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Annihilation Time in Milwaukee
September 11, 2003 10:42 PM   Subscribe

Annihilation Time in Milwaukee An abrasive flier for a house show on Sept. 11th, leads to a visit from the FBI an subsequent house eviction. Life under the Patriot Act or repeat of the assassination ball?
posted by drezdn (30 comments total)

 
"FBI and..."

More here.
posted by drezdn at 10:45 PM on September 11, 2003


So yeah...there were two flyers made. Dan made one at Kinkos and Adam made a different one at the Ikon copy shop at school...Adam's flyer has an airplane running into the number 11 and a picture of an Uzi by "High on Crime" and a Molotov Coctail. Dan's flyer says "Annihilation Time in Milwaukee" on the top of it...and...oh christ...a picture of some dude aiming a gun at some other dude.

Life under the Patriot Act?
The Patriot Act had nothing to do with this.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:02 PM on September 11, 2003


John Ashcroft was in Milwaukee not more than two weeks ago to properly explain the rights given to police officers by the Patriot Act. Police walked into my house yesterday without warning and explained to us that they were going to take a look around at the buliding codes/violations and that we did not have a choice in the matter.They didn't need a warrant because the word terrorism was used by some fuckin' dolt at a copy store.
posted by drezdn at 11:10 PM on September 11, 2003


The Patriot Act had nothing to do with this.

If due process and warrants were not abided by, then the PATRIOT Act has everything to do with it. Are you suggesting that the law-enforcement people were completely extra-legal?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:13 PM on September 11, 2003


i can't believe Kinkos keeps copies of what people copy...if they're not informing people of it and it's not posted somewhere visible, i bet they could sue.

and i'm not surprised by the fbi showing up anymore--too many stories of people being reported for reading websites in cafes and stuff i guess
posted by amberglow at 11:17 PM on September 11, 2003


Wow, what a bunch of morons in that message board thread.
posted by benh57 at 11:30 PM on September 11, 2003


If the Patriot Act had not been in place, the kid at Kinko's would have still alerted the authorities, and the police still would have stopped by to check it out.

as for the Police telling them: They didn't need a warrant because the word terrorism was used
I just find this difficult to believe. And if it was a person from City Housing Authority, they don't need a warrent.

It sounds like the house has numerous violations of city ordinances (as many in RiverWest do). One example:

Three of us HAVE to move out. The rest will now be forced to pay higher rent on house that isn't worth jackshit.
Milwaukee city ordinances says that no more than 3 unrelated people can rent a house. This is loosely enforced. (It is especially prevalent in the UWM campus area, where students double up on rooms to lower their rent) But when it is brought to the attention of the police or housing authority, they do follow through.


From what I have heard the house also had a reputation as an underground venue. So I am sure all of these things helped their landlord make his/her decision.

The Patriot Act has nothing to do with them getting evicted.

I'm sorry that they got evicted, but "Dan" & "Adam" were obviously looking for a reaction when they made those fliers. Well they got one.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:37 PM on September 11, 2003


Life under the Patriot Act?

Life under the Patriot Act.
posted by homunculus at 11:39 PM on September 11, 2003


Who cares if it's the Patriot Act or not. It's a cultured persecution of people the establishment disapproves of.

Note to others considering similar things: at least make sure your house is in order [no pun intended] before doing things the man, might diasapprove of and use to thwart your goals. [Try reading a little Sun Tzu.]
posted by Blue Stone at 2:27 AM on September 12, 2003


When they came for the punks I did not speak out because I was not a punk...
posted by i_cola at 2:33 AM on September 12, 2003


A few things, I guess I agree with Steve_at_Linwood. They were looking for a reaction and got one. However laws shouldn't be selectively enforced. If there's going to be a law that no more than three unrelated people may rent a house then it should be strictly enforced. There shouldn't be a set of laws that matter and are enforced and another set of laws that only matter when they're convenient for oppressing someone's speech. So the cops should be going out and busting every house near the UW-Milwaukee campus where more than three unrelated people live. They should do the same in the more poverty stricken sections of town as well.

