The Rising Police State in the U.S.

Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book!

How would you feel if a SWAT team with guns drawn busted down your front door and entered your living room because they were suspecting you were playing poker for money? That’s exactly what seems to be happening all over the country right now, because, after all, playing poker is illegal gambling. People are getting killed in Virginia for playing poker in their living rooms for $20 buy-ins. This in a state that has spent $20 million last year advertising its own state lottery. This in a country where you can gamble to your heart’s content in Las Vegas or Atlantic City anytime, or for that matter on many a riverboat and on seemingly every Indian reservation. This is raging institutional hypocrisy, and it sets a cultural foundation for a police state. Overzealous law enforcement, once it decides to target you, does not take any chances. If you get killed in the process, it’s called collateral damage.

“Crimes” like marijuana possession, small-time gambling and betting on games, underage drinking, even traffic violations attract sometimes brutal organized police action.

This article in SALON outlines dozens, hundreds of examples that makes the hair in the back of your neck stand up.

Coupled with what’s going on at the federal level with the spying of the NSA on its citizens, this is a frightening development that makes me think twice about the health of our democracy and – most importantly – the way our Constitution is upheld to protect the little man – me.

3 thoughts on “The Rising Police State in the U.S.

  1. I have read about a case in which a person was sentenced to life in prison (under so-called three-strikes-laws) for stealing of stuff with a total value of no more than a few hundred dollars. And the SCOTUS did not find that this law violated the 8th amendment.

  2. Mary Barnes

    In 1974, shortly after I was elected to the state senate, a very smart man asked me to remember that every law I passed, no matter how insignificant, had the power of a gun behind it. “Suppose you get a parking ticket you disagree with. You resist by refusing to pay it and ignoring every warning they send you. Eventually, they will come to arrest you. You continue to resist by refusing to go. They will use force. As you continue to resist, their level of force will increase. Ultimately, as the resistance and force escalate, they can kill you. And it will be legal. Remember that, every time you cast a vote.” That’s probably why I held (and likely still hold) the record for the most “No” votes in a single session of the Oklahoma State Senate.
    Remember the movie “Hud”? The guy’s initial offense was cutting the tops off of parking meters. He was eventually killed for it.

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