Perspectives: Turning the corner on an American police state

OPINION – Militarized police swarming through neighborhoods on armored vehicles.

People ordered off the streets due to a curfew.

House-to-house searches without a warrant.

If the search for the accused Boston Marathon bomber wasn’t martial law, it missed a great opportunity.

The danger posed by the fleeing suspect was nothing compared to the menacing, robotic behavior of police toward the citizens they were supposedly protecting.

One of the most revealing examples of aggressive overreaction was the officer clearly pointing his rifle at a citizen taking pictures from his living room window.

There was definitely terror in the streets of Boston, but it was brought to people’s doorstep by the state. The searches of homes in Watertown were reported to be “consensual” but there is ample video evidence that this was not always the case.

It’s understandable that fear and uncertainty would follow the marathon bombings. The violent resistance of the two suspects undoubtedly made things more dangerous for those charged with apprehending them.

But the degree to which authorities were willing to disregard the rights of the entire citizenry is downright chilling. It’s possible that they will be used to establish precedent for how to respond to the next high profile crime. As Butler Shaffer points out,”Undermining rights and respect for rights helps set the stage for further measures that repress liberty. It’s because these searches follow closely on the heels of other measures that have already laid the foundation of an American police state.”

Considering that our government already claims power to indefinitely detain us, to kill us by drone strike, and to conduct surveillance on our phone calls, emails, and online activities, this is a predictable escalation.

The circumstances under which police may search a home without a warrant are limited to four main circumstances.

1. When they receive consent from a person who is in control of the property.

2. When an officer sees something in plain view that is either contraband or evidence of a crime.

3. During a search incident to arrest.

4. Under exigent circumstances in which delay could compromise public safety or a loss of evidence.

Had the bombing suspect been observed running into a specific home or business, exigent circumstances would likely apply, but in this case, police had no clue where the suspect had fled. Authorities are trying to hide behind exigent circumstances to justify ignoring the rule of law and due process. And it still didn’t lead them to the suspect.

What actually brought the search to a close was a defiant citizen who disobeyed the curfew and slipped out to his yard for a smoke. The homeowner noticed the cover of his boat wasn’t properly attached and notified police when he spotted blood on the boat trailer.

Few people have condemned the tyrannical behavior of the state. Many people actually cheered it when the Boston police tweeted the message, “CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.”

The comment about justice brings to mind Thrasymachus the sophist in Plato’s “Republic” who famously remarks that “justice is the advantage of the stronger” and “injustice, if it is done on a large enough scale, is stronger, freer, and more masterly than justice.”

The fact that people cheered the official injustice being done to entire neighborhoods of innocent people appears to vindicate what Thrasymachus was suggesting. Years of conditioning the American citizenry to value security over their freedom are finally starting to bear fruit.

Constitutional attorney John Whitehead doesn’t mince words, “The lesson for the rest of us is this: once a free people allows the government to make inroads into their freedoms or uses those same freedoms as bargaining chips for security, it quickly becomes a slippery slope to outright tyranny.”

Is it any wonder that our leaders are increasingly pushing for a disarmed citizenry? The display in and around Boston was to remind us who is in charge, not to protect the people.

If the actions of the authorities in Boston are allowed to become the new normal, the American police state will be a regrettable reality.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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36 Comments

  • Kim Holt April 25, 2013 at 10:45 am

    FINALLY! Someone who is talking some sense. I was appalled by how easily the city of Boston was shut down. People were perfectly happy to hand over their rights on the promise of “public safety”. What is to stop this government from continuing to do the same thing in other places and situations?

    • Omari April 25, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      Exactly! I’d expect this kind of sheep-like behavior here in Utah, but in Boston?! That was a scary surprise!

      • Donovan April 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm

        I totally expected the people here in Utah to be compliant sheep about this, but I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised by these comments.

  • Larry Meyers April 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Great article, Bryan. I will be publishing some similar thoughts in my May “Liberty Watch” article in The Independent.

  • oag April 25, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Wow. Thank you for honest news, combined with integrity and respect!

  • aww April 25, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Indeed. Disarming the citizenry play a huge role in a police state. Understanding that tragedy is becoming more prevalent in our society, it is important for us all to learn a lesson that when any government restricts the type, capacity, use of weapons, it violates the very premise of the 2nd Amendment. Above all else, we become slaves to the powers that we once trusted because we have no way, by ourselves, to change the scale of power. Complete injustice.

    • Disturbed Country April 25, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Perfectly said.