They won't do this of course because it's a stupid law and they're not willing to deal with the horrible publicity that would result from this. They are willing to crack down on people who they know that nobody will defend however.

The flier was probably in poor taste, especially given the date and peoples emotions over the date. The FBI and police did the appropriate thing in investigating it. The Kinko's employee may even have done the appropriate thing in reporting it. Selective laws are bad though and if you expect respect for your position as a Police Officer than don't be a pig.
posted by substrate at 4:57 AM on September 12, 2003


I'm fairly shocked that so many mefites seem to think that this was an appropriate reaction to a punk rock flyer. I wouldn't publish it myself, but I don't see it as a cause for panic either.

9/11 is being used as an excuse for broader police powers, removal of judicial oversight, and war against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. I find it refreshing that somebody decided to use it as an excuse to party.
posted by mosch at 5:07 AM on September 12, 2003


The weirdest thing about this is the rumor about Kinkos "saving" everything that has been copied. This has got to be bogus.

I'm no scientist, but "electrostatic copying" (aka "Xeroxing") involves charging a rotating drum, picking up some toner, and sticking it to paper. One the process is done, the image is gone. Even modern machines with memories would need a hard drive and some method of cataloging/storing the individual images, which just seems silly and unlikely (why would they go to the expense?).

I call bullshit.
posted by jpburns at 5:09 AM on September 12, 2003


Holy shiat, that's my brother-in-law.

They were looking for a reaction and got one.
A lot of punk fliers are nasty. They're not usually distributed to people who aren't interested, though - why would bands waste money that they do not have? They weren't looking for a "reaction" - just a houseful of kids who like loud music.
posted by mimi at 5:51 AM on September 12, 2003


As disturbing as I find this, I agree with Steve@. These people sound like they are in violation of several building codes and laws unrelated to the Patriot Act, people who live this way may want reconsider the advisability of drawing attention to themselves. Advertising content notwithstanding, a mini battle of the bands in a residence probably would have warranted a knock on the door anyway. Cops have been busting house parties long before the Patriot Act.

As far as selective enforcement goes, I don't really see it that way. Codes enforcement and the police have limited resources to enforce ordinances like this, they take action when something is brought to their attention... the squealing guitar gets the grease.

That said, the cops are idiots. From what I understand these were clearly fliers for a show rather than an offer of employment for terrorists and it would have made sense to just show up rather than a preemptive action. I wouldn't worry though, I and countless others now know the names of a few obscure punk bands, they may have to move (something I imagine they're accustomed to) but they'll get a few minutes of moderate fame in the deal.
posted by cedar at 6:18 AM on September 12, 2003


The flier was probably in poor taste, especially given the date and peoples emotions over the date. The FBI and police did the appropriate thing in investigating it.

Is it the FBI's job to investigate poor taste?
posted by kayjay at 6:21 AM on September 12, 2003


kayjay, while I don't agree with it, since 9/11 it has been made the FBI's job to investigate poor taste. There have been other instances posted to MeFi where the FBI has stepped in over posters that may be considered in poor taste.

cedar, the squealing guitar can be silenced by noise ordinances. These housing laws don't need to be on the books. If the neighbours complain the cops come over and warn them, if they return then citations are issued. There's no need to be a pig and evict people over rarely enforced laws.

If a law isn't important enough to enforce all the time then it isn't important enough to be on the books.
posted by substrate at 7:39 AM on September 12, 2003


substrate: "These housing laws don't need to be on the books."

Yes, they do. With the exception of laws that are exclusionary by design (and hence illegal) they exist to protect the public. There are legitimate fire, sanitation and safety issues that should be enforced. The argument that people have the right to live however they please loses some of its appeal when insurance costs, infrastructure damage and the rights of others to peaceful enjoyment of their homes is considered.

