Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.Most of us are well aware of the First Amendment in our Constitution. It is First and Foremost the one governing principle which sets us apart from every other nation on earth, at least in theory. In practice, it is more of a series of guidelines, the government usually follows unless they feel they have a need to not do so. Ferguson, Missouri is a case in point.
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Police in this country no longer exist to protect. They exist to shoot first, ask questions maybe. They are militarized, private militias for local and state municipalities, who are promoted and incentivized to issue citations and make arrests. They are disconnected from the communities they preside over, by being trained to view everyone as a potential suspect, regardless of a reasonable suspicion or the probable cause to do so. Everyone is guilty, even some who are proven innocent. More and more we see local police departments using military-styled tactics, with military-grade equipment, shooting first. This is not indicative of a free and democratic society. This is a prelude to a police state!
The civil unrest occurring in Ferguson, Missouri is a clear indication of how the "Rights" we are supposed to have are not guaranteed when it comes to the power wielded by those in "Law Enforcement". Journalists reporting on the protests as well as the police response have been threatened with arrest for simply doing their jobs. A no fly zone has been established for the sole purpose of preventing the media from reporting; Furthermore, reports have come in of Police Officers firing rubber bullets and tear gas pellets at journalists who are reporting on the ground. Now, if one of these things occurred we may be able to explain it away as a coincidence, officers who were caught up in the heat of the moment; However, the fact that officers have singled out reporters, threatened and attacked them specifically, shows this is not a coincidence at all.
This has become an all to common trend in this nation. Constitutionally protected and guaranteed rights are subject to the whims of those in positions of power and authority. While those actions may be overruled at some later point by a sympathetic judge, the infringement on individual rights still happens and frequently. There are no real penalties for this, who polices the Police? More often than not, Law enforcement is backed up by their local judicial system, whom they oftentimes have a friendly, pat on the back, working relationship with.
These types of abuses of authority should not only be punished, but universally condemned, but instead we see a majority of the community leaders and politicians remaining silent on the issue, we have a vocal minority in our society who demands we acquiesced to the authority of those in power regardless of the what civil liberties we are expected to surrender, and the majority of people are to timid, preoccupied, or are otherwise disconnected from the events to an extent they do not feel compelled to act until they, themselves are in the crosshairs. This apathy is what feeds the problem and is arguably more dangerous than the encroachment on our civil liberties.
In closing, I posit, we are all partly responsible for the police brutality occurring all over the country. Each of us, who sits back and says or does nothing, while civil rights are violated in our own country shares in the blame. Freedom is not free, it came with a very high price, the responsibility to defend it.
Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 10:15 AM PT: I think recent events, as well as the focus of the national media on this situation have lent further credence to the dangers I highlighted in the article. It is sad to see so many of you who feel it is to late, or we are to apathetic to defend our freedoms. I hope by writing articles like these, exposing the truth of what is going on in our world I can educate those who otherwise would be oblivious. Perhaps if those of you who read the article were to share it with others who have not, you would not feel it is to late, and we would not have a population of unaware, undereducated and apathetic citizens. Just a thought :)