A paramilitary team operated by North Carolina’s Wilson County Sheriff’s Office recently executed what was described as a “high risk search warrant” on a narcotics suspect. The members of the “Emergency Response Team,” clad in black armor, bucket helmets, and balaclavas, found what “nearly a pound of marijuana” – which could be the yield from a single healthy plant – and a single handgun. A photograph taken by an embedded correspondent for the Wilson Times newspaper showed two of the masked SWAT operators in full military regalia. One of them bore, ‘mid snow and ice, a tactical shield inscribed with a strange device – “Defender.” To those not of an Orwellian cast of mind, it’s not clear what or whom the stormtroopers were defending. Peace officers don’t dress that way, nor do they conduct military-style raids to arrest people suspected of non-violent offenses. Perhaps most importantly, peace officers don’t wear masks to hide their identity from the people they are supposedly protecting. Many of the federal operatives who carried out the 1992 siege against the Randy Weaver family at Ruby Ridge, Idaho were cloaked in ski masks. The same was true of the berserkers from the combined FBI-Delta Force death squad that annihilated the Branch Davidians at Mt. Carmel the following April. The federal marshals sent to “liberate” Elian Gonzalez from his Miami relatives in 2000 wore military helmets and goggles during the actual raid, but insisted on being masked during the post-raid press conference. During immigration enforcement sweeps carried out by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the deputies acting on behalf of the Mussolini of Maricopa County will often wear balaclavas as they drag people out of cars or away from fast-food restaurants. In one particularly memorable incident, a mother was stopped for a traffic violation and seized from her car at gunpoint by goons in ski masks while her children shrieked in terror. Beginning in the late 1990s, masked and heavily-armed SWAT operatives with Fresno, California’s “Violent Crime Suppression Unit” (VCSU) would patrol targeted neighborhoods seven nights a week. Rather than investigating crimes and arresting suspects, the VCSU conducted what the military calls “contact patrols” – that is, they prowl “like a wolf pack” (to use the department’s description) and see what trouble they could stir up. “`Contacts’ generally involve swooping onto street corners, forcing pedestrians to the ground, searching them, running warrant checks, taking photos, and entering all the new `intelligence’ into a state database from computer terminals in each patrol car,” recalled crime reporter Christian Parenti in his book Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis. Every neighborhood was considered a “war zone,” and all of the inhabitants therein were treated as “enemy combatants.” “If you’re 21, male, living in one of these neighborhoods, and you’re not in our computer, then there’s definitely something wrong,” insisted VCSU officer Paul Boyer. This isn’t because such people are unjustly abused innocent people, but rather particularly devious “enemy combatants” who had somehow escaped the dragnet. CONTINUE . . . Militarized Police: The Standing Army the Founders Warned About Cops storm a house wearing masks covering their faces, dressed in military special forces-style black uniforms and battle helmets. They bust down the door using a battering ram, then rush the occupants, seizing and breaking one camera and preventing another from recording the remarkable scene. What was the heinous and violent crime of which the intended target of the raid was charged? Murder? Rape? Credit card fraud. This is the incredible, incomprehensible story told by Radley Balko in an op-ed published February 4 in the Washington Post. Balko includes a video of the incident and the aftermath in his story. If you are concerned about the militarization of American law enforcement, watch this video and pass it around. Regarding the police department’s response, Balko explains: Finally, note that police department officials say they “do not have a written policy governing how search warrants are executed.” That’s inexcusable. Most police departments do. But whether or not they’re governed by a formal policy, the use of these kinds of tactics for nonviolent crimes like credit card fraud is hardly unusual, and it’s happening more often, not less. I’ve reported on jurisdictions where all felony search warrants are now served with a SWAT team. At least one federal appeals court has now ruled that under the Fourth Amendment, there’s nothing unreasonable about using a SWAT team to perform regulatory inspections. To be fair, two others have ruled that such tactics are not reasonable. But it’s concerning that this would even be up for debate. We have plenty of discussion and analysis about when searches are appropriate. We also need to start talking about how. Steadily and speedily, the force of the militarized police is denying citizens the protections of fundamental civil liberties afforded us by the Bill of Rights. While there remain legions of law enforcement officers devoted to protecting and serving their fellow citizens, the federal government’s proffer of powerful, free or almost free, weapons, vehicles, gear, and tactical training is making the allure of becoming an unofficial branch of the armed forces irresistible. To his credit, Balko turns to the experience of our Founding Fathers with armed and aggressive enforcers of “the law” to inform our own understanding of the rising threat of a militarized police. As Public Affairs Books, the publisher of Balko's Rise of the Warrior Cop book, explains: The American approach to law enforcement was forged by the experience of revolution. Emerging as they did from the shadow of British rule, the country's founders would likely have viewed police, as they exist today, as a standing army, and therefore a threat to liberty. Even so, excessive force and disregard for the Bill of Rights have become epidemic in today's world. According to civil liberties reporter Radley Balko, these are all symptoms of a generation-long shift to increasingly aggressive, militaristic, and arguably unconstitutional policing—one that would have shocked the conscience of America's founders. During the Virginia ratifying convention, James Madison described a standing army as the “greatest mischief that can happen.” His colleague and fellow delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, George Mason put a finer point on it: No man has a greater regard for the military gentlemen than I have. I admire their intrepidity, perseverance, and valor. But when once a standing army is established in any country, the people lose their liberty. When, against a regular and disciplined army, yeomanry are the only defence [sic], — yeomanry, unskilful and unarmed, — what chance is there for preserving freedom? Give me leave to recur to the page of history, to warn you of your present danger. Recollect the history of most nations of the world. What havoc, desolation, and destruction, have been perpetrated by standing armies! In The Federalist, No. 29, Alexander Hamilton echoes not only Mason’s warning against a standing army, but his solution to the threat, as well. CONTINUE . . . Don't be surprised if the Baptist Board big government statist posse bullies show up to tell you this thread is "anti government" and over the top "histrionics". They all want you to accept your slavery like the good little sheople they have become. Don't be upset because your government has turned into a soviet style police state where everyone is guilty until proven innocent. Don't look at what's happening. Don't be angry. Don't be outraged. Lay down and be agreeable. Accept it or be labeled "anti government" or some other name the establishment calls anyone that rejects their pro slavery propaganda. Expect big idiotic images from the infamous BB insulter and to hear how crazy it is to be against this type of un-American tyranny. To them this is what America should be. A nice safe totalitarian police state. Stop being silent. Grow a backbone and speak up people and tell the Baptist Board big government statist posse to kiss off. This is our country but it isn't our government anymore. If they want to live like slaves in an illegitimate totalitarian system fine tell them move to China or North Korea where they'll be more comfortable. They want you to be happy little sheople like them and quietly accept every new tyranny like they do. Wake up and speak out or stay silent and accept your enslavement. All these BB big government statists can do is call you names and make fun of you. Big deal. That's the only weapon against reality and the truth they have. I'd rather be called names and live free in my own country than stay silent and live like a slave in a country I can't even recognize anymore. Speak up already before it's to late. Go along to get along like they do or speak up and help wake others up to the militarized police state we're living in. Live free or live like a slave. It's up to you.