Upon reading the opening paragraph in an article on the arrest of Nathaniel Kibby in Gorham New Hampshire, I had a gut feeling that the story was about the latest right wing nut job who has finally taken his radical views of societal norms beyond acceptable bounds. Here is that paragraph:
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The man charged with kidnapping a teenager nine months ago is very bright, has strong opinions and thrives on conflict, according to a police officer who had two decades of contact with him.
Just a little research confirmed my initial take on Kibby’s political views and related legal problems. Kibby has a long history of various criminal offenses, like being charged with providing false information to obtain an “Ak 47 type weapon” according to the police report.
Following a recent indictment for assault and trespassing the court ruled that Kibby should not have access to firearms as a condition for bail:
Kibby later protested the bail conditions in a court filing, saying his firearms were “of immense equitable value” and that he was not a threat because he lived by an “objectivist libertarian moral code.”
Where are the NRA lawyers when you need them?
Objectivist moral code? That is straight out of the Ayn Rand playbook. Kibby’s “objectivist libertarian moral code” which does not represent a threat to society evidently does not include an objection to kidnapping 14 year old girls and holding them captive for over 9 months.
On Oct. 9, 2013, 14 year old Abigail Hernandez disappeared while walking home from school. She returned home on July 20, 2014. Investigators are not giving many details about the circumstances of Hernandez’ disappearance or her captivity. But we do know the person who is under arrest for kidnapping Hernandez… the objectivist libertarian moral code upholder, Nathaniel Kibby.
Hernandez recently visited the offices of the Conway Daily Sun and thanked the staff for their support during her captivity. The paper ran a box every day listing the number of days Hernandez was missing. She saw the updates on occasion and it gave her hope that she had not been forgotten.
It is particularly ironic that Kibby’s protest of the bail arrangement that he not be allowed access to firearms, in which he stated that he was not a threat to society because of his objective libertarian morality, was filed even as he was holding Hernandez in captivity. Any Randian libertarian worth a bucket of spit should recognize that Kibby was just doing what he wanted to, which is the objectively correct thing to do. If the Hernandez family did not want their daughter to be kidnapped they should have hired armed guards to escort her to and from school.
Acquaintances describe Kibby (aka crazy Nate in the neighborhood he lived in) as a loner who complained about the government and owned guns. A former classmate says that Kibby bullied him for years and it took decades to recover from the “torture”.
One example of Kibby’s libertarian point of view was on full display when he was ticketed for running a red light. Chris Perley, the officer who wrote the ticket observed:
“He thought he should be entitled to (run the light) because he went to work at such early hours,” Perley said.
“He was smart, but he was also brutally myopic in whatever view he had,” Perley said. “You could not shake him or redirect him in the way he saw the world.”
All of this led me to wonder if Kibby was so rabidly antigovernment when a Republican was president. That is very hard to research, but there is this gem that does provide some vital clues: A letter to the editor of the Conway Daily Sun written by Nathaniel Kibby on Oct. 6, 2004.
To the editor:In response to Mr. Epstein’s Sept. 22 column, I feel Mr. Epstein made a grotesque assessment in his reference to the lady arrested at First Lady Laura Bush’s speech in New Jersey. The lady in question was not arrested for wearing an anti-Bush T-shirt at a Bush rally, as Mr. Epstein falsely asserts; she was arrested for disorderly conduct (a misdemeanor) for her outrageous behavior at that rally.Mr. Epstein is also wrong in his reference to the president forcing people to sign an oath of loyalty at his rallies to support him. Individuals like myself choose to sign messages of support and wish many blessings on our commander-in-chief. If Mr. Epstein is looking for an impending “Big Brother,” look no further than John Kerry and John Edwards. Mr. Epstein has freedom of speech under the First Amendment, but that right comes with inclusive responsibilities, such as telling the truth. But then, Mr. Epstein is the authority on editorial ethics.
We could relitigate the 2004 election with the loyalty oaths and so on, but what is the point of that? No amount of proof would ever serve to dissuade Kibby or those who agree with him from that opinion. The part of that letter that relates to antigovernment feelings is how Kibby was happy to sign messages supporting the administration of George W. Bush, and expressly describes a potential Kerry/Edwards administration as an impending “Big Brother”.
Again, there is no point in litigating the history of the Bush administration or the 2004 campaign, but this is ample proof, from my perspective, that Kibby’s opinion on the evils, or the goodness of big government is entirely dependent on the party affiliation of the president.
Finally, I wonder if we may see a novel defense in the Kibby kidnapping case. I have absolutely no evidence that the following scenario is being contemplated by the defense, and it is a bit of fanciful speculation, but considering the case this may well be the best defense that can be offered (short of a plea to get a shorter sentence).
Imagine the defense pleading incapcity, due to ideological indoctrination. The previous encounters with law enforcement show Kibby was not able to be swayed in his point of view, even on such basic matters as the legality of running a red light. He filed a brief with the court citing his objective libertarian moral point of view as proof that he would not endanger society as a reason he should be allowed access to firearms, even as he held Hernandez captive.
Kibby has demonstrated a long and ongoing history of disregard for legal standards and seems to hold that outlook from a steadfast libertarian political outlook, which outlook could not be shaken by normal means. Maybe the defense can introduce some choice selections of the teaching of Ayn Rand like: “My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.”
This defense would be novel, but they would argue that Kibby does not need to go to jail. He needs to be reformed. They would say Kibby should be institutionalized but not in a prison… but in a place that can treat him for his ingrained Randian point of view that he has let manifest in his life to the obvious detriment of society.
Just to be clear, I do not endorse such a defense, but shy of copping to a lesser charge for a shorter sentence, if Kibby wants to take this to the jury, what better defense could there possibly be?