‘No Knock Raid’ Musician Lindy says ‘Catastrophic’ Drug War Must End

Militarized police raids have become commonplace in the US over the past 40 years of the War on Drugs, and the terrible costs to American families continue to mount.

Police raids cost lives. Often, these are the lives of mistaken suspects, innocent bystanders, family pets, and the police themselves. 70,000 to 80,000 raids take place every year in America, with no end in sight as we mark 40 years of Nixonian Drug War violence on our calendars.

A few weeks ago, Reason released an emotionally gripping music video showing the disturbing footage taken by police on some of these raids to a song performed by Toronto-based musician Lindy. “No Knock Raid” is a beautiful and powerful melody that Reason calls “a searing indictment of one of the most aggressive, ubiquitous, and mistaken tactics in the War on Drugs.”

Libertarian activist Peter Jaworski finds out what’s behind the song and video in this interview with Lindy for Cannabis Culture.

Peter Jaworski: What motivated you to sing about no-knock raids?

Lindy Vopnfjord: I stumbled upon Radley Balko’s raid map one day and I was astonished. Also impressed how much work he had done on his own trying to expose what he called an epidemic of isolated incidents. The more the stories came to life in real time I was compelled to write a song about it. It just came out one day. The loss of life under this failed policy is nothing short of catastrophic both in terms of civilian and law enforcement casualties.

PJ: So there’s a strong Reason magazine connection there. How did you end up collaborating with them on this song?

LV: Janet Neilson from the Institute for Liberal Studies sent a video recording of the song to the folks at Reason. They really liked it and decided they wanted to make a proper video to coincide with LEAP’s marking of the 40th anniversary of the modern war on drugs. It has been a big thrill to work with them.

PJ: No-knock raids are not a hot topic in Canada. Why sing about an American problem?

LV: The American-led drug war has killed tens of thousands of people outside its borders. And Canada’s government does nothing to stop it. And besides it is absolutely revolting to use this kind of force on anyone in a so-called free country.

PJ: How would you describe your political views?

LV: Libertarian

PJ: When did you realize you were a libertarian? What made you self-describe yourself that way?

LV: I was playing a gig at The Liberty Summer Seminar in Orono, Ontario and after listening to the speakers that afternoon I was pretty blown away. I had always been socially liberal and I didn’t like government all that much so it was like common sense when it was spelled out to me.

PJ: Being libertarian makes you fairly rare amongst indie musicians in Canada and, I guess, artists in general. Do you get any flak for your libertarian views? What’s it like being a libertarian in the music scene?

LV: I usually try to avoid talking about certain topics with other artists. Opinionated people don’t like having their views challenged. It can spoil a dinner party.

I find it equally surprising how conservatives ignore all the facts about prohibition and that left-liberals ignore the facts about economic liberty and free markets.

PJ: Can you be more specific about left-liberals? What significant fact or facts do they ignore when it comes to economic liberty and free markets?

LV: They forget that socialism was an utter failure. That hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty because of economic freedom and trade liberalization. Those numbers don’t lie.

PJ: If you had to rank them, what are the three most important liberty-related issues in Canada? Put differently, if you could change just three policies in Canada, which ones would you change?

LV: 1. End the drug war. 2. I’d make government monopolies on goods and services illegal and end all tariffs and barriers to trade between provinces. 3. I’d shut down extra-judicial entities like “human rights commissions” because they are actually injurious to human rights.

PJ: You’ve written a song about the Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals called “Shakedown” (in honour of Ezra Levant’s book by the same name about these extra-judicial bodies). You’ve also written a song about no-knock raids. Are you planning or thinking about writing a song about Marc Emery’s situation?

LV: I have been trying for some time to write a song for Marc. I have three potential ideas. I’m just a bit stuck on the lyrics but I’ll get there soon!

PJ: You met Marc and Jodie Emery at the Liberty Summer Seminar. What do you think of Marc’s situation?

LV: Marc and Jodie are truly amazing. It sickens me how “law and order conservatives” are eager to throw away Canadian sovereignty just to satisfy their twisted desires. I can only hope that Marc will one day receive The Order of Canada and an apology.

PJ: Can we expect more pro-liberty songs from you in the future?

LV: No question about it!

Visit Lindymusic.com or Facebook.com/LINDYMUSIC for more information.

Peter Jaworski is an Instructor and PhD candidate at Bowling Green State University. He is also a director of the Institute for Liberal Studies. He holds an MSc from the London School of Economics, and an MA from the University of Waterloo.

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  1. Anonymous on

    you make a logic point.

  2. Anonymous on

    See here: http://youtu.be/v1U1Jzdghjk

    The more economically free a country is, the better is just about everything.

  3. Anonymous on

    Some Socialism may be good but we simply can’t trust government to use the tax dollars they take from us on things that will actually help us. Take for instance the G20 money flush, and that was a “conservative” government. They will also take our money and use it to help people we don’t even care about, like Pakistanis. Since government has been shown to be incapable of spending money in a sensible way, we have to try to keep them from getting it in the first place. I agree with basic public health care, but I also think that people with high incomes, over $250,000, should be required to chip in on the their own health care expenses. Why are we funding health care for the rich? I don’t want to pay for one of the Irvings’ heart bypasses and why do I have to? When somebody creates sensible Socialism then I might sign on but I don’t beliefve there is one politician in the nation of Canada that has that much sense, certainly not the mail delaying NDP.

