Question of the Day: Is America Becoming A Police State?

Police state? (courtesy usactionnews.com)

“As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the Constitution has been on life support for some time now,” John Whitehead writes, cheerfully enough. “We can pretend that the Constitution, which was written to hold the government accountable, is still our governing document. However, the reality we must come to terms with is that in the America we live in today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.” In terms of gun rights . . .

While gun ownership has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court as an individual citizen right, Americans remain powerless to defend themselves against government agents armed to the teeth with military weapons. Police shootings of unarmed citizens continue to outrage communities, while little is being done to demilitarize law enforcement agencies better suited to the battlefield.

Police militarization aside, gun rights are ascendant in some states (e.g., Missouri), non-existent in others (Hawaii). So, Armed Intelligentsia, does that banner yet wave (o’er the Land of the Free)? Looking ahead, are we headed for a police state or what? [h/t brsrch]

comments

  1. avatar Jim R says:

    Becoming?

    1. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

      Dang! You beat me to it.

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        +1

        It depends on what the definition of “is” is.

        Don’t let the “is”/ISIS/OR Isz get you.

    2. avatar Gene says:

      VCDL received documemts indicating a Sheriff was trying to get Target to ban firearms during a public event.
      VCDL hosted te information at http://tinyurl.com/kja7u9r

      1. avatar JimmyDelta says:

        Not quite, Gene. VCDL *did* obtain and share documents showing that the Stafford County Sheriff *did* persuade the local Target to deny lawful carry for one evening and that the sheriff *did* then blame Target for the ban.

        https://vcdl.org/sites/default/files/Stafford_Sheriff_FOIA.pdf

        $100 in VCDL’s hands does more for gun rights than $100,000 of Bloomberg’s does to destroy them.

        1. avatar Gene says:

          You’re correct, Jimmy. This was going with a quick read in the alert they sent out. In fact, the URL was copied/pasted from that alert.

          What the Sheriff did was unconscionable.

    3. avatar B says:

      Its funny, we have a giant no bill of rights zone ringing the country, yet we got 70k illegals getting across no sweat. Its almost like all those check points aren’t meant for illegals, huh?

    4. avatar John in Ohio says:

      My thought was the same when reading the title. We’re already fvcked. Now, it’s just a matter of degree.

  2. It already is. It is just getting worse.

    “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    Ben Franklin

  3. avatar Mediocrates says:

    having the Federal government decide if its actions are Constitutional is like handing a teenager the rules and telling them to come get you when they break them….

    1. avatar John Thomas says:

      you are an unstoppable apt analogy machine.

      1. avatar Mediocrates says:

        and you are the queen of useless witticisms.

  4. avatar SelousX says:

    No, not yet. When you hear of our American version of “los desaparecidos”, then you’ll know it’s here. Have your papers ready.

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      If/When we have to have Night of the Long Knives 2.0 then I’ll worry if my papers are in order.

      1. avatar Grindstone says:

        Probably before Kristallnacht 2.0, with Muslims instead of Jews this time.

  5. avatar Scrubula says:

    We can turn it around. First step, get the DOJ out of the police forces. The military equipment is on lease to the stations, meaning they are reliant on federal bureaucracy to keep their equipment. The police forces are supposed to be under state control, not federal.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Printz_v._United_States#The_structure_of_the_Constitution)

    1. avatar ArtM says:

      Turn it around? Only in your dreams. There are too many vested interests to ever turn it around.

        1. avatar John Galt says:

          We can turn it around.

          But it requires getting involved (especially locally), not sitting on the sidelines.

      1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        You’re right about there being vested interests.

        Want to see an anti-2A tantrum that Shannon, Bloomie, DiWi et.al. could only dream of throwing? Go tell an FFL that you’re running on a platform to repeal the Gun Control Act of 1968, so that parties can sell across state lines without an FFL, or even buy directly from manufacturers without an FFL. Tell a class 3 dealer (and anyone who owns a stamped item) that you’re repealing the NFA.

        These erstwhile molon labers would howl like a stuck pig to preserve those infringements. Man, I’d love to hear FC’s gaskets all blow at the same time if such were to happen.

        It’s all about bucks. Everything else is just conversation, and Internet posts.

