Is There Really A Police State?
Do you feel as though law enforcement enforces unconstitutional laws? Do law enforcement officers seem a little overzealous in exercising their perceived authority? What do you feel when you see a cop behind you? Chances are that the majority of you will answer these questions in a negative light. This even includes those who currently serve in uniform, as I have heard the complaints and the jokes. Perhaps the best question is, “Do we live in a police state“?
To effectively answer this question, one must first understand what a police state really is. Simply seeing an abundance of law enforcement or equipment does not necessarily mean you live in a police state, nor do all the references to “1984”. To have an actual police state, a couple of criteria must be present first.
A police state is a totalitarian state controlled by a political police force that secretly supervises the citizens’ activities. A more detailed way to say this would be that it is an order of police who are put in place that is not recognized by the Constitution, who enforce a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state while also secretly supervises the citizens’ activities.
This illustrates our current state of affairs. It is creepy how spot-on this really is. One could see why so many would suggest that such a state even exists when we acknowledge that the NSA is listening in on conversations or that we are being watched without consent via traffic, highway, and stoplight cameras. Never mind that these actions violate the Constitution; why are people not angry in general? Regardless, to give the benefit of the doubt, let us explore this in a little more detail.
The Agencies to Consider:
Discoverpolicing.org states that there are many different types of law enforcement agencies, from small-town police departments to large federal agencies. To date, roughly 65 federal agencies and 27 inspector general offices employ full-time personnel authorized to make arrests and carry firearms. Federal officers’ duties include police response and patrol, criminal investigation and enforcement, inspections, security and protection, court operations, and corrections (Types of Law Enforcement Agencies, 2013).
State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies make up the next tier of law enforcement, with more than 17,000 state and local law enforcement agencies in the United States, ranging in size from one officer to more than 30,000. These are comprised of several different jurisdictional areas.
Local police—municipal, county, tribal, and regional police that derive authority from the local governing body that created it. This is usually a corporate law situation and not a Constitutional law situation. The primary purpose is to uphold the jurisdiction’s laws, enforce UCC law, patrol, and investigate local crimes.
State Police / Highway Patrol—State police often perform police duties, including highway patrol and statewide investigations. State police usually assist local police with investigations and emergencies that extend beyond the resources and jurisdictional boundaries of the local agency, and the power is derived out of permission from the state itself.
Special Jurisdiction Police—These include parks, schools and universities, hospitals, housing authorities, and government buildings. Their power is also derived from the local governing body that created it.
Sheriffs and Deputies—The State Constitution grants Sheriff’s offices authority to enforce state law at the local county level. The Sheriff is publicly elected, and Deputies commonly run the local jail, serve warrants and court summons, and respond to calls for service in areas outside local police jurisdictions.
Immediately we have a problem. Why does only one agency actually derive its authority from the Constitution? Why are the majority of the agencies not led by publically elected officials?
The Growing Beast:
In the face of new developments such as the NSA spying program and persistent problems such as the drone program, many have begun to speculate whether the United States is a police state, as though it were not entirely obvious. One could argue that the NSA and the drone programs are the least of our worries. Yes, they are a problem, but the bigger issue hits a little closer to home.
Each year, Congress introduces thousands of bills. Multiple thousands, to be exact. These bills represent nothing more than multiple thousands of attempts by the government trying to increase its influence over you. Now, the number of bills introduced that actually make it into law is usually between 100 and 400. As a matter of fact, between 1947 and 2012, Congress passed over 20,500 laws (Davis, 2012).
That is over 20,500 new ways to have some kind of control over your lives. Keep in mind that this does NOT include Executive orders, state or municipal laws, or even the regulations within the laws that are already passed. For instance, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has over 20,000 pages of regulations “associated” with the new law. You can imagine how many different regulations were slammed into the over 20,500 laws passed. If you ever needed a reason for Congress to slow down, this would be it, keeping in mind that each law is essentially a new restriction. Land of the free?
This results in the idea of enforcement. The first question you should ask yourself is exactly how any enforcement agency would be able to memorize or be an expert in even a fraction of this amount.
The laws around us continue to grow like weeds, but so does the size of law enforcement. It has to, and when we consider the interconnectedness of law enforcement in our nation today, we must understand that the DHS carries a ridiculous amount of weight regarding being able to infringe upon your Constitutional Rights. This is largely due to their influence over local law enforcement, arguably your last line of defense against Constitutional infringements.
The DHS even has “The Office for State and Local Law Enforcement,” whose purpose is to “keep the law enforcement community up-to-date on department-wide activities and initiatives such as “If You See Something, Say Something,” the Blue Campaign, Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI), and the Department’s efforts in Countering Violent Extremism” (DHS, 2013).
The scary part about this office is that they work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure that law enforcement and terrorism-focused grants to state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies are appropriately focused on terrorism prevention activities (DHS, 2013). This is scary because of who they now classify as potential terrorists; you! So you essentially pay for your own targeting and scrutiny via taxation.
