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The Wrath of the Killdozer

Article #330 • Written by Jason Bellows

Marvin Heemeyer of Granby, Colorado was a profoundly frustrated muffler repair man. In the late 1990s--after years of protests, petitions, and town meetings--it became obvious to the 52-year-old that he was entwined in a gross miscarriage of justice. His business was ruined by some shady zoning changes, and Heemeyer contended that mayor and city council were corrupt. Even as he was forced to give up his legal fight and sell his land, he hatched one last plan to secretly retool his muffler shop to serve a single malevolent purpose: to construct a machine that would allow him to exact his revenge upon those who had wronged him.

Heemeyer first became enamored with the state of Colorado when he was stationed there in the Air Force. After his service ended, he moved to Grand Lake, Colorado and opened a small chain of muffler shops in the surrounding cities. After a while he began to lease some of the shops out to other operators, but kept one, Mountain View Muffler in Granby, to operate himself.

Heemeyer became involved with politics almost immediately upon establishing his home in Colorado. He was generally well-liked among his friends and neighbors, being described as an "enjoyable person," and as someone who would "bend over backwards for anyone". There were some, however, who were more familiar with his volatile temperament. He was a strong proponent of legalizing gambling, and he published at least two newsletters to disseminate his views. When a reporter for a local paper interviewed Heemeyer for an editorial opposed to gambling, he reported that Heemeyer was so enraged by the opposition that the interview nearly came to fisticuffs. In one particularly extreme instance, Heemeyer threatened to kill a customer's husband when she refused to pay for a faulty muffler repair. "If Marv was your friend, he was your best friend," said one of Heemeyer's close associates, "but if he decided that he was your enemy, then he was your worst and most dangerous enemy."

Marvin Heemeyer, welder and tinkerer
Marvin Heemeyer, welder and tinkerer

In the late 1990s the Docheff family approached Heemeyer to buy his one remaining muffler shop in order to build a concrete batch plant on the land. It was a matter of public record that Heemeyer had bought the land for $42,000. Docheff reported that they agreed to buy the land for $250,000, but the deal fell apart when Heemeyer raised the price to $375,000 and reportedly once even mentioned a million. Having grown weary of Heemeyer's indecisiveness, the Docheffs went to the Granby City Council and sought to re-zone the land surrounding Heemeyer's muffler shop.

Heemeyer was involved in the re-zoning process from the outset, attending town meetings to ensure that his interests were protected. Nevertheless, in 2001 the town zoning commission and trustees approved the rezoning request. Adding apparent insult to injury, the plan for the concrete plant cut off the only route to his muffler shop. The city also fined Heemeyer $2,500 for "junk cars" on his property, and for failing to have his shop hooked up to the sewer line.

Hindered but not yet defeated, Heemeyer set out to remedy the situation using community action, legal maneuvering, and elbow grease. He appealed the zoning commission's decision, and gathered signatures from the townsfolk to petition against the plant. He attempted to obtain permission to install a sewer line under eight feet of land owned by Mountain Park Concrete, but the new owners refused. He even went so far as to buy a bulldozer to build a new road that would allow customer access to his muffler shop, but the city council declined to approve his plan. Many people suspected there were some shady dealings between the concrete plant and the members of the city council, but no actual evidence of such illegal goings-on has ever been found.

Having no recourse, Heemeyer sent the city a $2,500 check to cover the fines, with the word "cowards" written ominously on the memo line. He then sold the muffler shop property to a trash company, and was given six months to vacate.

One of several gunports inside the Killdozer
One of several gunports inside the Killdozer

Heemeyer set to work on his new project almost immediately. The Komatsu D335A bulldozer that was meant to save his business was instead moved into the muffler shop, and Heemeyer began to make some modifications. He started by adding home-made composite armor--cement sandwiched between thick sheets of steel--to protect the cab, engine, and parts of the tracks. He installed front and rear cameras to feed images to monitors in the cab, and several gun ports were set around the control center. A stockpile of food and water was stored inside, as well as an air tank to help provide air circulation.

Throughout the one-and-a-half years of construction, Heemeyer documented his progress though notes and audio tapes. "Because of your anger, because of your malice, because of your hate, you would not work with me," he stated in his tape recordings. "I am going to sacrifice my life, my miserable future that you gave me, to show you that what you did is wrong." He received several visitors at his shop while working on his armored vehicle of vengeance, and none of them seemed alarmed at the weaponized armor shell atop his earth-mover. In his notes Heemeyer credited a higher power with "clouding their vision." On one occasion he wrote, "I was always willing to be reasonable until I had to be unreasonable. Sometimes reasonable men must do unreasonable things."

2004 was a tough year for Heemeyer. His father passed away in March, and he broke off his engagement when he caught his betrothed with another man. The morning of Friday, the 4th of June was gray and drizzly. Heemeyer mailed his audio tapes to his brother, went to his shop, and climbed into his bulldozer with a handwritten list of targets. He used the winch controls to lower the concrete and steel shell onto the top of his vehicle. Nothing short of a crane would be able to lift the thirty-ton armor shell off the vehicle once it was in place. With that fateful metal clap, Heemeyer was sealed in a concrete and steel box that he could never escape.

A truck smashed by the Killdozer
A truck smashed by the Killdozer

At just after 3:00 PM, the makeshift tank tore through the side of his shed, and smashed into the Mountain Park Concrete plant. Shortly thereafter, the phones at the 911 response center began ringing incessantly. A man named Cody Docheff witnessed the destruction-in-progress and attempted to use a front-end loader to intercept the rampaging bulldozer, but withdrew when he was fired upon from the gun ports of this "Killdozer." Within minutes two buildings and multiple vehicles were eviscerated, and the Killdozer rumbled towards the highway into town. The slow-moving bulldozer picked up a parade of emergency vehicle escorts as it approached the city limits. One police SUV was crushed when it strayed too near.

Undersheriff Glen Trainor managed to climb atop the moving bulldozer, and used 37 rounds from his service pistol to try and shoot his way in. “I think the thing that drove me,” he later reported, “is that I knew that killing him behind the wheel was the only way we were going to be able to stop this thing.”

When Heemeyer and his Killdozer arrived in town, the Granby police were waiting for him. Against the armored behemoth, however, the lawmen were powerless. When it became clear that the armor was impervious to bullets the police tried explosives, but they too were without effect. Lawmen kept to the sides and tried to vacate anyone from the Killdozer’s path, and the local police utilized the reverse 911 system to call residents and warn them of the approaching danger. News helicopters filmed the unfolding violence from above.

The overencumbered vehicle was obviously difficult to control, and swerved widely through the streets, but Heemeyer was still able to seek out and and hit his specific targets. The bulldozer effortlessly demolished cars and buildings, including the home of a former mayor, the office of a newspaper that had sided against him in an editorial, the businesses of a former city councilman, and the city hall. Despite the destruction of property, no people had been injured or killed.

The remains of Granby city hall
The remains of Granby city hall

The Granby Police requisitioned an industrial scraper to pit heavy equipment against heavy equipment, but the Killdozer merely shoved the lighter adversary aside.

In about an hour of mayhem, the bulldozer had demolished thirteen structures and was en route to its next target: Gamble’s Hardware. The damage from small arms and the extra weight of the armor were taking a toll on the vehicle, however. The radiator had sprung a leak, and the Killdozer was losing horsepower. As the fatigued machine crashed through the wall of the hardware store the floor beneath the beast broke, and the front end of the bulldozer fell into a shallow basement. The engine struggled, but it could not power itself out of the pit.

As SWAT teams surrounded the wounded Killdozer, one of the members reported hearing a single, muffled gunshot from within the cab. The vehicle didn’t move again, ending a rampage that had lasted 2 hours 7 minutes, and caused about $7 million in damage.

Explosives were employed to try to open the tank, but in the end it took twelve hours with an oxyacetylene torch and a crane to crack the armored top. Inside Heemeyer was found dead, having shot himself with a .357 handgun. He was the lone casualty of the destruction spree.

Today there are a number of groups which idolize Heemeyer and his fight against a corrupt system; celebrating his ingenuity, ambition, and his apparently valiant effort to prevent any casualties. But it is unlikely that Heemeyer himself deserves credit for the lack of serious injuries or deaths. Many of the buildings he razed were occupied moments before he attacked. There was also evidence of shots fired from the tank at multiple locales--including one attempt to detonate a cache of propane tanks--and a reported attempt to push a wall down onto a pair of police officers.

The steel beast bested by a shallow basement
The steel beast bested by a shallow basement

Once the Killdozer’s cab was opened and Heemeyer was removed, the police inventoried his numerous guns, and found his list of targets; in addition to buildings and businesses, the list included names.

In order to prevent rampage admirers from collecting Killdozer memorabilia, the dozer was dismantled, and its parts were scattered among many separate scrapyards.

Anyone who has tried and failed to influence an uncaring government cannot help but feel a twinge of admiration for the extreme measures taken by Marvin Heemeyer. But while there is certainly a time and place for relentless, city-crushing machines, the line between legitimate vigilante and crazy-muffler-man-with-notions-of-divine-approval is much too fine for any one man to distinguish.

Article written by Jason Bellows, published on 29 July 2009. Jason is a contributing editor for DamnInteresting.com.

Article design and artwork by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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136 Comments
Last_Taste
Posted 29 July 2009 at 01:15 pm

1st!


Last_Taste
Posted 29 July 2009 at 01:16 pm

1st!

Sorry, had to be done. I love it that DI is back, and back with some good articles!


ndc123
Posted 29 July 2009 at 01:27 pm

Interesting as always. Just to let you guys know, I bought the book and it's as great as I expected. I'm loving the new stories along with reading more in-depth versions of old ones. When I was checking out with my copy, I noticed that the store had a "fascinating" promotional table that failed to include AHS. I remedied this travesty by moving 3 of the 5 copies of the worlds most fascinating book that they had buried on the reference shelf way in the back. I came back a week later and 2 of the 3 copies I had moved were gone. Anyway, thanks for everything you guys do!


Mikell
Posted 29 July 2009 at 01:28 pm

Another fun article - Glad You're Back.


Mikell
Posted 29 July 2009 at 01:33 pm

Mikell said: "Another fun article – Glad You’re Back."

Well, not exactly "fun", but certainly Damn Interesting.


kittychatalot
Posted 29 July 2009 at 01:47 pm

Glorious that you are back!


tunapez
Posted 29 July 2009 at 01:52 pm

DI how far a man(woman) can be pushed until they snap. I'm surprised there are not more of these incidents in this economic climate. Maybe I'm just not looking, there are alot of stats that aren't publicized overtly. Just ask a 1st responder.


vegas
Posted 29 July 2009 at 02:00 pm

DI. Keep 'em coming.


siphons
Posted 29 July 2009 at 02:31 pm

That had to be a most satisfying revenge, something today's youth should all aspire.


Ron
Posted 29 July 2009 at 02:42 pm

I love the fact that he thought God clouded the minds of the people who saw him building the killdozer. "Dear Jesus, please cloud these peoples vision so I can create my death machine and have my revenge. Amen"


StillAliveAndWell
Posted 29 July 2009 at 02:54 pm

Damn Interesting! I'd heard the story before, but never with this much detail.
I often wonder what it takes to make a "normal" person snap like this - what personal demons drive someone to do horrible things? Hopefully, I'll never know. But we've all got to have some compassion - not only for the victims in senseless crimes and acts of violence - but also for the criminal, or the deranged man or woman who claims "God drove me to it". How tormented must a "good person" be to sink to such despicable depths, and commit unspeakable acts? How does their brain rewire itself to allow them to do these things?


Slate Grey
Posted 29 July 2009 at 03:47 pm

Excellent as always. Reminds me of the movie Falling Down. Tunapez, I think you would see more of these incidents if it weren't for lack of resources and technical knowhow. Also the single-mindedness of a lunatic might have something to do with it.

Also, Jason, that last sentence is greatness.


Ardech
Posted 29 July 2009 at 03:48 pm

How unfortunate that this "screwed over" person did not remove from my universe some of the "Human Garbage" that openly abused a democratic system as these cowards...
As for the comment above me this is exactly the kind of person that would screw over good people and then smile and say how they did nothing "wrong"...
Get ready "stillaliveandwell" we are tired of corruption and people using our system for their personel agenda...
This man will rest in the loving arms of Gaia, he is a hero....
And the people and their comments above mine are probably the real criminals that left this person with no choices....The Mighty Ardech...See you soon


Davy
Posted 29 July 2009 at 04:15 pm

tisk tisk....should of sold the land when the offer was 5x what he paid for it..


Bile Langschott
Posted 29 July 2009 at 04:34 pm

Great article! I've heard of this incident and seen some of the news footage of the rampage, but I never knew what had driven this tortured soul to going on such a destructive rampage. Now, thanks to you and the wonderful work you do, I know that rest of the story. And nary a nit to pick in regard to grammar, punctuation or spelling could I find!


jethris
Posted 29 July 2009 at 04:42 pm

This made the news in Denver for a few weeks. They guy might have had a point, but was so nuts that we ended up with a tank attacking Grand Lake & Granby.


empty-drawer
Posted 29 July 2009 at 04:48 pm

Hmmm... I wonder if he had anger issues? He certainly was determined.. a determination that probably could have been better applied to something more productive. DI :)


Nezbitz
Posted 29 July 2009 at 05:08 pm

Similar story in Perth, Australia in 1995. Instead of building a tank, he broke into the local army barracks and stole an armoured vehicle and drive all the way to the parliament building. link on police report here http://www.police.wa.gov.au/ABOUTUS/OurHistory/EpisodesinOurHistory/tabid/1060/Default.aspx

And then it happened again in Sydney in 2007!


Chris
Posted 29 July 2009 at 06:11 pm

empty-drawer said: " He certainly was determined.. a determination that probably could have been better applied to something more productive. DI :)"

Considering the amount of time it took for him to modify the Killdozer for its intended purpose, yes, he was determined!


jarvisloop
Posted 29 July 2009 at 06:42 pm

If I remember correctly, the bulldozer came first, and then someone had the idea of fortifying it and adding weaponry.

Anyone know for sure?


KarmaPolice
Posted 29 July 2009 at 07:06 pm

Honestly the most interesting thing I've ever read, and I do indeed applaud this man for what he did, even though he was potentially a psychotic mass murderer. Just goes to show, it doesn't pay to treat people unfairly.


Keith Henson
Posted 29 July 2009 at 08:31 pm

People could stand to learn a lesson here about the degrees of "winning." A good rule I've learned in my life is: "never leave a person without options" another is: "one who intends to die can do anything."

So when you "win" it's a good idea to extend an olive branch of compromise afterwards - even when you don't have to. It's a way to ensure your victory never leaves an opponent without options as was the case in this story.

Sure, he was wrong to do the things he did - but without any options left the clarity of right and wrong begin to blur in despair.

...what happens after that is anyone's guess - but it usually isn't pretty - and you'd be amazed what a person can do once survival is no longer a reuirement.


StillAliveAndWell
Posted 29 July 2009 at 08:42 pm

Ardech said: "How unfortunate that this “screwed over” person did not remove from my universe some of the “Human Garbage” that openly abused a democratic system as these cowards…As for the comment above me this is exactly the kind of person that would screw over good people and then smile and say how they did nothing “wrong”…Get ready “stillaliveandwell” we are tired of corruption and people using our system for their personel agenda…This man will rest in the loving arms of Gaia, he is a hero….And the people and their comments above mine are probably the real criminals that left this person with no choices….The Mighty Ardech…See you soon"

Don't get me wrong - I absolutely agree that Marvin Heemeyer was totally screwed over, and there's no doubt in my mind that the Granby City Council treating him unfairly while offering someone else preferential treatment. His life's work was basically ruined by a casual decision to re-zone his property and drive him away. How could anyone in a similar situation act "normally".
My point is that unless you (or me or we) are the person effected, we can't know what the final push is that drives someone over the edge. It happens to someone every day, when something pushes them over the edge, and I sympathize with them for having to deal with what is left - and how they deal with it in their own way.


Marc Boyd
Posted 29 July 2009 at 10:42 pm

Well, GOD will judge, eventually. "This man will rest in the loving arms of Gaia" is not an option since it is a made up construction by weird people.

God has his own charge to you. Have no other "gods" before me or I will destroy you.

You will see.


TSN
Posted 29 July 2009 at 10:57 pm

Something's amiss with the timeline of the story. It says he sold the shop and was given six months to get out, but then he stuck around for a year-and-a-half working on the bulldozer?


sh0cktopus
Posted 30 July 2009 at 12:08 am

The Israeli Defence Forces have a fleet of Killdozers based on the Caterpillar D9 with remarkably similar features. The US Army has also been using similar vehicles in Iraq since the Gulf War. Although they are used simply as armored earth-moving equipment and mine-clearing vehicles in many situations, they can also be fitted with various weaponry and have been used extensively by the IDF to raze enemy buildings in a similar fashion. Armored bulldozers were first used in WWII by the British.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armored_bulldozer


Flowerheart
Posted 30 July 2009 at 12:25 am

Another excellent article and another interesting site like DI (Albeit with a lot more profanity) >article on Heemeyer >
http://www.badassoftheweek.com/heemeyer.html

also this is an interesting list >
http://www.badassoftheweek.com/list.html


sh0cktopus
Posted 30 July 2009 at 12:39 am

jarvisloop said: "If I remember correctly, the bulldozer came first, and then someone had the idea of fortifying it and adding weaponry.
Anyone know for sure?"