The bulk of these laws exist to protect tenants from predatory landlords and require property owners to provide the bare minimum in terms of fire, electrical and plumbing protections. Building codes and similar ordinances are intended to make sure people can safely egress in the case of fire, that the building will be standing after a heavy storm or moderate earthquake and that raw sewage isn't being pumped into the back yard.

People who choose to live in an urban or semi urban environment have an obligation to be considerate of the neighbors and the community. Understandably some may balk at any legislation they see as interfering with their right to pack a dozen amplifier toting metal heads into a three bedroom bungalow in a residential neighborhood... my suggestion to them is to move to a more rural setting where the laws are not as restrictive.
posted by cedar at 10:52 AM on September 12, 2003


The weirdest thing about this is the rumor about Kinkos "saving" everything that has been copied. This has got to be bogus.

The xerox machines in my previous office (and others i've heard of) make 1 extra hard copy of everything copied, and store it inside (so if you hit 25 it really spins 26 times)...it's not indicated on the LED readout, and emptied each day i presume and looked over...we were informed about it, and assume it's to deter personal use of the machine, and/or to protect classified info from being distributed.
posted by amberglow at 11:36 AM on September 12, 2003


cedar, no those laws don't need to be on the books. There are occupancy laws which provide those protections. What difference does it make if I have 4 occupants with the same name in a house as opposed to 4 occupants with different names? There are noise laws that protect other occupants right to peaceful enjoyment. There are fire codes that restrict how many occupants can live in a dwelling. There are health codes that determine how many people can live in a domicile based on hygienic reasons. All of these laws are just. Basing a law on surnames is unjust, the only possible reason for doing so is to restrict a certain class of people. A police officer who enforces them is a pig.
posted by substrate at 12:19 PM on September 12, 2003


However laws shouldn't be selectively enforced. If there's going to be a law that no more than three unrelated people may rent a house then it should be strictly enforced. There shouldn't be a set of laws that matter and are enforced and another set of laws that only matter when they're convenient for oppressing someone's speech.

But then how would the cops be able to harrass anyone they want?

Won't anyone think of the cops?
posted by bshort at 12:25 PM on September 12, 2003


steve_at_linwood: If the Patriot Act had not been in place, the kid at Kinko's would have still alerted the authorities, and the police still would have stopped by to check it out.

That's ridiculous. If it weren't for the teapot tempest of the Patriot Act, whomever at Kinko's would have had no reason to even think twice about a punk rock flyer that a total of about 100 people were going to see, nor would the police have given it a second glance. It's the general climate of fear that this "Patriot Act" so aptly represents, as promulgated by the Bush adminstration for its own ends, that makes this sort of utter nonsense even possible.
posted by JollyWanker at 12:47 PM on September 12, 2003


I've read both those threads and am a bit confused about what all the fuss is about. These people were trying to hold a concert at their house and were attempting to disguise the fact that it was a house by giving their house a name that made it sound like a club? And they were surprised that the police had a problem with all this? The 9/11 thing is just icing on the cake, I'd say.
posted by kindall at 12:58 PM on September 12, 2003


"There are occupancy laws which provide those protections. What difference does it make if I have 4 occupants with the same name in a house as opposed to 4 occupants with different names?"

It makes all the difference in the world.

The former means that a family can live under the same roof even if they can't afford more spacious housing. That's a good thing.

The later means that a group of unrelated people (whatever number depending on local ordinance) cannot occupy a small dwelling that is unsuited to a large group. Twelve people sharing a bathroom isn't much fun for anyone, twelve cars parked in a driveway set up for three is also inconvenient, twelve people partying on a balcony designed to hold three is a recipe for bankruptcy (mine).

They are very different things. As a landlord, I would not hesitate (and, in fact frequently do) rent to a large family willing to double up on bedrooms. I also will not hesitate to rent a three bedroom to six kids coupled up, or three singles. What I will not not do is rent to indeterminate groups of people, it's my building and I don't think it's unreasonable to know who's living in it.

