Author Explains How Government Avoids Accountability for Killing Citizens

By David Codrea

I'm from the Government and I'm Here to Kill You by David T. Hardy
Second Amendment author and attorney David T. Hardy talks to AmmoLand Shooting Sports News in an exclusive interview about his new book exposing lethal government actions.
David Codrea in his natural habitat.

USA – -( “Texas City, the Tuskegee Syphilis study, Ruby Ridge, Waco, Fast and Furious, the VA hospital scandal – time after time, government employees kill Americans by negligence, stupidity, or agency corruption, and time after time they escape all legal accountability,” attorney and author David T. Hardy told me about his latest book prior to its release.

Now that “I’m From the Government, and I’m Here to Kill You: The Human Cost of Official Negligence” has been published, Hardy accepted my invitation for an exclusive Q&A that will give readers further insights into how and why such travesties occur.

Here’s the interview:

David Codrea – (DC): You say Americans could better hold government accountable under the rule of King George than we can today. That seems counterintuitive to the contention that we’re “the land of the free.”  What do you mean and what role does the concept of “sovereign immunity” play?

George III: Benign by comparison.
George III: Benign by comparison.

David Hardy – (DH): At the time of George III (who really wasn’t half as bad as the Declaration painted him) the principle of sovereign immunity meant that “the king can do no wrong,” and indeed he cannot even think of a wrong. But notice “the king.” You couldn’t sue or prosecute George III. But you could sue or prosecute any royal official carrying out his orders. In fact, the British courts would not allow such officials to plead that they were following his orders – because the king cannot even think of a legal wrong.

Look at the Boston Massacre: Massachusetts Bay Colony had no trouble prosecuting the redcoats. But in the 19th century, American courts pulled away from this principle, and began to rule that federal officials could not be sued or prosecuted, no matter how bad their actions were. Yes, we are today much less free, and government much less accountable, than it was in time of George III.

DC: Many have never heard of the Texas City Disaster. Briefly, what happened and what was the upshot?

DH: After World War II, the government needed fertilizer for the Marshall Plan, in order to help Europe and Japan recover. Some bureaucrat decided that, during the War, munitions plants had produced sensitized ammonium nitrate (mixed with wax and oil) to fill artillery shells, and it would probably make good fertilizer. The plants were re-opened and the stuff was produced – but it was made in ways known to be dangerous, and the bureaucracy ignored all warnings of this.

2,300 tons of sensitized ammonium nitrate was loaded onto a ship in Texas City harbor. It caught fire, and detonated in an enormous explosion (the ship’s 3,200 pound anchor landed a mile-and-a-half inland) that killed over 600 people and leveled much of the town. The decedents’ next of kin and injured survivors sued, it went all the way to the US Supreme Court, which ruled that the government was immune from suit. So they lost their case.

Burger not so well done...
Burger not so well done…

DC: It’s interesting that then-Assistant AG and future Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger essentially regarded the victims as deep pockets opportunists. Do you recall what he said about the Second Amendment, not in any decision, but in Parade Magazine?

DH: Sure, in 1990 he called the individual rights view of the Second Amendment a “fraud on the American public.” By 1990, the individual rights view had been proven in law review articles and books. Prof. Sanford Levinson, one of the “big names” in Constitutional law, had published an article in Yale Law Journal endorsing the individual right view. I doubt Burger bothered to read any of this before pontificating on it.

DC: I saw small-scale bureaucratic arrogance bordering on bullying on a private sector job where one of my responsibilities was to secure city permits. You worked in the federal government for years. What does your experience tell you about the relationship of arrogance with increased power? Can you give any examples?

DH: The relationship of power to arrogance is not universal, but clearly exists. I recall a few cases from my days at Interior. In one, agents seized an alleged illegal falcon, and an antique plane used to transport it. The owner was found not guilty. But in the meantime they had stored the plane outdoors, and a hailstorm destroyed its fabric covering. My reaction was – we lost, we screwed up, pay to have it re-covered and return it. The agency’s reaction was to research how they could avoid paying.

Another case was the “Rails to Trails” program. During World War II, I believe, the government wanted to build a bunch of railroads on an emergency basis. It bought private land for that, using deeds that had a reverter clause: if the government ever stopped using the land for a railroad, ownership of the land would be returned to the seller. There were, I think, thousands of miles of land like this where the government no longer needed the land and had removed the rails and ties.  Then someone came up with idea that if the government kept the land, it could turn it into long hiking trails. My thought: a deal is a deal. The land is now privately owned, see if the owner will sell it to you. The agency’s reaction: keep the land and claim someday we might have to put rails on it again, and that’s good enough. The claim finally got to the Supreme Court some years ago, which rejected the agency claim.

