Always Vigilant

It Could Happen to Us
“Semper vigilans”  (always vigilant) … that’s what a freedom-loving country like ours requires from each one of us in order to stay free. Recently, the Mountain Farmgirl discovered a local human rights story that has made national news. Bone-chilling in its implications, one wonders how something like this could happen in America … but if it happened to a farmer in the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire, it could potentially happen to anyone, anywhere. Join Mountain Farmgirl Cathi Belcher, as she brings to light what she considers one of the most important stories of the day, and asks Farmgirls everywhere to be active champions of freedom and to never  get so comfortable with our ‘birthright’ that we  ‘just take it for granted’ …

A few weeks ago there was an article in my local newspaper about a seventh generation farmer named Ward Bird. He hails from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, less than an hour from the mountains that I call ‘home’. While I’ve never met him personally, I read about Ward’s unusual plight with my jaw hanging wide open, incredulous that I could be reading the whole story, and sure that there must be some facts and truths about the situation that the reporter undoubtedly left out. I have since dug deeply into the case, becoming obsessed about it in fact, and I’ve been researching his story with the intensity of writing a college thesis!  I’ve read countless newspaper articles, personal testimonies, watched dozens of news clips and videos, as well as studied well over 100 pages of verbatim court orders, motions, instructions to the jury and legal opinions. And now I (along with a growing number of concerned citizens nation-wide), am wondering, “How can this happen in a free country, where one is supposedly innocent until proven guilty?’ I am left with the nagging thought that ‘if it happened to him, it could just as surely happen to a farmgirl like you or me’ …

Some Background
Ward Bird is a farmer by profession, a family man by choice, and has been married to the same woman for 26 years. He is active in his church and community, a hard-working man who supports local charities, a wonderful father of four who has been a Boy Scout leader for 11 years, and by all accounts is a responsible citizen. In fact, 21 years ago he was cited as a local hero, jumping into icy waters to save a woman after he saw her car spin out of control and submerge into a swamp in the middle of winter. Unable to open her car door, accounts cite that he bent the frame of her Jeep and held the woman’s  head above the water to keep her from drowning until rescuers arrived.

Ward lives on a farm, the seventh generation of farmers to till the earth on his family homestead. And what a homestead it is!  As an independent kind of guy who likes his privacy, he built his beautiful, self-sufficient, off-the-grid timber home, complete with solar panels and windmills at the end of a long drive where he and his family have carved out a beautiful life for themselves. That is, until it all came crashing down on them back in November. Ward has been in jail since then, serving a 3-6 year sentence for doing no more than asking a mentally unstable trespasser to leave his property. Sound amazing? Think something like this can’t happen to you? Well think again! The facts of this case, most of which were NOT allowed in the court proceedings, should chill anyone who cherishes freedom and human rights, and thinks they have the right to be secure on their own private property.

The Story
Back in 2006, Ward Bird had recently returned home from the hospital after having significant abdominal aorta surgery which required many stitches and complete rest. He was in pain. A phone call from his niece who lived down the road, warned him of a strange woman (Christine Harris) who had just come to her door, inquiring about the location of a particular piece of property that was listed for sale near Ward’s farm. The niece had told the woman exactly where this property was located, warning her not to go down Ward’s private lane, which was posted with numerous No Tresspassing and Keep Out signs. ‘If you get to a certain landmark’ she had said, ‘you have gone too far; turn around and do not go down the lane.’ But something about the woman made her intuitively feel that something ‘was not right’ and prompted the phone call to her uncle, warning him to keep an eye out for a ‘strange’ woman. Sure enough, a short while later the woman was not only on his property, but she was actively peeking into the windows of his house! Angry, Ward emerged from inside, limping from surgery, and asked the woman to leave. Something about her made him very uncomfortable, especially after she ignored his requests and persisted in asking him questions about the property she was looking for.  He repeatedly asked her to get into her car and leave his property. Belligerent and unyielding, she chose not to comply. Ward lost his patience and told her that if she did not leave immediately he was going in the house to call the police. I would have done the same thing, even without the discomfort of surgery.

