The Mind of James Donahue

Security at all Cost

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Lawmakers Sing:
America the Police State

Two events recently occurred on state levels that indicate America's willingness to surrender personal freedoms in exchange for protection from so-called terrorists.
The Michigan Legislators, by an almost unanimous vote in both the House and Senate, approved a change in search and seizure laws that gives police the power to search property without having to tell the owner, the occupant or the public why. The change makes search warrants and supporting documents, like affidavits, non-public records.
In Nevada, the State Supreme Court  ruled that police may hide electronic monitoring devices on peoples' cars without a warrant. In an appeals case involving the conviction of a felon following lengthy police surveillance, the court ruled 5-2 that attaching the device to the bumper of the man's car to track his movements did not constitute unreasonable search or seizure under Nevada's Constitution.
I doubt if either the Michigan secret search warrant law, or the Nevada court ruling upholding unwarranted police "bugging" would have been considered before 9-11. That these dynamic moves toward a police state happened at all is a strong indication that the media propaganda machine is working quite efficiently.
The sheeple are traumatized. They are indicating a willingness to give up yet another few feet of personal liberty for some semblance of the life style they enjoyed before September, 2001.
If Joe Sixpack can continue to come home from his job at night, prop his feet up on the coffee table, munch pretzels and watch his favorite sports event on television, he doesn't want to worry about what the police are doing in his town or his neighborhood. After all, he reasons: "I'm not a criminal. Why should I worry about that kind of stuff?"
I suspect our jails and prisons are filled with Joe Sixpacks who thought the same thing before police rammed their front door down. And they were arrested long before 9-11 and the national ravaging of our Constitutional liberties. How can Mr. Sixpack be assured that the police won't come calling in the night?
There are ghostly images here of pre-war Nazi Germany. The late-night rap on the door. The fearful glances. Black booted armed thugs barging their way into the final bastion of American privacy; rummaging through drawers, closets, bedrooms and medicine cabinets. Children cry as adults are led away, still in their pajamas, their wrists bound behind their backs by harsh metal cuffs. For them there awaits the agony of police questioning and jail.
In my years of reporting police news and covering court proceedings, including criminal trials, I have been keenly aware of a peculiar willingness by most people to completely submit to authority, even if that authority figure is doing or saying the wrong thing.
Police, perhaps because of the nature of their work that brings them constantly close to the criminal element, tend to think like criminals. I believe they sometimes find it easy to cross over the line.
The general public, on the other hand, puts too much trust in the police. When listening to conflicting testimony between the defendant and a police officer, a jury will usually always believe the police officer.
The Michigan Legislators, and the Nevada Supreme Court members, also seem to be caught up in this general belief that police officers can always be trusted to do the right thing.
This is a dangerous assumption.

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