The Case Against Fort Collins – Why Fort Collins Sucks – Part 1

I know this blog is about being an expatriate and most of my readers will not quite understand why there is a blog entry about Fort Collins, the last city I was a resident in the United States on here. Well in order to understand me better, you need to know where I am coming from and I feel you would better understand my dislike of my country I have if you knew the kind of city I came from. This entry will give you a little more insight into where I am from and what propelled me into becoming an expatriate. Granted, you won’t get the full story (you need to wait for my book) but you will get some idea behind my thought process.

I lived in Fort Collins for almost 2 years of my life and in that time, I witnessed extreme police corruption and brutality. My first witness to these corrupt officers was the week I just moved up to Fort Collins. There was a riot in old town, granted I did not witness this first hand but did hear from friends and through the old grape vine that the riot originally started after an officer used excessive force on a drunk patron, go figure. The Fort Collins Police department (or as they call themselves Fort Collins Police Services, a joke of a name) has been known for only ever telling half the story and said that a crowd got out of control over a misunderstanding but I think it was the Fort Collins Police that got out of control over a little misunderstanding. Read the article about the riot here. It doesn’t say why the rioters suddenly began throwing beer bottles at officers but I think the reasoning is obvious. Perhaps the Fort Collins Police should have been charged with starting a riot? Obviously they were behind the riot in the first place.

Fort Collins Police officers, those sworn to uphold, protect and defend the constitution have little respect for the legislative authority that allows them to exist in the first place. They don’t seem to grasp We The People allow them to be, not the other way around. Therefore, you would think that they would have a little more respect for the people and the law that allows them to have a job in the first place but they don’t. In this report, an officer is shown shoving an innocent civilian that was legally filming the officer in public. I guess the man had a good reason to be filming the Fort Collins Police, as does any person in Fort Collins as their short fuses can go off at any moment. Was the officer charged with police intimidation or assault? Nope. He probably got promoted as happened in the next case.

Meet Officer Kobey Northen, who is now Detective Kobey Northen. Before Detective Northen harassed CSU students for the whereabouts of family members (seriously, this guy does this) he was a patrol officer with the Fort Collins Police. He was called to a domestic violence report where in the end, he ended up shooting a suspect he accused of drawing a gun on him after being maced. What? I asked myself the same thing. This officer maced a suspect then shot him after accusing him of drawing a weapon on him and the victim. How does one draw a weapon on an officer after just being maced? I can’t imagine someone doing this but supposedly it happened. You can read all about it here and you can decide for yourself if the story adds up or not. For me, it just doesn’t add up and I think the officer was promoted just to get him off the street so he doesn’t end up shooting someone again. Excessive force anyone?

Some people may chalk these up to isolated incidents, I don’t as I know these aren’t isolated incidents, these are only the ones the press will report on (another problem with our country, the selected reporting of important news). Consider this, is it an isolated incident when the Fort Collins and Larimer governments makes it policy to arrest people for not breaking the law? Nope.

In November 2012, Colorado voters passed a constitutional amendment for the legalisation of small amounts of marijuana. The vote has yet to be certified by the governor so technically it is still illegal but most police departments and district attorneys in the state of Colorado have recognised the will of the people and decided to stop the prosecution of these victimless crimes. Not in Fort Collins where the Fort Collins Police, Larimer County Police and Larimer County District Attorney continue to go after petty offences that soon won’t even be a petty offence! I think Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said it best that he doesn’t listen to the constitution, only statutes that gives a prime example of why the entire government of Fort Collins and Larimer County should be dissolved.

Good news for those who got citations, if you continue your case until the governor certifies the vote, your case most likely will be dropped as the prosecution won’t have a leg to stand on. Knowing Larry Abrahamson (whom is term limited and being replaced in January with his mini-me) he will try and strong arm you into taking a plea deal. Decline any deal he gives you and demand a jury trial. The jury will most likely find you not guilty and you will have cost the backwards county a small fortune in trying to prosecute you for something that is legal now. It’s unlikely it will even get that far as I know some where Larry Abrahamson has a few brain cells left (he’s almost consistently drunk from what I heard) and he will dismiss the case right before it goes to jury.

Actual photo of District Attorney Larry Abrahamson without his human mask on.