Internet research gives the origin of tracked vehicles with blade attachments in the late 1920s.


Jaded
Posted 30 July 2009 at 10:08 am

Marc Boyd said: "Well, GOD will judge, eventually. “This man will rest in the loving arms of Gaia” is not an option since it is a made up construction by weird people.
God has his own charge to you. Have no other “gods” before me or I will destroy you.
You will see."

This is the most beautifully simply example of this hypocrasy that I have ever seen! Bravo! "Your God is a made up contruction, and MY made up construction is going to punish you for it!"


drewski_brewski
Posted 30 July 2009 at 10:43 am

I wonder if there is any connection between Heemeyer's behavior/anger issues and his occupation; I've heard of cases of welders/industrial workers who went psycho because they had high levels of various metals in their systems, which changed their brain chemistry, as well as general correlation between metallic poisoning and increased crime (ref. DI article/comments "The Ethyl Poisoned Earth").


stholas
Posted 30 July 2009 at 11:13 am

Marc Boyd said: "Well, GOD will judge, eventually. “This man will rest in the loving arms of Gaia” is not an option since it is a made up construction by weird people.
God has his own charge to you. Have no other “gods” before me or I will destroy you.
You will see."

Wow, you are even scarier than this bulldozer dude. Do you have your own special workshop in your basement as well?


Jared Lessl
Posted 30 July 2009 at 11:43 am

> A good rule I’ve learned in my life is: “never leave a person without options” another is: “one who intends to die can do anything.”

A man backed into a corner with nothing left to lose is the most dangerous critter on earth. I'd like to have this article printed up and a copy put into every city council chamber, town hall, and police department in the country to serve as a warning. Be careful who you choose to screw over beyond the point of endurance, because you really can't be sure what they'll do. They might go quietly, they might fight you with lawyers. Or maybe they'll try to demolish your house with you and your family still inside it and have guns handy in case you get out.

As with some of you, I'm very surprised this sort of thing doesn't happen, if on smaller scales, much more often. How many times have cops pressed criminal charges against innocent people to cover for themselves? How many homeowner's associatons have stolen people's houses over chump change debts or having grass a few inches too long? I am truly amazed that there hasn't been a single returning Iraq War vet come home so shattered and hateful of the people who sent him there just to turn a buck that he was willing to make an attempt on their lives.


Denvergal
Posted 30 July 2009 at 12:32 pm

DI indeed- I remember when this happened!
I would also like to say that this hardly seems the forum for handing out judgements and decrees of faith...I mean seriously.


Ard Ri
Posted 30 July 2009 at 01:20 pm

You'd think he would have thought to protect the radiator...


Jaded
Posted 30 July 2009 at 01:45 pm

Denvergal said: "DI indeed- I remember when this happened!I would also like to say that this hardly seems the forum for handing out judgements and decrees of faith…I mean seriously."

How dare you!? You shall burn in a lake of fire for all eternity for that comment! Every forum belongs to the God Almighty.


LordFarkward
Posted 30 July 2009 at 05:24 pm

.


Rodger Wrighthead
Posted 31 July 2009 at 03:08 am

Wow ballsy attempt at revenge. Marvin Heemeyer was clearly not able to cope with his own misfortune (that by the looks of things he brought on himself through his own greed/ignorance to the pricing of his land). This is an individual who life seems to been a perfect example for the ideas reported in Christopher S. Putnam's "The Total Perspective Vortex" article. http://www.damninteresting.com/the-total-perspective-vortex

Shame no one took some time out to give him a hug and a psychologists phone number (or a little respect would probably have done wonders aswel...).


J.K.
Posted 31 July 2009 at 05:37 am

Ahh I rememeber this from a few years back. While it was wrong to go as far as he did, in a sick way it is admirable getting some sweet revenge on some corporate assholes and bribe taking city council turds that effectively shut down his business and ruined his life just because he didn't want to sell his business to a larger greedier company who wanted the land. He should not have tried to target people, but I can't say I feel too sorry for seeing their workplaces and offices turned to rubble.

Ardech has been I think hitting a bit of those noxious fumes himself with the gaia line, but he's right kind of about the need to remove human garbage from the world who hose over others in the case of this story likely for a quick buck and maybe some freebies from a payoff happy company. He didn't deserve what he got, but he did take it too far. And as already stated this DI article needs a printing and tacking to various walls in city offices to remind them the next one may be your last. You can only push someone so far before they'll just snap and do what they feel is necessary to fix or put an end to the problem.


Keith Henson
Posted 31 July 2009 at 07:23 am

Did anyone else notice the slight design flaw in the gunport picture? Scopes are removable...


Mirage_GSM
Posted 31 July 2009 at 08:18 am

J.K. said: "Ahh I rememeber this from a few years back. While it was wrong to go as far as he did, in a sick way it is admirable getting some sweet revenge on some corporate assholes and bribe taking city council turds that effectively shut down his business and ruined his life just because he didn’t want to sell his business to a larger greedier company who wanted the land."

Well the "greedy people" offered him six times the amount he had paid for the land. That's an offer he shouldn't have turned down. People who turn down such generous offers because they hope to gain more by going to court are those who are really greedy - and in many cases stupid as well.


monkforhire
Posted 31 July 2009 at 10:47 am

Hey guys. Not posted in a loooooooooooooooong time (something we have in common I guess!) but just wanted to say 'glad you're back' and that I have duly pre-ordered the dead tree edition (sadly we poor folks in Blighty still have to wait for our copies).

On a note about the article, we get some pretty boring news from the US over here, if any, so I wonder why they don't bother telling us about things like this. It is, I dare say, Damn Interesting.


Smoid
Posted 31 July 2009 at 07:04 pm

Mirage_GSM said: "Well the “greedy people” offered him six times the amount he had paid for the land. That’s an offer he shouldn’t have turned down. People who turn down such generous offers because they hope to gain more by going to court are those who are really greedy – and in many cases stupid as well."

Yes, but the price of land does go up over time, and he may have had a sentimental attachment to that land. Wanting lots of money for land that you have an attachment to is not unreasonably greedy. I mean greed could have been a factor, but maybe he had a change of heart and decided 250,000 wasn't enough to part with his precious business.


Anotherdefault
Posted 01 August 2009 at 05:55 am

I can't help but give the guy bad-ass points. but I mean really. wouldn't it have been easyer to steal a tank? they do have push butten start.

Secoundly; if anyone think this was a normal person, pushed into a corner. the guy almost got in a fight with a reporter. and he was already the type curse revenge on some one. Sure, he had friends. but arm a tank with guns, means he intended to kill. and not vauling human life isn't somthing your just pushed into. you've got to have somthing wrong with you to plan murder.


chrisbzd
Posted 01 August 2009 at 08:45 am

Hopefully someone will build an Obama-dozer.


Marc Boyd
Posted 01 August 2009 at 03:59 pm

[bold]Mirage_GSM said: "J.K. said: “Ahh I rememeber this from a few years back. While it was wrong to go as far as he did, in a sick way it is admirable getting some sweet revenge on some corporate assholes and bribe taking city council turds that effectively shut down his business and ruined his life just because he didn’t want to sell his business to a larger greedier company who wanted the land.”
Well the “greedy people” offered him six times the amount he had paid for the land. That’s an offer he shouldn’t have turned down. People who turn down such generous offers because they hope to gain more by going to court are those who are really greedy – and in many cases stupid as well."[/bold]

My neighbor is asking $550,000 for a 2000 SF house that was built in the late '50s and 4 Ac of land. The land is worth about $30,000, so he figures the house and a decrepit barn are worth $520,000. He will never get that price.


Marc Boyd
Posted 01 August 2009 at 04:14 pm

Jaded said: "Denvergal said: “DI indeed- I remember when this happened!I would also like to say that this hardly seems the forum for handing out judgements and decrees of faith…I mean seriously.”
How dare you!? You shall burn in a lake of fire for all eternity for that comment! Every forum belongs to the God Almighty."

I gored his Ox!

Jaded, YOU will truly believe in God at the end. I hope you live long enough to learn that.
What is wrong with you is what is ailing America now. You will be judged, not by anyone here, least of all me. You will be called to give account of your belief, so you had better be sure you know what you are talking about. Looks like it will seal your fate for eternity. Love and Kisses.


Keith Henson
Posted 01 August 2009 at 05:28 pm

Ok... can't keep it down any more.

MB: What exactly makes your "god" more viable than Gaia? Or Zeus? Odin? Ra? F.S.M? The list goes on...

I don't get the religious crowd. Or any crowd, for that matter, that purports to "know" anything beyond the few pusillanimous facts we humans have scrounged together over the last million trifling years of our existance.

The truth is: we don't "know" crap. You don't "know" god is out there any more than someone else may "know" he's not - anything to the contrary is making crap up to satisfy your own lack of answers.

The true mark of human evolution, in my humble opinion, starts with the ability to accept the simple fact that we don't know something.

I'm not saying satisfied, mind you, we should always strive to find the answers - but accepting the "fact" that we don't have an answer to something is the genesis of following the trail of factual truth, as opposed to making up answers to fill the human void of a feared unknown.

Your discourse, MB, comes across as arrogant and condescending - as if you are the only one with some inside view to the truth that the rest of us are too unevolved or spirtually gifted to perceive and the truth is: you are as lost in this unimaginably vast universe as the rest of us.

What little I *do* know of the universe has convinced me that if this god of yours does exist, and he created the small fragment of reality I perceive (which is an infinitesimally small fragment at that) - then he, too, is beyond my comprehension.

So why you, MB? What universe encompassing, cosmos shattering omniscient level of knowledge do you possess that allows you to brush aside the beliefs of others with such disdain?


Jaded
Posted 01 August 2009 at 11:43 pm

Very well stated Keith, and I agree completely. I'm guessing that your point will be lost on your intended audience though. I normally stray clear of religious arguement these days, but I could not pass on MB's open hypocrasy.


Usman Ahmad
Posted 02 August 2009 at 02:29 am

Quite interesting. Did city council later ever contemplated to make sure that such incidents don't happen in future?


Keith Henson
Posted 02 August 2009 at 10:21 am

Usman Ahmad said: "Quite interesting. Did city council later ever contemplated to make sure that such incidents don’t happen in future?"

I certainly hope not.

While this and other similar incidents are disconcerting they really represent a tiny, overly volatile, fraction of the United States. Preventing such occurances would require a type of legislation that is more egregious than the act it attempts to prevent.

"Prevent" is the key word here. In a free society laws are created to punish, not prevent. Our citizens, for instance, have the right to kill another person with the understanding that they will be sought, captured and held accountable for their actions.

The idealogy driving this system rests on the premise that the vast majority of people will deal with their differences in a way that, while perhaps not terribly civilized, doesn't come with a body count or mass destruction of property.

Believe it or not, most people do. Sure, the media sensationalizes these events because, well, because they're damn interesting but to make a law, say, outlawing bulldozers, or welding equipment, guns, etc. have another effect that is absolutely antithetical to the foundation upon which this country is built: it removes a freedom from someone who has no intention of using those items for anything other than moving dirt, working with metal or hunting and home defense, respectively.

Gun control is perfect test of this country's resolve to remain free. There are many arguments on both sides of this debate and both have their points. For instance, we don't allow our citizens to run around with nuclear weapons so, legislatively, we are saying there *is* a limit, and as such, how far should it go? Do we outlaw sarin gas? weaponized biological agents? conventional 2000lb GP bombs? Grenades? Firecrackers?

Do you see the slope here? The other side of the debate would say that an individual could possess an instrument of death and would never use it to harm another. They make the point that millions of people possess a very efficient vector of destruction to wit: the automobile, and the vast majority use it to go from A to B. But some do use it to kill. Do we outlaw vehicles?

When it comes to guns which are, in effect, an item that whips a projectile to a distant target, do we outlaw Howitzers? Cannons? grenade launchers? Automatic weapons? Sniper rifles? Handguns? Shotguns? Bows? Pellet Guns? See the slope?

The answer is elusive and subject to each person's tolerance for government intrusion. Perhaps there is no "right" answer - only the best answer we can derive as imperfect humans in an imperfect world.

One thing is for sure, though, freedom carries a cost and not only on the battfield defending or acquiring it. It also carries a cost every day when someone uses their freedom to unfairly impinge upon other people's rights to property, liberty and ultimately even life.

The test of a country's resolve to be free is weighed and measured not when the decision is easy, but when it is difficult with real lives in the balance.


Keith Henson
Posted 02 August 2009 at 11:55 am

Jaded said: "Very well stated Keith, and I agree completely. I’m guessing that your point will be lost on your intended audience though. I normally stray clear of religious arguement these days, but I could not pass on MB’s open hypocrasy."

Sadly, you are probably correct.

You know the real tragedy? Any crowd with all the answers is really missing the magic of the human technological journey.

A good friend pointed me towards a series in the seventies called "Connections" with James Burke. It is a look at how each revelation in history, whether intentional or by accident, led to another and another and so forth until he relates the plow to the Apollo 11 moon landing. Unbelievably fascinating.

Watching it you can't help but marvel at the path which is the human experience and gaze starry-eyed at what may be next, after all - we are all still part and parcel of this magical trip.

Why make up the ending? Why make up any ending for that matter, be it evolution or god or whatever? It's fun to pontificate events in a good whodunit but why make up an ending and stop reading altogether just because you can't bear the interim unknown?

Just sit back and watch the greatest story ever told unfold before your eyes. Let it fascinate you because you are part of it. Learn all you can of the human experience so far, know as much of what is happening now as you can and opine upon a future that, while still an unknown, will be breathtaking in its irony, logic and magic.

Obstinant opinion in any regard becomes the blinders of thought and with that narrow vision the journey around you, full of wondrous things to see, becomes just a boring trudge to the destination that all humans inevitably face.

Anyone who asks "why are we here?" hasn't looked around. They're so caught up in why they're here that they forget the simple fact that they *are*. The answer will inevitably come, maybe not in my lifetime, but it will come - and if I'm not here to find out that answer then who cares? I wouldn't have missed my small part of this trip for anything and, for me, that's a perfectly good reason for being here.


Bolens
Posted 02 August 2009 at 01:36 pm

Keith Henson said: Obstinant opinion in any regard..."

We all have them, don't we?


Keith Henson
Posted 02 August 2009 at 02:11 pm

Bolens said: We all have them, don’t we?"

*Sigh* I suppose...

Even my obstinate opinion that others should not have obstinate opinions is itself, an obstinate opinion.

Point taken and well done. Off to lick my wounds...


inev101
Posted 02 August 2009 at 05:52 pm

This site and all these articles are simply 100% win. Keep em coming and write another book!


sid
Posted 03 August 2009 at 09:22 am

Mirage_GSM said: "J.K. said: Well the “greedy people” offered him six times the amount he had paid for the land. That’s an offer he shouldn’t have turned down. People who turn down such generous offers because they hope to gain more by going to court are those who are really greedy – and in many cases stupid as well."

There's nothing in the article that says when Heemeyer bought the land, nor what its actual "value" was at the time. Perhaps it was "worth" more than what he was offered. But it doesn't really matter what he wanted for the land. It was his land, and he could have asked for any amount he wanted. What appears to be the problem is that the concrete company was unable to purchase the land legally, so it went to the council to ask for the government's help to drive the guy out through rezoning. Then, it appears, when he tried to get in compliance with the rezoning, the government and the concrete company colluded to ensure he could not. This isn't an issue of greed on Heemeyer's part. Again, it was his land, and he had every right to sell it for whatever price he wanted. Of course, he did overreact a bit.

BTW, I can't believe there hasn't been any mention of the movie that seems to have originated the term Killdozer, or the Wisconsin band that took the name. Those unfamiliar with the band may have heard it during the closing credits of Old School (I think), covering "Good Lovin' Gone Bad."


Mirage_GSM
Posted 04 August 2009 at 02:26 am

@sid: I don't know about the exact legislation in the US, but here in Germany and in most if not all european countries there are rules to prevent individuals from blockading major infrastructural projects by just owning a small portion of the necessary land.
If the owner can't agree on a price with the investor, they go to court and the court decides on a fair compensation. Usually settling out of court means a much better deal for the disposessed, so the investor can avoit delays do to lengthy court processes.
I guess the "rezoning" mentioned in the article is a similar process.
Anyway, if the price the company had offered had not been a fair one, I'm sure Heemeyer could have gone to court to sue for a higher compensation. Americans are famous to sue for everything ;-)


Keith Henson
Posted 04 August 2009 at 05:18 am

Mirage_GSM said: "@sid: I don’t know about the exact legislation in the US, but here in Germany and in most if not all european countries there are rules to prevent individuals from blockading major infrastructural projects by just owning a small portion of the necessary land ... I guess the “rezoning” mentioned in the article is a similar process."

