SAN FRANCISCO (press release)—There is a growing movement among many Americans to live “off the grid.” These individuals tend to grow their own food, produce their own electricity and even obtain their own water and dispose of it after they use it. In many areas of the country this movement is encouraged by municipalities since these people are no longer utilizing and putting a strain on infrastructure. However, some governments aren’t too keen on allowing this type of rugged individualism to stand, what with their need to control people’s lives and take their money.
Take the case of Marine veteran Tyler Truitt of Huntsville, Alabama. Truitt has been growing his own food, using rainwater for his water needs and disposing of waste via composting. Apparently that was the worst thing he could have done in the city of Huntsville, as their response was to literally steal he and his wife’s house, evicting them and threatening them with arrest if they returned, according to the local ABC affiliate WAAY TV on June 16.
“They came and they condemned our house and told us if we stayed here we’d be arrested for trespassing on our own property,” Truitt said, “and the reason why is because they said it was unsafe living conditions since we don’t have city utilities hooked up.”
The Truitts have a two acre plot that is 100 percent self-sustaining. They did not wish to depend on anybody else for any of their needs and wished to live an ecologically friendly and efficient lifestyle of self-reliance. But according to Huntsville officials, that’s “unsafe,” and they are doing this for their own good and the good of their neighbors.
“The purpose behind these requirements is public safety, “said Kelly Schrimsher of the mayor’s office. “This includes ensuring that occupants of a residential dwelling have safe, potable, running water and electricity, particularly in the wintertime. The city has posted the property as ‘Unsafe’ for this reason.”
In other words, if someone wants to live in Huntsville they have no choice but to take their utilities from the city’s utilities companies. The case has led to a national outcry, however, as is wont to happen when a government tramples an individual’s property and civil rights.
Before you start thinking that Truitt is some weird kook living in the woods to hide from the government, you should also know that in addition to being a Marine veteran, he is also part way through a physics degree from the University of Alabama and is employed at the Redstone Arsenal, a nearby Army base. He designed and built all of the necessary equipment for his property that led to this standoff with the overbearing city officials. In other words, he’s an intelligent and rational person who felt that he and his wife’s lives would be better living green and frugal.
City officials maintain that they are completely in favor of people living green and in a frugal manner–just not in this case. They cite concerns over the Truitts not having “running water and electricity, particularly in the wintertime.” Never minding the fact that the Truitts have been living this way for a couple of years now with no issue, wouldn’t that be their choice to make and their risk to take?
Either way, the couple has no intention of leaving their home. “You have to stand up for what you believe in,” Truitt said. “They could come out here today if they wanted to and take us to jail for trespassing, if that’s what they want to call it… that’d be fine with me. I’ll still come back the next day and the next day and the next day because it’s my home and because I live here. Where else am I supposed to go really? I took an oath that I would support and defend the constitution and the freedoms that entails, and I really feel like those are being trampled upon. Give people the most liberty and personal liberty you can afford to give them without infringing on other people’s rights. I just don’t see how we’re hurting anyone by being here.”