On the doffing of hats…

This is a guest post by Mike Ruff.

I know that folks have come to believe that the removal of hats in a courtroom is merely a gesture of respect.  And chances are, that’s all most folks mean when they do it.  This is, however, not the origin of the practice, nor the reason it is practiced and enforced in courts today.

 The origin is as an act of submission.  The act of removing one’s hat is an attempt to make ones self seem smaller than the person to whom one is rendering the gesture.  There are a number of other gestures based on the same intent, e.g. bowing.  The military salute is derived from the act of touching the cap, which was itself derived from the act of tipping the cap, which was derived from removal of the hat to demonstrate submission.

 These gestures of submission were often seen in societies in which there were strong and well-defined class divisions.  Although the more dramatic of these gestures has largely disappeared from these societies, an astute observer can still see the signs of these divisions today—in the tone of voice, forms of address, and more subtle body language.

 Despite America having been (supposedly) established as a “classless” society, and despite the US Constitution forbidding titles of nobility (Article 1, section 9), the government has, especially in court, granted the form without the name.  Judges require that, in addition to the powers granted them by the government, the general populace must grant them the gestures of submission formerly rendered to Feudal Lords; i.e. standing when they enter the room, removal of hats, addressing them as “Your Honor,” etc.  They wear robes which owe their origin to the robes worn by Feudal Lords, and sit in a raised position and have barriers to prevent the “regular folks” from approaching beyond the accepted distance.  And, should a member of the general populace refuse to grant them these gestures of submission, the judge will order his enforcers to clap the individual in irons and imprison them for “Contempt of Court” (the latter day term for “lese majeste”).

 Does anyone really believe that this farce is necessary to maintain order and decorum in a courtroom?  Does anyone really believe that this sort of thing furthers the cause of Truth and Justice?  Does anyone truly believe that this sort of thing is proper in a society that is supposed to be based on Equality Before the Law?

 Personally, I have always found people who demand these gestures of submission, and depend on them to prop up their authority, to be sad little people who do little to deserve respect, let alone submission.   Salutes in the military are generally reserved for officers who are “REMFs” (Rear-Echelon Mother…).  Real officers, those who’ve led men in combat, know that a salute is really a “sniper check”—that is, lets a distant sniper know who the officer is, which makes it more likely he’ll be killed.  REAL officers earn the respect of their men, and gain not submission, but recognition of authority and skill. 

 I’ve been a mediator for over 8 years.  I have engaged in the resolution of more disputes than I can remember.  And never have I had to resort to any such cheap tricks or tactics to shore up my authority or keep order.  In fact, such tricks would prove counter-productive to the process, and would serve only to undermine my position.  And I would put my record up against that of any judge, to compare the level of satisfaction, truth, and justice achieved by our actions. 

 Now I’ve been in court a number of times over the years.  And I have rendered the same respect I do anyone.  And I know to many, the removal of a hat in court seems like a petty issue to start a fight over.  Many folks will say: “Hey, it’s just a hat!  Just take the damned thing off and get through the proceedings as easily as possible!” 

 But it’s not just a hat.  It’s a principle.  Or rather, it is the visible sign of a principle:  On the one hand, the individual says “I am an individual, free and equal before the law.”  On the other, the judge says (by his actions): “You are below me, and will submit to me.  Submission is more important than the Law, Truth, or Justice.  There is no Equality—you are subservient to me, and you will demonstrate to all that you know your place, or you will be forced into captivity until such time as you submit, or until I demonstrate my “mercy” and allow you your freedom.”

 I know it seems a silly hill to choose upon which to die, but this has become a religious belief to me.  I am the moral equal of any man, and I will not submit arbitrarily to anyone.  And no government has the authority to change that.  They may well have the ability to enforce their will on me—through the use of superior numbers and armed force; but never will they have the moral authority to do so.

The purpose of this event is to rain loving information and truth down on media outlets relevant to the attacks on Pete and Adam. Together we are strong. We have each other’s backs.


(1) Disseminate the Pete Eyre press release.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Failure-to-Doff-Hat-Lands-Man-prnews-3613493008.html (like, tweet, comment, share)

http://georgedonnelly.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/pete-eyre.pdf (pdf file)

http://georgedonnelly.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/pete-eyre.txt (text file)

(2) Pls flood New Hampshire and Vermont area media outlets with requests to highlight the story. Here is a partial list of outlets to target, but please get creative and share your info below.

WTKK Michael Graham Show (Boston)
thomas shattuck

Union Leader
Michael Cousineau

Katie Hileman
Executive Producer
Fred Lefebvre and the Morning News
Brian Wilson and the Afternoon Drive
1370 WSPD

Tracey Eyers
WPIX CW11 News
220 E. 42ND  Street
New York, NY 10017
Tom Langford
New England Cable News
Phone: 617-630-5025
Email: tlangford@necn.com
Twitter: @Tom_Langford

Fox 25 News

Mike Pintek

CBS News

Bob K.
BOB K Sound and Recording
PHONE: 650-654-3969
CELL:     650-773-2364
FAX:       877-541-5250
EMAIL:   bobk@dougstephan.com
Website:  www.dougstephan.com
Jason Robinson
Fox News Channel

Selene Spencer
Executive Producer: Badlands Radio
Studio Line: 254-598-5007
Cell: 325-998-6627

James Lane

Assignment Desk 617-725-0775
Ch7 Boston NBC affiliate

(3)) Contact your local media outlets and ask them to run the story. Most if not all have already gotten the nationally-distributed press release (above) and just need a nudge to focus their attention.


Pete was attacked because he didn’t show due deference to the court, a bankrupt monarchic institution. When a gesture of respect is made mandatory, it becomes an act of submission. I believe all men and women are created equal. No one may be forced to submit to another.

Adam spoke the truth. He couldn’t bear to witness the miscarriage of justice that was Pete’s arraignment. The decision to release Pete was in the hands of his captors. To argue otherwise is to pretend his captors act with legitimate authority, a sad unsubstantiated joke.

These men deserve our support.

"Here are various addresses and other contact information for everyone to use in helping get Ademo out of the cage he is currently being held in for 60 DAYS!! *all this information was gathered from internet searches, and is posted here for using in peaceful purposes*"

FREE ADEMO FREEMAN *addresses & contact info*

"AdemoAccording to my conversation with him today, Ademo has eaten and has cooperated to the point where he has been allowed into population in the Cheshire county jail. Now he will be able to reach other prisoners with the message of liberty over the next two months of his incarceration and also will be able to make phone calls and receive visitors. Details on visitation are here. If you aren’t in the area, be sure to send him mail via mail-to-jail!"

Ademo V. Freeman Now in General Population - Free Keene

by Johnson Rice

by Johnson Rice

"Call the Cheshire county commissioners. They’re the big whigs. They need to hear about this. Phone numbers can be found here. Please be civil but firm."

11 Ways to Help Pete Eyre and Adam Mueller NOW | Arm your Mind for Liberty

"Let’s show the police, jail guards, townspeople, and the media that it is NOT ok to jail people per the whim of a judge! Wearing a hat and excersizing one’s right for freedome of speech are not crimes! NO VICTIM, NO CRIME! Immediately following the PEACEFUL protest will be a candlelight vigil for our brave, caged friends."

Protest/Candlelight Vigil For Pete and Ademo (1)