The Causes of the Police State

I have been screaming about the police state for what seems like years, but have only recently started pondering the reasons for its existence. It has become evident that there has been a fundamental shift in the way that the police and the citizenry of this nation see each other, setting the stage for the creation of a police state in the USA. Even though most of us have been raised to respect the mantle of law enforcement, even law abiding citizens have started fearing the police. What happened? What changed the neighborhood police officer from being part of the community, to being outside of it?

No one with an ounce of sense can say that the police’s role in society is not an important one. Ever since people started gathering in tribes there has been a need for some people to enforce the rules. In days past, these law enforcement officers were valued because the only people that had anything to fear from the police were those who were breaking the law. I believe that this is where things started going wrong during the last 30 years in the United States. Simply put, the way the police have been viewed by the people, and ultimately the way the police have been treating the people, has everything to do with the laws that they are made to enforce. If you look at dictatorships or other tyrannical forms of government, you will see the same level of hatred of law enforcement because the laws they enforce are unjust. In this nation, these unjust laws are tied directly to the War on Drugs and recently the War on Terror.

I’m not saying that the militarization of the police was caused exclusively by the War on Drugs, only that the mistrust of law enforcement stems from the police’s treatment of every single American as a potential criminal. It used to be that criminals stole things or hurt the innocent and that the police protected us from these criminals. Now, the very act of possessing, selling, or ingesting a substance that is labelled illegal has made practically everyone in this country a suspect.

I truly believe that the War on Drugs fundamentally changed the relationship between police officers and the citizenry, but our government was all too happy to widen that gap by providing military style weapons and equipment to our law enforcement officers. Police officers, just like anyone else, are affected by outside stimuli. They know that the people don’t like them or trust them. They know that social media is rife with examples of police officers using excessive force and that those videos are affecting the way the people see and treat them. No one who is treated with distrust will show trust, but now, start dressing those cops like soldiers and see what it does. A man wearing the implements of war will act like he is in a war. They say that the uniform makes the man and if that uniform is an AR-15, a flak vest, and a helmet, that man will act like a soldier.

There can be no doubt that the government fully understands this dynamic. With their ever increasing desire to control the people, the federal government has been actively working on sowing even more discourse between law enforcement and the rest of the country. With the War on Terror and giving law enforcement the responsibility to spot potential terrorist threats has caused even more distrust of citizens by the police. In a sense, our government has intentionally turned law enforcement from a force of good into what is tantamount to a standing army. The government understands that the people can’t be controlled by a force who relates to the people. Our Government knows that the only way that the police will subjugate and oppress the people is if these police officers believe that they are somehow separate from society. Guess what? It’s working.

Organizations like the Oath Keepers understand that law enforcement is a vital part of resisting tyranny. We should all understand that law enforcement shouldn’t be scorned or feared, but brought back into the fold. Even though we live in a police state, many of our law enforcement brothers and sisters are starting to wake up to the reality of what they are being forced to do. We must actively try to show these police officers that we value them, but we must also demand that they obey the oaths they took. I’m not saying to give police officers a bye if they do something wrong or if they deny someone a fundamental liberty, only that we have to understand the context in which they work.

The War on Terror and the War on Drugs have inexorably change the dynamics of law enforcement in the United States. Instead of criminals being the subject of police scrutiny, now everyone is a suspect. This is what we have to change and this is what our government will do anything to uphold. The day is approaching when our government is going to take it one step too far and unless law enforcement understands that their oaths are to us, rather than to the government, we are going to be in a lot of trouble.

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