It's the difference between people making a home and people using my property for a crash pad. I'm allowed to make that judgement... because, you see, I own the property and pay the taxes on it.
posted by cedar at 1:10 PM on September 12, 2003


cedar, I actually agree with you that far. But when the government, local or not, puts the laws on the books that's wrong. If you as a landlord decide to only rent out to families, or refuse to rent out to familes with loud abnoxious kids, or not to groups of people who aren't relatives that's fine.

Twelve people sharing a bathroom is again covered by other laws, twelve people on a balcony is covered by other laws as well. You probably can't, or at least shouldn't be able to, rent your 2 bathroom house out to 12 people.
posted by substrate at 1:24 PM on September 12, 2003


substrate: I may be missing something, but I'm not sure what your point is.

You say that , "But when the government, local or not, puts the laws on the books that's wrong" and, "... no those laws don't need to be on the books."

But then go on to say, "Twelve people sharing a bathroom is again covered by other laws" and "There are occupancy laws which provide those protections."

So which is it, are the laws good, are they bad? Which laws? I'm confused. It seems to me that despite the heavy handed tactics that the in this case the police were within the law.
posted by cedar at 1:35 PM on September 12, 2003


That's ridiculous.

No, you are the one being ridiculous. While ultimately the fliers were harmless, it did not infringe on anyone's civil-rights for the Kinko's employee (or 'coworker' as they like to call themselves) to call the police due to some fliers with rather curious imagery and phrases. It just happened that once the MPD showed up, they found other violations. It is really no different that getting pulled over for having a break-light out, and the officer runs your plates, only to find you have a warrant out on you. If you want to call that police harassment, so be it.

Furthermore, the "general climate of fear" you speak of, was not created by George Bush & Co. It was created by 19 Islamic Extremists who murdered more than 3,000 innocents just over two years ago. You inablity to grasp this amazes me. What is "utter nonsense" is every moron and alarmist blaming the Patriot Act & John Ashcroft for them not being able to get away with stuipd shit that they would not have been able to get away with before 9/11.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:56 PM on September 12, 2003


Read, Steve, read...

I didn't say Bush and Co. had created the climate of fear. I said they had promulgated it, which is to say, they have kept it alive, to their benefit, for two long years, and continue to use it to this day to consolidate goverment's hold over individual citizens and, not coincidentally, to enrich the family and friends of said Bush and Co.

Meanwhile some of us are growing weary of having this bullshit Patriot Act waved in front of our faces as if we were somehow demonstrably safer and freer because of this abridgement of our constitutional rights. It's obvious to most of us that we are neither, since there hasn't been a single reported case of the restrictions and privacy invasions of the Patriot Act leading to the apprehension of terrorists and it's a simple fact that when you limit the populace's constitutional rights you are, by defintion, making them less free.

19 terrorists killed 3,000 people two years ago. And Bush and Co. intend to hold the rest of us hostage for... how long?
posted by JollyWanker at 3:22 PM on September 12, 2003


cedar,

read carefully, unless you're being purposely obtuse.

There are separate existing laws in most places for things such as: Adding in extra laws that discriminates on whether people have the last name or not is an abuse of the legal system. If you, as a landlord choose to enforce additional restrictions that's fine. I am a renter. My contract states that I can't have pets, I can't have keg parties on the property and a few other things including restrictions that stop me from inviting a 1/2 dozen friends to move in with me. That's fine, I signed the contract and it's legally binding. There's no need for an additional law based on surnames.

If I throw a loud party the police can come over and bust it up. There's no need to evict me beforehand just in case I have one. If I invite the local transient population over then I have violated my contract. My landlord can evict me, with the assistance of the police if necessary. There's no need for an additional law.
posted by substrate at 3:26 PM on September 12, 2003


These people were trying to hold a concert at their house and were attempting to disguise the fact that it was a house by giving their house a name that made it sound like a club?

No admission and no bar, mate. "Party," not "club."
posted by mimi at 2:56 PM on September 13, 2003


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