Two centuries ago, the Founders feared a strong, centralized federal government would establish a standing army, an irresistible force capable of crushing those rights of individual liberty which had been so carefully and deliberately crafted into the Constitution. Today that fear has been realized.
Its fulfillment came less through the American military than in the increasingly disturbing form of paramilitary units and heavily equipped tactical assault teams, which exist everywhere frm bureaucracies within the federal government to small town police departments.
From 300 a year during the 1970s, Special Weapons Assault Team raids have exploded to more than 50,000 a year over the past decade, the overwhelming majority for the purpose of serving of warrants to non-violent offenders, usually drug-related crimes.
The “War on Drugs,” which provided the original excuse for the nationwide formation of SWAT teams and the use of armored vehicles or paramilitary tactics in small localities, has now evolved into the more menacing “War on Terror.”
But is this a war on drug dealers and terrorists or a war on the American people? Consider a few recent occurrences.
In Waco, Texas, 80 lives were taken by masked SWAT team members driving armored vehicles in what one writer properly called an “ATF publicity stunt gone awry.”
Three years ago, more than 400 children were wrenched from their parents by body armor-wearing assault teams carrying automatic weapons in response to a confidential telephone complaint of abuse — which turned out to be a hoax.
This May, former Marine Jose Guerena was gunned down, shot 22 times in a pre-dawn raid by a Pima County, Arizona, police SWAT team which riddled neighboring homes with stray bullets. The “no-knock” search warrant that permitted the unannounced entry into Guerena’s home led to the discovery and confiscation of no illegal contraband, just the death of an innocent man.
And in Stockton, California, members of a Department of Education SWAT team dragged a helpless, handcuffed father through his front yard and held him in a police car for six hours because his estranged wife – who was no longer living at that address – had allegedly defrauded the department of an unspecified amount of money.
Have we become witnesses to the wholesale intimidation by design of the American public; an abuse of authority that features the use of sheer, overwhelming force to amend any dangerous “anti-government” sentiments of a proud and recalcitrant people who still believe the rights of the individual take precedence over the dictates of the state?
Too often these paramilitary hit squads derive justification for their actions not from an authority born of equity but of power. We’ve heard countless stories of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees harassing women in wheelchairs and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials organizing wide-ranging searches, not in response to any known threat, but simply because they can.
Documents may guarantee rights but body armor, assault vehicles, and automatic weapons eviscerate such paper assurances with devastating ease.
We will only stop despicable and unconstitutional behavior which transcends political party affiliation by making politicians more frightened of voters than they are enamored of power. Tea Parties have made this their goal. All freedom-loving Americans must join the fight.
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This article originally appeared on CoachIsRight.com and is reprinted with permission.