Ward, however, was wearing a gun in a holster when he stepped out on his porch that day, where in NH it is perfectly legal to do so … especially on your own property. (In our state, we believe strongly in the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, the right to bear arms. I myself am licensed and own several guns, although with the exception of target practice and woodchuck hunting, I have never used them. I plan to keep it that way, but if anyone ever breaks into my home and threatens me or any of my family with physical harm, I wouldn’t hesitate … and for the record, I am a good shot!).

Anyway, as Ward went to enter his house that day to call the police, he unloaded the ammunition from his gun, being in the habit of always following the safe gun practice of never bringing a loaded gun into your home. Christine witnessed this, and the upshot to Ward’s situation was that Miss Harris immediately called the police on her own cell phone, telling them that he had ‘jumped off his porch, chasing her back and forth and threatening her with a loaded gun’ … something he says absolutely never happened (nor could it have, given his physical condition and his stage of recuperation at the time).
The incident became a “he said, she said” case. Ward maintained his innocence, never wavering from his account, and it became one person’s word against another’s.  Since HE knew he hadn’t done anything wrong, and  because he believes that our judicial system is ‘the best there is’, Ward’s mistake (and also his attorney’s) was not to take the allegation seriously enough, false though it was. He chose not dignify the ludicrous accusation with a response by testifying  in court… knowing that the burden of proof lay with his accuser, and that since it never happened to begin with, she couldn’t prove that it did.  This turned out to be a big mistake: a flawed legal process, an unclear NH law regarding the definition of ‘criminal threatening’ and a punishment out of proportion to the allegation all contributed to landing a good man behind bars for 3-6 years! Ward Bird was offered a plea deal for reckless conduct, which carried no jail time, but he rejected it because he did nothing wrong. As a man of principle, he could not in good conscience plead guilty to something that he didn’t do to begin with, even if it made his immediate life more bearable.

By the time I was made aware of this story through an article in my local paper, the trial had alreadycome and gone. Hopes for clearing Ward Bird's good name had been dashed. To help combat everyone's utter disbelief in the imperfections of our justice system, outraged friends, family and whole communities of supporters had already started an organization called The purpose was to educate citizens of his plight and to galvanize support and public outcry against the gross miscarriage of justice.  And in it came … from all over the United States! Interestingly, what also came into the light was background information on Ward’s accuser, Christine Harris. A notorious animal abuser and hoarder with over 60 convictions in at least 3 states, she was facing still more felony counts in court at the time. Yet neither this nor the facts of her mental disorder(s) were allowed into court proceedings. Listening to Ward’s story on a recent Public Radio piece, Christine Harris’ former landlord Peter Curro, was made aware of the case for the very first time just a week ago. The letter he then posted on the website has finally led to at least partial justice being served in the case:

“… I wish I heard about this case earlier. They have the WRONG person in Jail. I rented a house to the same Christine Harris! She never paid rent, and when I took her to court, she made similar claims that I threatened her life over the phone, but she couldn’t come up with any phone records. Then she worked the court system for FIVE months! When the judge finally made a decision for her to leave, she filed a motion with the State Supreme court for intent to appeal, which was rejected.
My entire home was DESTROYED from Rottweilers she was breeding. The floors, walls were covered in animal feces and urine, and the bathtub had blood stains all over it from a dog that died there giving birth to a litter! I never recovered the damages to the property, nor the back rent. To make matters worse, I later see her name Christine Harris, a woman… “previously convicted and sentenced to six months in prison on animal cruelty charges in Salem District Court”!  CHRISTINE HARRIS should be in Jail!”

Free as a Bird … (well, not quite)

Yesterday, due to mounting pressure from supporters, and factual letters like the one above, the Governor and his Executive Council met in a special session to discuss Ward’s unjust imprisonment. While the Council voted unanimously for a full pardon, the Governor unfortunately chose not to grant one. Nevertheless, Ward was released from prison, no small victory for the truth!  However, all the stigmas attached to the unjust felony charge will continue to follow him wherever he goes. Without a pardon, as long as Ward lives he will never be able to own a gun, preventing him from hunting on his land as well as protecting himself or his family. His employment opportunities will be severely limited. He has lost the right to vote until that right can be restored. He won’t be able to work with the Boy Scouts or be  involved with the other organizations he has been so dedicated to serving over the years.

What Can we Learn From This?
Farmgirls, I thought long and hard about whether or not to write about this story, which practically took place in my own backyard. I had planned to run a piece I wrote about the art of hand-written letters!  But I felt that this local incident is important because it has much wider ramifications. The freedoms we cherish aren’t abolished overnight, they dissolve one drop at a time, almost imperceptibly, until one day you wake up and find you are drowning in an entire sea of oppression. History bears this out. What I think we can take from Ward Bird’s plight (and many other similar stories around the country), is:

1. We can never take our freedoms for granted. Freedom is hard-fought and won by the sweat of our brows.
2. “Right” and “Common Sense” do not always prevail. While we may very well have the best system of justice around, it isn’t flawless, and those imperfections can have dire consequences for innocent people.
3. We Must Know the Law. Laws can’t be written to cover every possible situation, but to the greatest extent possible they should be unambiguous and widely understood. My state’s criminal threatening laws (something I had never even thought about before!) are neither. Do we really know what our laws are, let alone what our rights are under them? We must be proactive; we must educate ourselves!

This is a famous old poem, and is an apt warning to the dangers of political apathy and inaction when someone other than yourself is being persecuted …
First they came for the Communists,
- but I was not a communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists,
- but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews,
- but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Catholics,
- but I was not a Catholic, so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
— Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead

Farmgirls, Thanks so much for listening! I promise something much more light-hearted next time, but  until then, have a wonderful couple of weeks, and keep the freedom fires burning!

