Tear Gas, Guns and Riot Squads: The Police State’s Answer to Free Speech Is Brute Force, by John W. Whitehead

“They want us silent, servile and compliant.” That, in a nutshell, is what the ever-quickening erosion of free speech rights is all about. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us? The constitutional theory is that we the people are the sovereigns, the state and federal officials only our agents. We who have the final word can speak softly or angrily. We can seek to challenge and annoy, as we need not stay docile and quiet.”—Justice William O. Douglas, dissenting, Colten v. Kentucky, 407 U.S. 104 (1972)

Forget everything you’ve ever been taught about free speech in America.

It’s all a lie.

There can be no free speech for the citizenry when the government speaks in a language of force.

What is this language of force?

Militarized police. Riot squads. Camouflage gear. Black uniforms. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Surveillance cameras. Kevlar vests. Drones. Lethal weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Stun grenades. Arrests of journalists. Crowd control tactics. Intimidation tactics. Brutality.

This is not the language of freedom.

This is not even the language of law and order.

This is the language of force.

Unfortunately, this is how the government at all levels—federal, state and local—now responds to those who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in public and challenge the status quo.

This police overkill isn’t just happening in troubled hot spots such as Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Md., where police brutality gave rise to civil unrest, which was met with a militarized show of force that caused the whole stew of discontent to bubble over into violence.

A decade earlier, the NYPD engaged in mass arrests of peaceful protesters, bystanders, legal observers and journalists who had gathered for the 2004 Republican National Convention. The protesters were subjected to blanket fingerprinting and detained for more than 24 hours at a “filthy, toxic pier that had been a bus depot.” That particular exercise in police intimidation tactics cost New York City taxpayers nearly $18 million for what would become the largest protest settlement in history.

Demonstrators, journalists and legal observers who had gathered in North Dakota to peacefully protest the Dakota Access Pipeline reported being pepper sprayed, beaten with batons, and strip searched by police.

 

To continue reading: Tear Gas, Guns and Riot Squads: The Police State’s Answer to Free Speech Is Brute Force

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2 responses to “Tear Gas, Guns and Riot Squads: The Police State’s Answer to Free Speech Is Brute Force, by John W. Whitehead

  1. You speak of the peaceful protesters but why not talk of the vandalism and complete disregard for private property during the riots that have taken place ever since Trump was elected. A man that did nothing directly to any of these people, and these people decided to destroy other people’s homes and livelihoods all for their unhappiness that Trump was elected. I think this is a major reason for police using tear gas, guns, and riot squads, and it should have been addressed in your post.

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    • None of the protests Whitehead mentioned in his article had anything to do with Trump, and most of them happened before Trump was elected.

      Like

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