Exercising the nuclear option...
Exercising the nuclear option…

DC: One of your chapters is devoted to atomic testing. Was much of the fallout from that, pun intended, due to ignorance on the part of many in the program who had no idea the damage that would be done? Was the cover-up motivated more by after-the-fact realization of that damage or was there a core of decision-makers that knew from the start and found the risks acceptable?

DH: Radiation hazards were minimized at the beginning, but the government could hardly argue ignorance. It gave its civilian workers radiation badges to record how they got, and limited their exposure. When one of its observers wound up in a fallout cloud, he was told to get indoors, shower repeatedly, and discard his clothing. At the same time, citizens who were in the fallout path and got hit repeatedly – badly enough to get radiation skin burns and have their hair fall out – were told it was completely safe and if it ever was dangerous the government would warn them.

After it became apparent that humans and livestock were powerfully affected, the cover up began, a cover up that included forging documents and intimidating witnesses.

Tuskegee study victims, Human guinea pigs...
Tuskegee study victims, Human guinea pigs…

DC: The Tuskegee Study, where the government intentionally left syphilis in rural black men untreated so they could study its progression – it seems like something we would expect from Josef Mengele. How did something like this occur over an extended period without being exposed, and is the “just following orders” inertia so automatic and strong that it’s instinctive, rather than something to continually wrestle with the conscience?

DH: The study went on for decades, from the 1930s to the 1970s. Nobody got penicillin, and the government officials got angry at doctors who gave it on their own. The study was written up in medical journals, as if the humans involved were lab animals. Only one person protested, writing one of the medical journals, which ignored his letter. There seems to have been no objection until one government worker (my friend, arms collector Peter Buxton) was shocked to hear of it, and blew the whistle.

DC: With all the “going along to get along” we see over and over again in the examples you explore, do you find it believable when excuse-makers in government write off wrongdoing to “a few bad apples”? Especially since many more than actually commit bad deeds remain silent when they know they’re taking place?

DH: There seem to be a LOT of bad apples out there, enough to where the good apples stand out as “not team players.” When an agency purpose conflicts with human safety, with honesty and honor, with respecting the rights of others, the agency purpose wins out. We’re aware how this happens with big corporations. Dangerous design flaws are hushed up, mismanagement hidden. Imagine what it would be like if corporate officials were told they had no legal risk no matter how egregious their actions, and that they would only be prosecuted if their company agreed to it? That’s the government’s situation.

Just to give you one example: the Postal Service had a deliveryman whose coworkers call him “Lester the Molester,” and who was under indictment for child molestation. The Postal Service put him back on his route, and the molested two more children. Their parents sued, and the court rules the Postal Service was immune from suit. Yes, government officials can do as they please with full legal immunity.

The target of new rules of engagement...
The target of new rules of engagement…

DC: You go into Ruby Ridge and the killings of Vicki and Sammy Weaver. I’ve long been interested in the decision by the Boundary Country prosecutor to drop the pursuit for justice.  Do you buy that it was motivated by a desire for “closure,” and would the expense have really been prohibitive, especially with growing awareness within the patriot and civil liberties communities?

DH: I think the people of the county just got worn out fighting the entire of the US government, so the country prosecutor lost the next election. Time to get back to local needs. So the federal agents literally got away with murder.

DC: Waco:  Was Janet Reno’s “for the children” justification within the purview of the federal government or a matter for Texas law enforcement?  Could the whole thing have been avoided if ATF had accepted David Koresh’s invitation to talk?

DH: If Koresh was doing a Harvey Weinstein without Hollywood approval, it was matter for local police, not one for the federal government and certainly not one for ATF. I think ATF went into that in their search warrant application only because they saw the application as a press release, and nothing grabs press attention like sex.

It probably could have been avoided if ATF had accepted Koresh’s invitation to come out and look at his guns and his paperwork. It could also have been avoided if they’d arrested him peacefully.

ATF claimed they couldn’t make a peaceful arrest because Koresh never left the building and they didn’t know what he looked like. In my book and at my webpage  I reproduce an ATF report of what their undercover agents did on February 19, nine days before the raid and shoot out.


The agents went shooting.  With David Koresh. He carried the ammo and was unarmed. The claim he couldn’t be arrested peacefully was a complete lie. ATF knew that a peaceful arrest wouldn’t get much publicity, and publicity was what it wanted.