  • pk April 25, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    You are all insane and clearly need something to complain about. If someone killed a memeber of your family in that way you would want the law officials to do everything and anything to find them. Get a life. The fact that you all complain about how hard the law officials worked to stop any more killings is disgusting. You should be ashamed

    • Tyler April 25, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      You say that now, but imagine if you couldn’t leave your home for who knows how long and your entire city was SHUT DOWN and taken over by WAR VEHICLES???!!! You couldn’t even grab a gallon of milk from 7-11 cuz you CAN”T leave your house and 7-11, WALMART, TARGET, MALLS, SUBWAYS AND MASS TRANSIT was FORCED TO CLOSE DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU disgust me with your small way of thinking!! YOU be ashamed!!

    • Donovan April 25, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      You’re a bootlicker. It’s people like you who democratically elected Hitler. People like you who would give up all their rights for the illusion of security. Soon, you shall have neither freedom nor security.

  • Ron April 25, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Those guys were planning more attacks. And you wish the police had given them a chance to merge into the crowd, disappear, and mount another attack elsewhere? Taking the necessary steps to apprehend a terrorist is an emergency measure, not the imposition of a police state. Boston is back to normal. Gun owners still have their guns. Life is good once again. And I’m pleased as I can be with the efficiency of the police and FBI.

    • Donovan April 25, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      It’s people like you who would gladly give away all our rights for the illusion of security. Terrorists don’t scare me, this fascist government scares me. A terrorist can only take my life, the police state tyranny you’re espousing will take away all of our freedoms eventually.

      • C April 25, 2013 at 10:58 pm

        Correct me if I’m wrong but if a terrorist takes away your life, doesn’t he take away all of your freedoms with it

      • Tyler April 26, 2013 at 12:48 am

        Couldn’t agree more, Donovan

  • Retired Law Man April 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    As much as I hate to admit it, I have to agree with Bryan on this one. Curfews? Door to door searches? I’m very glad that I am long retired from law enforcement. As cops, we were unhappy with all the liberal court decisions.
    But as an American first and foremost, I am in despair as to where this country has gone, and where it is headed. I am afraid that it is already far too late to turn it around now. I weep for this country’s lost freedoms.

  • Tyler April 25, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Oh my god, thankyou for this article!!! I’m so glad I’m not the seemingly only one with this view. What happened in Boston is a pre-cursor of the times to come. It showed us as a nation just how easy the government agencies can take over a METRO CITY of over 5 MILLION!!! We the people may be the majority, and if we really want to, we could take over all authority, but in this case of example in Boston, the government could easily use ‘safety’ as a tool of manipulation to control and even raid an entire large city! …Now drones are are coming soon to further invade us. Indeed, welcome to the Police State/ New World Order

  • Debara April 25, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Scary indeed, this my fellow Americans is a sign of what’s to come. The police state gladly showed the American people just how small they want us to feel broadcast on every other channel that night this all unfloded in Bean town. I was literally sickened when I saw houses being raided on all throughout a major US city, over one, ONE 19 year old KID!! IThis is an outrage, no less. Thankyou for the uncensored article. I will gladly spread the wrod of STGnews.com.

  • Big @$$ Bob April 25, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    We’re not free, freedom is a mere illusion. You have to work most days to survive, you have to pay taxes, have only one woman to marry, can’t marry the same sex, can;t smoke a natural herb in most states, can serve and die for your country as a kid at 18, but can’t drink yet…the list goes on and on and on………

  • Disturbed Country April 25, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    This is only the beginning, folks. Excellent article. No mattter how one looks at it, Boston experienced an unconstitutional raid under the disguise of safety that day. Very disheartening

  • DSU Rebel April 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Wow, imagine if another 9/11 were to happen, the whole country could be placed on lockdown today. I’m very grateful the terrorists were captured, but to lockdown and virtually make a city the size of Boston a ghost town was without a doubt overkill and in my opinion.

  • Dan Lester April 25, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Bryan and many of your “attaboy” followers are full of prunes, to be polite. Well, you’re not so full of them any more now that this has been spewed.

    I’m not a “security at all costs” kind of person. I’ve traveled in third world countries. I’ve lived in inner city Chicago. I go where I want when I want. I’m not afraid of dying, but not trying to rush it, either. I’m a strong second amendment supporter, but have no need personally for a firearm. But I support your right to an assault rifle or anything else.

    But as others have noted, the people there were pleased with the police presence. Their needs were accommodated.

    Also, the comment on the searches of homes being inappropriate is plain wrong, as noted in the reason 4 as to why they are allowed,

    “4. Under exigent circumstances in which delay could compromise public safety or a loss of evidence.”

    If a bomber were hiding in a home and telling the residents that they had to tell the cops they weren’t there. Coming in is valid under number 4. Allowing the bomber to stay there would be compromising public safety, and perhaps also loss of evidence.

