As Thomas Jefferson wisely stated; “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” Since the attacks of 9/11, our Federal government’s actions has demonstrated the accuracy of Jefferson’s statement. Along with the creation of new government bureaucracies, supposedly to “combat terrorism”, the Feds have engaged in a slow, but steady, militarization of many Federal agencies.
It might come as a surprise to many Americans, as Fox News recently reported, these Federal agencies employ around 120,000 full-time officers authorized to carry guns and make arrests. There have been numerous abuses of power by armed Federal agencies in recent years, including thuggish tactics employed by the Bureau of Land Management, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Federal Government appears to be making good on Obama’s promise to create a military style “civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, and just as well-funded”. In addition, DoD Directive 3025.18 gives Obama, as well as future presidents, the ability use the military against American citizens.
“Federal military forces shall not be used to quell civil disturbances unless specifically authorized by the president in accordance with applicable law or permitted under emergency authority,” the directive states.
“Federal action, including the use of federal military forces, is authorized when necessary to protect the federal property or functions.”
State and local police forces have become increasingly militarized and authoritarian. In the early 1980s, there were approximately 3000 SWAT team raids per year. Currently, there are 80,000 SWAT team raids each year. That’s a 2700% increase in the number of times SWAT teams are deployed, when in most cases, a few police officers could simply knock on a door and serve a warrant.
“No Knock” warrants are rapidly gaining favor with police departments around the nation, resulting in “shoot first and ask questions later” law enforcement. These aggressive tactics have been a miserable failure, causing the unnecessary deaths of innocent civilians and police officers alike. However, missteps and unnecessary deaths aren’t slowing down the government’s militarization agenda, or the massive surveillance infrastructure being created.
Where and how does this all end? Many would argue that it’s too late, claiming our government is too large and our citizenry too distracted and uninformed to force a reversal in an increasingly authoritarian surveillance state. Perhaps Thomas Jefferson was correct. We can only hope that another of his quotes will ring as true.
“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson