This morning we had an unexpected opportunity to welcome a trio of FBI agents to chat with us on our porch right here at the Wild Homestead.
The weekend has been life-altering. My brother, Seth and I attended the Louisiana Empowering Families Conference with guest speakers Colin and Nancy Campbell. This was the first opportunity that I’ve had to hear, in -person, very strong Biblical truths that I’ve had in my heart for a long time. I was always afraid of sharing or even following some of these convictions because of the very strong anti-family and anti-Christian sentiments that I’ve heard throughout my college training. I’m fearful of causing offense, or inviting criticism among other things. Now I see that those fears do not serve me in any way.
We’ve never been consistent about family meals and devotions, but this is something that was truly impressed upon us during the retreat. Since we’ve come home we’ve been sharing breakfast and dinner together with intention. This morning my brother offered to make pancakes. He came over to our kitchen with his griddle and pancake mix and started frying up some cakes.
My son was squirming to go outside, hoping to spend some time in his new playhouse out in the woods. He went to the door and opened it but I pulled him in. When I did, I heard an SUV rolling up the driveway. Two SUvs parked and a group of unfamiliar men climbed out.
I turned to my brother and asked him if he would go talk to these people, whoever they were. He approached them and I pulled Callum back inside. Usually the only strangers we’ve dealt with here are evangelicals coming to share their message with us, or people coming to inquire about nearby real estate.
When my brother came back to me, he said calmly, “It’s the FBI. They want to talk to us.”
Thus began our roughly 45- minute discussion on the front porch with the Department of Homeland Security’s FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
How did this all start? Let’s see. Back in January, Seth and I began writing on a blog called Roasted Plums about political issues, particularly those related to the Second Amendment and the visible building up of a US federal police force under the Department of Homeland Security. Before all of this, which followed Sandy Hook and a national cry for gun control/gun confiscation, we were merely rural homesteaders living outside of the mainstream. I was even in favor of gun control until I began to consider who will be armed and who will not when gun control succeeds. Only then did I begin to question the wisdom of having an unarmed civilian population.
My brother joined our website and began writing on there from his perspective as a veteran of the US military. In April of this year, he moved to our homestead with us because together we knew that we could build our homestead faster and more secure with several adults working together. Our goal has always been the same: to feed and protect our families. Perhaps it alarms people that we do consider protecting our families to be a natural, God-given right. We’ve found that not only does it terrify people that we want to protect our families and will consider reasonable means to do so, but we’ve also discovered that people are terrified that we are even talking about this.
Since starting our blog, we’ve seen the suburbs of Boston experience a lockdown and US citizens swept from their homes at gun point all in the name of counter-terrorism. Domestic terrorism is the obsession of our government right now. Federal law enforcement is one of the only functioning arms of government during this shutdown. We are absolutely in a police state. Does it mean that the DHS is the German SS? No, of course not. Does it mean that we are all at high risk of being raided by SWAT or stormed by federal police in our communities? No, it doesn’t. But it does mean that the government is ready to mobilize at any moment and absolutely, without a doubt, has the capacity to put us under this type of authoritarian attack at any time in the name of “public safety”– the one and only Constitutional exception to our civil rights.
Seth and my brother have made a few videos which range from comedic satire to more serious concerns that have arisen since we started the Roasted Plums blog.
On July 5 of this year we had a Homeland Security helicopter fly very low over our property. I called the office that operated this flight and key points from this conversation are as follows:
I ask “Is there any way that I can know if [the helicopter] is going to come back to my house?”
He responded, “I don’t think so. I think we got most of our work done today. I’m not telling you that it will not be back, but… as far as where we’re at on our investigation… I don’t think they’re probably gonna be back anytime soon.”
I was also told that this was part of a “law enforcement mission.” Below is footage of the helicopter and the phone call.
We noticed unusual activity on our blog and our videos over the weekend and we were getting strange comments on some recent videos. My brother had gone to the airport the other day to ask about another low-flying helicopter, and recorded the encounter on the phone. We then called Homeland Security again the next day to try to get more information and we were told during that call that we could come by their facility but that there “wasn’t anything to talk about.” We drove over there, but of course no one was available to talk. We did see a guy who looked furious and wrote down our license plate number as we were leaving, but we laughed it off.
As they say “If you see something, say something.”
Apparently he said something. According to the FBI “emails were flying back and forth to Washington.” Everyone at the airport was on high alert, no doubt because of the recent attack on the Navy Yard facility and other events. It’s understandable, but at the same time my contention is that if they don’t want this to escalate to the point that we are showing up at their gates to have our questions answered, then the answer is TRANSPARENCY and not government paranoia. When we are told that we are being investigated, we will naturally search for answers that explain why. When we are then told that we are not being investigated while the FBI is standing on our porch, it’s a great irony. It feels like doublespeak… gaslighting.
The more that our government tries to hide in the dark shadows of the wrongs that it commits against its own people and others around the world, then the darker this situation will become.
Customs and Border Protection tells us this low altitude flyover was a “low cloud ceiling” that caused the pilot to hover over our home and circle 3 times, and a the FBI said it must have been a “brain fart” on the part of the CBP commander who spoke about the investigation that we are now told didn’t really exist.
We were also told that the FBI was conducting an assessment, not an investigation. Nevertheless, there they were sitting on our porch. Does the change in terminology soothe our souls? Not really.
Do we trust them? It does not matter. For we know this:
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” – Psalms 118:8
We are thankful that we had the opportunity to share our thoughts with these men and hopefully we will not be raided by any SWAT teams anytime soon. I’m ok with non-intrusive 24- hour surveillance. After all, what choice do I have? I speak openly about these things because I want to share.
Though we were told that it’s probably wise to stop making the videos and recording our thoughts publicly, without us making these recordings and trying to reach out, we would have never gotten any kind of response from them.
In my humble assessment, this ordeal shows a great display of incompetence on someone’s part, perhaps starting with the pilot who seems to have chosen to circle over our house instead of over the vast empty fields nearby and thus launched this entire thing.
Not to say that our response has been perfect either, but knowing that a few pro-constitution videos made waves and struck terror in the hearts of some bureaucrats in Washington over the weekend makes me feel that if they feel their reaction justified, then ours certainly must have been as well.