ass, averaging about 22 miles a day when I pulled into State College, Pennsylvania on August 28, more than a day ahead of schedule.

Even though the distance from home to Coney Island ended up being 624 miles, rather than 560-580 miles, I still made it to Coney Island on September 12, as planned. Unfortunately, I didn't get to ride the Cyclone because it rained all day. I have no idea if the park even opened earlier in the day, but it was a ghost town by the time I arrived, as afternoon became evening.

Bummer.

The main reason I picked Coney Island as the walk's endpoint was so I could ride the classic coaster just before finishing. Having wanted to ride this coaster for years, I'd never had a chance. And now, my third visit to Coney Island, I still couldn't ride it. But hey, at least Totonno's was open, as was Nathan's, each of which constituted my final meal of the walk.


* * * * *

Walking around in Central Park on September 13, now finished with the walk, Scott Adams called me to check on my status. Even though I could have made it to Indiana for my scheduled court appearance three days later, I asked him to push it back a little to give me some time to recover from the walk. I figured it would only be set back a few weeks, but they ended up rescheduling my court appearance for January 21, 2011.

(Read the exciting conclusion of this story in Land of the Free, Part VI.)

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