    I’ll take that level of security. Besides which, it worked. No harm, no foul.

  • Karen April 25, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Wow, thank you far-right wing radio and tv for putting such nutty ideas into the the heads of most commentors. Don’t you folks realize that the Glenn Becks and Alex Jones of this world are laughing all the way to the bank with their conspiracy theories and police state fear-mongering. I guess I should have kept a list of Beck’s predictions before he left Fox and I didn’t get to watch him for free anymore. It was one dire thing after another and NONE of them came true. Doesn’t that tell you something? It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad to see people taken in by such nonsense.

    • Dick April 26, 2013 at 12:51 am

      Karen, the best advice I can give is too just keep an open mind, and strive to see all sides, that’s all.

  • Marge with a Vengance April 26, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Unless you were all in Boston that day, who in the … are you to rant and rave on an OPINION article clear out here on the west coast? Talk about ignorance, ignorance ignorance!

    Ed. ellipsis

    • Big Don April 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

      And just who are you, to rant and rave about the opinions of others? Or is that freedom of speech something you would like to see abolished?

  • Dick April 26, 2013 at 12:57 am

    “What actually closed the search was a defiant citizen who disobeyed the curfew and stepped out to have a smoke and noticed his boat cover wasn’t properly attatched then notified police after seeing blood on the boat trailer”. Thankyou! Police and government aren’t the heroes here. It’s that citizen who disobeyed their command. This is the best, uncensored article I think I have ever seen in St George media.

  • San April 26, 2013 at 5:50 am

    I’m not even going to read all the comments here..but the article mirrors my own concerns. People in my world cannot understand why I was more freaked out about the humvees rolling through Boston than I was about anything else that happened lthere…and what happened there was literally horrific. Don’t get me wrong, I would have been scared and might have been inclined to leave the city of stay indoors myself (rather than have to come home and risk entering my home alone each night) but the Los Angeles riots didn’t even have this level of response…and an entire city was affected, people were killed. I lived through that and we would have LOVED the police response that Boston received…Los Angeles had nothing to compare.

    It was terrifying to think that 4mil people could be ‘locked down’ with one reverse-911 phone call. The entire community of Boston surrendered to two threats last week. I’m go grateful that something like this has not happened in our own community, but if it does life will not shut down…that’s one thing I know for sure. Prayers for the good people of Boston.

  • Big Don April 26, 2013 at 10:37 am

    The actions of the Boston officials were disturbing, no doubt about it. Of course the terrorism was horrific, but when this country gives in to a police state rather than a free state, then the terrorists have clearly won. A very wise man once said, “Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither. Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security.” Ben Franklin.

  • DoubleTap April 26, 2013 at 11:06 am

    You all have to remember that this occurred in one of the most progressive liberal states in the union. These actions were looked upon as “normal”. Many, if not most of these residents voted for their representatives who ordered these actions. Many would have been up in arms if law enforcement had NOT taken these actions. To them, it was a “good thing”. Do any of you believe this type of police activity would have been tolerated in…say, a state like Texas or Arizona, or maybe right here in Utah? This article was honest and a real “eye opener”. A police state is a very real and scary thing. Something that should not be taken lightly.

    • Tyler April 26, 2013 at 11:54 am

      Actually in Utah….yes. Most are cult-abiding sheep that do as they’re told.

    • Big Don April 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      I’m afraid I have to agree with Tyler on this. Here in Utah, the majority of the sheeple would do exactly as told.

  • Dan Lester April 26, 2013 at 11:53 am

    The citizen whose boat was occupied by the bomber did NOT disobey the curfew. When the curfew was LIFTED he went outside and saw the boat had been tampered with, saw the strap was cut, saw blood on the ladder, and then called police. The citizen did NOT disobey the curfew.

  • ld April 26, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I am a Utahn and I am not a mormon nor am I a “sheep” and I am extremely sick of the stereotype of Utahns being labeled “cult abiding sheep”. I have lived in other states and other countries and people here are the same as anywhere else.Its those with who label others that are the close minded ones.

    • Wow Factor April 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      Impressive article, indeed. I’d sure hope there was one similar to this printed in The Boston Globe or USA Today.

  • William April 26, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    One of the factors that led to the revolutionary War, which caused the writing of the Declaration of Independence, which resulted in ratification of The US Constitution was British troops walking the streets of Boston demanding compliance to whimsical rulings of the English Parliament, the King of England and his established governors. Have we come full circle?

  • 007 April 26, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Great article. You will be amazed to know that most people agree 100% with you. The media tries to make it as if we are the few, but no one watches the mainstream media anyways. So keep speaking and writing the truth for us. We are the majority. We hold the truth. And truth always wins. Always.

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