Actual photo of District Attorney Larry Abrahamson without his human mask on

Finally, there is the case of Tim Masters, the man who was wrongfully set up by a Fort Collins Detective by the name of James Broderick for the murder of Peggy Hettrick in 1987. If this case in itself doesn’t describe the state of Fort Collins, I don’t know what will. The way poor Tim Masters was treated all the way to the bitter end sickens me. Larry Abrahamson wanted to try and charge this poor guy again even after it became blatantly obvious he was innocent until the Colorado Attorney General stepped in an said Masters was exonerated. The worst part is that this corrupt detective James Broderick not only continues to get a paycheck from the city for over $100,000 a year but they are footing a lot of his legal bills! What is wrong with this city? In case you were wondering, the average officer in Fort Collins makes at least $72,137 a year to rid you of your constitutional rights and most are just as corrupt as James Broderick such as officers Jarad Sargent, Nick Rogers, Adam Braun, Timothy Moeller, Randall Klamser, Rex Steele and Wendy Slaughter, just to name a few after a quick Google search as quite honestly, the whole department should be listed.

These aren’t the only examples of the corruption in this city but just the tip of the iceberg. Many accounts of police corruption go unnoticed by the public and our media will even turn a blind eye to it in many cases. This is one of the major reasons I have had it with America, it has become a police state where the average citizen cannot and will not be treated properly by the very people we entrust power to. It’s time We The People woke up and said enough is enough. Vote out of office these corrupt officials, sheriffs that have no regard for the constitution, mayors and city managers that allow police departments unlimited budgets, judges that aren’t impartial, and district attorneys that have their heads too far up their own asses to see what’s really going on.

I want to come home but refuse to until we as a nation clean up our act and get rid of the corrupt government officials. This is my political statement but I cannot do it alone. Before you vote for anyone, ask yourself, do you believe in a better candidate or are you voting for a lesser of two evils? Because if you are simply voting for the lesser of two evils, you too are what’s wrong with America.

The police aren’t the only problem, the courts are too! In my next article, I will discuss how the courts are in bed with the police department and district attorney office and why you will never find a fair judge in this town. This article is part 1 of a 2 part series on Why Fort Collins Sucks.

Creating Privacy in a Dorm Room – The Bunk Fort

Creating privacy in a dorm room is very difficult to achieve, especially since someone is always around. If you’re like me, your room back home was your sanctuary where you could go to get away from it all, to have some peace and privacy. This doesn’t happen in hostels, especially in the dorms. Noise and lights at all hours of the day and night are part of life and can be very irritating at times. There are ways to mitigate these problems though, to find some bit of privacy where you can get away from it all and just be by yourself.

The most important thing about staying in a dorm is moving to the bottom bunk as soon as possible. The top bunks are absolutely the worst places to be sleeping. Top bunks have absolutely no privacy and are notoriously loud and shake the most. If you check in,  realise that you are most likely going to be stuck in a dorm room on the top bunk unless you are really lucky. Usually after a few days, you can move to a bottom one but you need to be quick. Try and wake up somewhat early so you can relocate your belongings the second someone checks out. Bottom bunks are premium space in dorm rooms so it is critical you are faster than your room mates at moving. Early bird catches the bird! The longest I ever spent on the top bunk was a straight 19 days, it was hell.

Bunk Fort Bed - Second to None for Privacy

Bunk Fort Bed – Second to None for Privacy

Once you have the bottom bunk, privacy is much more easily achieved as you can make a bunk fort using blankets, jumpers (hoodies), towels and just plain clothes. My recommendation is you buy a cheep blanket somewhere as this is the best way to cover a large area efficiently. My bunk fort is made up of a wall on two sides, a towel and blanket on one long side and a towel and a jumper on the final side. Obviously the best bunk is the corner one so you don’t need as many items to cover the sides.I can sleep at any time day or night because I can make it dark enough that light coming in through the windows or from the room lights don’t bother me. I might not be alone in the room but I am in my subroom!

Noise obviously is a problem in a dorm room as people have different schedules and different amount of respect for their fellow room mates. I have discovered I can fall asleep with headphones playing in my ears and I won’t hear anything at all. If you play music from your phone, you can wake up to your alarm without a problem as it too plays through the earphones.

Eventually you will get to the point that no matter how much light is coming in or noise, you will be able to fall asleep but it can take a while to get used to. I highly recommend making a bunk fort for your sanity and the ability to sleep at any time you please, not just when everyone else decides it’s time for lights out. You might be sharing a room with 7 other people (sometimes more) but remember, privacy can be achieved.