        1. avatar Dale Smith says:

          Yep. Lots of backpedaling by hardcore “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!!” folks if that was proposed.

        2. avatar Grindstone says:

          Makes sense. Local liquor stores here support the ban on liquor sales in supermarkets as it would increase competition.

        3. avatar John in Ohio says:

          +1, Jonathan – Houston.

    2. avatar ShaunL. says:

      It may not be too late if the next few generations continue to decline like the last couple seem to have. They’ll have trouble hiring anyone to carry that much gear or drive an MRAP that isn’t a hybrid.

  6. avatar Frank Masotti says:

    Well there are 2 options to handle this situation. Abolish and start over, if the government doesn’t allow us to do it peaceable, then well,,,,,,,,

    1. avatar Chadwick P says:

      About that other option… Hmm I would have to say peace is always the best option. I prefer peace through superior firepower so maybe peace isn’t the first step.

    2. avatar justAMan says:

      I think we are too big to start over. Starting a country when there are thousands or low millions is one thing. Try to do it when you have 300million is totally different. Especially when you still have fringe groups that would love to see several races eliminated from America.

      1. avatar JasonMfromSoDakota says:

        No we are not and please do not buy into that we are to big to fail BS, when you are just making excuses to not to fight the righteous fight. You are correct about the fact that any war on American soil will be another civil war. The wanna be patriots talk a big game about revolution and fighting the government but never truthful about the fact the war would be racially and religiously based. Thankfully though most of the treasonous scum in America lives in unarmed(they may have guns but no clue to properly use, sideways is not accurate shooting) urban areas and of course D.C. The remnants after fighting would be the bloodiest and highest body count war in human history. One bonus would be that after seeing what pissed off true red- blooded Americans would do to their domestic enemies no foreign ones would speak out ever again.

        1. avatar JasonMfromSoDakota says:

          Here’s how:
          Pull all American troops back to America
          Secure the border and make it like the DMZ
          Cut off all foreign aid except to Israel(Holy land for we Christians)
          Any lesser country that wants American help will have to pay for us to play
          Abolish the U.N
          Streamline the government and reduce redundancy-billions saved
          Term Limits
          Any of the folks that have prospered hurting America will pay first with their checkbooks and then become load bearing branch ornaments
          Patriotism and assimilation required if we allow immigrants
          Reshore all of our manufacturing back into America
          We were the best nation now we are just a big one, but we can be Exceptional again if we choose

  7. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    This saddens me, and then I get angry.
    Another reason to live in small communities.

    1. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

      Uhmmm….
      Aren’t some of the towns that have received surplus military equipment relatively small?

      1. avatar John Galt says:

        Yes. Quite small in fact.

        Take Keene, New Hampshire, for example.

        Population: 22,563

        Armored BearCat: 1

        John Oliver says Keene, N.H., officials wanted armored vehicle to thwart terrorism at pumpkin fest
        http://www.politifact.com/new-hampshire/statements/2014/aug/20/john-oliver/right-there-application/

        1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

          Those damned pumpkin terrorists!

        2. avatar John in Ohio says:

          @2hotel9: Those cops need that equipment to squash any trouble.

        3. avatar 2hotel9 says:

          OK! Lets not get the whole squash/melon flame war going. 😉

  8. avatar jwm says:

    It really doesn’t matter what opinions the few POTG who care to comment on TTAG have about whether or not we’re becoming a police state. So long as the soccer moms and the rest of America are comfortable, well fed and able to access their electronic entertainment no real challenge to a police state will emerge.

    1. avatar cogline says:

      +1. The government is the people and too many of them are fine with the way it is going for it to change.

    2. avatar notalima says:

      “So long as the soccer moms and the rest of America are comfortable, well fed and able to access their electronic entertainment no real challenge to a police state will emerge.”

      To paraphrase:

      “Fat, dumb, and happy”

      or

      “panem et circenses”

      The more things change, the more they…

    3. avatar JasonMfromSoDakota says:

      @jwm- That is the definition of tyranny of the majority and it is only possible by willfully conforming to someone else’s ideals, instead of resisting by determining your own fate. POTG are a minority of the population but most of us are fully self-aware and still can’t or don’t want to acknowledge what transformation our country is undertaking.(pun intended)

  9. avatar Mack Bolan says:

    We are in the winter of our discontent, the question is when will summer arrive and what will that look like.