I beliveve what you are referring to is something most often called "eminent domain." In Germany I believe they call it "expropriation" - at least that's what wiki has for Germany on the subject.

This has been a controversial subject in the U.S. for some time but I don't think that's what the city council did in this case. "Zoning" is the process where a municipality designates certain uses of land for certain purposes. The simplest example lies in defining commercial, residential and industrial "zones" of a city. Simply stated - you can't build a shopping mall (commercial) in a suburban neighborhood (Residential) and so forth. It is a bit more complicated as roads, public parks and such also come into play.

However, it sounds to me like the stakeholders of the concrete factory petitioned for some portion of the land surrounding Heemeyer's muffler shop to be zoned as industrial land and the subsequent construction severed the access road to his shop - and his livelihood. Their use of zoning regulations was a perfectly legal, albeit underhanded and nefarious, method of getting what they wanted.

Americans may be famous for their litigious prowess but we are also famous for our desire to keep government (federal, state, local, etc.) in their place - they govern by our behest and answer to us. Eminent Domain loosely translates to "Supreme Lordship" and Americans consider the lordship of our property to be the individual landowner. We don't espouse, and didn't build, a system of rights for everyone. We built a system of rights for one person - and then duplicated that system 300 million times.

Every single person has the right to challenge the entire country if need be and, if upheld by said system, they will win. The rights of "one" outweigh the "wants" of the many.


sid
Posted 04 August 2009 at 08:59 am

Mirage_GSM said: “@sid: I don’t know about the exact legislation in the US, but here in Germany and in most if not all european countries there are rules to prevent individuals from blockading major infrastructural projects by just owning a small portion of the necessary land … I guess the “rezoning” mentioned in the article is a similar process.”

That may be, but this is America, not Germany or Europe. European countries have a funny thing about infringing on the rights of individuals when they determine it is for the "greater good" of the whole. Case in point would be free speech in Germany, and the severe regulations on many things Nazi-related. Now, I'm no fan of Nazis, but they have a right to their twisted views, and a right to express them. Here, that is, but not in Germany.

Now, America is certainly not perfect when it comes to protecting individual rights here on our own soil, but I believe we do a better job of it than any other country. This particular example would seem to me to be a problem. This guy bought land under existing zoning laws, and set up his company in full compliance. He was, apparently, there for some time, not bothering anyone and doing a legitimate business that performed a service for the community. Then another company decided it wanted to set up shop in the neighborhood, wanted Heemeyer's land to help with its goal of making lots of money, offered to pay a certain amount of money for it, and when that amount was not found to be acceptable by Heemeyer, the new company decided to influence the local government to regulate Heemeyer out of business. And even when he tried to comply with the new regulations, the local government and the concrete company worked together (it seems) to make sure he could not comply. What's the difference between Heemeyer saying he won't sell and the concrete company saying it won't allow Heemeyer access beneath its property in order to comply with the new zoning? Nothing, except, Heemeyer didn't have the local government on his side.

Keith Henson: "I beliveve what you are referring to is something most often called “eminent domain.” In Germany I believe they call it “expropriation” .... Their use of zoning regulations was a perfectly legal, albeit underhanded and nefarious, method of getting what they wanted."

Exactly. I have a problem with many uses of eminent domain, as well as this type of rezoning. In many cases (as it appears in this one), the government uses one of these options to eliminate one landowner/business for the benefit of another. Like I said, America is not perfect when it comes to protecting rights, be they property or other.

"Americans may be famous for their litigious prowess but we are also famous for our desire to keep government (federal, state, local, etc.) in their place – they govern by our behest and answer to us. Eminent Domain loosely translates to “Supreme Lordship” and Americans consider the lordship of our property to be the individual landowner. We don’t espouse, and didn’t build, a system of rights for everyone. We built a system of rights for one person – and then duplicated that system 300 million times.
Every single person has the right to challenge the entire country if need be and, if upheld by said system, they will win. The rights of “one” outweigh the “wants” of the many."

Exactly, again. Of course, when an individual takes the government to court, he is usually at a severe disadvantage. Few people have the resources to go toe-to-toe with the government--be it local, state, or federal--in a pitched court battle. Often, government will simply string out the case until the resouces of the individual dry up, he gives up out of frustration, or he dies. Ultimately, if a government entity wants you off a piece of property badly enough, even if there is no real justification for doing so other than to benefit someone or something else (and I'm not teven alking about the "greater good" of the people, which is still not usually appropriate justification), you best be prepared to lose. Heemeyer's fatal flaw was probably believeing he was right, and he believed he could "fight City Hall." Perhaps that was even crazier than his actual attempt at revenge.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 04 August 2009 at 09:44 am

Keith Henson said: "Every single person has the right to challenge the entire country if need be and, if upheld by said system, they will win. The rights of “one” outweigh the “wants” of the many."

Oh, that's no different than here in europe. Any single person can go to court against the state if they want to, and like in any modern democracy there is a separation of powers, so courts are independent from politics.
I am sure there are ways to expropritate people even in the US. Otherwise no major infrastructure project would be possible. There are always people who won't go along with such projects no matter how many jobs it would create, so I think the process is quite necessary.
As long as all interests are weighed fairly and fair compensation is paid, I have no objections against it,and from the article I get no indication that the compensation offer was NOT fair - even if it does not explicitly say it was.


sid
Posted 04 August 2009 at 11:06 am

Mirage_GSM said: Oh, that’s no different than here in europe. Any single person can go to court against the state if they want to, and like in any modern democracy there is a separation of powers, so courts are independent from politics.

I'm not so sure "courts are independent from politics." Whether a judge is elected by the people, or appointed by politicians, there is certainly "politics" involved in the process. Just watch the show every time a new Supreme Court Justice is appointed here. Judges are no different than anyone else in the sense that they have their own opinions and prejudices, and those viewpoints can, and often do, find their ways into their rulings. Separation of powers is a good thing, of course, but to say that any judicial system is removed from politics is probably very inaccurate, in my opinion.

I am sure there are ways to expropritate people even in the US. Otherwise no major infrastructure project would be possible.

Of course. As mentioned, one process is called eminent domain. Another is rezoning people out of their property, as in this story. And another is simply trying to purchase the property. The last example should always be the first attempt, but that is not always the case. When it is, often times people will simply sell. Other times they will not, in which case the government should be forced to come up with an unassailable justification for infringing on someone's property rights. Unfortunately, that doesn't always work out, and governments will simply take because they have the power, the will, and the resources to do so.

There are always people who won’t go along with such projects no matter how many jobs it would create, so I think the process is quite necessary.

Well, if I had a piece of property that had been in my family for many generations, and I wanted to keep it for future generations, I might not want to sell, either. Or maybe I'm using it for a specific purpose, and property elsewhere simply would not suffice. Or maybe I've got the idea that holding onto it will lead to greater dividends down the road. Whatever the reason, it's my property, and I should be allowed to keep it if I want to. It's not my concern how many jobs might be created, which ultimately means that someone is simply now profiting when I no longer have the ability because the governement said it was for the "greater good." Seems fairly socialistic, to me, which is not one of my favorite forms of government.

As long as all interests are weighed fairly and fair compensation is paid, I have no objections against it,and from the article I get no indication that the compensation offer was NOT fair – even if it does not explicitly say it was."

I see nothing that indicated the rezoning of Heemeyer was intended to benefit the community, not that that would be justification, in my opinion. Nor did I see anything that indicated all interests were weighed fairly and fair compensation was paid. "Fair" is a completely subjective term, and what seemed "fair" to the concrete company did not seem "fair" to Heemeyer. This was not the government coming in to take land for development that would be of benefit to the community (again, not that that would be justifiable, in my opinion). This was one private company attempting to purchase something from another private company, not being able to come to an agreement, and the one wishing to purchase going outside the realm of the free market to get what it wanted with the help of the government, and at the expense of a private citizen.

What I read was that the rezoning was intended to benefit one private company over another private company. That's not what I want government to do. Of course, it's easy to say you don't object to it. It didn't happen to you.


ffhard
Posted 04 August 2009 at 11:34 am

Sid
Killdozer was originally a short SF story, and a good one too. Unfortunately I cant remember the author but it was about a D7 bulldozer that became possessed by, er, something.

Now, my take on this DI tale is that it is simply about men, not Gods, just men. Some who thought they could push one beyond endurance to get what they wanted and one who got pushed so far he could see nothing left to do but push back. I dont condone what he did (well, actually I sort of do but only because no-one was seriously hurt) but wouldnt it be great if maybe, just maybe, the next time some greedy, corrupt businessman tries to take some thing he has no right to he thinks about what could happen and stops?

Other than that, great to see DI back. Thanks Alan


sid
Posted 04 August 2009 at 11:52 am

ffhard said: "SidKilldozer was originally a short SF story, and a good one too. Unfortunately I cant remember the author but it was about a D7 bulldozer that became possessed by, er, something."

Theodore Sturgeon, according to IMDb. I'll have to see if I can find it. He also worked on the movie (but no connection to the band).


Keith Henson
Posted 04 August 2009 at 03:38 pm

sid said: "ffhard said: “SidKilldozer was originally a short SF story, and a good one too. Unfortunately I cant remember the author but it was about a D7 bulldozer that became possessed by, er, something ... Theodore Sturgeon, according to IMDb. I’ll have to see if I can find it. He also worked on the movie (but no connection to the band)."

Wasn't it a seventies flick with a group of folk on an island or something? I seem to remember someone getting run over by the dozer in a culvert pipe...


Erik K Veland
Posted 04 August 2009 at 04:56 pm

Marc Boyd is creepy as hell. Can he please be banned before we have another Killdozer from God™ thing on our hands?


oldmancoyote
Posted 04 August 2009 at 11:20 pm

One thing many don't understand about rezoning: Let's just say an industrial property is rezoned commercial. That does not mean the property must be used. Hell, he could have pissed them off royally by clearing the lot and keeping it empty.

I don't know about Colorado but where i live the law would require that he be granted full access to his property. If my land is dead center of someone else's land (it isn't) then the law requires that company or person allow me complete access to my property. That includes neccessary driveways and infrastructure (at my expense, of course). No problem. This is how it should be.

Some have said six times what he paid is more than fair. My property (according to the county tax offfice) more than doubled in value IN LESS THAN 4 YEARS. Chances are it will double in value again within 10 years. If I spent 20K to build a small shop, it would add about 35K to the total value. The tax office has a funny way of doing the math because they get more money out of it. With the current economy, I would be extremely lucky to get what I paid if I sold it. If I were him, I wouldn't have sold it either.

He definately went too far with the destruction, though. I hate the whole sue their ass off mentality, but a law suit would have been a better solution.

The police are really at a loss in a situation like this. Civilian law enforcement will never be equipped to handle this. The military can't step in thanks to posse comitatus.

Good to see things getting back to normal around here. Welcome, new comers.


bfc73
Posted 05 August 2009 at 12:10 am

So glad DI is back! Please keep the great articles and debates coming!


sid
Posted 05 August 2009 at 07:38 am

Keith Henson said: "Wasn’t it a seventies flick with a group of folk on an island or something? I seem to remember someone getting run over by the dozer in a culvert pipe…"

Looks like the story first appeared in '44, and was adapted for the small screen in '74. After closer review, I'm not really sure Sturgeon worked on the movie, but I'm fairly positive he had nothing to do with the band.


J.K.
Posted 05 August 2009 at 11:53 am

Mirage_GSM said: "J.K. said: “Ahh I rememeber this from a few years back. While it was wrong to go as far as he did, in a sick way it is admirable getting some sweet revenge on some corporate assholes and bribe taking city council turds that effectively shut down his business and ruined his life just because he didn’t want to sell his business to a larger greedier company who wanted the land.”Well the “greedy people” offered him six times the amount he had paid for the land. That’s an offer he shouldn’t have turned down. People who turn down such generous offers because they hope to gain more by going to court are those who are really greedy – and in many cases stupid as well."

Now aren't you assuming a bit with that? It was his last shop as he farmed out the rest and his last piece of land. He initially wanted to sell and then decided not to, and then they offered him 6x as much and he said no. To me no is no, unless you can find the point someone will be bought or just give up. They didn't want to keep raising the payoff so they hosed em, that's why I made that comment.


Usman Ahmad
Posted 06 August 2009 at 12:35 am

Keith Henson said: "Usman Ahmad said: “Quite interesting. Did city council later ever contemplated to make sure that such incidents don’t happen in future?”

I certainly hope not.
While this and other similar incidents are disconcerting they really represent a tiny, overly volatile, fraction of the United States. Preventing such occurances would require a type of legislation that is more egregious than the act it attempts to prevent.
“Prevent” is the key word here. In a free society laws are created to punish, not prevent. Our citizens, for instance, have the right to kill another person with the understanding that they will be sought, captured and held accountable for their actions.
The idealogy driving this system rests on the premise that the vast majority of people will deal with their differences in a way that, while perhaps not terribly civilized, doesn’t come with a body count or mass destruction of property.
Believe it or not, most people do. Sure, the media sensationalizes these events because, well, because they’re damn interesting but to make a law, say, outlawing bulldozers, or welding equipment, guns, etc. have another effect that is absolutely antithetical to the foundation upon which this country is built: it removes a freedom from someone who has no intention of using those items for anything other than moving dirt, working with metal or hunting and home defense, respectively.
Gun control is perfect test of this country’s resolve to remain free. There are many arguments on both sides of this debate and both have their points. For instance, we don’t allow our citizens to run around with nuclear weapons so, legislatively, we are saying there *is* a limit, and as such, how far should it go? Do we outlaw sarin gas? weaponized biological agents? conventional 2000lb GP bombs? Grenades? Firecrackers?
Do you see the slope here? The other side of the debate would say that an individual could possess an instrument of death and would never use it to harm another. They make the point that millions of people possess a very efficient vector of destruction to wit: the automobile, and the vast majority use it to go from A to B. But some do use it to kill. Do we outlaw vehicles?
When it comes to guns which are, in effect, an item that whips a projectile to a distant target, do we outlaw Howitzers? Cannons? grenade launchers? Automatic weapons? Sniper rifles? Handguns? Shotguns? Bows? Pellet Guns? See the slope?
The answer is elusive and subject to each person’s tolerance for government intrusion. Perhaps there is no “right” answer – only the best answer we can derive as imperfect humans in an imperfect world.
One thing is for sure, though, freedom carries a cost and not only on the battfield defending or acquiring it. It also carries a cost every day when someone uses their freedom to unfairly impinge upon other people’s rights to property, liberty and ultimately even life.
The test of a country’s resolve to be free is weighed and measured not when the decision is easy, but when it is difficult with real lives in the balance."

I agree. The resolve to remain free is more important than outlawing certain equipments which mjaority of the people does not intend to use in a recklessly dangerous manner. But my perspective of question was 'social' which you probably missed. Did those city council people ever thoughfully considered that confiscating somebody's property or depriving them of their rights does nor recur? Did city people protest against those responsible who drove Mr. Heemeyer to near insanity and *made* him commit catastrophic disaster spree? Questions like these remain unanswered to this day.


KarmaPolice
Posted 07 August 2009 at 04:32 am

Zomg, a few days without a new article? This site is dead!!


Mirage_GSM
Posted 07 August 2009 at 04:44 am

Sid: “I’m not so sure “courts are independent from politics.” Whether a judge is elected by the people, or appointed by politicians, there is certainly “politics” involved in the process. … Judges are no different than anyone else in the sense that they have their own opinions and prejudices, and those viewpoints can, and often do, find their ways into their rulings.”

To eliminate the human factor you would have to replace all judges with robots. Now, I’m no technophobe, but I’d rather keep human judges, thank you.
Jokes aside, technically judges are independent from politics. That means while they probably have their own political views, no politician is able to tell them how to rule in court. (At least that’s how it is here in Germany.) The question is irrelevant to the case in question, because Heemeyer didn’t even try to go to court. He just started to build his Killdozer.
…Or maybe I’ve got the idea that holding onto it will lead to greater dividends down the road.

If there is reason to believe the property will increase in value, it is usually possible to receive a better price for it when selling. Even a court will take such a thing into account when deciding on the compensation. The exception, of course, is when the increase in value is only because of the project the property is needed for in the first place. (In that case, without selling there would be no increase in value.)
Whatever the reason, it’s my property, and I should be allowed to keep it if I want to. It’s not my concern how many jobs might be created, which ultimately means that someone is simply now profiting when I no longer have the ability because the government said it was for the “greater good.” Seems fairly socialistic, to me, which is not one of my favourite forms of government.

Seems fairly egoistical to me… Of course, the fact that humans are by nature egoistical, is the reason why processes like “eminent domain” are necessary
“Fair” is a completely subjective term, and what seemed “fair” to the concrete company did not seem “fair” to Heemeyer.

