A Government of Wolves: The Emerging Police State In America
By John W Whitehead
Whitehead is a Constitutional Lawyer who sees our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms eroding away in America. Many are oblivious to the fact that America is quickly and quietly sliding from a Democracy to a Police State. His title is taken from Edward R Murrow, who says, “A Nation of Sheep will beget a Government of Wolves.”
Since the 1980s the Police have become more militant here in the United States. The 1033 Government Program has allowed our civil police forces to arm themselves with military weaponry, which was never supposed to happen. Cities across the USA have become too reliant on SWAT teams for everything, including misdemeanors and non-serious felonies. The SWAT teams, which originated in California in the 1960s, were supposed to be called in for only REALLY dangerous or explosive situations. They weren’t supposed to be doing daily drug busts, etc.
Although non-lethal weapons were supposed allow the police to protect without taking lives, they have had potentially more dangerous side effects. The police are more likely to taser non-violent offenders for the tiniest infraction or insolence. They are much more likely to become over zealous with a taser than an actual gun. In fact, police have been known to taser children, pregnant women and the elderly! And the other methods of crowd control border on inhumane torture. Using pepper spray, LEDI or Barf Beamers, Sound Canons, Active Denial Systems that set your skin on fire and tear gas are all pretty awful means of subduing protesters, who often started out acting peacefully enough.
The police have taken to randomly frisking people, violating our bodily integrity that is protected by the 4th Amendment. The scariest loss of privacy is not something we are even aware of on a day to day basis though. The scariest loss of privacy is through surveillance and invasion of our personal technology. Our government is seizing control not through outright violence, but through things like surveillance cameras, biometrics, iris scanners, and facial recognition software and through Mobile Offender Recognition Information Systems.
The TSA was supposed to protect us from possible terror attacks, but it seems as if they have taken to routinely humiliating travelers. Tearing apart random pieces of luggage and patting down innocent people is something that travelers shouldn’t have to be subjected to. And now they are talking about the VIPR or Visible Intermodel Prevention and Response teams to patrol high traffic areas such as malls and stadiums as well.
It is true that the United States of America has not always been perfect. We have annihilated the Native Americans, put the Japanese in internment camps and endured paranoia during the McCarthy era. But none of that comes close to what the Patriot Act did in 2001. Because terrorism has been defined so broadly, it has given the government much more freedom to invade our privacy in the name of security. However, the Patriot Act violates the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and possibly the 13th and 14th Amendments. Now any act of Civil Disobedience can be considered an act of terror, which isn’t right.
The National Defense Authorization Act is not talked about near as much as The Patriot Act, but it is just as damaging. The President can claim marshal law at anytime. He can also hold terrorist suspects for an indefinite amount of time and take away American Citizenship. The NSA keeps extensive records of all the surveillance that has taken place, including many people’s facebook, twitter and Google searches. Phone calls and Bank Records are also accessible to the government without a warrant.
Anyone known as an extremist, malcontent, activist, rule breaker, disrupter of the peace or a misfit is being targeted. People whose only crime is exercising their Constitutional Rights are being harassed, arrested and worse. Brandon Raub’s case is the perfect example of this. Raub is a Vetter who was placed in a VA psych ward because of things he posted on facebook. He merely voiced his dissatisfaction with the way things were being run by the government and boom! He is quickly discredited as crazy and locked away.
And its not just former military that are being treated like criminals. American school children are being arrested at an alarming rate for merely acting childish. Their Zero Tolerance policies have increasingly been used to treat children like prisoners. Some truant students have had to deal with RFID tags, wake up calls and constant monitoring. Obese students have been subjected to having their movements and heart rate monitored as well. Is this really what we want for our future generation?
Marshal McLuhan declared that fiction has a tendency to predict the future by a generation or so. Some of the films and books that have predicted our impending predicament are: Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, THX 1138, Soylant Green, Blade Runner, They Live, The Matrix, Minority Report, V for Vendetta, Children of Men, Land of the Blind and The Hunger Games.
Whitehead ends with reminding us of our rights. It is important to know them or they will all be taken from us. Here is a brief description of The Bill of Rights:
1st Amendment gives us the right to assemble peacefully and to free speech.
2nd Amendment gives us the right to bear arms.
3rd Amendment gives us the right to keep the military from entering our homes without permission.
4th Amendment gives us right to be safe from any unreasonable search and seizure. The police must get a warrant!
5th Amendment gives us the right to remain silent. It states that we are innocent until proven guilty. Not guilty until proven innocent!
6th Amendment gives us the right to a speedy and public trial.
7th Amendment give us the right to a trial by jury.
8th Amendment gives us the right to NOT be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
9th Amendment gives us Popular Sovereignty or the right to choose our government and laws. As Thomas Paine once said, “Law is King.” There is no King over our law.
10th Amendment states that we are a federal government that works on the local, state and national level.
What can we do to prevent the United States from becoming a Police State? Learn your rights and don’t let them be taken away. It may seem overwhelming and you may feel powerless, but remember what Evie said in V is for Vendetta. She said that the Freedom Fighter is and always will be “all of us.”