The relationship between local and federal is indeed primarily informational. Information sharing between federal, state, and local agencies is critical to the US government’s homeland security strategy. For federal officials, the post-9/11 threat environment requires a “trusted partnership” among federal, state, and local agencies to “make information sharing integrated, interconnected, effective and as automatic as possible in order to ensure our national security” (Manager, 2006). To support this vision, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) administers more than a dozen homeland security-related information-sharing systems (GAO, 2007).
This “vision” is what might be of concern. Through programs established within the Pentagon and various agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the federal government is either donating, funding, or otherwise providing a sizeable portion of military-grade gear to local police, which is then employing it for use more frequently to carry out routine police duties.
This may not sound all that bad in itself, but if one really considered the consequences of this simple idea, it would be hard to imagine a more dangerous scenario for the American people.
Many like to argue whether or not this buildup is a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. We could go down that road, and one could also throw in the idea that the National Guard participating in police actions on American soil also violates this act, considering they also fall under the Department of Defense now. The question at this point is, really, “does it matter?” Few civilians know what Posse Comitatus even is, and the fact is that few military or law enforcement know what it says either, so why bother?
We bother because the motivation for the law is clear. Military personnel is trained and equipped to wage war against an enemy. Police are trained to maintain order and keep the peace among their neighbors. Yet, Posse Comitatus has continually been disregarded by the Federal Government, and today we have a police force trained and equipped to wage war against their enemies. We are getting it from all angles.
“On March 10 2009, after a report of an apparent mass murder in Samson, Ala., 22 military police soldiers from Fort Rucker, Ala., along with the provost marshal, were sent to the city of Samson,” according to Harvey Perritt, spokesman for the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) at Fort Monroe, Va., as told to CNSNews.com.
It was sure nice of them to help out by breaking the law! The Army supposedly investigated exactly how and why active-duty troops (not even National Guard) from Fort Rucker came to be placed on the streets of Samson, Ala, especially seeing that neither the Governor nor the President said it was okay to do so. After the fact, the police chief said he asked for help, but would it not have been a good idea to get permission or get some sort of check and balance before allowing regular military forces to get involved? The use of the regular troops is, by all stretch of the imagination, a violation of federal law in this case.
Naysayers will surely retort with the idea that the local PD only had a five-person department or that the help was needed because of the stated mission of traffic control and crime scene preservation. This is irrelevant because you cannot treat laws as a mathematical equation. If it was necessary to get more authorities on the scene, then 1) Why not the National Guard? 2) How about with Governor’s Approval? 3) Why not with neighboring Police Departments? 4) Or the State Troopers? 5) The County Sheriff? 6) Or, better yet, any of the multiple agencies that could have responded without shredding Posse Comitatus once again? The point is simple: US Soldiers are not supposed to perform police actions in the United States.
Let us be perfectly clear: wrongful use of federal troops inside US borders is a violation of several federal laws, but primarily the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, Title 18, Section 1385 of the US Code. I consider this action, along with many other violations, as a calculated measure to test the resolve of the people of the United States and to find out exactly how the people would react to such a blatant disregard for liberty. Of course, many people have been responding to these continual breaches of federal law, and the authorities are responding in kind. Perhaps that is why the domestic police force is now becoming militarized.
On March 11, 2013, Ralph Benko wrote an article in Forbes magazine that illustrated what all Americans should be aware of. He pointed out how the Department of Homeland Security had attempted to purchase 1.6 billion rounds (enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years) and had taken delivery of 2,717 recently retrofitted ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ MaxxPro MRAP vehicles for service on the streets of the United States (Benko, 2013).
Citing a General Service Administration (GSA) request for proposal (RFP), Steve McGough of RadioViceOnline.com reported that the DHS had asked for some 7,000 “select-fire” 5.56x45mm NATO firearms because they are “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters.” The term select-fire means the weapon can be both semi-automatic and automatic (McGough, 2013). Ironically enough, even though these firearms are “suitable for personal defense in close quarters,” the federal government is trying desperately to ban this type of firearm from being used by American citizens.
Tanks, automatic rifles, and enough ammo for a long war? To make this clear, these are weapons of war being used for police action on American soil, keeping in mind that the Department of Homeland Security does not deploy overseas or wage war. Why the domestic buildup of war machines?
Recall Professor Penrose’s statements. Can you begin to see how naïve and unbelievably wrong and dangerous they were? She stated that the main concern of the 18th Century was a standing army and alluded to the idea that the 2nd Amendment might be outdated because of this fact.
What do you call a large body of people who are permanently organized, trained, and equipped for land warfare and are maintained in times of both peace and war?
The previous defines a “Standing Army. “Whatever name they go by is quite irrelevant. Call them the DHS or the National Clown Brigade, but the result is the same. You must beware of ALL those seeking to pervert the foundation and the meaning. Times are not as different as some may lead you to believe. This includes professors of law.
As you can see, the beast is growing, but why?
What is the Threat?
The biggest question asked by most that are paying attention to this buildup is, “Why? Who is the threat?” The short answer to that question is “you.” So why the buildup if it is just you? This is a great question, but undoubtedly, if you were to ask your regular local law enforcement official, they would either deny such a buildup or would be entirely ignorant of the buildup altogether.