Mountain Bounty, Mountain Blessings, and much love from
The Mountain Farmgirl


By: Debbie
On: 02/06/2011 06:55:18
Dear Cathi,
I'm glad you wrote this post instead of the sun-shiney one you had planned. It takes courage to " go there " in your writing. I have a hard time taking off my rose colored glasses sometimes so this is an inspiration to me as a writer and as a freedom loving American. I love the old poem you shared as well. This has made me want to dig deeper into the food bill that has folks hording seeds and stocking their pantries. I would LOVE to hear what Mary Jane thinks! She might be the voice of reason for us worried farmgirls!
Good job Cathi!
Beach Blessing from America's home town,
By: Fran DeWitte
On: 02/06/2011 13:44:25
Cathi Belcher's article is a frightening example of the tone being set in our country. By our foundling fathers' standards we have already become a socialist country. People with no 'right' or 'common sense' seem to be intent on being in control for the good of the common man. Having grown up as a country or farm girl I resent being subjugated into a mindless villager that only the few will control. Independence & liberty are for all people equally, farmgirls are living proof of that & we need to express it whenever we can.
On: 02/06/2011 17:42:27
The exact thing happened to me in Erie Co.Ohio..Only I had a good attorney.Deputy Klepper,the arresting officer,has since appeared in the Lorain Journal 3 times for misconduct.One of which involved an underage female at a bar.He is married by the way.I was on the board of directors of the YMCA,active in church mission trips and was 69 years old.The so called officer punched me in the chest as my arms were folded.Reason,provoke me into some other false charge.America the home of the free??If you get out there and look,you will find thousands of similar cases and thousands of inocents in prisons..Leon Buell
By: Brigitte Farmgirl with a heart
On: 02/06/2011 18:19:34
When I finished reading your extraordinary article, I had my heart on fire...and couldn't wait to read what other women think of it! So you can imagine ma deception, when I saw nothing! Deceived, sad and a little mad...I'm from Québec, Canada, but even here such injustice make me want to SHOUT!!! YOU are RIGHT! We all must prepare ourself for such battles...Start having supporting groups filled with all kind of peoples...Peoples from each slice of the society...Peoples with wathever knowledge that can help each of us learn more how to defend ourself from injustice...I really love this old poem...but, sincerely, is not that old...cause our laws are older...all toghether, we should start trying to read them back and try to update them in our modern reallities. Please, dont make excuses for that article; Maybe it wasn't "light-hearted", but sometimes, someone must take the courage to wrote about the "real things!"...And for that I thank you very much... Brigitte (Feel free to do it again, and again, and again...)
By: becca
On: 02/07/2011 17:45:39
Hi there, just wanted to say thanks for this article. What a travesty! I really appreciate you bringing this to light and I'll be sharing as well. I also wanted to thank you for quoting the poem. I read it years ago in school and it has remained with me all this time--guiding my voting and stances on many issues. I never knew who wrote it nor could I quote it exactly but it made a deep, deep impression on me. Thank you so much for it.
By: Louise Fredieu
On: 02/07/2011 18:08:23
"Our freedoms dissolve one drop at a time." A truth that needs to be heard right NOW! We need to all stop and pay attention. Keeping our mouths shut is the norm now, even when something is happening right in front of us. I am so pleased that you were able to speak up on this typically light-hearted blog. We all need to know that it is not so much about the pleasures that we desire that will make us happy. No, it's more about integrity and standing up for what is right. That is about true inner peace and tranquility. That and a relationship with God. May God bless Mr Bird and his family. From what you told me about him, i think He already has. Mr Bird sounds like someone that i would not mind sitting and having a cuppa with.
By: Denise
On: 02/07/2011 18:09:18
Hey, thanks for doing the hard thing and sharing this with all of us. My heart just sank as I read it, and I'm reminded that the law is legal, not logical. Your governor is shameful, and I have to wonder how he sleeps knowing he has hamstrung a good man for the rest of his life. Shame on him. I hope and pray Ward is able to move on with his life knowing he is a man of honor, and has no reason to be ashamed. I trust his family, friends, and neighbors will rally around him and help his rebuild his life.
I live in Colorado, where we have a make my day law that somewhat covers things like this. None the less, you've inspired me to pay attention to my state's laws and to be verbal in my defence of them.
Bless you, dear.
By: Regina
On: 02/07/2011 18:21:33
My Dearest Mountain Farmgirl! AMEN AND AMEN!!! Thank you for sharing this beautiful, however disturbing, story with us! I am so thankful Mr. Bird is out of jail, but it is my prayer that one day he will be totally free from all the charges. You needen apologize for sharing either! Mr. Bird and all of us are blessed by your courage. Thank you and God bless.
By: Diana E DeJane
On: 02/07/2011 18:47:14
Thanks for writing this article and enlightening others about this. I hope in the near future that justice will prevail for this man. Amazing that this could happen but unfortunately nothing surprises me. We need to all stand strong and fight for what is right.
By: Mary Carl
On: 02/07/2011 19:05:56
Dear Cathy,

Thank you for bringing this story to our attention. You are correct, along with all that Farmgirls do for our families, our homes and our communities, we are also guardians of freedom. I encourage Farmgirls everywhere to devote some measure of time to learning more about the law and government (local, state,and/or national); then share your knowledge with your families. An informed society is a free society. From Big Sky Country thank you Cathy for speaking up!
By: Sarah
On: 02/07/2011 19:06:48
Thank you for sharing this story, Cathi. It's a good reminder how easily our freedoms can be taken away. Being vigilant is important, though I wish it were enough.
By: Mary Carl
On: 02/07/2011 19:20:29
Hi Cathi,
I just commented on your recent article and now realize I spelled your name wrong. I am so sorry. Please, if you are reading comments, feel free to edit for me. Thanks, Mary
By: Ann Carson
On: 02/07/2011 19:35:52
I commend you for the courage to write the story. The poem says it all. You make a difference by speaking out. Thank you.
By: debbie
On: 02/07/2011 19:47:31
Thank you for writing this gentleman's story. All of us need to be much more aware of what is going on around us not what LA & New York is making us aware of. I read the paper, listen to the radio & listen to the news on tv daily. Some days are very disturbing but I have noticed a huge change in our justice system, not for the better.
We all need to start worrying about & taking action for our rights in this country, that means starting in our own communities. Many state legislatures are in session now, notice our rights being taken away. We can do something about these changes made to us if we just pay attention & speak up.
We all need to be less self centered, self absorbed and more concerned about our country & what is happening to our rights & freedoms. The biggest house, the best car & the most clothes will not protect us. If we continue to think we are entitled to everything we will some day be entitled to nothing. We will lose our freedoms, be taken over & will not be in any better shape than any other country.
No this is not a light hearted subject but it is our most important subject. We have nothing if we are not free.
By: Mary Rauch
On: 02/07/2011 20:37:21
I read the whole article. Then I dragged hubby to the computer and let him read it all. We are speechless. Don't you suppose there are other cases like this we never hear about?... Do what you can on your local level. There is possibility that your writing will bring this injustice to the eyes of someone who can help mend this man's life. Bless you for caring.
By: Joyce
On: 02/07/2011 21:37:12
What a great article. Thank you so much for informing us about this. This should never have happened in America. Let us pray that it will never happen again.
By: Ruth
On: 02/08/2011 03:13:35
Thanks for sharing, Cathi. No need to explain yourself for informing the rest of us of an injustice in your home state. Farmgirls aren't just about sewing and cooking and crafting and such. Most of us have a very strong understanding of freedom and human rights.