OK, did a bit of additional research. Heemeyer bought the land in 1992 for 42.000$ (about 5$/m²). There is no exact time for his negotiations with the company, but the article puts it as “late 1990s”, so there are seven years at most. The company was willing to pay 250.000$ for the land (about 31$/m²).
This translates to an annual rate of return of more than 29%! Now there are certainly properties somewhere that do increase in value at that rate. However there is absolutely no indication in the article or any other source I was able to find that the bargain Heemeyer was offered was anything but what any reasonable person would call fair.
I don’t know much about this rezoning procedure, but if this was a possibility, they could have done it from the start.
Oldmancoyote: “Some have said six times what he paid is more than fair. My property (according to the county tax offfice) more than doubled in value IN LESS THAN 4 YEARS. Chances are it will double in value again within 10 years.”

See my above calculation. Even by those standards the offer was more than generous.
J.K. “Now aren’t you assuming a bit with that? It was his last shop as he farmed out the rest and his last piece of land. He initially wanted to sell and then decided not to, and then they offered him 6x as much and he said no. To me no is no, unless you can find the point someone will be bought or just give up. They didn’t want to keep raising the payoff so they hosed em, that’s why I made that comment.”

Some people who are about to be expropriated believe they will get more in court than what they were offered in advance. They don’t take into account that most companies price the costs for the legal proceedings and avoided delays to the project itself into their offer. So when the compensation decided by the court is less than what was initially offered, they are bound to be disappointed and cry foul play. I know plenty examples from personal experience, so I don’t think I’m assuming too much.
Usman Ahmad: “Did city people protest against those responsible who drove Mr. Heemeyer to near insanity and *made* him commit catastrophic disaster spree? Questions like these remain unanswered to this day.”

According to all accounts, Heemeyer was a violent person even before the sale of his property even came up. According to the wikipedia article, he once threatened to kill a customer after he refused to pay for a faulty muffler repair.
Claiming that anybody “made him” run amok, is like claiming we “make” terrorists do what they do just by refusing to comply with their every demands.


NewEvolution
Posted 07 August 2009 at 10:40 am

Interestingly enough, the name "Killdozer" comes from a 1974 TV movie by the same name.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071717/


surfjay
Posted 08 August 2009 at 09:32 am

I couldn't be more excited about the return of DI. I had stopped checking for new articles, so it took me until now to notice them.

Thank you Alan and Jason for these incredible pieces. Life is good!

Aloha,
Jay


Kammernator
Posted 09 August 2009 at 07:48 am

Do you think this guy is making a killdozer in heaven to get God back for using him, rezoning his mind without consultation?


Keith Henson
Posted 09 August 2009 at 08:07 am

Kammernator said: "Do you think this guy is making a killdozer in heaven to get God back for using him, rezoning his mind without consultation?"

Hmmm... I think he's rotting in the dirt and the only "rezoning" his mind experienced came from the business end of a .357 sidearm.

...but that's just me.


Baragla
Posted 09 August 2009 at 09:39 am

One of my guilty pleasures when playing certain computer games is to up my characters' stats as high as possible and then see how much damage they can take/inflict. I wish there was more detail about how the police used explosives on the armored doser, for instance.


Bryan Lowder
Posted 09 August 2009 at 09:03 pm

As reprehensible as the acts were, nobody can help admiring the accomplishment.


casaba
Posted 10 August 2009 at 06:53 pm

Such as the act of tempting us with two stories in barely more than a week, and then making us wait 13 days for the next? (well, it has been 13 days here in Europe) Just bringing back flashbacks of the last hiatus...


psyOtic
Posted 10 August 2009 at 10:11 pm

Oh wow I think someone here in Australia was trying to do a bad impression of the Killdozer.
http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/848588/wa-man-wreaks-havoc-with-bobcat
He used a bobcat to damage his and a neighbor’s house then set himself on fire.


sid
Posted 11 August 2009 at 05:00 pm

Mirage_GSM said: "technically judges are independent from politics."

No, theoretically, judges are hoped to be independent from politics. In fact, they are very deeply immersed, at least here in the US. Many are elected, and run political campaigns in order to defeat their opponents. They also generally have affiliations to political parties. They align themselves with those parties for political and ideological reasons. Those not elected are appointed, generally by whatever political party controls the appointment process, and those in charge generally appoint judges who share their political viewpoint.

That means while they probably have their own political views, no politician is able to tell them how to rule in court. (At least that’s how it is here in Germany.)

That may be the hoped perception in Germany, but I find it hard to believe. There are countless ways legislators and executives can exert political pressure on judges here in the US, and I would be surprised if that were not the case in Germany.

The question is irrelevant to the case in question, because Heemeyer didn’t even try to go to court. He just started to build his Killdozer.

Well, you mentioned people going to court, and brought up the misconception that courts are independent from politics, so I figured I'd address the points you raised.

If there is reason to believe the property will increase in value, it is usually possible to receive a better price for it when selling. Even a court will take such a thing into account when deciding on the compensation. The exception, of course, is when the increase in value is only because of the project the property is needed for in the first place. (In that case, without selling there would be no increase in value.)

You seem to be confusing some issues here. This wasn't the government trying to take his land for some lofty goal of bettering the community. If that were the case, I'd still likely have problems with it, as I think property rights are pretty important. But if the governement made him an offer, he refused, and it went to court for a determination of how he should be compensated because the government still wanted it, you might have a point. What happened here, however, was a private company wanted the land, he didn't want to sell for what it offered, so the private company apparently stacked the deck against him with the help of local officials, apparently because that company had more political influence than Killdozer Man.

Seems fairly egoistical to me… Of course, the fact that humans are by nature egoistical, is the reason why processes like “eminent domain” are necessary

Again, you are confusing the issue. This was not the government looking to better the community, according to the facts presented. This was the local government helping a private company get an advantage over a smaller private company, probably because it had better political connections. It's not egoistical to be opposed to the abuse of power by government officials, but if some people are fine with that, they are entitled to their own opinions.

OK, did a bit of additional research. Heemeyer bought the land in 1992 for 42.000$ (about 5$/m²). There is no exact time for his negotiations with the company, but the article puts it as “late 1990s”, so there are seven years at most. The company was willing to pay 250.000$ for the land (about 31$/m²).This translates to an annual rate of return of more than 29%! Now there are certainly properties somewhere that do increase in value at that rate. However there is absolutely no indication in the article or any other source I was able to find that the bargain Heemeyer was offered was anything but what any reasonable person would call fair.I don’t know much about this rezoning procedure, but if this was a possibility, they could have done it from the start.

Again, it doesn't matter if he was looking for more money than his land was worth. The value, when talking about two private entities negotiating a sale, is determined by them, not you, me, or the government. And yes, the locals could have rezoned the land at any time. The fact that the land was not rezoned until AFTER the concrete company wanted it and couldn't agree with the landowner on a price seems to me like fairly solid evidence the locals colluded with the concrete company. That may sit fine with you, but it does not sit well with me.

See my above calculation. Even by those standards the offer was more than generous.

Again, it's immaterial if you thought the offer fair. Heemeyer did not want to sell, and he had every right to keep his land.

Some people who are about to be expropriated believe they will get more in court than what they were offered in advance. They don’t take into account that most companies price the costs for the legal proceedings and avoided delays to the project itself into their offer. So when the compensation decided by the court is less than what was initially offered, they are bound to be disappointed and cry foul play. I know plenty examples from personal experience, so I don’t think I’m assuming too much.

You are assuming a great deal, especially the idea that Heemeyer thought he'd get more money in court. There was no reason for this to go to court. We don't operate that way here in the US, and I'd be shocked if you do in Germany. You don't go to court simply because you can't agree to a price on a sale of property between two private entities. Are you saying I can go to someone's house in Germany, decide I want to buy it, and force him to sell it to me by going to court to determine a "fair" price? Because that's what you are describing in this situation.

According to all accounts, Heemeyer was a violent person even before the sale of his property even came up. According to the wikipedia article, he once threatened to kill a customer after he refused to pay for a faulty muffler repair.Claiming that anybody “made him” run amok, is like claiming we “make” terrorists do what they do just by refusing to comply with their every demands."

I agree with you here, to a point. Ultimately, Heemeyer is responsible for his illegal actions. But it is possibly instructive to explore what it was that caused him to snap so badly. From what I have read, it seems the locals abused their power to benefit one company over another for no apparent reason. I can only presume it was for political reasons, and that's not a good enough reason, in my mind.


arturo
Posted 12 August 2009 at 10:30 am

Mr Boyd appears stuck on the spiritual journey at the "God as Santa Claus" point - that someone is sitting in front of a giant ledger book marking everything we do as "naughty" or "nice" and handing out some sort of reward or punishment for our behavior. Would he/she/it also keep tabs on other life (mosquitos, slime mold, life in other galaxies, etc) or are humans on earth the only ones "lucky" enough to be judged? And where did this god get all the anger issues - inventing hell and everything. If God is everywhere, is she in hell too? And is she saying "nanny nanny boo boo" to all the souls there? Rather a vindictive, wrathful, jealous, haughty, and angry deity if you ask me.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 13 August 2009 at 02:16 pm

That means while they probably have their own political views, no politician is able to tell them how to rule in court. (At least that’s how it is here in Germany.)

That may be the hoped perception in Germany, but I find it hard to believe. There are countless ways legislators and executives can exert political pressure on judges here in the US, and I would be surprised if that were not the case in Germany.

Whether you believe it or not, courts in Germany can and do rule against the interests of the government. Happened just a few weeks ago in a very high profile case here, where an important part of a plan by the state government was overturned in the preliminary case by the highest state court. It is expected that the verdict will be the same in the main case. The matter will then probably go on to the national courts...
Well, you mentioned people going to court, and brought up the misconception that courts are independent from politics, so I figured I’d address the points you raised.

It is not a misconception. It is my personal opinion, based on my personal experiences. If you made different experiences that led to you having a different opinion, this does not make either of our opinions untrue or a misconception. Please refrain from using such insinuations in a discussion.
You seem to be confusing some issues here. This wasn’t the government trying to take his land for some lofty goal of bettering the community. … But if the government made him an offer, he refused, and it went to court for a determination of how he should be compensated because the government still wanted it, you might have a point. … This was not the government looking to better the community, according to the facts presented. This was the local government helping a private company get an advantage over a smaller private company, probably because it had better political connections.

Again, I don’t know the legal details in the US, but here in Germany it is completely irrelevant whether the offer is made by the government or a company (whether private or state-owned). I don’t regularly use legal terms in English, so please excuse me if I translated some of them wrong…
The German constitution guaranties the right to property with a limitation:
Constitution Article 14
(1) Property and inheritance are guaranteed. Limitations are ruled by the applicable laws.
(2) Property entails an obligation. It’s use shall also benefit the general public.
(3) Expropriation is only admissible for the benefit of the general public. It can only be effected according to a law, which governs the kind and extent of the compensation. The compensation is to be decided by weighing the interests of the general public and the concerned parties. In case of disagreement, the extent of the compensation can be decided by a regular court.

Of course there are many more details in the lesser laws, but I’d be very surprised if the US constitution didn’t contain a similar clause. Maybe someone with a bit experience in the US legal system could confirm or refute this?
Anyway, it’s not important who wants to buy the property, but what they intend to do with it and whether the planned use is beneficial to the general public (i.e. by creating jobs, improving infrastructure, preserving natural habitats, etc.)
In this case I don’t know about the details and reasons that led to the rezoning. I’m sure the records are available somewhere in Granby.
The information from the article says that the company wanted to build a concrete batch plant, and I assume that this would have created a lot of jobs in a town of 1.500 inhabitants (According to Wikipedia). Against this a muffler repair shop that could have been rebuilt anywhere with the amount of compensation they originally agreed on. The weighing of interests seems pretty obvious to me, but of course you are entitled to your own opinion.
There was no reason for this to go to court. We don’t operate that way here in the US, and I’d be shocked if you do in Germany. You don’t go to court simply because you can’t agree to a price on a sale of property between two private entities. Are you saying I can go to someone’s house in Germany, decide I want to buy it, and force him to sell it to me by going to court to determine a “fair” price?

No, that’s not what I was saying, and I hope I explained this in enough detail above. You cannot expropriate someone on a whim. You need a very good reason and one that will not only benefit you but the general public as well. And yes, if you do have that reason, you can - as a last resort - even expropriate someone’s house. Usually there is a settlement before it comes to this, though.


J.K.
Posted 14 August 2009 at 05:12 am

Kammernator said: "Do you think this guy is making a killdozer in heaven to get God back for using him, rezoning his mind without consultation?"

I would imagine god has nothing to do with it, but I do say it's easy money if you wanted to bet on worms doing a lot of rezoning of him.


sid
Posted 14 August 2009 at 09:19 am

Mirage_GSM said: "Whether you believe it or not, courts in Germany can and do rule against the interests of the government.

Sure, and it happens here, too. But you are, again, confusing the issue. A court ruling against the "interests of the government" is not the same as saying a court is immune from political pressure. I'll defer to your knowledge of German politics, but here, we have a (deeply flawed) two-party system. If a court rules against the "interests of the government" here, that could very well mean it is ruling against the political party that championed that particular interest, and for the party opposed. That could be, and often is, based on which side can bring not just the better arguments in court, but exert more political pressure. SCOTUS is, at this point, considered to lean slightly conservative, which by many people's opinions, means it will generally rule in favor of issues supported by Republicans. Now, that is by no means an absolute, but the folks who make up SCOTUS got there because the party in charge of the process at the time of appointment felt the political views of the candidate were supportive of the political views of the party in power. The same can be said about appointments at lower levels of the judicial system. Those justices who are elected by the people, and face reelection every few years, also likely consider the political ramifications of their decisions. Politics is deeply rooted in our court system, but if you say it is not in Germany, than I can only take you at your word. I just find it hard to believe, but don't know much about your process for filling your judiciary to be able to comment with any authority. I am, however, quite comfortable doing so with regard to the US judicial system. And since we are discussing a US issue, we should probably stick to apples and apples, not apples and theoretical oranges.

It is not a misconception. It is my personal opinion, based on my personal experiences. If you made different experiences that led to you having a different opinion, this does not make either of our opinions untrue or a misconception. Please refrain from using such insinuations in a discussion.

Again, since we are really talking about a US issue, and since you are likely less knowledgeable about it than am I, I'll stick with my label of "misconception," even at the risk of elevating your bloodpressure. You can bring up Germany all you want, but we're not really talking about Germany, are we? We are talking about something that happened here in the good ol' USofA. I would still be very surprised if politics doesn't ever have any influence on German courts, but you would know more than I. Still, we're talking about a US issue, so I probably should have simply ignored your German comparisons from the outset. My bad, I guess.

Again, I don’t know the legal details in the US,

Exactly.

but here in Germany it is completely irrelevant whether the offer is made by the government or a company (whether private or state-owned). I don’t regularly use legal terms in English, so please excuse me if I translated some of them wrong…The German constitution guaranties the right to property with a limitation:
Constitution Article 14(1) Property and inheritance are guaranteed. Limitations are ruled by the applicable laws.(2) Property entails an obligation. It’s use shall also benefit the general public.(3) Expropriation is only admissible for the benefit of the general public. It can only be effected according to a law, which governs the kind and extent of the compensation. The compensation is to be decided by weighing the interests of the general public and the concerned parties. In case of disagreement, the extent of the compensation can be decided by a regular court.Of course there are many more details in the lesser laws, but I’d be very surprised if the US constitution didn’t contain a similar clause. Maybe someone with a bit experience in the US legal system could confirm or refute this?

The U.S. Constitution contains nothing so ghastly (in my opinion) as what the German Constitution apparently contains. Saying something is "quaranteed," then qualifying that "guarantee" by saying it is limited by "applicable laws," is not much of a guarantee. No offense (and since you didn't write it, you have no reason to take offense), but I see little in the way of a right to property in what you have included. What I see is more of a template spelling out how the government can relieve you of your property, while attempting to put up the facade that there is some sort of "right" to said property. I look at the expropriation "limitations" as a thinly-veiled mob-rule system. As I see it, if there's a McDonalds in a prime spot, but a Burger King wants the property, and gets enough people from the "general public" to say it would be to their benefit to replace the McDonalds with a Burger King, the Burger King has a good chance of winning the land (at "fair" price) by going to court. Replace McDonalds with some small-scale, family-owned restaurant that has been there for decades, and Burger king would likely win easily, as it would have greater resources to bring to bear to advance its case. No, we don't have anything in our Constitution, of which I am aware, that would allow such things.

Anyway, it’s not important who wants to buy the property, but what they intend to do with it and whether the planned use is beneficial to the general public (i.e. by creating jobs, improving infrastructure, preserving natural habitats, etc.)In this case I don’t know about the details and reasons that led to the rezoning. I’m sure the records are available somewhere in Granby.The information from the article says that the company wanted to build a concrete batch plant, and I assume that this would have created a lot of jobs in a town of 1.500 inhabitants (According to Wikipedia). Against this a muffler repair shop that could have been rebuilt anywhere with the amount of compensation they originally agreed on. The weighing of interests seems pretty obvious to me, but of course you are entitled to your own opinion.