DC: For all the years it’s been in existence, and all the money spent, do we have any idea how many hostages the FBI Hostage Rescue Team has rescued?

DH: Maybe I just haven’t heard (though considering the FBI’s drive for publicity that seems unlikely) but I think the count stands as zero. FBI negotiators have had several successes, particularly when the HRT wasn’t available to mess things up.

DC: You say the government is “looking for terror in all the wrong places.” Where should they be looking?

DH: The government has constantly been protesting that it needs more information on all of us, more monitoring of our email and calls, etc.. While that increases its power, it just floods the system with useless information that can obscure the valuable data. At 9/11, local agents were reporting that Saudi students were taking flight training for no known reason, and didn’t seem interesting in take off or in landing. That should have set off alarm bells…. But no one seemed to care. It was just some more data in a huge stream of data.

The Unarmed Truth: My Fight to Blow the Whistle and Expose Fast and Furious
People are still dying. : The Unarmed Truth: My Fight to Blow the Whistle and Expose Fast and Furious

DC: What do you think the reason was behind encouraging and allowing Operation Fast and Furious “gun walking”?

DH: The evidence all points to a political motive: more gun control. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were already calling for gun control on the theme that guns found at Mexican crime scenes were being traced to the US. The US Attorney in charge was a former Clinton White House official, who’d boasted that he drafted the first federal “assault weapon ban.” ATF officials rejoiced when Mexican gun traces happened, and encourage gun dealers to sell to suspicious buyers, telling the dealers that it was all part of a law enforcement operation and the guns would never actually get to the drug cartels. These were all lies. The object was to get the guns to the cartels, let the cartels use them in crime, and get the guns traced back to the US.

DC: You raise the issue of police militarization. Care to speculate on how The Battle of Athens would have gone down if veterans trying to protect the vote had to face corrupt officers in control of such firepower and capabilities?

DH: Hmmm…. Corrupt officials deploying armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and millions of dollars of other military equipment… I’d say the bad guys would have won in half an hour.

Graphic from VA is Lying Facebook page.
Graphic from VA is Lying Facebook page.

DC: What’s going on at the Department of Veterans Affairs? With all the lip service Washington pays to America’s armed service members, how is it that we still hear horror stories?

DH: Because it’s rotten to the core. They brought in a skilled general to reform the place, and he resigned because the place was so corrupt that it could not be cleaned out.  It has to be replaced.

Do federal civilian employees have a similar hospital system? Of course not. They get their pick of dozens of federally subsidized private insurance plans.

The VA system only exists because of a historical quirk nearly two centuries old. It started out as rest homes for elderly veterans, not as a hospital system. It’s time to get rid of it.

DC: You end up talking about “putting a leash on the deadly bureaucracy.” Describe the leash. Would those accustomed to doing the leashing submit to one without a credible “or else,” and do you see a realistic way it will be accomplished politically?

DH: The leash I describe in the book has several elements. First, re-write the Federal Tort Claims Act, which allows suit against the government (under tight restrictions and with big exceptions) so that it broadly allows suit against negligent officials who harm us. And provide that when a citizen wins a suit, the agency pays, not the general government fund. If agencies take a hit on their budget every time their negligence kills or injures, they’ll start being very careful of our safety.

Second, allow states to prosecute federal employees who violate state criminal law, and at the same time also violate our rights under the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Third, create a special agency to deal with agency negligence and violations of rights. An agency attracts employees who agree with its mission, and agencies have no compunction about messing with other agencies. I’ve been there. They can even take a malicious joy in messing with other agencies. It’s fun. I know from experience.

Finally, redraft the federal rules on criminal procedure to require the government to disclose much more evidence. Some state codes require this, and their law enforcement has not collapsed, and the prosecutors are a lot more honest. Why, under the federal system, are grand jury transcripts considered a state secret, where prosecutors can see them but not the defense? The defendant can in theory challenge misconduct before the grand jury, but how can he do so if he can’t see what happened? The federal system seriously stacks the odds against the defendant. If the government has a good, honest case, why is it allowed to hide things?

Politically feasible? Sure, if Congress shows a little guts. And this is a cause that can unite small-government conservatives and liberals. In my book I spell out exactly how to change the law. It spans all of three pages. You don’t have to pass the bill in order to find out what’s in it.

“I’m from the Government and I’m Here to Kill You” is available in hardcover and Kindle versions from Amazon, and hardcover and Nook versions from Barnes & Noble.