We don't all have to agree on how justice is served, but I am quite certain we can all agree that true justice and human rights MUST be held high for us all to maintain freedom in our lives, homes, communities, country and world!

My Dad always said, "Being free doesn't mean you can just do whatever you want. Being free means being responsible, not only for your own words and actions, but also supporting those who are responsible for the well-being and care of others, however small and inconspicuous their efforts may appear."

We are a free country, but as you said, without actively supporting that freedom by keeping a watchful eye and staying informed, we can lose drip at a time!

When we don't know what to do, we can always send prayers and add our good thoughts and energy to any situation to help shift its outcome towards a more positive flow. You can bet that a HUGE group of us farmgirls will be adding our energy to Mr. Bird's situation as well as staying more aware of other situations where injustice tries to rule!

I appreciate you sharing this. I cherish the freedoms we have in this country, but know all too well how quickly things can change.

Stay alert gals!! While other countries are fighting 'for' freedom, we need to respect, honor and be more responsible for 'keeping' the freedoms we already have!
By: Roxanne Anderson
On: 02/08/2011 04:03:33
First off, I patiently await for you blog and was equally as excited of your not so light-hearted article. I am glad you touched on a subject that is not light-hearted because life has its hills and valleys and this valley is known all too well and needs to awaken the just. I too have expeienced unjust false lies that have almost ruined my family. I know of others close to me with similiar issues. Although we didn't have protestors in number to help awaken/expose our lies, I am glad that something came about for Ward (at least being out of prison). His family will be in prayer from alot of others and boy the power of prayer!
Thank you again for your passions of life and putting it in writing.
By: Veronica Routh
On: 02/08/2011 04:49:19
Sounds like there's more to this story than we're being told. A little wackiness on both sides. I agree wholeheartedly with being actively involved in maintaining our freedom - as thoughtful, committed citizens. I don't believe that keeping a gun comes to any good.
By: meredith
On: 02/08/2011 05:03:44
THANK YOU for that important reminder.

what a story!
By: Katie Pence
On: 02/08/2011 05:13:03
Wow, I'm so proud to see this on Mary Jane's Farm blog. Good for you, you passionate Cathi, you. Dig, delve and inspire us to MOVE, CARE, PARTICIPATE !

