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  • The Insecurity State PDF Print E-mail
    Guest Commentaries
    Written by Jeff Ignatius   
    Thursday, 02 May 2013 05:17

    (Editor’s note: This essay is a response to this commentary.)

    The scene in Boston on April 18 and 19 was awesome.

    By that, I don’t mean it was cool. Rather, the mass law-enforcement action to shut down the city and search for the brothers Tsarnaev was “awesome” in the dictionary sense of “awe”: “dread ... and wonder that is inspired by authority.”

    In his commentary in the May 2 issue of the River Cities’ Reader, John W. Whitehead announces that the situation showed that “the police state has arrived.” Certainly, anybody who’s doubted warnings about the police state should have been struck by the swiftness, scope, coordination, and force of law-enforcement actions those two days following the bombs that exploded at the April 15 Boston Marathon. Even though television viewers didn’t see much beyond reporters breathlessly saying that something was happening, it was readily apparent that the combined resources of federal, state, and local law enforcement are a fearsome instrument that can be unleashed quickly and without regard for rights.

    So if you have the misfortune of seeing your picture above “Suspect Number 1” or “Suspect Number 2” on TV, I hope you did something truly evil, as this is the man- and firepower you’ll face. And if you decline to let police search your home in a scenario similar to what happened in Boston, good luck.

    But this was not a “police state” as most people think of it – a brutal, proactively oppressive regime. It would be more accurate to say that the Boston metro area on April 18 and 19 was a vivid demonstration of our potential for a police state through a single, short-lived, but widespread instance of de facto martial law.

    Yet it was also a visible reminder of a more persistent underlying condition: the security state that has been built steadily in the United States since September 11, 2001. It’s ostensibly designed to prevent terrorist attacks, but it proved last month that it’s much more adept at responding to them.

    Boston showed what our police state could look like. Now we need to decide whether it’s what we want.

    Rights Are Non-Negotiable PDF Print E-mail
    Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
    Wednesday, 01 May 2013 08:44

    I’m beginning to have a modicum of hope for perpetually misinformed Americans. The turning point occurred when, after the attacks on the three World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, then-President George W. Bush’s administration was exposed for its deceptions. Namely that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, and the purported masterminds behind the attack (al-Qaeda) had no ties to, or presence in (prior to the U.S. invasion), Iraq.

    Americans’ trust in our own government suffered irreparable damage once we learned that the so-called evidence that led us into the undeclared war against the Iraqi government forces (which the U.S. previously armed and funded) was manufactured, and part of long legacy of deceptions that have greased the wheels of war since America’s founding.

    NRA Muscle Appears Stronger Than Public Opinion PDF Print E-mail
    Illinois Politics
    Written by Rich Miller   
    Sunday, 28 April 2013 05:39

    A new statewide poll shows a majority of Illinoisans favors concealed carry. But an overwhelming majority in every area of the state also says it’s okay with them if Chicago and Cook County police have additional authority over who gets to carry in their jurisdictions.

    The Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll of 1,284 likely voters found that 52 percent say they approve of allowing concealed carry.

    “Illinois lawmakers are debating proposed laws that would allow some citizens who are properly licensed to carry concealed firearms,” respondents were told. “In general, do you approve or disapprove of allowing licensed citizens to carry loaded, concealed firearms?”

    The poll, taken April 24, found that 46 percent disapprove and just 2 percent were neutral or had no opinion. The poll had a margin of error of 2.7 percent. Twenty-six percent of the numbers called were cell phones.

    “Boston Strong”: Marching in Lockstep with the Police State PDF Print E-mail
    Guest Commentaries
    Written by John W. Whitehead   
    Thursday, 25 April 2013 11:06

    (Editor’s note: A response essay to this commentary can be found here.)

    “Of all the tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” – C.S. Lewis

    Caught up in the televised drama of a military-style manhunt for the suspects in the Boston Marathon explosion, most Americans fail to realize that the world around them has been suddenly and jarringly shifted off its axis, that axis being the U.S. Constitution.

    For those such as myself who have studied emerging police states, the sight of a city placed under martial law leaves us in a growing state of unease. Its citizens were under house arrest (officials used the Orwellian phrase “shelter in place” to describe the mandatory lockdown), military-style helicopters equipped with thermal-imaging devices buzzed the skies, tanks and armored vehicles were on the streets, and snipers perched on rooftops, while thousands of black-garbed police swarmed the streets and SWAT teams carried out house-to-house searches in search of two young and seemingly unlikely bombing suspects.

    Mind you, these are no longer warning signs of a steadily encroaching police state. The police state has arrived.

    Pro- and Anti-Gun Forces Both Suffer Legislative Losses PDF Print E-mail
    Illinois Politics
    Written by Rich Miller   
    Sunday, 21 April 2013 05:57

    During the House floor debate over the National Rifle Association-backed concealed-carry bill last week, I was told by an intimate of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan that the speaker wanted to make sure the bill received no more than 64 votes. Because the bill preempts local-government home-rule powers, the bill required a three-fifths majority of 71 votes to pass.

    The anti-gun forces had been demoralized the day before when their highly restrictive concealed-carry proposal received just 31 votes, so Madigan wanted to do the same to the NRA, I was told. The idea, the source said, was to show both sides that they couldn’t pass their bills on their own and that they needed to get themselves to the bargaining table and work something out.

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