The events leading up to the shooting death of an 18 year old man in Fergusson by a police officer are under investigation and the “facts” appear to be conflicting. What are not in doubt are the events that transpired after the shooting. Citizens genuinely concerned and outraged wanting a full and impartial investigation rose up in peaceful, legitimate protests, but so did the most criminal elements within our society. It appears that not only was the race baiting, rabble rousers such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton ready to pounce and exploit this shooting, but so were many hoodlums that exploited the protests to rob, loot, and destroy. The media was right on their heels to cover the ratings generating violence and President Obama wasted no time wading into what can only be considered divisive racial politics his track record suggests he favors stoking. However, as prepared citizens, what really should concern us is at least two-fold and goes far beyond the distractive on-going racial narrative from Missouri.
At the most basic personal level, the wanton destruction of property, looting, and robbery is of immediate concern. Mobs of violent criminals, bent on destruction and looting caused millions of dollars in damage. Business was scared off, stores were looted, vehicles were torched, and countless individuals were assaulted. The police, cornered in a no-win situation, due in no small part to inflammatory politics, were paralyzed to act. If they crushed the riot they would increase tensions and be blamed for continued use of heavy handed tactics. If they did nothing, they would be seen as impotent, allowing innocent people to be victimized. However, many businesses and personal property escaped any damage at all. These properties were overtly guarded by armed teams of prepared individuals. Further, safeguarding these properties required neither heavy handed policing nor government intervention, just armed citizens prepared to protect their property.
Here in lies a truth the big government would hope most miss. Bad governance in large part led to the problems in Ferguson. Government also proved wholly inadequate to effectively deal with the problems in a humane and civil way once the problems spiraled out of control. However, it was local citizen actions that proved the most effective. After all, no one cares more about you and your property than you. Considering this, one should quickly realize that in the event of a crisis, the government will not be there to help you. In fact, the government will most likely be divided between exploiting the situation for political gains and protecting its own interests of control and power. This means you will be a victim twice over…once from the mob and or catastrophe and once by the government intervention. To prevent becoming a victim, the simple answer is to be prepared, be organized (with like-minded neighbors and friends), and be armed.
The second and more ominous development was the militarization of our police being paraded in full regalia as they beat, shot, gassed, cussed, arrested, and intimidated innocent citizens, press, and thugs alike. The total lack of discretion displayed by the heavy handed police response was so over the top, it provoked outrage from all sectors of the US. The outrage even precipitated from unlikely, traditionally pro-law enforcement sources such as many Republican representatives on Capitol Hill. Although this transformation has not occurred overnight, the transformation from peace officer to government goon has gone on unabated for almost three decades now. As a result, the police throughout the US have become paramilitary units with extensive weaponry. Further, these paramilitary units are supported by high tech surveillance equipment and in major cities, police departments also have developed Orwellian intelligence collection and analysis units designed and modeled by former CIA and NSA employees. In fact, unbeknownst to the public, and likely in violation of the law, CIA employees are currently employed by and are actively working with local law enforcement to conduct intelligence collection operations against citizens. This support goes beyond intelligence fusion cells and includes far more draconian aspects such as conducting covert style targeting and collection operations against mainly completely innocent citizens in complete violation of the 4th Amendment. When these intelligence activities, tainted by CIA biases for fomenting revolutions and violence overseas, combine with paramilitary police units, it creates a situation where since the capability exists, it must be used and used it is.
The gear and equipment provided to these police departments make it too easy to take a heavy handed approach, which is justified by the grossly overused excuse of “officer safety.” For example, police have drastically increased the number of high risk, “no knock” warrant service over the last two decades. In these raids, police use their full array of SWAT gear, which predisposes officers to an aggressive, shoot first, military mindset that is wholly incompatible with a peaceful, free society. This type of warrant service has been proven to be very dangerous for both police officers and citizens alike. Literally thousands of police officers and citizens have been mistakenly killed, wounded, and/or maimed by these military style raids. However, a close review of many of these warrants reveals that the use of a no knock warrant was unnecessary and other, far less militaristic means of effecting an arrest and search were viable, but not used.
To combat this phenomenon, communities can still have a significant power. First of all, we must work at the local level. Petition local officials and elect sheriffs that protect your civil liberties and rebuke heavy handed police operations. Further, demand that police departments reform their hiring practices and review the current officer profiles. The quality of the officer has nothing to do with whether the officer is white or black or Hispanic and should never be the driving hiring factor as many of the race baiters would lead you to believe. Instead of race, character and experience are paramount. The utmost discretion must be used in selecting the most mature, professional, and experienced officers. Before anyone is hired as an officer, these candidates must be respected public figures with demonstrate outstanding judgment and life experience coupled with an ingrained sense of civil liberties and understanding of the Constitution. This would go a long way to prevent many of the problems related to overzealous police actions before the even occur. We must petition at the federal level as well beginning with forcing your representatives to repeal the aspects of the Defense Department’s 1033 program that provide military weapons and weapons related equipment to police. These items include machine guns, night vision devices, and armored vehicles and have become highly visible since the defacto martial law was declared in Ferguson.
Citizens must push on the legal front for suit to be brought against the government violating 4th Amendment rights through the use of unlawful surveillance and intelligence collection programs. Legal challenges work and are effective. Recently, court decisions have yielded victories for your civil liberties on fronts ranging from preventing unwarranted searches of your cell phones to ending stop and frisk operations. The rulings also include the ending the program of unlawful intelligence collection and surveillance of Muslims in New York City. Further, CIA operatives must be permanently removed from domestic law enforcement. To do this, a great start would be using the Freedom of Information Act to request all government data on the use of military, military intelligence, and intelligence community support to local and state law enforcement agencies. From there, demands should be made at the congressional level to open hearings into the use of CIA operatives domestically and legislation should be crafted to end it.
Finally, all of this can be combatted on the financial front. Vote against any increase to the funding of law enforcement and policing programs. In fact, demand that the departments scale back operations through reduced budgets. Cut taxes at the local, state, and federal levels by defunding law enforcement activities and programs. Simply by following the speed limit and rejecting speed and traffic cameras in your local county, city, or parish would go far to strip local and state funds to law enforcement. Ultimately, most of these paramilitary operations require significant expenditure of funds that without will have to be shut down. As such, stop financing your oppressors.
Sadly, we are today far removed from the times in our country where police were near universally respected and seen as the good guys. We now have young punks with heavy weapons instead of respected men with exceptional experience and judgment being provided authority to strip you of your rights. This authority has begun to default more and more to the use of lethal force to enforce the government’s edicts. There are still good cops and our police do not have to go the way of police in the rest of the world where they are universally viewed as the bad guys. However, we are at a critical juncture where we either allow our police to descend into a modern day gestapo staffed with government thugs or reform our policies and again reestablish peace officers that professionally protect the free state and its citizens.
By Guiles Hendrik
August 26, 2014
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