Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Claire Wolfe on living in a police state

Claire Wolfe is at work on another capital-R resource.  The first installment of "Responsibilities of a resident of the police state" is now up at Backwoods Home magazine, and it frames the problem about as well as it can be said.  She begins with the simple summary:

I know: Our first responsibility is to ourselves and our families. We didn’t create the police state. What government does isn’t our responsibility (except to whatever extent we support its actions). Yet we’re people of conscience. We can’t watch others be crushed without feeling a stab of their agony. We know, as others are crushed, that the crushing machinery gathers momentum and will roll toward our own lives. We know that not only we, but the ideals that sustain civilization, are being crushed. And that matters to us. Matters vitally, painfully, heartbreakingly. No matter what else we do, we can’t stand by and watch that happen without feeling an obligation — or at least a passionate longing — to do our all to stop it.

She then goes on at more length about just how agonizing it can be to observe even just one aspect of the current scene:

Then with so much indignation roused against them, police abuses against individuals ought to be among the easiest police state activities to halt. Even if you acknowledge such (admittedly big) factors as the federal government paying, equipping, training, and otherwise encouraging local cops to be thugs, in theory outraged local people (supported by a howling Internet) ought to have a relatively easy time putting a stop to such local outrages.

But despite the outcry, the abuses don’t stop. They don’t even slow down. Instead, we now see SWAT-style raids used to enforce housing code violations and catch student-loan scofflaws. We see polite objectors being charged with the catch-alls of disorderly conduct, obstruction of justice, or resisting arrest — and less polite objectors killed on the spot. We see tasers — once billed as “non-lethal” alternatives to firearms — being used as “compliance tools” against old ladies, grade-school children, diabetics, epileptics, and handicapped teenagers. We see people who photograph cops being threatened with long prison sentences. We’re told the horrendous lie that “freedom” requires absolute, forelock-tugging, dirt-scuffing, unquestioning obedience to Authoritah — and we’d better believe it OR ELSE.

You know all that, of course.

And it pains your conscience, doesn’t it? It makes you want to scream in frustration. Makes you want to take the law into your own hands and end the abuses by any means necessary. Makes you wonder if the entire country hasn’t lost its mind — and makes you sure that the entire “justice system” has well and truly lost its collective marbles — or perhaps isn’t intended to be a “justice” system at all.

No matter how loudly you yell, how many times you show up to support a victim in court, how many letters you write to editors, how many times you speak at public forums, how many times you do exactly what Martin Niemoeller mourned that he didn’t do … things just get worse.

See, this is why I follow Claire Wolfe.  She has a talent for respectfully re-humanizing the problem of inhumanity, and she does it without flinching on principle.

Don't just read and share this one, bookmark it.   I suspect the following installments will be similarly worthy, but even if they're not, this here is a resource for anyone who (like me) has struggled with the "what to do" demons.

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