Once again, you are confusing the issue. Nowhere in the article is it even remotely indicated the concrete company argued it was benefitting the community, and nowhere in the article is it even remotely indicated the rezoning was done to benefit the community. The evidence we have, limited as it is, indicates to me that the rezoning was done at the request of the concrete company, and to benefit the concrete company. If you can find something indicating otherwise, feel free to present it. The question here is whether the local government did something shady to benefit one private entity over another. That's what it looks like to me, and that is not what most (the general public) would support here in the US.

No, that’s not what I was saying, and I hope I explained this in enough detail above. You cannot expropriate someone on a whim. You need a very good reason and one that will not only benefit you but the general public as well. And yes, if you do have that reason, you can – as a last resort – even expropriate someone’s house. Usually there is a settlement before it comes to this, though."

So, it is what you are saying. All I need is a "very good reason" that will benefit me and "the general public." Let's say I see a really big house on a nice piece of property, and there's just one little old lady living there who intends to leave the property to her kids when she passes. I decide I want it, and intend to use it as an orphanage. Based on what you have explained the rules to be in Germany, I guess I've got a pretty good shot at taking it from her, and everyone sleeps well because the courts determined a "fair" price. Sorry, but that's not a good system, in my opinion. To paraphrase someone else on this thread, our system is designed to protect individual property rights, multiplied by 300million+. This German system seems more designed to find ways where property rights can be eliminated, provided you can prove a benefit to "the general public."

Yes, there may be extreme situations where I think it might be acceptable to take someone's private property so that the government can put it to better use, but those are rare, and I would still feel uneasy about the slippery-slope involved with such actions. Say someone has a piece of property that he is doing absolutely nothing to maintain, and it is in the middle of an area that would be perfct for some government-service building that area is crying out for. A new police HQ, for example, since crime is a problem there. In a case like that, I might be able to understand taking the land with "fair" compensation. But you've got to come up with something a little stronger than one private entity wanting the land of another private entity before I will even remotely consider signing off on allowing the governement to get involved. And again, in this case, things appeared to be handled with a certain amount of secrecy and underhandedness. But that's just my opinion.


oldmancoyote
Posted 14 August 2009 at 09:54 am

I'm with sid. The U.S. constitution says nothing like the German's.
As to providing jobs: Maybe 15-20, tops. Concrete batching plants take up a lot of space but do not need many people. most of the employees are the people delivering the concrete.
As to the 29% yearly return, In some places, property(not houses, mind you) can return more. Location, location, location. Property values are completely subjective. Appraised value really only works for the tax man. Property is only worth what someone is willing to pay. If appraisal value is $1m but the highest offer is $500k, then $500k is all it is worth. If the highest offer is $1.5M then it is worth that. Zoning can effect what someone is willing to pay.


casaba
Posted 14 August 2009 at 10:52 am

Funny. I agree with what oldmancoyote says, but would say, 'I'm with Mirage_GSM'. I guess that I am a bit put off by anyone who claims absolutes about US law. Most of what Mirage describes is present in US law in one form or another; perhaps not the Constitution, but still in US law. (Whether a law is included in the Constitution or enacted by Congress or enacted by a State is a matter of labeling; the US constitution happens to be more brief than most; not surprising considering that the majority of it was written 220 years ago, while most other countries' constitutions were written more recently.) There are many legal ways of forcing somebody to sell property in the US; property rights are far from absolute. The gist of my gripe is that Americans (which I am) often hold up the US as some bastion of individual rights and attack anything "socialist" as evil--when in fact the US is (lucky for Americans) fairly socialist, even compared to western European countries. (And sorry Sid, "socialis[m]... is not one of my favorite forms of government" is far from calling it evil.)


sid
Posted 14 August 2009 at 02:18 pm

casaba said: "Funny. I agree with what oldmancoyote says, but would say, ‘I’m with Mirage_GSM’. I guess that I am a bit put off by anyone who claims absolutes about US law.

Who said anything about absolutes?

Most of what Mirage describes is present in US law in one form or another; perhaps not the Constitution, but still in US law. (Whether a law is included in the Constitution or enacted by Congress or enacted by a State is a matter of labeling; the US constitution happens to be more brief than most; not surprising considering that the majority of it was written 220 years ago, while most other countries’ constitutions were written more recently.)

Personally, I think the brevity of the US Constitution is a testament to the genius of those involved with crafting it. They didn't see government as needing to be so involved in people's lives that they needed to give a detailed explanation as to how it could. One could argue that there is more in the Constitution dealing with what the government CAN'T do than what it can, which is probably a better idea than trying to spell out in detail all the things a government can or should do. Government should do only very few, basic things, in my opinion, but ours has evolved to be far more invasive, as that is the nature of government.

There are many legal ways of forcing somebody to sell property in the US; property rights are far from absolute.

Yes, we've discussed two ways, through eminent domain and rezoning. There are certainly other "legal" ways seizing someone's property, or forcing them to sell, may be accomplished. But the question regarding this particular situation is whether the local government acted appropriately, or however you wish to phrase it. The idea that government (local, state, or federal) CAN do something is not in question, but whether it SHOULD do something is. In this case, based on what the story gives us, it would seem to me that the local government colluded with one private entity in order to drive another private entity into selling its land. Nobody ever said this was not possible, as the evidence presented shows that it clearly is. The question is whether the locals acted appropriately. Personally, I feel they did not, based on what I have read.

The gist of my gripe is that Americans (which I am) often hold up the US as some bastion of individual rights and attack anything “socialist” as evil–when in fact the US is (lucky for Americans) fairly socialist, even compared to western European countries. (And sorry Sid, “socialis[m]… is not one of my favorite forms of government” is far from calling it evil.)"

You'll get only a slight argument from me on this. I disagree that America is "fairly socialist, even when compared to western European countries." I do agree, however, that our rights have been slowly infringed upon. And all you need to do is look at SCOTUS rulings, as well as those of other courts, to see that government (local, state, or federal) in the US has a long history of overstepping its authority, and infringing on rights. Sometimes the courts take action on the side of individuals, and sometimes they do not, often citing that a particular right does exist, but it is not absolute. I'm not sure anyone has said any right is absolute, but property rights are recognized, both in legislation and through legal decisions. They, like those spelled out in the Constitution or dreamed up in people's fertile imaginations, are not absolute, and I doubt there are many that would argue otherwise.

The very nature of any government, as I said before, is to slowly take more and more control from its citizens. Even a cursory look at history will support that. For the most part, I feel that is wrong, but understand that it is often inevitable. I don't feel that socialism is "evil," but I do feel it is neither what this country was founded on, nor what this country needs to succeed. One can debate whether this program or that is particularly "socialistic," but simply because one views something our govenment does as being "socialistic" doesn't equate to our government being "fairly socialist." We should probably dump a number of them, but that's not really the point. There should be a return to greater respect for, and defense of, individual rights. Property rights have been seriously infringed upon, but that doesn't mean we should accept further infringements, or ignore situations where someone was driven off their property through possibly "legal," but probably questionable, means. We'll likely never know how this situation truly unfolded, but if there was any collusion between the local government and the concrete company, it could very well be considered illegal. In my opinion, though, it should certainly be considered a shameless abuse of power. And, yes, an infringement on property rights.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 14 August 2009 at 04:26 pm

Mirage_GSM said: “Whether you believe it or not, courts in Germany can and do rule against the interests of the government.

Sure, and it happens here, too. But you are, again, confusing the issue. A court ruling against the “interests of the government” is not the same as saying a court is immune from political pressure. ...

Actually this whole discussion about courts and the government's influence upon them is besides the issue. The case in question didn't even go to court. Like I said before. Heemeyer went on a rampage without even going to court.
Again, I don’t know the legal details in the US,...

Exactly....
The U.S. Constitution contains nothing so ghastly (in my opinion) as what the German Constitution apparently contains.

Apparently you don't know US law much better than I do. A quick check to wikipedia produced the following:
The power of governments to take private real or personal property has always existed in the United States, being an inherent attribute of sovereignty. This power reposes in the legislative branch of the government and may not be exercised unless the legislature has authorized its use by statutes that specify who may use it and for what purposes. The legislature may so delegate the power to private entities like public utilities or railroads, and even to individuals for the purpose of acquiring access to their landlocked land. Its use was limited by the Takings Clause in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1791, which reads, "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation".

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminent_domain#North_America)
That is only a short description istead of the actual legal text, but is seems to be quite similar to what we have in German law.
As I see it, if there’s a McDonalds in a prime spot, but a Burger King wants the property, and gets enough people from the “general public” to say it would be to their benefit to replace the McDonalds with a Burger King, the Burger King has a good chance of winning the land (at “fair” price) by going to court. Replace McDonalds with some small-scale, family-owned restaurant that has been there for decades, and Burger king would likely win easily, as it would have greater resources to bring to bear to advance its case.

I thought I explained this, but apparently not. This is not a question of collecting signatures and getting a majority. Replacing one restaurant with another of the same kind will have no discernible benefit for the general public, and even a family restaurant probably wouldn't be enough to justify eminent domain. Relocating a shop with one employee to make room for a plant that would create multiple jobs conceivably would.

The information from the article says that the company wanted to build a concrete batch plant, and I assume that this would have created a lot of jobs in a town of 1.500 inhabitants (According to Wikipedia). Against this a muffler repair shop that could have been rebuilt anywhere with the amount of compensation they originally agreed on. The weighing of interests seems pretty obvious to me, but of course you are entitled to your own opinion.

Once again, you are confusing the issue. Nowhere in the article is it even remotely indicated the concrete company argued it was benefitting the community, and nowhere in the article is it even remotely indicated the rezoning was done to benefit the community. The evidence we have, limited as it is, indicates to me that the rezoning was done at the request of the concrete company, and to benefit the concrete company. If you can find something indicating otherwise, feel free to present it.

Next time you quote one of my posts, please make sure to actually read it. It is frustrating to do actual research (even if it is only wikipedia) and then have it ignored.
So, it is what you are saying. All I need is a “very good reason” that will benefit me and “the general public.” Let’s say I see a really big house on a nice piece of property, and there’s just one little old lady living there who intends to leave the property to her kids when she passes. I decide I want it, and intend to use it as an orphanage. Based on what you have explained the rules to be in Germany, I guess I’ve got a pretty good shot at taking it from her, and everyone sleeps well because the courts determined a “fair” price.

IF there were an urgent demand for an orphanage AND IF there were no alternative locations for it, THEN, yes they would have a pretty good shot at taking the property, and the old lady would have enough money to leave to her kids. And yes, I think that it is a good system, because in your example otherwise those orphans would have to sleep in the streets.
But you’ve got to come up with something a little stronger than one private entity wanting the land of another private entity before I will even remotely consider signing off on allowing the governement to get involved.

I think I sufficiently made my point that simply „wanting“ something is not sufficient justification for eminent domain either in Germany or the US...


Mirage_GSM
Posted 14 August 2009 at 04:36 pm

I am sorry, I didn't notice you made two posts in the meantime.

There are many legal ways of forcing somebody to sell property in the US; property rights are far from absolute.

Yes, we’ve discussed two ways, through eminent domain and rezoning. There are certainly other “legal” ways seizing someone’s property, or forcing them to sell, may be accomplished.

This makes one of the points I made in my above post moot. Apparently we agree that is is possible to expropriate poeple under US law, and your point was that in the US the process is not part of the constitution. I'll gladly concede that. However in my opinion this is not really a relevant distiction, since it is still applicable law.


sid
Posted 14 August 2009 at 11:41 pm

Mirage_GSM said: "Actually this whole discussion about courts and the government’s influence upon them is besides the issue. The case in question didn’t even go to court. Like I said before. Heemeyer went on a rampage without even going to court.

Actually, that's what I said. However, you raised the point of the judicial process, and what you felt was its immunity to outside influences, so I thought it important to correct some misconceptions you had regarding how things work here. Specifically you said:

Well the “greedy people” offered him six times the amount he had paid for the land. That’s an offer he shouldn’t have turned down. People who turn down such generous offers because they hope to gain more by going to court are those who are really greedy – and in many cases stupid as well.

This comment was apparently about Heemeyer, and was simply way off track. And my response to it, in fact, ignored your reference to the courts. You, then, decided to continue down your strange path of discussing the judicial system, when that was never part of the equation regarding this particular case. I take back my previous "My bad."

Apparently you don’t know US law much better than I do.

Actually, I probably do, and as you concede in your follow-up post, you recognize my understanding of US law. But we were talking about constitutions. Again, nothing in the US Constitution spells out, as it does in the German Constitution, how the government may take personal property, as well as how one private entity may take another private entity's property. That is because, in my opinion, there is little, if any, true right to property in Germany. It's different, thankfully, here. Our 5th Amendment speaks to the government taking private property for public use, with just compensation. That was a limitation placed on what is considered a power all governments are considered to have, and does not speak to disputes between private parties.

A quick check to wikipedia produced the following:
The power of governments to take private real or personal property has always existed in the United States, being an inherent attribute of sovereignty.

This isn't really relevent, as it's a rather simplistic argument that, with government power comes the power to take property. (When talking about complex issues such as these, simplistic is often what you get with wikipedia, unfortunately.) That's rather obvious, and holds true wherever you have government, as mentioned above.

This power reposes in the legislative branch of the government and may not be exercised unless the legislature has authorized its use by statutes that specify who may use it and for what purposes. The legislature may so delegate the power to private entities like public utilities or railroads, and even to individuals for the purpose of acquiring access to their landlocked land. Its use was limited by the Takings Clause in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1791, which reads, “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminent_domain#North_America)

That's not exactly accurate. The power is not delegated to private entities. The government makes the decision whether the property may be taken, which is the actual power.

That is only a short description istead of the actual legal text, but is seems to be quite similar to what we have in German law.

Not really similar, as your constitution sets up the parameters. The ability to seize property, especially for use by private entities, has been predominantly established through the courts here, which, as I said, are subject to political pressure, and many decisions have been quite controversial. The recent Kelo decision is a particularly controversial one.

I thought I explained this, but apparently not. This is not a question of collecting signatures and getting a majority. Replacing one restaurant with another of the same kind will have no discernible benefit for the general public, and even a family restaurant probably wouldn’t be enough to justify eminent domain. Relocating a shop with one employee to make room for a plant that would create multiple jobs conceivably would.

You tried to explain, but I don't think you have as solid a grasp on how courts work as do I. When you're talking about civil cases, which is what we are talking about here, the party that is "right" doesn't always win. The party with the best lawyers usually does. I see nothing in the verbiage you included from the German Constitution that tells me a good lawyer for Burger King couldn't win against a bad lawyer from McDonalds. And the family-owned restaurant likely doesn't stand a chance. A court could easily rule a small operation with five employees, all within the family, doesn't "benefit" the community as much as a Burger King that employs 10. You're ok with that, but I am not.

Next time you quote one of my posts, please make sure to actually read it. It is frustrating to do actual research (even if it is only wikipedia) and then have it ignored.

Nowhere near as frustrating as reading someone complain about things that simply never happened. Your point seemed to be the concrete company was benefitting the community in some grand way, so all was OK with how things were handled. However, you produced nothing to indicate this was the case, other than your assumption. And, again, that was not the point. Ever. The concrete company, from what has been presented, never argued Heemeyer should be rezoned so that it could benefit the community. And even if it did, show me the evidence that would indicate enough benefit, in your eyes, to make it ok to use government force to drive a man off his property. If they employed one more person than Heemeyer, is that enough?

IF there were an urgent demand for an orphanage AND IF there were no alternative locations for it, THEN, yes they would have a pretty good shot at taking the property, and the old lady would have enough money to leave to her kids. And yes, I think that it is a good system, because in your example otherwise those orphans would have to sleep in the streets.

Where, again, in the German Constitution does it refer to "urgent demand" and "alternative locations"? I recall something about weighing the interests of the general public and those involved, but not much more. The language seems specific enough to establish taking property, but vague enough to allow virtually any argument for forcing a sale to have potential for success. And what, exactly, is the equation to determine how much is "enough" money to leave her kids, when what she wanted to leave them was a cherished family possession? Furthermore, who said anything about orphans sleeping on the street? My example, my rules. The guy just wanted something a little nicer than what he had, and something he could be very comfortable living in. He doesn't really care about orphans, but considers what he does a way to make a living. Bottom line is, you're ok with such actions, and I am not.

I think I sufficiently made my point that simply „wanting“ something is not sufficient justification for eminent domain either in Germany or the US…"

And I don't. Go figure. Give me a solid litigator and I can probably come up with some compelling reasons for letting me take someone's land in Germany, even if it's really just because I want it. But that's not what this was all about, anyway. The bottom line is, Heemeyer got screwed over by a greedy concrete company and a colluding local government. That's the real issue here. No matter how hard you want to spin the notion that the concrete company was acting for the good of the community, it wasn't. It was looking to make a lot of money, and Heemeyer was in the way. Now he's not, so they won. Shoulda done it in Germany to make it easier, I guess. Then again, they still may not have wanted to pay what it would have cost, or might not have won their case. How are your zoning laws?


