Do You Want to Live in a Police-State?

Imagine walking home from the corner store on a beautiful fall evening. The orange, red, and yellow patterns in the foliage compliment the sky as the Sun begins its descent. The crisp air across your face and the scary faces of pumpkins decorating front porches remind you of when you were a kid. Then, all of a sudden, an MRAP comes zipping by you. You wonder what an armored military vehicle is doing in your neighborhood, but you brush it off because the police department probably has a good explanation for utilizing it. Suddenly, more response vehicles approach the area as the sound of several sirens singing in a strangely harmonious chorus fills the previously silent night. As several law enforcement members disembark with rifles pointing in all directions, you realize that something terribly wrong is about to take place. A man with a bullhorn silences the crowd and announces that the city is in lockdown and everyone must go into their homes for the night. You passively comply with the order and head home because you are afraid of whatever threat has terrorized the city.

This may seem like something out of a police or military drama, but events like this have occurred in the United States. One such event was the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. Parts of Boston, Cambridge, and Watertown were locked down, and people were illegally searched and coerced from their homes. The streets were filled with well-armed law enforcement units and military vehicles in order to prevent a teenager from wreaking havoc across eastern Massachusetts.

Regardless of what you think about the events that transpired that day, one policy (1033 Program), in particular, has allowed this type of monstrosity to become reality. When the federal government sells or transfers military equipment and vehicles to state, county, or municipal law enforcement agencies across the country, it inevitably leads to the militarization of the police. This idea turns police from people who deeply care about the community and protecting it into predators ready to pounce on their prey. This is not to say that every law enforcement member is a raging leopard ready to drag his or her victim up a tree of tyranny, but when people on the street are viewed as potential threats and police are more concerned about meeting arrest quotas, imprisonment rates rise and people are less free. You know something is wrong when the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world (much of this is due to the preposterous War on Drugs).

All of this talk is to bring up an executive order that President Trump has recently ended , which is President Obama’s order that prohibited armored vehicles and large-caliber weapons from making their way from the Department of Defense to local police departments. Although the order did not ban all military equipment from trickling down the government ladder (and the program existed throughout most of Obama’s presidency), it did minimally halt the efforts of the federal government to militarize the police.

Liberty takes a back seat to tyranny when the federal government turns state and local law enforcement into little minions ready to enforce federal laws, and we are not talking about little cute and yellow creatures running around with toy guns. These are full-scale soldiers equipped to fight drugs and terrorists and take away unapproved firearms. If we as a society cherish freedom and do not want to live in a police-state, we should oppose these types of measures. Today it may be martial law in the Boston area, but tomorrow it could be martial law across the country. We must ask ourselves if we want to live in the footsteps of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, or we want to stand up for American principles.

Like Nazi (National Socialist) Germany, Fascist Italy, and Soviet Russia, the United States has developed into a corporatist state with elements from these three socialist governments. This mixed with a police-state can only lead to ruin. Instead of focusing on how much more power we can give the government, let us attempt to limit its authority. 1033 Program needs to take a hike so the people can breathe the fresh mountain air without the police lurking around every corner with weapons that they do not need to keep us “safe.” If we really want to be safe from terrorists, perhaps we should examine our own government and stop provoking other countries.

Thanks for reading, and if you would like more information about the militarization of local police departments or on ways that the federal government uses violence and intimidation to get what it desires, please check out my book, The Global Bully.
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Published on September 12, 2017 18:46
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