  4. Eleutheros on

    Morality? Seriously? So it’s moral to steal other people’s money? It’s moral to decide who can or cannot make voluntary transactions with one another? Or what those transactions consist of? It’s moral to force or coerce another person into doing what we think is best for them? By rule, a government HAS to be immoral in their means in order to achieve their desired ends. Show me a moral government and I’ll show you one with no power.

  5. Dirty Harry on

    I got to the part where it showed a dog and I could not continue. I have an idea what was coming.
    We are an animal rescue family. We take in as many strays as we are able to feed. Five dogs, four cats, ducks, pigeons, chickens…We care for them all.
    I can’t handle images of an animal suffering. I don’t even like most of the animal rescue commercials on TV because what they show is too graphic for me.

  6. Anonymous on

    Putting a strain on the US economic is what happened when banks were not regulated (regulation is socialist) well enough: they traded bogus mortgage backed ‘securities’ and brought the other economies down… those, like Canada, which did not de-regulate like the US did (starting with Reagan & then pushed to the extreme with W. Bush) have survived better.

    -tax-funded services cost, sure, but living a good life is more important than letting businesses have good business, ergo, businesses can do businesses but not at the expense of the well-being of others… that is socialism.

    Naomi Klein, Noam Chomksy & Michael Moore have some good thoughts on the issue, as well as being against the war on taboo drugs.

  7. Anonymous on

    Denmark is legendary for it’s democratic socialism… it spends on the people to a great extent (using tax funds for those of the country is called socialism) & it is consequentially one of the best nations on Earth. Socialism does not mean that free trade is not allowed, far from it: it means that business is sufficiently taxed & regulated so that well-being is raised. Denmark is on the best example of socialist success, along with Sweden, Finland & Norway.

    The reason those countries are able to hold back businesses from polluting and driving workers into poverty to such an extent is because the government steps in… capitalism is driven by capital, not ethics.

    If business has free reign, it treats people like they get treated in Hong Kong, yes indeed… sweat shops, pollution, not enough regulation (regulation of business is socialist).

  8. Anonymous on

    As Naomi Klein pointed out, Canada is surviving the free-market-caused recession better than the US is because Canada, unlike the US, kept it’s banks under strict regulation! That is socialism! Canadian people are some of the healthiest on Earth, not because of the kind of free market healthcare which send so many people into bankruptcy and to early deaths when denied coverage, but because Canada has socialist healthcare. Pure economic Libertarianism equal massive suffering, clearly… there simply is not a business incentive to keep people as well as they are kept with well-managed, democratic-socialist programs.

  9. Anonymous on

    Of course socialism strains the economy! China doesn’t spend on the people and it is the 2nd biggest economy on Earth! The goal should be well-being, not money… sheesh, it’s called morality.

  10. Anonymous on

    Seven of those 10 nations have tax-funded, socialist healthcare… in the bag. Did I mention the public roads? Boo-yah, socialism works. Oh yes, and let’s not forget the public schools… the public post office… the public military… socialism.

  11. Anonymous on

    On the surface your ideas seem sound, but when you look at the root of the matter and then apply logic and as well as pay attention to history of any large government, i think you will find that socialism puts a strain on our economy,like modern day America for example.

  12. Anonymous on

    “If socialism is ‘such a failure’ then why are the most well-off nations on Earth so heavily socialist? Why are the nations with the least regulation on business full of so much poverty and polluted resources? The link between tax-funded safety nets and well-being is well established, while the link between Libertarian free markets and exploitation of workers and resources is also well established.”

    Least regulation of business? You mean the countries that rank the highest on the Index of Economic Freedom?

    Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, Denmark, United States, Bahrain.

    I guess you’re right. When I think of poverty and polluted resources, I immediately think of Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, and Switzerland… Oh, wait…

  13. Toby on

    That brainwashed artists is confusing Soviet socialism with modern, progressive & sucessful democratic socialism of the kind we have in North America (Medicare, Medicaid, public schools, public roads, public libraries, public fire departments, Social Security etc).

    The economic freedom that guy foolishly believes in equates to the freedom to buy your own healthcare… the freedom to pay a privately owned company for the right to stop your house from burning down. The freedom for businesses to do business is important, but that freedom should be limited lest we get too economically Darwinist.

    If socialism is ‘such a failure’ then why are the most well-off nations on Earth so heavily socialist? Why are the nations with the least regulation on business full of so much poverty and polluted resources? The link between tax-funded safety nets and well-being is well established, while the link between Libertarian free markets and exploitation of workers and resources is also well established.

    Economic libertarianism is good for the super-wealthy, sure, but for the average individual, democratic socialism with civil-libertarianism is best… free markets do some good, but they have the best results when given strong, meaningful, good regulations and paired with tax-funded services to lift up the lowest among us.