All the world is our family.
By: Kristy
On: 02/08/2011 05:43:25
Thank you. It amazes me that Ms Harris convicted herself by claiming she was so close to Mr Bird's porch that she could see the gun and nobody saw the miscarriage of justice until it was too late.
This was more important than something lighthearted would have been.
By: Maggie
On: 02/08/2011 06:15:44
"Semper Vigilans"
I am so glad you chose to write this article. It has inspired me to learn more about the laws regarding our freedoms.
I was shocked to read that this happened but not surprised really. There are so many outdated and flawed laws in the system that are seldom thought about until something like this happens.
I value my freedoms and will work hard to keep them.
Thank you again for writing this, for this "shock to the system" to wake us up and remind us of how very dear or freedoms are and to never take them for granted.
By: Lorri
On: 02/08/2011 06:31:53
Right on Mountain Farmgirl!!!! Thank you for changing the focus of your article to this topic.
By: Sharon Zinser
On: 02/08/2011 06:58:03
Cathi, thank you so much for having the courage, and moral fiber, to write this article and speak your truth. Thank you for taking the time to research and investigate the truth, and present it to all of us. The freedoms in our country are erroding rapidly, and we must protect the values our country once stood for, and bring those values back.Integrity, honesty, courage and truth are worth fighting for.
By: Dianne
On: 02/08/2011 07:03:50
Cathi, What a story. To find out that this can really happen and did is amazing. Can they retry Mr. Bird's case to have the charges dropped and his name cleared? It is shocking to think that Ms Harris's prior record and mental state was not brought to light. It makes me sad that Mr. Bird and his family were treated so unfairly.
By: Kelly Gempler
On: 02/08/2011 07:15:36
Thank you for sharing this article! Our Second Amendment rights are very important to me, I will forward this article to all my Second Amendment loving Friends and Family! Thanks again! Sincerely, Kelly in Idaho
By: marci
On: 02/08/2011 07:39:51
Thanks you so much for sharing this! More and more good people are getting tangled in the legal system. We do need to be more outspoken for our Liberty. I think sometimes how much the people who found our government sacrificed. I don't mean just the Adams and Jeffersons, but the average, common people. I find it inconvenient to write a letter or make a phone call!

I am trying to speak out more, but especially in my back yard!
By: Margaret Taffi
On: 02/08/2011 07:51:10
Oh my goodness!,
That poor man and his family! That is truely a scary turn of events! In this great country of ours we really do take too much for granted and this shows that, This person was able to ruin this honest, thoughtful man's life just by lying! What is wrong with the Governor of your state? There is no doubt that the man did nothing wrong yet he has it hanging over his head for the rest of his life? Thank you for bringing this to our attention! Never take it for granted that because you are right, that you can't be brought down by horrible people who get away with what ever they want! She has a mental problem, how much more havoc will she make before she is stopped??? This will be with Ward Bird forever, why couldn't someone have found out her background before all this went too far?
Scared to death in California!
Margaret Taffi
By: Sarah
On: 02/08/2011 09:24:01
I can get pretty emotional when I think about what our country was founded on and it is very heart wrenching to see our freedom, which was fought for so hard, be taken from us. It is good to see people fighting for the rights of someone in need, especially when it comes to our freedom. we need more people standing up and fighting for what our country was founded on.
I appreciate reading your blog and learning more about you. you have been a joy for me to read about.
By: Joyce Wiley
On: 02/08/2011 09:40:07
We do need to continue to protect our Human Rights. I don't know if you have ever seen The International Declaration of Human Rights. This was put together years ago, and is still very valid today. It has recently been revitalized and utilized to bring sanity back to many situations. You can look it up on the internet, a great thing to help our country and our world.
By: Rusty McHale
On: 02/08/2011 12:05:37
My husband and I truly appreciated your article. What a shame that our country has come to this. We both carry and have done so for a long time. As Mas Ayoob says you can never be too safe. I just hope more farmgirls know how to protect themselves and their family.