In defense of those officers, the general population has to remember that most of these officers were taught in public schools, may or may not have touched on Constitutional law during their studies, and are currently being trained and taught what the federal government would like them to know. Of course, the federal government would like them to believe that anyone who might question and resist their immense power grabs is a potential domestic terror threat.
This is convenient for the federal government, of course, because certain things like the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act spell out fairly significant issues when it comes to those who oppose the “vision” of the federal government, but who are these supposed threats exactly?
In 2009, several lists were distributed among law enforcement agencies detailing what a potential domestic terror threat might look like. These reports included the MIAC Report, the Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment, and the DHS Terrorism Threat Assessment. These were scary and have since been updated and refined due to mass cry out.
The scary part of that whole mess was that they even went as far as to say that military veterans were among terrorist risks to the US (Hudson & Lake, 2009). If you think about it for a minute, you will be forced to recognize that this includes many current and former law enforcement. This is ironic because their reports suggest that current military and law enforcement should be on the lookout for their brothers and sisters in arms. Perhaps we are supposed to consider this an exception to the rule.
In July 2012, a study out of the University of Maryland (funded in part by the Department of Homeland Security) titled “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970-2008″ stated that extremists include “groups that believe that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent,” “believe in the need to be prepared” by taking part in “paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism,” or groups that are “fiercely nationalistic” and “suspicious of centralized federal authority” (Maryland, 2013).
In other words, if you think your rights are being infringed upon (as already clearly demonstrated), you are a part of or support militias or consider yourself to be a “prepper,” or simply love your country and/or freedoms and oppose a big government capable of taking that away, you are a potential domestic terror threat.
This study goes on, of course, but the point you need to come away with is that they are targeting Americans who have a legitimate concern and are in line with Constitutional values. Of course, this study was conducted by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the university which was reported to have received over $12 million from DHS and is listed as one of DHS’s “Centers for Excellence” on the agency’s website. No bias here, I am sure.
This indoctrination of our law enforcement is not just on the national scale, though. In October 2013, I personally attended the FBI Chemical Industry Outreach Workshop. This class was intended to teach law enforcement and security experts about the types of commercial explosives and improvised explosive devices that one could face. The problem was that even in a class such as this, the “terrorist threat” propaganda was spewed into the minds of those eager to learn. These terrorist threats, according to those teaching the class, included “sovereign citizens,” militia members, “lone wolves,” and even survivalists (FBI, 2013).
Similar lists are plentiful and pretty much read the same. Numerous agencies put these lists out, and many train their people accordingly. Remember, the rule of propaganda and indoctrination is to make a simple statement and repeat it often. Is this what we are to expect from modern law enforcement?
The result is an interesting one but oddly points to a bigger picture. The buildup continues. Technology pointed against the people grows bigger. We see less policing per se and more military-style enforcement. We literally see boots on the necks of citizens. We see shutdowns of cities looking for one man while police point fully automatic weapons at the scared citizenry huddled inside their homes. Ultimately, we see further erosion of the Constitution for what THEY deem to be security.
Aside from the fact that law enforcement swore an oath to defend the Constitution, can they be held entirely responsible for their action against the Constitution? Actually, they can and probably will be held for their actions regardless of their ignorance, at least at some point. The Nuremberg Trials illustrated that “superior orders,” often known as the Nuremberg defense, will more than likely not hold up in a court of REAL law. Oddly enough, one sector of law enforcement understands the gravity of what is going on and is proactively trying to inform you while also trying to protect you.
At the time of this entry, over 475 Sheriffs across this great nation have stood up and publicly solidified their vow and oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against any entity (including the President) against Unconstitutional mandates or measures. Of course, roughly 18 State Sheriffs Associations have done the same (CSPOA, 2013). The biggest question you need to ask yourself right now is as follows:
Suppose the ideas presented in this article were wrong and everything was fine. Why would so many sheriffs across this nation be united in standing up to say anything about such possible infringements against the Constitution? If you can rationalize any other answer than a variation of “There is a problem,” then perhaps you should read this article again.
It is hard to speculate why this divide has occurred among law enforcement; a few good guesses might include the idea that the Sheriff is a publicly elected official or that a Sheriff is constitutionally recognized. Or perhaps it has something to do with the laws they are actually tasked with protecting.
If that is the case, the next question has to revolve around the idea of what laws these other agencies enforce. Perhaps a better question might be if all these police in agencies other than the Sheriff’s department swore an oath to defend the Constitution, why will they not stand up to say the same thing?
Perhaps it is because tyranny has already taken hold, and even the enforcers have yet to recognize it. Of course, if they recognize it, we are in much bigger trouble than anyone can begin to fathom.
This article has undoubtedly stirred some emotions, especially for those currently serving in uniform. This is a good thing. Everyone reading this needs to understand right here and right now that the Constitution is NOT a suggestion. It is the law of the land, regardless of whether you like it or not. Any law that is either followed or enforced that infringes upon the Constitution is invalid (according to the Supreme Court). Following or enforcing such laws makes you an enemy of the Constitution. It is, in fact, that simple.
The reality? You are truly free . . . as long as you comply with what THEY want or say. The truth? Those who pass, support, or enforce unconstitutional laws . . . well, that is just tyrannical.