    1. avatar Xanderbach says:

      Hopefully glorious, what with the rise of the sons of York and all. Or is that the wrong country?

  10. avatar Shire-man says:

    The feds are spying on my every move and reading my grandmas email. The cops can stop me and harass me 24/7 for doing nothing whatsoever. If I am killed by an agent of the state in front of hundreds of witnesses nothing will ever come of it. The state counts the votes I cast. The state leases my property to me and can take it whenever the state wants to. The state can lock me up for recording the states own actions. The state has several methods at its disposal to drain me of my wealth and monopolize my time with endless bureaucracy.

    Sure, it’s a police state. Worse even. It’s a psychotic child who does anything it wants to and answers to no one.

    1. avatar Xanderbach says:

      I always figured it would be more “East German Stazi” and less “trudging to our inevitable death by exhaustion or boredom”, but either way is bad.

  11. avatar Another Robert says:

    Sorry, but it’s the thing that stuck with me: I figured we were lost when the State decided it was its proper function to tell people who they had to bake cakes for. When I first read it I looked out the glass front of my business and saw some birds flying by, and I thought, birds are made to be free, but evidently humans are not. It’s less advanced in some locations, but the ever-grow State marches on largely unimpeded.

  12. avatar johnb says:

    As long as I’ve been a working adult, its been visible….and the progressive march continues in that direction more and more. The state is intent on preserving itself at all costs….it has long since forgotten it was a servant of the people.

  13. avatar RetroG says:

    If we aren’t already in a police state, we are so close as to not make a difference.

  14. avatar former water walker says:

    Yep. Still better than most of the world. It’s not paranoia if it’s TRUE…

  15. avatar That Guy says:

    Mr. Whitehead seems to fall to the error (as do many journalists) that ‘unarmed’ means ‘using a gun is automatically unjustifiable’ which is, at the very least, rather ignorant of the laws and concepts involved.

    1. avatar John Galt says:

      The problem is that we have some trigger-happy cops who can’t wait to draw their weapon rather than use other means (their brain) to deescalate a situation.

      Between bad cops who are sociopathic and good cops who being trained like they’re in “The Sandbox,” there’s a significant issue in this country with the overuse of lethal force.

  16. avatar Ralph says:

    The land of the free and the home of the brave? You gotta be fvcking kidding me. This is the land of the controlled and the home of the pacified.

  17. avatar John M. says:

    “We can pretend that the Constitution, which was written to hold the government accountable, is still our governing document. However, the reality we must come to terms with is that in the America we live in today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.” (Whitehead)

    Who, exactly, would stop a government from doing whatever it wants? Wouldn’t we call that person or group of people “the government” if they did?

    1. avatar A-Rod says:

      I cannot help but think that if it comes to it that sides are picked in the ‘Us’ vs. ‘The Government’ that a lot of city police dept., county sheriff’s dept., some state police agencies and lots of other such “government” agencies are not going to side with the Federal Government. Not to mention the employees within the federal agencies that decide to grab what gear they can on the way to join up in the People’s Army. We should hope that the best outcome would be for enough people in the federal army to leave that it cannot support itself. As for those people who decide to side within the Federal Army and are willing to fight their fellow Americans, well… heaven help us.

  18. avatar Kyle says:

    We are not a police state. We have a problem with an overly militaristic police forces and with government spying, but we are not a true police state. In a true police state, any criticisms of the president would get you thrown into prison pretty quickly. The term “police state” is IMO becoming way overused, to the point that no one will pay attention for if/when a real police state arrives.

    When were Humvees driving through Boston? Was that when the Boston Marathon attacks happened?

    1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Americans toss around terms like “police state” and “revolution” with the insouciance of a people whose living population has never had to endure the real thing.

      1. avatar John Galt says:

        I guess none of the people noted on the following site had to ever worry about a Police State, until they did:

        http://www.policestateusa.com/

        Nothing to see here folks, move along.

    2. avatar B says:

      So reporters being arrested and raided after criticizing Obama not a big enough flag for you?

