My name is Russell Evans and I am proud to call myself a criminal. In a society that outlaws such basic freedoms as sitting on the sidewalk to rest when you’re tired, gathering in public space to share food and ideas, or skateboarding down empty streets, the more criminals we have the stronger our democracy will be. I am not advocating violent criminal behavior, just healthy resistance to petty laws that steer our country ever closer to fascism.

A few nights ago I was pulled over while skating down an empty street on my way home from work. What I was doing wasn’t dangerous and I wasn’t hurting or hassling anyone, yet my freedom was violated and my autonomy compromised. I was detained for at least 20 minutes and ticketed.

I don’t want to live in a world where nonviolent acts are criminalized. It’s unhealthy. Suppressing basic freedom creates animosity and causes stress, which leads to violence.

To people calling the cops on skaters, please just stop and think for one second. How would you feel if the Haines Borough outlawed your harmless hobby? What if gardening or bicycling was considered criminal? What if the act of riding a bike made you a criminal?

The only real crimes are violent. Don’t listen to any organization that wants you to believe otherwise. All laws that target nonviolent acts are unjustified and should be disregarded.

I will never stop skateboarding, even though that makes me a criminal. Skateboarding is not a crime.

Russell Evans