Hardy is a recognized authority on the right to keep and bear arms, as well as an accomplished author, documentarian and attorney.
Hardy is a recognized authority on the right to keep and bear arms, as well as an accomplished author, documentarian and attorney.

Disclosure:  Mr. Hardy has represented my interests in legal actions to obtain information from the government and is part of what a U.S. Attorney who came on board during the Obama administration has pejoratively described as “a tangled web of connections between a small cadre of firearms activists.”

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

  • 26 thoughts on “Author Explains How Government Avoids Accountability for Killing Citizens

    1. @Tionico, I hear everything your saying. That one abuse can put all law abiding citizens in jail or in the ground, whatever is convenient. The battle of Athens he speaks of was in Athens Tennessee. It is a story that needs to be retold at every opportunity. Wild Bill always great to here from you and Old Vet. Glad to read that CK is still around, the troll union must be paying overtime.

    2. No action dependent solely on man shall rid us of hardly any of the evils entrenched within the USA.
      As a victim near 60 year out of a pre WWII German evil intention which has been taken in by the powers within the USA for profit and USA victims denied by the very same USA court which provides for the same victims of the same USA companies to Canadian victims it is surly very true what is presented in this article.
      Every detail of USA victims sooner or later are presented to the courts and masses while nearly every time little to nothing, not even names, are presented to the masses or courts of the individual perpetrators.
      Thus ineffectual prosecutions to prevent more violations.
      The few individuals with the moral fortitude to stand proper and resist from within the powers run by evil intent are always squashed. Like Sheriff Joe Arpaio vs the prior Islamic green/White House which took some 7.5 years to squash Sheriff Arpaio.
      There are records from 1934 Germany locked in a German court right now with the judge saying this. I don’t know how to release what is in these files. But if the world ever learns what is in them the entire western world would overthrow every western government. The people would rise up and destroy the powers that now control them.
      What am I talking about? It was developed in 1933, proved what it does no later than 1939, living victims well documented in Polish prison camps in 1934 born/created by it within the prison camps. After WWII a Nazi without any wealth bought the only company able to produce it in Germany in 1947 and hired another young Nazi to get it back into production. Then still our history books and internet sites still say it was from the mid 1950’s. In 2015 those same German lab workers of all levels walked into court in Australia, yes the land down under, where they finally fled to, and testified they no longer fear assassination because they are at the end of their lives and wanted to clear their consciences of the evil they were forced to take part in during the 1950’s and 60’s. Some of you know what it is. Suffice it to say those with even more information now believe it is part of what actually got President Kennedy assassinated. Even I suspected the same for decades. The subject of “The Speech That Got President Kennedy Killed” is much of what the article presenting by the book presented here is tied together.
      Before I tell you. About a year before Kennedy was killed he discovered this mystery I am speaking of. He decorated Dr. Francis Oldham Kelsey about a year before, then gave his speech spoken of and months later was assassinated. Of that I know much more than they want. This mystery was warehoused in the USA to the sum of 20 million pieces ready for distribution with 2.5 million having been used. The producers not wiling to lose the earnings from producing it. There again our history books tell it wrong. The best way to learn some of this German thing that infiltrated the whole world is to Youtube search it. A 100% synthetic product with a 500 year shelf life being sold for near $400 a piece today. I will give the name of the thing as me. Used to expand government for profit.
      I am “Thalidomide”! Of the “flipper people”.

    3. Couple this with term limits and not allowing government employees to be in unions, and our country would greatly improve.

      1. Term limits cannot fix what lazy and docile voters refuse to do. And the biggest problem with term limits is that in the rare instances when the voters manage to seat a GIOOD GUY, he to must go away at the prescribed sunset, to be replaced by an unoroven unknown.

        Unions for gummit poohbahs IS a bad idea, never should have been allowed. Part of the world of corruption. How many bad coppers are protected by their self-aggrandizing unions??

      2. Term limits are already enshrined in our Constitution. They are called ‘elections’ and occur on a regular basis. And government employees have the right to free association just like everyone else. Any other ignorant opinions of yours I need to set straight?

      3. Term limits are already enshrined in our Constitution. They are called ‘elections’ and are held on a regular basis. And government employees have the right to free association just like everyone else. Any other ignorant opinions of yours I need to set straight?

        just like those TEACHERS UNIONS, IT’S THE SAME.