      1. avatar James R says:

        To what incident are you referring? I must have missed that one

        1. avatar Dale Smith says:

          Dinesh D’Souza comes to mind. Make a critical movie of Obama that gets wide circulation, get charged with a felony.

        2. avatar Kyle says:

          Abuse of power, yes, but police state, no. When Sean Hannity gets taken away in chains and thrown in prison and Fox News shut down, that will be a full-on police state. The government engaging in various abuses of power beyond what is normal (as it always is to some degree abusing its power), does not mean a tyranny or a police state.

        3. avatar karlb says:

          If D’Souza does not want to be arrested (and he did pleade guilt to the charge), he should not commit the crime. D’Souza truly believes he is above the law and above reproach. Please, note his being asked to leave his position at King’s College because of his affair with a married woman. Sorry, the real crime is hubris, as that has nothing to do with a movie about Obama.

  19. avatar BZA says:

    We have been a police state for the better part of 20 years, but it has never been more evident than in the last 6 years. To our current government and to all it’s supporters the Constitution is an outdated and not relevant in today’s “more advanced” society. This could not be farther from the truth. The Constitution applies more now than it did when it written and adopted. Never before has our freedom been under attack to the extent that it is now.

    Remember what the Declaration of Independence says: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

  20. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    We are pretty far down the road to being a police state….some places are much worse than others. We are doing relatively ok here in Georgia, but the folks surviving in the fascist occupied zones in the Northeast should make sure they have their papers in order for the checkpoints that will be opened up soon. How else can they inspect for contraband smuggled in from the free states.

  21. avatar miforest says:

    Yes! we are. we are fortunate that the vast majority of the police and powers are good and decent people and they do not use their power abusively.. That said they absolutely will not “police their ranks” . If you run into a bad one , he/she can do whatever they want to you up to and including kill you, without concern for consequences.

    We live in a textbook case of anarcho-tyranny. the government is incompetent in enforcing its major laws on the criminals. examples abound, illegal immigration, wall street corruption, insider trading, market manipulation all go on openly and without fear of prosecution. but let your grass get too long in a suburb ad you will be hounded with a civil violation and the city will fine you, and if you persist, arrest you.

    look at the mess with Ebola, good job state department and FDA, letting it get here. look at the secret service, once a model of efficiency and competence. now they can’t stop a fence jumper with a knife.
    but let your 7 yr old point his finger like a gun at school and the local beauracy springs into action.

    The media covers it all up by limitng stories to the banal and scripted.

    I don’t have any answers, but the constition is a joke now.

  22. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Asset forfeiture, sue and settle collusion, privacy invasion, 80,000+ no-knock home invasions, gun-control, SWAT team proliferation in government agencies, Smart-planning aimed at stealthy Agenda 21 institutionalization at local government levels . . . Just connect the dots.

  23. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    When the populace decided to elect a person raised in the third world, with a third world mentality, to be the chief executive of the US government, they were voting for a third world government.

    Third world governments are characterized by insider dealing, corrupt law enforcement, arbitrary and capricious use of deadly force, jobs handed out as sinecures and payoffs, etc. No one is accountable for failure, administrative policy and armed force are used for personal retribution.

    The differences between the Obama administration and that of, oh, Robert Mugabe, are only of degree and extent, not of epistemology.

    Now that the Obama administration has allowed a third world epidemic in our front door (ebola in Texas), even panty-wetting liberals like Chris Matthews are finally waking up and realizing that the third world is now on their doorstep, thanks to their irrational faith in the third world man they elected to the most important office in the land.

    I’ll say it again: Western secular democracy and equality of protection under a rule of law are inventions of white protestant males.

    Everyone else is just pretending to understand how it works – and failing.

    1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      +10000!

    2. avatar Tommy Hobbes says:

      We owe Calvinism Big Time for Liberty, division of powers. and representative government. This of course ties in with the Liberalism of John Locke, which is the foundation of American Republicanism. How fortunate we are to have this; how sad it is to see it diminish in front of our eyes.
      Breaks my heart to see the erosion of what once was “the world’s last best hope.”

  24. avatar Ing says:

    Yes. Yes, it is.

  25. avatar GS650G says:

    Disarmament isn’t likely so Uncle Sam is getting ahead of the citizenry.