Mirage_GSM
Posted 15 August 2009 at 02:07 am

..., you raised the point of the judicial process, and what you felt was its immunity to outside influences, so I thought it important to correct some misconceptions you had regarding how things work here.

I brought up the eminent domain process to counter your argument that Heemeyer could have asked any price he wanted for the land. You said you don't like the process and I tried to explain why it is necessary. Obviously I failed to convince you, but it's like I mentioned in another post on this site: You rarely do internet debates to convince the person you're debating with but to educate and/or entertain the bystanders ;-)
Actually, I probably do, and as you concede in your follow-up post, you recognize my understanding of US law. But we were talking about constitutions. Again, nothing in the US Constitution spells out, as it does in the German Constitution, how the government may take personal property, as well as how one private entity may take another private entity’s property. That is because, in my opinion, there is little, if any, true right to property in Germany. It’s different, thankfully, here. Our 5th Amendment speaks to the government taking private property for public use, with just compensation.

This is going in circles. I seem to fail to make you understand how eminent domain works in Germany and I fail to understand why there is a difference between eminent domain being mentioned in the constitution as opposed to any other applicable law.
I see nothing in the verbiage you included from the German Constitution that tells me a good lawyer for Burger King couldn’t win against a bad lawyer from McDonalds. And the family-owned restaurant likely doesn’t stand a chance. A court could easily rule a small operation with five employees, all within the family, doesn’t “benefit” the community as much as a Burger King that employs 10.

I'll try to make this as easy to understand as possible:
Expropriating someone is HARD. It is not sufficient to offer one or two jobs more than the previous owner. Also – and I did mention this before, so again, please read my posts – alternatives have to be investigated, and this alone disqualifies a McD which could as well be built two blocks down the road. Better examples would be roads or railroads, the expansion of existing facilities that cannot be relocated or facilities that take up too much room to be built anywhere else.
Your point seemed to be the concrete company was benefitting the community in some grand way, so all was OK with how things were handled. However, you produced nothing to indicate this was the case, other than your assumption. And, again, that was not the point. Ever. The concrete company, from what has been presented, never argued Heemeyer should be rezoned so that it could benefit the community.

Yes, I assume. I take the facts that are available and try to put them together to get a plausible whole. You do nothing else by assuming there have been shady dealings
However there in a legal principle that I am 100% sure exists in the US as well as in every modern democracy: Innocent until proven guilty.
Thus I feel justified in assuming that the company did nothing wrong until someone presents me with evidence that they did.
Where, again, in the German Constitution does it refer to “urgent demand” and “alternative locations”? I recall something about weighing the interests of the general public and those involved, but not much more. The language seems specific enough to establish taking property, but vague enough to allow virtually any argument for forcing a sale to have potential for success.

You already found the right part: „weighing of interests“
And yes, it is vague, because the „Limitations are ruled by the applicable laws.“
Furthermore, who said anything about orphans sleeping on the street? My example, my rules. The guy just wanted something a little nicer than what he had, and something he could be very comfortable living in. He doesn’t really care about orphans, but considers what he does a way to make a living. Bottom line is, you’re ok with such actions, and I am not.

I tried to use your example to show how eminent domain could work. Using your rules no court in Germany (and I hope none in the US either) would allow eminent domain, and if it did, I certainly wouldn't be OK with it.
The bottom line is, Heemeyer got screwed over by a greedy concrete company and a colluding local government. That’s the real issue here. No matter how hard you want to spin the notion that the concrete company was acting for the good of the community, it wasn’t. It was looking to make a lot of money, and Heemeyer was in the way.

Yes, companies do want to make money, but a company making money and it benefiting the community are not mutually exclusive. Also, please don't present your assumptions as fact.
How are your zoning laws?

I have no idea, and since earlier you complained that using german law as a reference was irrelevant, I will save me some time and refrain from doing any research into that topic.


sid
Posted 15 August 2009 at 07:19 am

Mirage_GSM said: "I brought up the eminent domain process to counter your argument that Heemeyer could have asked any price he wanted for the land. You said you don’t like the process and I tried to explain why it is necessary. Obviously I failed to convince you, but it’s like I mentioned in another post on this site: You rarely do internet debates to convince the person you’re debating with but to educate and/or entertain the bystanders ;-)

Good try, but that's not what I was talking about. Your very first post on this thread was #40, where you brought the fallacious judicial argument into the discussion, even though nobody else had. My first post was #55, where I ignored your first stab at misdirection, and commented on the crazy idea that people should not be forced to sell their own property just because someone else wants it. You then took another stab at the judicial argument, which was never a part of this story, presented some misconceptions, and only then did I choose to try to straighten you out.

Look, I get it, you like a strong, controlling government that has the authority to infringe on rights without the people speaking up. That's Europe, for the most part, and you are welcome to it. You folks are used to the government being so deeply involved in areas where I feel it should not be, and only a minority tend to ever really speak out against it. It's fine to be in the majority, so more power to ya. We are less accepting here in the US, but it has been coming for some time. Some folks have been objecting all along, and many more here are starting to object.

This is going in circles. I seem to fail to make you understand how eminent domain works in Germany and I fail to understand why there is a difference between eminent domain being mentioned in the constitution as opposed to any other applicable law.

No, I believe I understand how it works. I'm just not sure you understand the potential for the strong (or smart, or wealthy, or connected) to overwhelm the weak (or ignorant, or less wealthy/poor, or not connected) under your system. Perhaps the problem is that you are not comfortable with someone pointing out what would seem to be obvious flaws in your constitution. Of course, if your country had a constitution that spent more time spelling out what the government cannot do to the citizens, rather than what it can do to them, you likely would have a deeper appreciation of the difference between mentioning something in the constitution, and a simple law. Laws are easily changed, you see, while amending the constitution is a rather difficult process. Having been involved in both processes, I can tell you from first-hand experience that the difference is staggering. I presume the same is the case in Germany, but kinda doubt you have the same first-hand knowledge to be able to comment.

I’ll try to make this as easy to understand as possible:Expropriating someone is HARD. It is not sufficient to offer one or two jobs more than the previous owner. Also – and I did mention this before, so again, please read my posts – alternatives have to be investigated, and this alone disqualifies a McD which could as well be built two blocks down the road. Better examples would be roads or railroads, the expansion of existing facilities that cannot be relocated or facilities that take up too much room to be built anywhere else.

Look, implying you are going to carefully explain something, then just offering the same personal opinions in a different way is not constructive. All you offer is your opinion that I should trust you when you say the process is hard. I can read and comprehend very well, and I read the section of your constitution pertaining to the subject of "legally" forcing German subjects to sell their property. Nowhere is it even remotely implied that alternatives must be explored. You just said it is so. Give me some sort of citation to prove this and I'll be happy to concede this point. Also, I'll need something to prove your contention that the law clearly states offering one or two more jobs (although my example was five jobs) is not "sufficient." Sorry, but I cannot simply accept your word as law, so to speak, as it sounds like you are simply an observer to things legal and political in Germany.

Yes, I assume. I take the facts that are available and try to put them together to get a plausible whole. You do nothing else by assuming there have been shady dealingsHowever there in a legal principle that I am 100% sure exists in the US as well as in every modern democracy: Innocent until proven guilty.Thus I feel justified in assuming that the company did nothing wrong until someone presents me with evidence that they did.

Actually, that standard is more applicable when discussing criminal issues, not civil, which is what we are discussing. ;-) But more seriously, I have mostly said it seems like there was collusion on re-zoning. But it seems obvious the concrete company and the locals worked, whether in partnership or separately, to make sure Heemeyer could not possibly abide by the new zoning standards, even though he clearly tried. But the crux of your argument remains that you feel it's ok to take someone's land if it benefits the general public. That, however, is a position you simply cannot defend, which may be why you have not really tried. This position of yours, however, must carry with it some sort of judicial process for you to find it acceptable, and this situation did not. It was driven, it seems, by pure greed and politics (on the part of the concrete company and locals, that is).

You already found the right part: „weighing of interests“And yes, it is vague, because the „Limitations are ruled by the applicable laws.“[\quote]

Talk about going in circles! I asked about "urgent demand" and "alternative locations" and you give me "weighing of interests" and "applicable laws"? Are you sure you're not a litigator? If you don't want to address my point/questions directly, that's fine. But these kinds of blatant misdirections are just insulting, and I'm sure you don't intend them to be.

I tried to use your example to show how eminent domain could work. Using your rules no court in Germany (and I hope none in the US either) would allow eminent domain, and if it did, I certainly wouldn’t be OK with it.

Here's the problem, though. Nobody is going to come out and say they just want it because they want it. They are going to say whatever they feel will get them what they want. That is simply human nature. You know, the human nature you previously described as egoistic. There are lots of people who look to exploit weaknesses in the law to their advantage, and that's why I see a big problem with the German Constitution, as it relates to taking property.

Yes, companies do want to make money, but a company making money and it benefiting the community are not mutually exclusive.

Theoretically, no. In practice, conflicts often arise. But in the specific case we are talking about, there is nothing to indicate the concrete company represented enough "benefit" to the local community to warrant forcing Heemeyer out, in my opinion, whether through legal or questionably legal means.

Also, please don’t present your assumptions as fact.

Based on the evidence presented, I'm ok with doing so. But please stop avoiding my specific questions with vague misdirection, if we're going to be issuing discussion guidelines/requests.

I have no idea, and since earlier you complained that using german law as a reference was irrelevant, I will save me some time and refrain from doing any research into that topic."

Funny how you can pick and choose when something is relevant. Here we are, mired down in your discussion on the irrelevant (to this story) german sytem, and now you put your foot down. That's pretty funny.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 15 August 2009 at 04:01 pm

Of course, if your country had a constitution that spent more time spelling out what the government cannot do to the citizens, rather than what it can do to them, you likely would have a deeper appreciation of the difference between mentioning something in the constitution, and a simple law. Laws are easily changed, you see, while amending the constitution is a rather difficult process. Having been involved in both processes, I can tell you from first-hand experience that the difference is staggering. I presume the same is the case in Germany, but kinda doubt you have the same first-hand knowledge to be able to comment.
Our constitution spells out a lot of things. If you are really interested, I'm sure you can find an english translation somewhere on the web.
And yes, a law can be changed more easily than the constitution, but in this case that is only a technical difference, because all the details are covered in a „normal“ law and can be changed as such. This way eminent domain could theoretically be rendered impotent without touching the constitution. Practically you won't find any political majority to do so – either here or in the US.
I asked about “urgent demand” and “alternative locations” and you give me “weighing of interests” and “applicable laws”? Are you sure you’re not a litigator? If you don’t want to address my point/questions directly, that’s fine. But these kinds of blatant misdirections are just insulting, and I’m sure you don’t intend them to be.

There are about a dozen laws that contain those details, including but not limited to the Construction Code, the National Highway Code, the State Road Code, The Air Traffic Code, the General Railroad Code, the National Waterway Code and the Energy Econimics Code (translations by me – no guarantees) Producing details from all those sources and analyzing them would probably gain me a doctorate thesis. Not something I intend to do for this discussion.
All you offer is your opinion that I should trust you when you say the process is hard. I can read and comprehend very well, and I read the section of your constitution pertaining to the subject of “legally” forcing German subjects to sell their property. Nowhere is it even remotely implied that alternatives must be explored. You just said it is so. Give me some sort of citation to prove this and I’ll be happy to concede this point. Also, I’ll need something to prove your contention that the law clearly states offering one or two more jobs (although my example was five jobs) is not “sufficient.” Sorry, but I cannot simply accept your word as law, so to speak, as it sounds like you are simply an observer to things legal and political in Germany.

What I can offer you is my personal experience with a the expansion of a major airport here. The project is expected to create 70.000 to 100.000 new jobs over the next 15 years, and the only area that is actually going to be expropriated is a nearby forest. Getting an official approval of plans took 7 years, the number of alternatives to be considered was 27 if I recall correctly, and the main documetation is 46 folders of plans and expertises and countless counterexpertises.
Before you say it - I know the example does not quite fit the situation: There are a lot of people affected without being expropriated, for example by aircraft noise. Also there are many environmental issues to be considered. I won't go into more detail here. I never claimed my word was law – it isn't. I'd like to think it is an educated opinion, but of course again you are free to disagree. Feel free to believe me that I have experience in the matter or not.
However there in a legal principle that I am 100% sure exists in the US as well as in every modern democracy: Innocent until proven guilty.

Actually, that standard is more applicable when discussing criminal issues, not civil, which is what we are discussing. ;-)

When you mentioned shady dealings, I thought you were referring to criminal issues like bribery or fraud.
But the crux of your argument remains that you feel it’s ok to take someone’s land if it benefits the general public. That, however, is a position you simply cannot defend, which may be why you have not really tried.

I have not tried? Then what have I been doing all the time? Talking about the weather?
in the specific case we are talking about, there is nothing to indicate the concrete company represented enough “benefit” to the local community to warrant forcing Heemeyer out, in my opinion, whether through legal or questionably legal means.

OK, two possibilities: Either the company did represent enough benefit or it didn't. In the latter case the community would have had no reason to go along with the rezoning proposal, except if you imply some sort of excercise of influence on behalf of the company (i.e. Bribery). As noone ever uncovered any evidence for this, I have no reason to assume this was the case (Innocent until proven guilty, remeber?).
Of course you may continue to believe in some conspiracy, but please accept my reasons for not doing so.
I have no idea, and since earlier you complained that using german law as a reference was irrelevant, I will save me some time and refrain from doing any research into that topic.”

Funny how you can pick and choose when something is relevant. Here we are, mired down in your discussion on the irrelevant (to this story) german sytem, and now you put your foot down. That’s pretty funny.

I'm sorry, if I came across a bit flippant, (that sentence could have used a smiley) but I really do know nothing at all about zoning laws, except that researching it would take more time than I have at the moment. I'm sorry if you take that as avoiding a direct question, but whether you believe me or not, I'd rather not debate topics I know nothing about.


NtropiK
Posted 16 August 2009 at 04:35 pm

Mirage_GSM, I think you kinda conceded your point with the statement "IF there were an urgent demand for an orphanage AND IF there were no alternative locations for it, THEN, yes they would have a pretty good shot at taking the property..."
There was no urgent demand for a concrete plant, and a quick glance at Google maps shows no lack of land for development. Therefore, by your argument, even the German government would not have taken his land.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 17 August 2009 at 04:28 am

NtropiK said: "There was no urgent demand for a concrete plant, and a quick glance at Google maps shows no lack of land for development.

As I said before, there are not really any sources for what reason the site was chosen for the plant. If there really had been any readily available, equally suited alternatives, they could have built there from the start and needn't have offered to pay so much money, but that is only my interpretation.
Therefore, by your argument, [i]even[/i] the German government would not have taken his land."

Actually, I don't think German eminent domain regulations are very different than they are in the US or other countries. Certainly it's not like the German government takes away properties on a regular basis.


zephyrr
Posted 17 August 2009 at 03:05 pm

Re: the idea that city councils and competing businesses etc will think twice before doing bad things if they know that once in a while somebody so wronged will respond with violence - sorry, that's just a fantasy. The problem is: the probability of violent reaction is NOT very proportional to actually having been wronged, but more to the individual's psychology. MOST nuts who do such things make up stories in their own heads, very loosely connected to consensus reality or facts, and rarely giving any weight to counter-evidence. Most of those are going to happen or not independent of who "fairly" somebody is treated.

Even in this case, we really don't know all the facts. It sounds as if the property in question was an "island", without direct connection to the street nor any road easement. That is, you had to drive over a small amount of somebody else's private property to get to the shop (or to connect to a sewer line). If you read carefully, the story does not say that the rezoning created this situation; instead it implies that the owner of the surrounding concrete plant property was permitted to make changes which had the effect of denying the muffler shop passage over land owned by the concrete plant. The relevant zoning change was NOT about the muffler shop per se, but about the concrete plant. This was primarily a conflict between two private property owners. Without the zoning change, it presumably would not have been possible for the concrete plant to make changes ON THEIR PROPERTY which ceased to provide access to the muffler shop. They also refused permission to put the muffler shop's sewer line through the concrete company's land. Emminent domain was not involved. Are you getting that this was probably not as one sided as the nut thought it was? It's even possible that nothing illegal or unfair was done - just hard ball competition for land. It would have been much nicer if the concrete plant owners had permitted the muffler shop to have continued road access and a new sewer connection through their land, but they were trying to drive out the muffler shop whose owner wanted too much money, and they had no legal requirement to be so cooperative.

It's NOT clear from what we have read that the city council did anything wrong - they changed the zoning to accomodate a different business after public hearings. Maybe that zoning change was appropriate, and denying it for the sake of the muffler shop would have been egregious favoritism towards the latter and against the best interests of the community. We don't know.

So... if we think allowing people who decide on their own that they can seek revenge because in their minds they have been wronged will somehow make the world more fair, we are deluding ourselves. People who are prone to violent revenge are not generally well nuanced in recognizing the difference between "this didn't go the way I think it should" and "laws and regulations were corruptly violated". At least as many GOOD actions as bad would be cancelled for fear that some nut would decide to take revenge if their side lost.

