Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
It is an honor to be asked to guest-blog here during the month of August (thank you Radley!), so let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Eapen Thampy; I am the founder of Americans for Forfeiture Reform (Facebook page here), a nonprofit that advocates for the reformation of America’s asset forfeiture laws to protect individual rights to property, due process, and equal protection. In other words: Private property is important, and the government shouldn’t be able to steal what belongs to you.
I founded Americans for Forfeiture Reform two years ago, when I was living in Columbia, Missouri. Some of you might remember the infamous Kinloch marijuana SWAT raid conducted by the Columbia Police Department; at the time, I lived about 3 miles away, and participated in much of the citizen activism that emerged as a response. Certainly it was a good opportunity to insert asset forfeiture into the discussion on paramilitary policing that followed. I am glad to say that we were able to at least partially succeed in moving the ball: thanks to an engaged and active citizenry, along with a responsive police chief, Columbia does not see the SWAT team deployed for ordinary search warrant service.
During this time, I had begun a project of contacting SWAT victims in Missouri and looking for the funding necessary to enact change on a wider scale. Out of this effort grew the Show-Me Cannabis Regulation
initiative effort in Missouri to end marijuana prohibition; we drafted an initiative, organized a board of directors, and began signature collection in late 2011. Unfortunately the signature collection effort would fall short of making the May 6th, 2012 deadline, but the campaign was able to identify and contact thousands of supporters and volunteers in Missouri who had never before been interested or active in politics, which I consider a significant accomplishment. I have no doubt that over the next 4-8 years, we’ll see this effort grow stronger and ultimately succeed.
Over the next month I’ll be writing mostly about asset forfeiture, which I see as the one of the most neglected and misunderstood of any major liberty or governance issue that we face in America today. I’ll also write about marijuana legalization, economics, and other liberty issues that I feel strongly about. You can contact me at Eapen@ForfeitureReform.com if you have any questions, comments, etc.