Technology drove teens to suicide. Studies show that the rapid explosion of cell phone use and increased screen time by young people have contributed to a climate in which teen mental health is failing and suicide rates among 13- to 18-year-olds are skyrocketing.
Police became even more militarized and weaponized. Despite concerns about the government's steady transformation of local police into a standing military army, local police agencies continued to acquire weaponry, training and equipment suited for the battlefield--with full support from the Trump Administration.
Drones became more lethal. DARPA, the government's military research agency, unveiled a plan to deploy a swarm of armed, surveillance mini-drones. The Pentagon also provided a glimpse into its future plans for kamikaze drones and tethered, targeted killer drones.
Science got scary. Researchers created "humanized" mice using organs taken from fetal tissue. Genetic engineers created an entire synthetic DNA genome watermarked with encoded links and hidden messages. The FDA approved the first digital pill embedded with sensors to monitor patients' intake. And DARPA funded research towards the creation of genetic extinction technologies that could be used to eradicate or alter whole populations.
The government waged a renewed war on cash. Championed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the government's attempts to seize cash and other valuables under the guise of asset forfeiture moved into high gear. Denver made $2.4 million in car seizures in one year alone. One Alabama town turned its police force into a money-making operation to increase revenue.
The U.S. military industrial complex--aided by the Trump administration--armed the world while padding its own pockets. Not content to sell an arsenal of weapons and military equipment to the world, the U.S. government pushed to amend a global arms control agreement to allow it to sell military drones globally.
Let's not take the mistakes and the carnage and the toxicity of this past year into a new year.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the police state is marching forward, more powerful than ever.
Thus, if there is to be any hope for freedom in 2018, it rests with "we the people" engaging in local, grassroots activism that transforms our communities and our government from the ground up.
Let's resolve to work together to make this new year better than the last.
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