Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 7 Share on Twitter 2 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/4/14

We're All Criminals and Outlaws in the Eyes of the American Police State

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     (# of views)   2 comments
Author 87833
Follow Me on Twitter     Message John Whitehead
Become a Fan
  (46 fans)

Cross-posted from The Rutherford Institute

The American Police State
The American Police State
(Image by YouTube)
  Details   DMCA
>
"Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little." -- "Rough Justice in America," The Economist

Why are we seeing such an uptick in Americans being arrested for such absurd "violations" as letting their kids play at a park unsupervised, collecting rainwater and snow runoff on their own property, growing vegetables in their yard, and holding Bible studies in their living room?

Mind you, we're not talking tickets or fines or even warnings being issued to these so-called "lawbreakers." We're talking felony charges, handcuffs, police cars, mug shots, pat downs, jail cells and criminal records.

Consider what happened to Nicole Gainey, the Florida mom who was arrested and charged with child neglect for allowing her 7-year-old son to visit a neighborhood playground located a half mile from their house.

For the so-called "crime" of allowing her son to play at the park unsupervised, Gainey was interrogated, arrested and handcuffed in front of her son, and transported to the local jail where she was physically searched, fingerprinted, photographed and held for seven hours and then forced to pay almost $4,000 in bond in order to return to her family. Gainey's family and friends were subsequently questioned by the Dept. of Child Services. Gainey now faces a third-degree criminal felony charge that carries with it a fine of up to $5,000 and five years in jail.

For Denise Stewart, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, whether or not she had done anything wrong, was sufficient to get her arrested.

The 48-year-old New York grandmother was dragged half-naked out of her apartment and handcuffed after police mistakenly raided her home when responding to a domestic disturbance call. Although it turns out the 911 call came from a different apartment on a different floor, Stewart is still facing charges of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

And then there are those equally unfortunate individuals who unknowingly break laws they never even knew existed. John Yates is such a person. A commercial fisherman, Yates was sentenced to 30 days in prison and three years of supervised release for throwing back into the water some small fish which did not meet the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's size restrictions. Incredibly, Yates was charged with violating a document shredding provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was intended to prevent another Enron scandal.

The list of individuals who have suffered similar injustices at the hands of a runaway legal system is growing, ranging from the orchid grower jailed for improper paperwork and the lobstermen charged with importing lobster tails in plastic bags rather than cardboard boxes to the former science teacher labeled a federal criminal for digging for arrowheads in his favorite campsite.

As awful as these incidents are, however, it's not enough to simply write them off as part of the national trend towards overcriminalization -- although it is certainly that. Thanks to an overabundance of 4,500-plus federal crimes and 400,000 plus rules and regulations, it's estimated that the average American actually commits three felonies a day without knowing it.

Nor can we just chalk them up as yet another symptom of an overzealous police state in which militarized police attack first and ask questions later--although it is that, too.

Nor is the problem that we're a crime-ridden society. In fact, it's just the opposite. The number of violent crimes in the country is down substantially -- the lowest rate in 40 years -- while the number of Americans being jailed for nonviolent crimes, such as driving with a suspended license, are skyrocketing.

So what's really behind this drive to label Americans as criminals?

As with most things, if you want to know the real motives behind any government program, follow the money trail. When you dig down far enough, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, you quickly find that those who profit from Americans being arrested are none other than the police who arrest them, the courts which try them, the prisons which incarcerate them, and the corporations, which manufacture the weapons and equipment used by police, build and run the prisons, and profit from the cheap prison labor.

Talk about a financial incentive.

First, there's the whole make-work scheme. In the absence of crime, in order to keep the police and their related agencies employed, occupied, and utilizing the many militarized "toys" passed along by the Department of Homeland Security, one must invent new crimes -- overcriminalization -- and new criminals to be spied on, targeted, tracked, raided, arrested, prosecuted and jailed. Enter the police state.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Must Read 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

John Whitehead Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Path to Total Dictatorship: America's Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup

Operation Vigilant Eagle: Is This Really How We Honor Our Nation's Veterans?

Licensed to Kill: The Growing Phenomenon of Police Shooting Unarmed Citizens

Miley Cyrus and the Pornification of America

Common Core: A Lesson Plan for Raising Up Compliant, Non-Thinking Citizens

The Land of the Blind: The Illusion of Freedom in America