Thanks again for this eye-opening story.
By: Chris
On: 02/08/2011 12:29:13
Thank you for standing up for our ever eroding rights. I have heard of incidents such as this taking place...if we pay attention we can hear about such incidents on the news daily. We do all need to be vigilant, we need to stand up for our rights; we need to understand our rights...we need to know and understand what rights the Constitution affords us. Our rights are being taken away daily in the name of political correctness, in the name of the "fairness doctrine". We need to take our heads out of the sand and take a hard look at what is going on around us....if we don't we are going to look up one day and ask "what happened". Get involved, pay attention around you! Thank you for writing such a well researched piece and bringing it to our attention.
By: Vicki
On: 02/08/2011 17:25:09
Excellent post. I cannot agree with you more that "the freedoms we cherish aren't abolished overnight, they dissolve one drop at a time, almost imperceptibly, until one day you wake up and find out you are drowning in a sea of oppression." Well, that day has come. We are currently in a sea of oppression (particularly here in California). I also agree that "we must be proactive and educate ourselves." One way to be proactive is with the Tea Party movement, which is all about re-establishing our liberties under the Constitution and limiting government. I have yet to become active, but Cathi's article is a pretty big incentive. As for education, Hillsdale College is one of the few educational institutions left that requires all students to take a course in American Heritage and in Western Civilization, and these courses are taught from the perspective of our founding fathers, not from a progressive revisionist perspective. Hillsdale College also provides classical curriculums for any K-12 school. If your neighborhood charter or private school is interested, check out Hillsdale College.
By: Lynda
On: 02/09/2011 08:53:43
I am appalled but not surprised. My heart goes out to this man and his family. I am praying for a complete pardon. This must be reversed so he can be restored to complete rights under the law.
By: Karin
On: 02/09/2011 09:05:19
Thank you for writing this article. For a long time now I have been concerned over how our freedoms are being taken away in the name of "security" and "progress". This underscores how far we have gone in the wrong direction. I have heard that poem many times and agree with it more now than ever. Your governor should be ashamed of himself for refusing to grant a full and complete pardon. As far as the comment made about a gun causing the problem, I must disagree. This woman is mentally ill, she most likely would have come up with some other story, even if all he did was point a finger at her. Gun control won't work any more than prohibition did. It will just be the criminals that have guns. We must be vigilant, starting at home and going all the way up. The United States will not remain a free country if we all close our eyes and just wish the problems would go away. Again Cathi, thank you for bringing this to our attention
By: Amy
On: 02/09/2011 09:31:29
This is another example of our freedom being slowly taken from us. I know many readers on MJ's site are probabaly liberal in thought. I urge you all to think these things over carefully. History will repeat itself if we do not get a grip on ourselves and our means of governement soon. It starts with ourselves and works out from there.
By: Laurie
On: 02/09/2011 16:52:02
Oh my gosh! I just can't believe it, but yes, I really can. I've seen so much stupidity over the years it just makes me mad. I'm a logical person and things like this defy logic. I really am at a loss of words because this type of activity has increased and good people suffer. I admit that I have gone back and forth from active anger to just wondering what the heck I could do and that I can't change anything. Sometimes it is hard to see what one person can do, but if one person (like the landlord. I know he didn't know) had been able to speak out for Ward than he may have faced a different outcome. We must learn to stand up and speak, but I think fear can drive us. Thank you for this reminder that we should participate.
By: carolj
On: 02/11/2011 15:17:10
UNBELIEVABLE! Thank you for sharing this story. Be sure to vote against your governor if he comes up for re-election. How could he not offer a full pardon?
By: Donna
On: 02/13/2011 06:11:58
This is why people need to exercise their right to defend themselves at trial (bad advice by the lawyer)! If memory serves the reason why he was not granted a full pardon was because he has past gun violations,including shooting into his neighbors house. If he had no violtions,then he probably would've been given a full pardon. I agree,though,that it never should've gotten to this point in the first place!
By: Pam
On: 02/21/2011 08:34:54
Our Rights are being trampled on every single day. Everyone needs to educate themselves about "Agenda 21" - the UN Agenda for the 21st Century. Every step of the way has been planned out to erode our Constitution. We have a responsibility to elect leaders instead of politicians! Thanks for letting us know about this case. I'll be praying, too.
By: Connie Plemons
On: 02/21/2011 14:00:20
This is a fantastic story. I am so glad you posted it. Thanks so much and Thanks to all those who heard it and tried to help. I am afraid there will be more stories like this in the near future. But like you have said PREPARE AND DON'T FEAR. We have a storm coming and it is gonna get rough but we can make it with the help of the Lord and all our good friends who are on the same ship.
WE are holding Constitution Study group sessions in Holden Missouri. Every first Thursday at 7pm. If we don't educate our selfs and stand together we will have reason to fear. Fear is a tool of Satan but we can beat him and his foes. Together we are strong and WE ARE THE PEOPLE.... WE THE PEOPLE can remain ONE NATION UNDER GOD ....Standing strong and get through this storm TOGETHER. God Bless America.
By: donna
On: 02/21/2011 14:09:34
thanks for coming out with this story, it needed to be told and as for all the comments i see we are all agree
By: Teriann
On: 03/07/2011 13:54:44
Dear Cathi,
Thank you for bringing to light the injustices that happen all to frequently in our society.
Although I understand that this women is mentally I'll, and in need of intervention, I do not understand how a court of law can sit back and condemn a man for a crime on hearsay, or in this case by what a mentally unstable woman thinks happened.
I am interested in knowing what could be done to help support Mr. Ward and his family to clear his name and return his rights as an American Citizen to him.
I also hope that this judge finds in his heart the strength to straighten Ms. Harris out and order her to get the mental help that she needs.
Unfortunately our judicial system is overrun with false lawsuits, and we all end up paying for them.
I look forward to hearing from you about how we can help out.
Thanks again for great article.
By: Brenda
On: 03/23/2011 12:25:57
Dear Sisters,
I am a farm girl dreamer right now, I intend to purchase my farm this summer, God willing. I tell you, what has happened to this man is outrageous, but I am sorry to say, par for the course, it is where we are heading if we don't unite and stop the slow dripping away of our freedoms. I have done almost everything I can to get people to understand what is happening to America, and I tell you I am getting a little discouraged.