Some things to note, your bunk fort will fall apart from time to time. This is usually do to the person above you moving or changing sheets as they undo your stuff in the process. They are usually rude about it too and will not fix it for you, bastards. The best way to avoid this is to use some zip ties or duct tape (see my article on why duct tape is so important) to capture the materials through the cracks so that they are still supported by something when the bed above you is moved around. Gravity sucks but you can over take it if needed. If you are only going to be in your bunk fort for a short period of time, using zip ties or duct tape isn’t worth it, just deal with the pain of redoing your fort every now and again. Anything over two weeks though, it is worth securing the sides of your bunk fort.

Book a Ticket and Just Leave

Book a ticket and just leave. Seems simple right? I mean after all, we have all thought about it at some point, just getting on a plane, bus or train and leaving everything behind and starting anew. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that, at least for most people. We have jobs, mortgages, bills, pets, family and friends. It’s hard to leave all that behind in the blink of an eye, trust me I know, I had to do just that back in May.

Book a Ticket and Just Leave

Book a Ticket and Just Leave

I never saw myself as an expatriate or someone who could live out of a backpack with just the bare minimum. I always was materialistic and thought traveling was something only the rich could afford so I surrounded myself with inanimate objects to acheive happiness. Ironically, if I had never purchased all those pointless things, I could have seen the world 3 times over by now. It turns out, even those with little means can see the world, regardless of the amount of possessions you have. In this post, I hope to introduce you to the idea of leaving it all behind and the basics of what you need to do to be successful at getting out.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to leave are, whether you’ve had it with your government, are escaping a maniac (or maniacs), can’t find a job, or just want to experience something new, you can do it. The most important thing you need to remember is you cannot second guess yourself. If you want to get out, get out and do not return until you are ready to go back.

Set realistic goals. Where do you want to go? What do you want to see? How will you make money? How long do you want to travel? You need to ask yourself these questions before you even begin to pack. Leaving your country for an extended period of time is something that should not be taken lightly because if you start your trip only to change your mind, you will end up losing a lot of money. Just like a regular short vacation, you need to always have a plan. You don’t necessarily need a concrete plan but at least a general idea of what you plan on doing.

Research the countries you plan on visiting and learn everything you can about them. If you’re an American, realise that if you don’t plan on doing a working holiday, and there are few countries where we can do them, you will be working illegally. If possible, get a working holiday visa, if you have a unique skill or degree, you can get a work permit in most countries as well.

Once you have a general plan, you need to get rid of your stuff. If you plan on being away for a while, more than 2 years, it’s usually just best to sell everything. If you plan on returning, either lease your house out or have someone watch your possessions/rent storage space. If you are like me and don’t plan on coming back to your home country any time soon, you will need to sell everything. Keep only the bare essentials which are pretty much clothes and a few lightweight electronics for keeping in touch. You won’t be dragging your 52″ TV with you so sell it. By time you get back, it will be outdated any ways and will have to buy a new one, best to get money for it while you still can.

When I was given deportation orders and returned to the states, it took me about 2 months to sell most of my stuff. If you are really determined, you can get rid of it sooner. Obviously I left originally in such a rush, I wasn’t even concerned with my possessions, just my rabbits, family and friends. If you have no real possessions then you can leave quicker than most.

That brings us to the hardest part about becoming an expatriate, family and friends. Fortunately, Skype makes being on the other side of the world feel like you are just up the street. Communicating with those back home is important and you should do it often. These are the people that truly care about you and always will so you need to realise that although you are leaving your country, you are not leaving your family. If you are determined to never return, they can also visit you which is good for them because chances are, especially being American, they haven’t left their country as much as other nationalities.

Finally, once you have your plan, got rid of your possessions, it’s time to book your flight and get out of dodge. You will get home sick and have the urge to return home but I promise you, you will get over it. Talk to fellow travellers, make friends, being abroad is an experience and about getting outside your comfort zone. Some people I have met have been outside their country for 4 or more years. I may be a total newbie when it comes to this but I do know what I am talking about. Homesickness will fade, just keep in contact with your loved ones via Skype and you’ll be fine.

Obviously it’s harder than it sounds, to just book a ticket and leave but it is possible. Follow my numerous articles and you will be on the right path to becoming an expatriate in no time. Although you can start in 12 hours from now, I do not encourage it in the least bit as you don’t have time to get a lot done or even say good bye. If you want out, give yourself at least two months to sell your possessions, say good bye and save up some cash. Leaving the United States was one of the hardest things I have ever done but I am glad I did. Life is an adventure and you only live once so make the most out of it.