So, suppose it the concrete plant's rezoning request had been denied in favor of the Muffler Shop's interests, and the city council had used eminent domain against part of the concrete plant's land to create an access road and lay a sewer pipe for the muffler shop - and suppose the concrete plant owner felt the city council was unreasonable and went on a self-justified killing spree. Which nutcase should the city council fear more and thus favor in their decisions, to avoid violence? Whoever is more likely to build a Killdozer gets their way? Anybody see any problems with this as a feedback mechanism to keep city councils "honest"?


SIMDUDE
Posted 17 August 2009 at 03:22 pm

It's funny that you don't hear of people killing because Buddha told them to. It just makes you think. No, I am not buddhist I am Catholic. My point is I have spent 20 of the last 45 years living somwewhere in Asia, while working for the US Government, and you don't hear of people killing because Buddha told them to as Marvin Heemeyer supposedly was guided by God. In the Christian religions Jesus is seen as a forgiver similar to the teaching of Buddha. Yet in the West the we kill first and then forgive all in Gos name. I am not saying thet terrible things do not happen in Asia but the doers of evil in Asia don't blame their divine leader for what they do.


LordFarkward
Posted 17 August 2009 at 06:54 pm

SIMDUDE said: "It’s funny that you don’t hear of people killing because Buddha told them to. It just makes you think. No, I am not buddhist I am Catholic. My point is I have spent 20 of the last 45 years living somwewhere in Asia, while working for the US Government, and you don’t hear of people killing because Buddha told them to as Marvin Heemeyer supposedly was guided by God. In the Christian religions Jesus is seen as a forgiver similar to the teaching of Buddha. Yet in the West the we kill first and then forgive all in Gos name. I am not saying thet terrible things do not happen in Asia but the doers of evil in Asia don’t blame their divine leader for what they do."

India's part of Asia and they certainly do kill on behalf of their divine leader(s).


sid
Posted 17 August 2009 at 10:37 pm

Mirage_GSM said: "Our constitution spells out a lot of things. If you are really interested, I’m sure you can find an english translation somewhere on the web."

Found one. Yes, it's quite detailed. Unfortunately, one of the nagging details I found in many identified "rights" was a caveat that it was "limited by the provisions of the general laws," or something very similar. The "right" to raise a family states, "Care and upbringing of children are the natural right of the parents and a duty primarily incumbent on them." It then follows with the rather ominous, "The state watches over the performance of this duty." Kinda creepy.

And yes, a law can be changed more easily than the constitution, but in this case that is only a technical difference, because all the details are covered in a „normal“ law and can be changed as such.

A "technical" difference? See, that's the problem. It's in the "technicalities" that one finds the potential for the erosion of rights. Your constitution gives the broad strokes of what rights are protected, spells out that the laws are meant to define what all that means, then leaves it up to politicians to come up with the laws as the political winds shift. This year, some of your rights may very well be protected, but with every new government comes the potential for new laws to narrowly define what your "rights" actually are. I just don't see that system as being much to truly safeguard rights.

This way eminent domain could theoretically be rendered impotent without touching the constitution.

Or expanded in such a way to make it terrifyingly easy for your property to be taken from you with little chance of mounting a successful defense.

Practically you won’t find any political majority to do so – either here or in the US.

A political majority really can't do as much here, as, apparently, it can in Germany, from what I've read.

There are about a dozen laws that contain those details, including but not limited to the Construction Code, the National Highway Code, the State Road Code, The Air Traffic Code, the General Railroad Code, the National Waterway Code and the Energy Econimics Code (translations by me – no guarantees) Producing details from all those sources and analyzing them would probably gain me a doctorate thesis. Not something I intend to do for this discussion.

And, again, those laws are subject to change, depending on the mood of the politicians in charge. The real problem is that the constitution leaves the door wide open to this. It says nothing about the "urgent demand" or "alternative locations" you mentioned. I guess I just have to take your word that such guidelines currently exist, but what if the folks in power decide to change them? What's to stop them?

What I can offer you is my personal experience with a the expansion of a major airport here. The project is expected to create 70.000 to 100.000 new jobs over the next 15 years, and the only area that is actually going to be expropriated is a nearby forest.

To whom does/did the forest belong?

Getting an official approval of plans took 7 years, the number of alternatives to be considered was 27 if I recall correctly, and the main documetation is 46 folders of plans and expertises and countless counterexpertises.

But...oh, wait...

Before you say it – I know the example does not quite fit the situation: There are a lot of people affected without being expropriated, for example by aircraft noise. Also there are many environmental issues to be considered. I won’t go into more detail here. I never claimed my word was law – it isn’t. I’d like to think it is an educated opinion, but of course again you are free to disagree. Feel free to believe me that I have experience in the matter or not.

You're right, you've got a mighty big orange to compare to the tiny little Colorado apple. An airport is quite different from a concrete plant. It would fall under what I previously mentioned of something I may not entirely like, but can understand to a certain degree. Individuals being affected by aircraft noise is something (lowering property value or quality of life), but fairly different from actually losing your property. And, your involvement? I don't need specifics, but I really can't judge whether you have experience if you just relate something that happened. You could have simply read about it.

When you mentioned shady dealings, I thought you were referring to criminal issues like bribery or fraud.

True, to a point. I was looking more at the idea of Heemeyer going to court on civil rights grounds, although that's a route we all know he did not pursue. In such a situation, he would not need to prove guilt of a criminal act, necessarily, but the appearance of something shady, which is what it appears to me. To you, not so much, but mostly because you don't have a problem with the whole premise of the govt. taking someone's land, as long as there's some "good" involved in the action.

I have not tried?

When talking about the specifics revolving around this specific case, no, you have not.

Then what have I been doing all the time? Talking about the weather?

Not the weather, but almost as relevent. You have talked at great length about the process in Germany for taking someone's land. A process that is not the same here. You have also talked about the justification for taking someone's land for the good of the community, through a specific legal process (judicially based) that was not present in this case. And you have talked about the possibility that the presence of the concrete company was better for the community than Heemeyer's property rights. But there's really nothing that supports that in the information presented.

OK, two possibilities: Either the company did represent enough benefit or it didn’t. In the latter case the community would have had no reason to go along with the rezoning proposal, except if you imply some sort of excercise of influence on behalf of the company (i.e. Bribery). As noone ever uncovered any evidence for this, I have no reason to assume this was the case (Innocent until proven guilty, remeber?).Of course you may continue to believe in some conspiracy, but please accept my reasons for not doing so.

The timing of the process, and the subsequent actions of the concrete company and the local government to prevent Heemeyer from conforming to the new rules, is good circumstantial evidence that something may have been orchestrated. The community likely didn't care, because it seemed this was between Heemeyer and the concrete company. They didn't rezone the whole town, apparently, just this one little area, so why would others get involved? Besides, governments (local, state, and federal) are known to do things even if the majority of the "community" objects. And perhaps nothing was uncovered because nobody pursued that angle. Heemeyer decided his own brand of justice was warranted, not the normal route. Remember, he was kinda nuts. If he thought the local govt. plotted against him, he probably thought legal remedies/investigations would be slanted against him, too. Nobody else probably cared enough, after the fact, to do any digging to see if there was something shady. But I'll freely admit I'm presuming something shady happened. I've had enough dealings with govt. (local and state level) to be rathe suspicious when something doesn't smell right. Most of the time, where there's smoke, there's fire.

I’m sorry, if I came across a bit flippant, (that sentence could have used a smiley) but I really do know nothing at all about zoning laws, except that researching it would take more time than I have at the moment. I’m sorry if you take that as avoiding a direct question, but whether you believe me or not, I’d rather not debate topics I know nothing about."

No, my initial question was also a joke, but apparently I needed some sort of symbol to identify it. My response to your "flippant" comment was also not meant to be taken seriously. I just thought I'd point out a little irony.

I'm somewhat surprised the airport project you mentioned had no zoning issues involved, though.


SIMDUDE
Posted 17 August 2009 at 10:41 pm

Yes that is true and there are many religions in India #1 is Hindu, #2 Is Islam #3 is Buddhism. Also there is Sikhism, Jainism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. So my point is that the buddists tend to not kill for their divine leader. What is your point? Do you think that all Indians are Buddist?

LordFarkward said: "SIMDUDE said: “It’s funny that you don’t hear of people killing because Buddha told them to. It just makes you think. No, I am not buddhist I am Catholic. My point is I have spent 20 of the last 45 years living somwewhere in Asia, while working for the US Government, and you don’t hear of people killing because Buddha told them to as Marvin Heemeyer supposedly was guided by God. In the Christian religions Jesus is seen as a forgiver similar to the teaching of Buddha. Yet in the West the we kill first and then forgive all in Gos name. I am not saying thet terrible things do not happen in Asia but the doers of evil in Asia don’t blame their divine leader for what they do.”

India’s part of Asia and they certainly do kill on behalf of their divine leader(s)."

Yes that is true and there are many religions in India #1 is Hindu, #2 is Islam #3 is Buddhism. Also there is Sikhism, Jainism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. So my point is that the buddists tend to not kill for their divine leader. What is your point? Do you think that all Indians are Buddhist?


Cyph
Posted 17 August 2009 at 11:49 pm

@sid & Mirage

With the information we have been given, I sympathize with Heemeyer in *this specific incident* (not to say that I condone his following actions). That said, I can't disagree with most of what Mirage has argued - but the arguments seem to address broad points rather than *this specific incident* (yay asterisks).

As I see it, most of what you have been arguing is rather irrelevant.

Heemeyer offered outrageous prices for his land. The Docheff family rejected his offers. If they really wanted to buy the land, they would've taken the issue to court (but I doubt they would've won; it's not like they had a particularly strong claim to the land). He had every right to do this; his prices were not motivated by greed, but by an attachment to the property.

As I understand (I am not well educated in law; please correct any misconceptions), the concrete company would have had to rezone the land even if they did manage to purchase Heemeyer's land - they just would not have had to deal with Heemeyer's interests. We don't know enough to judge whether the decision to rezone was legitimate - the Docheffs may have presented a strong case that the Concrete plant would not significantly disrupt Heemeyer's shop or that the plant would greatly benefit the community as a whole, etc. (Remember, they were rezoning the land *around* his shop, not *his* land.) It's possible that shady dealings occurred at this point, but *we don't know enough.*

So... I don't have a problem with Heemeyer's pricing or the rezoning, which is what the majority of the arguments seem to revolve around.

However, after the land was rezoned, Heemeyer was deprived of access to his property and a necessary connection to the sewer lines.

oldmancoyote said: "I don’t know about Colorado but where i live the law would require that he be granted full access to his property. If my land is dead center of someone else’s land (it isn’t) then the law requires that company or person allow me complete access to my property. That includes neccessary driveways and infrastructure (at my expense, of course). No problem. This is how it should be."

I would be surprised if it were not the same in Colorado - and Heemeyer's proposals to connect himself to the sewer line and to build a road were bluntly rejected by the government. This is the true injustice.

I still would like to know how the trash company (that Heemeyer sold the land to) dealt with the road access and sewer line problems, though... o.O


sid
Posted 18 August 2009 at 07:48 am

SIMDUDE said: "Yes that is true and there are many religions in India #1 is Hindu, #2 is Islam #3 is Buddhism. Also there is Sikhism, Jainism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. So my point is that the buddists tend to not kill for their divine leader. What is your point? Do you think that all Indians are Buddhist?"

Perhaps this gets towards what he was talking about.

http://www.sangam.org/articles/view/?id=118

Seems that Buddhism is not immune from some using it in a manner that was not originally intended. Kinda like some other faiths, no?


Mirage_GSM
Posted 18 August 2009 at 11:55 am

Zephyrr raised some interesting points. I agree with most of what he said.
I guess this would be a good oportunity to wrap up this excursion into international law. I'll just answer Sid's last few open questions:

The “right” to raise a family states, “Care and upbringing of children are the natural right of the parents and a duty primarily incumbent on them.” It then follows with the rather ominous, “The state watches over the performance of this duty.” Kinda creepy.

Maybe creepy, but sadly it seems to be necessary. Not all parents are up to the task of raising children. No, I'm not talking about the fiscally challenged, but those who neglect and/or mistreat their children. In the last few years there were several cases on the news where small children and even babies had been neglected to the point of starvation or beaten to death by their parents.
Yes, everybody has a right to raise a family, but the children have a right to protection and this is what this „caveat“ is about. Again, I assume you have similar procedures in the US.
To whom does/did the forest belong?

To a small town close to the airport.
And, your involvement? I don’t need specifics, but I really can’t judge whether you have experience if you just relate something that happened. You could have simply read about it.

I work for the airport. Not the legal department, but I am involved with the procedure.
I’m somewhat surprised the airport project you mentioned had no zoning issues involved, though.

Well, the only land directly affected is some forest, neither residental nor commercial nor industrial zone ;-) .Part of the forest was an environmental protected area. That status had to be changed. I'm not sure if that counts as „rezoning“
You have talked at great length about the process in Germany for taking someone’s land. A process that is not the same here.

It's not the same, but I think it is similar enough to use for a comparison (if you ignore the fact that one is written in the constitution and the other apparently isn't)
I think we've both made our points though, so let's wait for a new article – I'm sure we'll find something to disagree on again ;-)


sid
Posted 18 August 2009 at 09:02 pm

Mirage_GSM said: "Maybe creepy, but sadly it seems to be necessary. Not all parents are up to the task of raising children. No, I’m not talking about the fiscally challenged, but those who neglect and/or mistreat their children. In the last few years there were several cases on the news where small children and even babies had been neglected to the point of starvation or beaten to death by their parents.Yes, everybody has a right to raise a family, but the children have a right to protection and this is what this „caveat“ is about. Again, I assume you have similar procedures in the US.

I think the idea that the "state watches over the performance of this duty" is just way too invasive sounding. It sort of takes away the "innocent until proven guilty" concept by implying you will be watched very closely throughout the entire process, in case you do something we don't like. This would be in contrast to the concept we have here, where there has to be some indication something is being done that is wrong before there is an official investigation.

To a small town close to the airport.

So, one piece of property controlled by one government entity became the property to control of another government entity. Since governments have power and authority, not rights, this is not even close to the issue we've been discussing.

I work for the airport. Not the legal department, but I am involved with the procedure.

OK, direct knowledge. I'm satisfied you know about the process, but I don't think it has much relationship to what we've been discussing.

Well, the only land directly affected is some forest, neither residental nor commercial nor industrial zone ;-) .Part of the forest was an environmental protected area. That status had to be changed. I’m not sure if that counts as „rezoning“

It doesn't really sound like it, but I'm sure nature lovers pitched a fit. Al Gore may have even shed a tear.

It’s not the same, but I think it is similar enough to use for a comparison (if you ignore the fact that one is written in the constitution and the other apparently isn’t)

I really can't ignore that fact. Like I've said before, laws are far more readily changed than constitutions, so there is, in my mind, a pretty big difference.

I think we’ve both made our points though, so let’s wait for a new article – I’m sure we’ll find something to disagree on again ;-)"

Fair enough.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 19 August 2009 at 05:36 am

I think the idea that the “state watches over the performance of this duty” is just way too invasive sounding. It sort of takes away the “innocent until proven guilty” concept by implying you will be watched very closely throughout the entire process, in case you do something we don’t like.

Legalese does sound kind of creepy sometimes ;-)
I don’t have kids of my own yet, so, I can’t speak from personal experience, but from what was on the news, the “close watching” entails some mandatory health checks (probably even paid by insurance) for the kids every few months and not much more.
I don’t think that is excessively invasive, but let’s not open that can of worms ;-)
So, one piece of property controlled by one government entity became the property to control of another government entity.

Actually a piece of property controlled by a government entity will become the property of a private company, but that’s irrelevant to the courts.
I really can’t ignore that fact. Like I’ve said before, laws are far more readily changed than constitutions, so there is, in my mind, a pretty big difference.

Let me rephrase: The legal situation as it is now is (more or less) similar. In one of the systems it might be more easily changed to something different in the future. By ignoring that fact I basically limited my example to the present situation. I did not value one system better or worse than the other.


sid
Posted 19 August 2009 at 08:48 am

Mirage_GSM said: "I don’t have kids of my own yet, so, I can’t speak from personal experience, but from what was on the news, the “close watching” entails some mandatory health checks (probably even paid by insurance) for the kids every few months and not much more.I don’t think that is excessively invasive, but let’s not open that can of worms ;-)

I think you already opened it by defending what the constitution says with your interpretation of what it means. That said, mandatory health checks can be quite a problem, if the state starts determining certain procedures are to be mandatory. Here in the US, we've run into the issue of cervical cancer vaccines, and whether parents should be forced to have their female children undergo this treatment. There are other potential problems, of course, that have nothing to do with health checks. Again, the problem is with that creepy wording. I don't know enough about what all it entails to point to specific concerns, but I can certainly imagine what it could entail. That language, cemented in your constitution, leaves the door open for all sorts of potential problems.

Actually a piece of property controlled by a government entity will become the property of a private company, but that’s irrelevant to the courts.

