America’s slow creep towards becoming a police state

Steven Greenhut has a pretty good article at Reason.com titled “Are we sliding towards a police state?,” which focuses on the militarization of our police forces.  I tell people on a regular basis, do not call the police unless you absolutely have to – you never know what they are going to do when they get there.  You could be arrested, someone in your family could be shot and killed, your family pet could be killed, anything could happen and it might not be what you expect.

I have seen cases where the police were called and the family dog was unnecessarily shot and killed, and you see it in the news and the blogosphere on a regular basis.  I have had many people tell me locally that Horry County Police officers have told them that if they are called for domestic violence, that they must arrest someone.  I had one case where the officer offered a married couple the choice of who went to jail.  I am handling a case now where a police officer responded to a call about a mentally disturbed individual and the officer shot and killed an unarmed, mentally ill person within minutes of arriving on the scene.

The topic seemed to be a trend in the blogosphere recently – blogging about it may do nothing to stop it, but we need to recognize what is happening:

Mark Bennett has been chronicling Houston Metro’s joint operation with TSA agents to violate the rights of public transportation passengers, and their dishonesty in responding to criticism and questions.  It appears that Houston METRO, in conjunction with the federal government, conducted random bag searches that targeted black passengers, to prevent terrorism, but predictably netted some minor drug and prostitution related offenses, and then lied on the METRO blog about the results.

Sacramento, Calif. police cannot find any leads in the murder of an eighth grade student, so they take DNA samples from the middle school’s students without parental consent or notification.  H/T Balko and Greenfield.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was already under investigation for his long reign of human rights violations, brags about how he arrests people (immigrants) for the heck of it.  The same Sheriff Arpaio whose former accomplice/ county attorney was just disbarred for ethics violations.

Maybe we’re not slipping into a police state – maybe that is just alarmist talk.  Maybe the Constitution is alive and well, and will be preserved by our local governments, our local courts, our federal courts, and the Justices on our United States Supreme Court.  But, we need to talk about the blatant disregard for the Constitution that keeps cropping up around the country.  We need to talk about how our police forces are becoming increasingly militarized.

We need to exercise our Constitutional rights before we lose them.  We need to understand that in order to have those rights and protections ourselves, we first have to give them to the worst of those in our society.  We need to wake up and not act surprised if one day we find ourselves living in a police state with none of the rights that our country’s founders tried to preserve for us.

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