  26. avatar Milsurp Collector says:

    The Scheiße truly hit the fan when the current administration was handed the powers created by George W. The fact that they were expanded is only a symptom. The real problem is that being staunch leftists, Obama and Co. turned the gun on the American people because if there’s one thing the left has proven it has just plain LOVED to do since the 60’s, it’s committing national suicide.
    This was caused by a poisonous blend of cultural masochism, the hijacking of every popular activist group (civil, women’s, gay rights, etc) by Marxist demagogues, and the subsequent proliferation of the belief that the will of the state supersedes all, which is being taught to students of all ages today as a valid replacement to the “outdated” Constitution and Bill of Rights . This is all done in the name of “progress,” even if said progress destroys your own country and populace outright because to the left, everything and everyone is expendable if it is done in the name of “progress,” including themselves. Sure some Republicans have done plenty to fvck up this country, but I have yet to meet one who follows this gospel of self-hatred like countless self-professed Democrats I know with such a vile, hive-mind mentality.
    Yes, the us vs. them game has been severely ramped up in the past six years. However, I believe that if nothing is done to stop it and this country is truly going to have the laws of Stalin’s USSR in the ’30’s with the iron-fist enforcement to boot (think mass graves of dissenters, gulags in Alaska, etc), it will be once the pre-9/11 kids like myself die of old age. Ideology and upbringing do play a significant part, but if I’m in my nineties and everyone younger than me doesn’t know what it’s like to go the airport without being groped by blue-shirted monkies, or to not see pictures of SWAT teams being used to carry out the most basic of warrants, then we’re royally done for.

  27. avatar Reloader2 says:

    Here in the purple part of California, we might get by if we can hold on to our constitutional Sheriff.
    Only eight handguns from the Feds in the last eight years.

  28. avatar Strong-Oak says:

    Sure. A police state where you can freely own a suppressor. Really, anyone that thinks this needs to travel a little. And I don’t mean to another state. Try Canada, where they’re about to ban ghillie suits. That should be close enough. This nation was set up to allow States freedom for the residents to decide what is and isn’t acceptable. I don’t care what Assedoucheshits does, just like they don’t care about South Carolina. Want guns? Move to Georgia. Wanna marry another man? Move to California. It’s really that simple. Funny I hear about all these laws and police conspiring against gun owners in other states, but here the local sheriff complimented my Chiappa Rhino that I was open carrying in a big box store where I met him. It’s all about where you live. It sucks to be the minority, but people who think we live in North Korea have never been on the DMZ and looked across to the other side.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      This nation was set up to ALLOW States freedom for the residents to decide what is and isn’t acceptable.

      Power is inherent in the People. The People ALLOW the government defined, limited privilege. Your statement is grossly incorrect and its this mindset at the roots of our present dilemma. Our government doesn’t have a single legitimate shred of authority without the consent of those governed. Because of this, our country cannot be compared exactly with any other nation on the planet. Any government abuse of power is, by definition, tyranny under our model of government.

  29. avatar 2hotel9 says:

    Government “employees” do not fear the people, therefore they will do what they wish to the people. Its just that simple.

  30. avatar John Galt says:

    Not according to a police officer I spoke with about it.

    When I raised my concern and provided examples, he said “Pshaw, compared to some countries, we’ve got a long way to go before we’d be a police state.”

    So, I guess as long as we’re not in the same league as China everything is totally cool.

    Whew, and there I was needlessly worrying about:

    * blanket surveillance
    * police shooting dogs
    * flash-bang grenades maiming infants
    * towns with tanks
    * Stingrays
    * no-knock raids
    * stop-and-frisk
    * detentions and arrests for filming police
    * asset forfeiture without trial
    * victimless crimes
    * being arrested solely for “resisting arrest”
    * zero tolerance schools
    * arrests for letting children play outside
    * shooting homeless people
    * shooting the mentally ill
    * tickets for tall lawns
    * cities shutting down lemonade stands

    I could go on with a list of my former worries.

    But, instead I’ll just take some Soma and put on Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      If some self-styled “intellectuals” like Thomas Friedman (scribbler for the NY Times) had their way, we’d be exactly like China.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email