And still irrelevant to our discussion. Whether the local govt. voluntarily sold the land or was forced to through the judicial process, it's still not a property rights issue, as governments do not have rights. Now that a private company owns it, though, it could become a property rights issue down the road.

Let me rephrase: The legal situation as it is now is (more or less) similar. In one of the systems it might be more easily changed to something different in the future. By ignoring that fact I basically limited my example to the present situation. I did not value one system better or worse than the other."

I'm not so sure that's accurate, except fo the "less" caveat. I'm still not aware of any "normal" situation where one private property owner can simply go to court here to force another private property owner to sell his land, as it seems to be allowed in Germany.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 19 August 2009 at 09:03 am

Whether the local govt. voluntarily sold the land or was forced to through the judicial process, it’s still not a property rights issue, as governments do not have rights.

Are you saying the government does not have property rights in the US?
I'm pretty sure I misunderstood you there, but I can't figure out what you meant by that sentence.


sid
Posted 19 August 2009 at 11:28 am

Mirage_GSM said: Are you saying the government does not have property rights in the US?I’m pretty sure I misunderstood you there, but I can’t figure out what you meant by that sentence."

No, I think you understood me. The government here has no rights, property or otherwise. It has designated powers/authority, but rights are reserved to "the people," and this is recognized in the US Constitution. Ideologically, I would argue that no government has any rights. Government is a construct of people, and whatever system is in place has been agreed to by the people, or forced upon the people, and can, theoretically, be changed at any time by the people. Rights, in my opinion, transcend government. Governments can single certain ones out as being protected, and can set up certain guidelines for restricting them, as there are few (if any) rights that I would consider to be absolute. Ideologically, governments cannot eliminate rights. In practice, of course, they can do any number of things that I would consider to be infringements on rights, but that does not mean the right no longer exists. But governments, in my view, have no rights, and our constitution recognizes and supports that view.


rufus-t-firefly
Posted 24 August 2009 at 08:55 am

sid said: "Mirage_GSM said: Are you saying the government does not have property rights in the US?I’m pretty sure I misunderstood you there, but I can’t figure out what you meant by that sentence.”
No, I think you understood me. The government here has no rights, property or otherwise. It has designated powers/authority, but rights are reserved to “the people,” and this is recognized in the US Constitution. Ideologically, I would argue that no government has any rights. Government is a construct of people, and whatever system is in place has been agreed to by the people, or forced upon the people, and can, theoretically, be changed at any time by the people. Rights, in my opinion, transcend government. Governments can single certain ones out as being protected, and can set up certain guidelines for restricting them, as there are few (if any) rights that I would consider to be absolute. Ideologically, governments cannot eliminate rights. In practice, of course, they can do any number of things that I would consider to be infringements on rights, but that does not mean the right no longer exists. But governments, in my view, have no rights, and our constitution recognizes and supports that view."

You are technically correct - the US government has no "rights" per se, but it does manage the airwaves, national parks, and so forth on behalf of the people.

The 5th Amendment includes this: "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." Thus, private property can be taken by the government for public use, so long as the property owner is justly compensated.

Per your previous comment "I’m still not aware of any 'normal' situation where one private property owner can simply go to court here to force another private property owner to sell his land, as it seems to be allowed in Germany," you might have missed this big story from four years ago:

The US Supreme Court recently ruled in 2005 that the gov't could use eminent domain to take land from one private citizen and transfer that land to another private entity. Their logic was that economic growth is a legitimate interpretation of "public use."

You may not agree, but it is the current judicial interpretation of the 5th Amendment, and thus is the law of the land.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London

Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005) was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to further economic development. The case arose from the condemnation by New London, Connecticut, of privately owned real property so that it could be used as part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan. The Court held in a 5–4 decision that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified such redevelopment plans as a permissible "public use" under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 26 August 2009 at 09:10 am

Heard a DI report on the radio today. Here is the link to a written version:
http://www.kansascity.com/451/story/1404978.html
Laura Dekker (13 years old) from the Netherlands wants to make a round-the-world-trip in her sail-boat - alone. Her parents gave her permission, but the dutch government went to court to stop the endeavour.
Their arguments are that the parents would not be able to carry out their duty of caring for her during the two years the trip would take and that she would miss too much of her school's curriculum.
The decision is expected for friday. No matter how this turns out, it is bound to make an interesting story for this site.


sid
Posted 02 September 2009 at 05:41 am

Mirage_GSM said: "Her parents gave her permission, but the dutch government went to court to stop the endeavour.Their arguments are that the parents would not be able to carry out their duty of caring for her during the two years the trip would take and that she would miss too much of her school’s curriculum. The decision is expected for friday. No matter how this turns out, it is bound to make an interesting story for this site."

Sounds like the Dutch are as anti-liberty as the Germans, when it comes to raising children. Perhaps they should start banning bicycles for children, since they are so potentially dangerous. Then again, that seems to be the only mode of transportation there.

Now they're going after free speech by prosecuting an Arab group for a political cartoon. Or maybe the Dutch just hate Muslims. Didn't they ignore/allow similar cartoons Muslims found offensive regarding Mohammad? Freedom seems to be evaporating more rapidly in Europe than I had previously thought. I only hope we don't catch up.


sid
Posted 02 September 2009 at 06:17 am

rufus-t-firefly said: "the US government ... does manage the airwaves, national parks, and so forth on behalf of the people.

I'm not sure what that has to do with a discussion of rights. These are powers the government has, and I'm not sure "the people" ever really asked/told the government to do so. Technically, all it takes is legislation (or Executive Order, in many cases) to end such controls. Again, I'm not sure what this comment has to do with the discussion.

The 5th Amendment …

Yes, we've already discussed the 5th Amendment.

Per your previous comment “I’m still not aware of any ‘normal’ situation where one private property owner can simply go to court here to force another private property owner to sell his land, as it seems to be allowed in Germany,” you might have missed this big story from four years ago:
The US Supreme Court recently ruled in 2005 that the gov’t could use eminent domain to take land from one private citizen and transfer that land to another private entity. Their logic was that economic growth is a legitimate interpretation of “public use.”

No, the Kelo decision was previously mentioned. As previously stated, it was a controversial decision. I expect it will be revisited. Many have proposed legislative remedies to what is perceived as SCOTUS getting it wrong. I tend to agree with that view.

You may not agree, but it is the current judicial interpretation of the 5th Amendment, and thus is the law of the land.

Correct.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London
Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005) was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to further economic development. The case arose from the condemnation by New London, Connecticut, of privately owned real property so that it could be used as part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan. The Court held in a 5–4 decision that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified such redevelopment plans as a permissible “public use” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment."

Still quite different from the German example, but no less objectionable. Rather than take someone's private property directly through the courts, as is apparently done in Germany, the developer here worked with the local government. Again, a great deal of controversy surrounds this ruling.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 02 September 2009 at 02:29 pm

sid said: "Sounds like the Dutch are as anti-liberty as the Germans, when it comes to raising children.

Well, as always the law has to find a balance between freedom an protection. A thirteen year old spending 2 years alone on a sailing ship is certainly something that should be considered carefully.
Freedom seems to be evaporating more rapidly in Europe than I had previously thought. I only hope we don’t catch up."

Ironically europeans say the same about the US ;-) You've been sacrificing some freedoms in recent years too haven't you?
Now they’re going after free speech by prosecuting an Arab group for a political cartoon. Or maybe the Dutch just hate Muslims. Didn’t they ignore/allow similar cartoons Muslims found offensive regarding Mohammad?

I hadn't heard of that story before, but I found it now:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8234359.stm
I agree all the fuss is a bit over the top, but I do understand how jews would be offended by that „joke“. I remember the muslim reaction about the muhammad cartoons a few years back being even more extreme.


sid
Posted 03 September 2009 at 09:03 am

Mirage_GSM said: "Well, as always the law has to find a balance between freedom an protection. A thirteen year old spending 2 years alone on a sailing ship is certainly something that should be considered carefully.

Carefully considerd by the parents, yes, which they appear to have done. A child's diet should be carefully considered, but that doesn't warrant 24-7 government monitoring. My position is that freedom should be held in higher regard than most "protections" a government feels should be imposed on people.

Ironically europeans say the same about the US ;-) You’ve been sacrificing some freedoms in recent years too haven’t you?

Depends on which "freedoms" you are talking about. Yes, there are areas of erosion I don't support, but we've got a ways to go before we hit the level europeans have reached, in my opinion, on some basic freedoms.

I hadn’t heard of that story before, but I found it now:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8234359.stmI agree all the fuss is a bit over the top, but I do understand how jews would be offended by that „joke“. I remember the muslim reaction about the muhammad cartoons a few years back being even more extreme."

Yes, the response from some in the muslim community (I wouldn't say it was a blanket "muslim reaction") was quite extreme, calling for the deaths of those they found to be offensive. I'm not sure that was a call from any government entity, though. Mostly extremist religious figures and groups alligned with (if not actual) established terrorist organizations, I believe. I would hope most muslims were simply outraged/offended, but not to the point of calling for the deaths of those who outraged/offended. Free speech is supposed to guarantee you can make "political" statements, or even bad "jokes," not guarantee people will not be offended.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 05 September 2009 at 04:17 am

Yes, the response from some in the muslim community (I wouldn’t say it was a blanket “muslim reaction”) was quite extreme,...

Of course I did not mean to imply those threats came from the whole muslim community. I'm sorry if my post could be misunderstood that way.


erikmartin
Posted 11 September 2009 at 12:39 am

A hero an a helluva engineer. R.I.P.


rev.felix
Posted 11 September 2009 at 05:33 pm

He didn't killdoze a bakery, did he? The loss of all those pies would have been devastating.


galonga
Posted 19 September 2009 at 08:16 pm

Why does this crap ONLY happens in America? Yeah, you sometimes see similar stuff in germany and stuff, but for every case in those places, there are 10 in the USA!

I can only conclude the system is TOO cruel? Odd, since our media keeps pounding all the time how nice life is in the US, how lucky we are when compared to "lesser" countries, etc...

Well, tell that to this guy. And the Columbine kids. And that college corean guy. And that tank guy. And so on...


sulkykid
Posted 22 September 2009 at 04:52 pm

And which of the "lesser" countries does galonga live in?


stdennis44
Posted 04 October 2009 at 06:20 am

Sometimes it is not about $$$$$$$$.


Tarlev
Posted 13 October 2009 at 08:06 am

I’m with sid. The U.S. constitution says nothing like the German’s.
As to providing jobs: Maybe 15-20, tops. Concrete batching plants take up a lot of space but do not need many people. most of the employees are the people delivering the concrete.
As to the 29% yearly return, In some places, property(not houses, mind you) can return more. Location, location, location. Property values are completely subjective. Appraised value really only works for the tax man. Property is only worth what someone is willing to pay. If appraisal value is $1m but the highest offer is $500k, then $500k is all it is worth. If the highest offer is $1.5M then it is worth that. Zoning can effect what someone is willing to pay.


manj
Posted 19 October 2009 at 10:40 pm

SIMDUDE said: "It’s funny that you don’t hear of people killing because Buddha told them to. "

The aum folks, who orchestrated the sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway, were a Buddhist faction. ANY religion can - and will, I'd argue - be subverted, misinterpreted, and generally scrunched up to fit people's own ideas and plans.


sid
Posted 30 October 2009 at 12:41 pm

Mirage_GSM said: "Heard a DI report on the radio today. Here is the link to a written version:http://www.kansascity.com/451/story/1404978.htmlLaura Dekker (13 years old) from the Netherlands wants to make a round-the-world-trip in her sail-boat – alone. Her parents gave her permission, but the dutch government went to court to stop the endeavour.Their arguments are that the parents would not be able to carry out their duty of caring for her during the two years the trip would take and that she would miss too much of her school’s curriculum.The decision is expected for friday. No matter how this turns out, it is bound to make an interesting story for this site."

Latest ruling in this case is another slap at freedom: http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/news/story?id=4608269
Not only can she not sail, but the court has now turned over control of the child to the government. Complete control? No. But now "her parents must consult [with the government] about all major decisions in her life." So, a 14-year-old Dutch girl can't sail because of the government, while a 16-year-old Australian girl pursues her dream. I think the difference is that Australians are a bit less inclined to allowing the government such ridiculous control over the lives of their citizens, and not the two years of age.


sachse
Posted 12 November 2009 at 01:22 pm

sure glad D.I. is back...I've forgotton how windy some of you guys can be...whew


dsjohn
Posted 01 March 2010 at 01:37 pm

The aum folks, who orchestrated the sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway, were a Buddhist faction. ANY religion can – and will, I’d argue – be subverted, misinterpreted, and generally scrunched up to fit people’s own ideas and plans.

Dagupan Web Solutions


rom
Posted 14 April 2010 at 12:50 pm

ohh


bob1
Posted 14 April 2010 at 01:17 pm

super


sudo
Posted 31 July 2010 at 01:39 pm

This article has been translated into Russian language by me.

http://interestingnews.ru/?p=39

Back link retained. Thank you.


wildcard69
Posted 22 April 2011 at 09:09 pm

u mad bro?


jonathands
Posted 05 January 2012 at 02:48 pm

omfg, so many people defending the government, he should've selled the land for the price they wanted? where is the right for freedom, democracy is only valid when you have lots of money and powerful friends???

he was insane because he gave up his life, not because he got mad...


Oboba
Posted 04 June 2012 at 11:27 am

I fully agree with jonathands. Everybody knows that there is no democracy or freedom in US. We all were the witnesses of what the government did with Marvin, instead of helping him to protect his rights.


Canucksdream
Posted 05 December 2013 at 04:27 pm

Jaded said: "Marc Boyd said: "Well, GOD will judge, eventually. “This man will rest in the loving arms of Gaia” is not an option since it is a made up construction by weird people.
God has his own charge to you. Have no other “gods” before me or I will destroy you.
You will see."
This is the most beautifully simply example of this hypocrasy that I have ever seen! Bravo! "Your God is a made up contruction, and MY made up construction is going to punish you for it!""

I'm glad you said something, otherwise I would have had to go back and say the same exact thing. Truly the pot calling the kettle black on that one.


Canucksdream
Posted 05 December 2013 at 04:36 pm

Jared Lessl said: "> A good rule I’ve learned in my life is: “never leave a person without options” another is: “one who intends to die can do anything.”

A man backed into a corner with nothing left to lose is the most dangerous critter on earth. I'd like to have this article printed up and a copy put into every city council chamber, town hall, and police department in the country to serve as a warning. Be careful who you choose to screw over beyond the point of endurance, because you really can't be sure what they'll do. They might go quietly, they might fight you with lawyers. Or maybe they'll try to demolish your house with you and your family still inside it and have guns handy in case you get out.
As with some of you, I'm very surprised this sort of thing doesn't happen, if on smaller scales, much more often. How many times have cops pressed criminal charges against innocent people to cover for themselves? How many homeowner's associatons have stolen people's houses over chump change debts or having grass a few inches too long? I am truly amazed that there hasn't been a single returning Iraq War vet come home so shattered and hateful of the people who sent him there just to turn a buck that he was willing to make an attempt on their lives."

I believe you are absolutely correct. Let's not forget to look at this concept on a much larger scale also.

Example: the United States military and their personal war against whoever they deem "a threat" ( often without consent from congress or the American people at large)
Do Americans really wonder why other countries hate and dispise them to the point of insane suicidal revenge attempts?
Next time America feels victimized when a small number (comparatively) of their citizens are killed overseas or at home (911) they should consider that for every American killed, there are 1000s if not 100s of thousands foreign citizens killed (very often first) by the outlandish hyperbole that is the American war machine.

This is pretty accurate if you take the time to open your eyes, but for all those who will find this offensive; this is just my opinion.


STABILLA CONSTANCE
Posted 22 May 2014 at 10:50 am

WELL DONE Marvin, you taught those fools a lesson, pitty your life had o end you could have been a leader of man.
Next time listen to the man, good job on the cop station, should be more men like you RIP HERO of the nation


We've got a live one here..
Posted 17 June 2014 at 07:10 pm

Marc Boyd said: "Well, GOD will judge, eventually. "This man will rest in the loving arms of Gaia" is not an option since it is a made up construction by weird people.

God has his own charge to you. Have no other "gods" before me or I will destroy you.
You will see."

And you aren't weird at all, are you?

What are you building in your shed?


Aman in Iowa
Posted 21 July 2014 at 03:50 pm

If more people would take a stand we could put an end to corrupt politics. There are way more civilians than there are military in the United States, even considering the police and security agencies. If we would all take a stand for what is right we could restore this country back to being a republic for the people, by the people. We do not have to allow big business to take over and destroy our country. We do not have to allow corrupt politicians to rewrite the constitution and remove our rights, privileges and freedoms. We are America, the land of the free, the home of the brave. Men have fought and given their lives for our freedom. Have we forgotten? Have we become a country of cowards? Have we no shame? We should all take action, as this man did. Many may have to give their lives but we can restore this country to its roots. One nation under God!! We have allowed corruption to rob us long enough. We must give the good fight and we must win.


END OF COMMENTS
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