I have written a book, HOPE: The New Financial System Emerging After the American Economic Crisis, I blog, and I recently posted a 3 part interview video on YOU TUBE: the real brenda isom as well as I go out and speak to people hoping they get the message of what lies ahead regarding our freedoms, AND the actions they MUST take. I am really trying to help my fellow Americans but I don't know......especially in California, it seems as everyone is focused on themselves, so what can I say?

I decided the Lord showed me my message for a reason and that is maybe to get my family out of here.....the Bible says, "come out from among them so you will not be subject to the plague", so that is what I am trying to do, move to a rural/farm community. In my book I have written about farmers and big Corporations trying to squash the little farmers, I am eventually gonna blog about the new proposed laws that may affect farmers markets, gotta finish reading them. In my financial symposium, I talked about the book, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander which talks about the reason behind colorblind mass incarceration of Americans and the new laws to ensure that people are charged with a felony, because once charged with a felony you lose certain rights. This woman is a former law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun on the US Supreme court, her husband is a federal prosecutor and she risked everything to speak out.

So, as I see more main street Americans turn a blind eye, it turly saddens me. I am sorry for Mr. Ward, he and his family did not deserve this. I still believe God sees all and will step up and help us correct these wrongs.

In loving sisterhood,
Brenda...always smiling always loving
By: Eve
On: 05/30/2011 20:06:58
Thank you so much for addressing this! Liberty, freedom and the constitution, commomsense...all are becoming a way of the past.

I'm so glad you're one of us!

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Cathi Belcher

Cathi Belcher,
an old-fashioned farmgirl with a pioneer spirit, lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As a “lifelong learner” in the “Live-Free-or-Die” state, she fiercely values self-reliance, independence, freedom, and fresh mountain air. Married to her childhood sweetheart of 40+ years (a few of them “uphill climbs”), she’s had plenty of time to reinvent herself. From museum curator, restaurant owner, homeschool mom/conference speaker, to post-and-beam house builder and entrepreneur, she’s also a multi-media artist, with an obsession for off-grid living and alternative housing. Cathi owns and operates a 32-room mountain lodge. Her specialty has evolved to include “hermit hospitality” at her rustic cabin in the mountains, where she offers weekend workshops of special interest to women.

“Mountains speak to my soul, and farming is an important part of my heritage. I want to pass on my love of these things to others through my writing. Living in the mountains has its own particular challenges, but I delight in turning them into opportunities from which we can all learn and grow.”

Column content copyright © 2010– Cathi Belcher. All rights reserved.

Mountain Bounty

“Keep close to Nature’s heart ... and break clear away once in awhile to climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods, to wash your spirit clean.”
– John Muir