Cross Posted at The Progressive Zionist

Throughout history we have seen this before. Mostly it is associated with this (picture grabbed from Facebook):

And it's here in Arkansas....
Paragould police have canceled the remaining two town hall meetings that had been planned to discuss crime in Paragould after extensive public outcry over the department’s controversial proposal to lower the crime rate....

Sunday’s press release struck a softer tone than Police Chief Todd Stovall’s harsher rhetoric at the Dec. 13 meeting, where he announced the creation of the street crimes unit.

At the time, Stovall said the street crimes unit would be deployed to high crime areas and would make contact with all pedestrians.

“If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID,” Stovall told a crowd of nearly 40 that had gathered at West View Baptist Church.

Mayor Mike Gaskill followed Stovall’s statements by explaining that a simple walk with a family pet could get a resident stopped and questioned.

“They may not be doing anything but walking their dog,” Gaskill said. “But they’re going to have to prove it.”

Now Gaskill may be a mayor simply responding to the complaints of his community and may have the best intentions at heart, but, that said here is a place where fear (self admitted) has led to police-state measures.

Here is a little background on this City which is to take on this experiment in Police State tactics:

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 22,017 people, 8,941 households, and 6,133 families residing in the city. The population density was 714.6 people per square mile (275.9/km²). There were 9,789 housing units at an average density of 317.7 per square mile (122.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.87% White, 0.04% Black or African American, 0.42% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.56% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. 1.33% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,941 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.7% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,815, and the median income for a family was $39,431. Males had a median income of $28,103 versus $20,623 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,076. About 8.4% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.1% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those age 65 or over.

So... here is why I write about this:

What kind of society are we becoming when we allow for this? Where is the Federal Government and what do they have to say about this?

I understand why people would have this feeling and starting it as patrols between 11 PM and 5 AM is something that I get (though I don't like it). However, once this starts who is to say that it wouldn't expand. Whether it is 1 AM or 1 PM one cannot presume to know why someone is out and about. In our neighborhood, people's houses were being robbed not at night (when they were home) but in the afternoon when people were at work. Should the police then be called in to check everyone walking on the streets in the afternoon?

As a society we have become obsessed with crime and safety to the point of allowing ourselves to be turned into a cowering group of people who will do anything and give up any right just to be safe.

Let's look at the Gun argument... The NRA and their conservative allies are so fearful that they think everyone should be armed. Think of the chaos and mayhem that would result from everyone having the ability to use deadly force to solve even a minimum of problems. It's fear turned on it's head. In their world, every argument in public turns into a potential fight to the death. Traffic incidents (road rage) turn into a potential fatal conflict each time because really, if everyone's armed, who knows when someone with a "hair trigger temper" would decided to "snap". Doesn't the role of safety come into the calculation there (of course it doesn't as the NRA could give a real crap about safety)?

There exists between the Government and the People a social contract that talks about the Government's role in protecting the People from harm both foreign and domestic. So what happens when the "protection" turns out to be more harmful than the problem. Is giving up one's freedom to move around without authoritarian hassles worth losing some things in a robbery.

I say no it is not. I have no problem with the police taking precautions like stepped up patrols. I have no problem with the police stopping someone carrying a bunch of items from a darkened or empty looking house and hurriedly putting them into a running vehicle. But, to simply and stop, I.D. and create a database out of citizens stopped for the simple act of just walking around? That, to put it mildly, is ridiculous.

Now will this situation lead to anything more? Who knows? But these things all have a start point. It is important that we let our representatives know that these kinds of laws are unacceptable each and every time they surface. When Arizona did this, people protested. There should be no less an outcry when some small city in Arkansas does this. There should be no less outcry for the simple reason that this is the United States of America and in our nation, our people have built and continue to build a nation that is about social freedom and sane government. That won't last if it is not continuously engaged.

10:27 PM PT: Wow.. Rescued and Rescued to Rec.... Thank you for reading this.

Originally posted to volleyboy1 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 03:36 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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