    4. Excellent and way past due. Even the smaller, non-law enforcement Federal agencies (BLM, USFS, BIA, etc.) are exempt from the law, even their own regulations. If they do violate one of their own regulations the worst that happens is that they get “promoted for incompetence” and moved to another location.

    5. I post this all the time:
      “Here’s what no one talks about: SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY statutes. What are they? Simple answer, it’s not the job of the Police to protect “any” individual or property. 36 States have actual SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY statutes, the other 14 have “stare decisis,” which has the same effect. No one has ever successfully “sued” a Police organization and “won” on the issue of the Police “failing to protect them.” It’s not the Policeman’s job to protect you. He might choose to “protect” you, but, he can’t be held legally responsible if he doesn’t. Along with the 2nd Amendment, SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY statues are why “we” need firearms, all types of firearms. Let’s argue from the correct perspective.”

      SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY statutes apply to all levels, departments, bureaus, sections of government. In the City of Los Angeles Building Code they call it “non- responsibility,” a much more “honest” phrase.

      1. sovereigh immunity is NOT about police failing to protect. They have no obligation to do so, thus not doing so cannot be actioinable.

        SOveriegn immunity IS about protecting government agents from tort actions when they do stupid stuff like walking into your yard, warrant in hand for a different address, shoot your dog, throw a flash bang grenade into your livingroom, which then inflicts serious harm upon your small child in his playpen.
        Or busting into a private residence at oh three hundred, all SWATTED out and hyper and with military grade weapons at the low ready, and Mr. Homeowner falls out of bed orders hiw Wife and two kids into the safe room, then squats and enters the hall, his own rifle in hand, to find out what’s up, then is met with a hail of gunfire from the hyped up coppers, 70 of whose rounds hit Mr. Homeowner and kill him. Warrant had a different address on it. No culpabilty because of “sovereign immunity” Dey wuz jes a doi dey jobs dey wuz. Seach Jose Guereña, of somewhere i New Mexico. Formerly,that is.

        1. Well, you are wrong. Or, perhaps you just didn’t read exactly what I wrote?

          Sovereign Immunity statutes are explicitly clear that the “government” is not responsible for providing a large array of services (police protection included) AND even when the “government” does take an action, such as, releasing inmates who say they intend to rape again, a citizen has no legal recourse or redress. Sovereign Immunity means that the “government” or “government employees” can’t be sued for damages (tort) or criminally held liable. Those are the facts. I suggest you read up on this issue before posting.

    6. The article says, “DC: You go into Ruby Ridge and the killings of Vicki and Sammy Weaver. I’ve long been interested in the decision by the Boundary Country prosecutor to drop the pursuit for justice. Do you buy that it was motivated by a desire for “closure,…” I say, as I recall the murder charges were “removed” to federal court, where the federal court is not bound by state court precedent or procedures. So the “federal fix was in”. And the courageous prosecutor that brought the murder charges could see the writing on the federal wall. So, why bother?

    7. Yes, “Finally, redraft the federal rules on criminal procedure to require the government to disclose much more evidence”.
      Very powerful statement, Great interview.

    8. This is one is for all of those who “trust” that the government is looking out for their best interests and welfare. Read and heed – the Government knew all the hazards of Agent Orange prior to its use in Vietnam, yet went ahead with it anyway. How many soldiers died of cancer having been ordered into freshly sprayed areas?
      In fact there is an area in my state where they used to build plutonium triggers. It was torn down after an FBI raid showed malfeasance on the part of handling nuclear waste ( i.e. barrels of plutonium waste sitting on a concrete pad that were leaking their contents into the ground, plutonium has a half life of 50 million years I believe). So the plant was torn down, the area supposedly cleaned up and made safe, and turned into a wildlife refuge. Now they are building new homes right next to the wildlife refuge in an area that was downwind of the plant. Of course all people buying a home have to sign a waiver stating that Uncle isn’t responsible if something should happen where they start getting sick.
      My wife’s father worked there and died two years after retiring from prostate cancer, but you can believe it was exacerbated by working there, plus there are many other former employees of the plant who’ve died of cancer, and there was a major class action lawsuit that was won in court, but they were tied up for a long time in litigation.

      1. For the ignorant, tinfoil hat crowd. P.S. And you can be sure the author has 911 on speed dial whenever he hears a bump in the night.

        1. Are you a fan of the Government? Do you honestly believe they have never done any underhanded sh*t in their years of existence, especially in both World Wars? I know of 10,000 veterans who disappeared behind the Iron Curtain at the end of WW2 who would disagree with you. The government conveniently forgot about them.

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