Perspectives: How tyranny can grow from the bottom up

OPINION – The story seemed as improbable as a close encounter with a UFO. Police in Deming, New Mexico, stopped David Eckert after he allegedly rolled through a stop sign. No big deal, right?

But what happened over the next 14 hours as a result of that traffic stop is sending shockwaves across the country.

Eckert was issued a citation and as he returned to his vehicle the officers claimed to have noticed that his posture seemed unusually stiff. A K-9 was brought and was said to have alerted on the drivers seat of Eckert’s car. A search of the car found no contraband.

Eckert was held while a warrant was obtained to perform a body cavity search. He was then taken to two different medical centers. At the first hospital, the doctor refused to perform the procedure on an unwilling individual calling it, “illegal and unethical.”

In violation of the warrant, Eckert was then taken to Gila Regional Medical Center, in a different jurisdiction. It was there that doctors and police gave him a probing that would rival any alien abduction.

No less than eight medical procedures were performed including X-rays, rectal finger exams, enemas, and a colonoscopy. No trace of drugs was found. The final insult to injury came when, after being released from police custody, Eckert was billed by the hospital for the procedures that had been forced upon him.

If you’re not yet hearing the sound of your heartbeat in your ears, try imagining your spouse or your child being subjected to such measures.

Few of us would find Deming Police Chief Brandon Gigante’s explanation acceptable. He said: “We follow the law in every aspect and we follow policies and protocols that we have in place.”

Eckert has since filed a lawsuit against the City of Deming, the police officers, the doctors, the medical center, and the deputy district attorney.

After his story broke last week, more individuals have stepped forward with very similar tales.

A man named Timothy Young had a run in with the same drug dog that supposedly alerted to the presence of drugs in Eckert’s vehicle after he was stopped for failing to use his blinkers. He too was subjected to medical procedures at Gila Regional Medical center; including X-rays and a rectal exam. No drugs were found.

A woman whose identity is being withheld has also stepped forward claiming that she was forced to endure body cavity probes, X-rays and scans, and a forced bowel evacuation. She also was billed thousands for these procedures. Her ordeal took place after a drug dog was said to have alerted border drug agents. Again, no drugs were found.

Just last year in Utah, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a man who sued after he was forcibly catheterized after he refused to give police a urine sample while attending Snow College in 2008.

Even the staunchest anti-drug warriors among us will have difficulty justifying things like object rape, torture, and medical abuse in the name of the law. Policies and protocols cannot justify the kind of twisted decision-making that would encourage professionals to actively participate in such horrors.

The foundations of American justice have been shifting beneath our feet. From the highest levels of our federal government to a small town in New Mexico, official abuse is finding willing participants. The most disturbing element of these stories is that doctors—with exception of the courageous physician who flatly refused—are not above being co-opted.

As Will Grigg points out, “Like their colleagues in the CIA – who enlisted physicians to collaborate in abuse of detainees at Gitmo — the officers in the Border Drug Task Force were able to suborn doctors into violating the law and their Hippocratic obligations in order to torture an innocent man.”

Laws and policies are not enough to restrain the growth of tyranny. Stanley Milgram explained in his book “Obedience To Authority” how people are surprisingly willing to do horrible things to their fellow man when prompted by an authority figure. If someone in a lab coat or a uniform says that something is permissible, or furthers a grander objective, the low-level enablers will do as they’re told.

The antidote to this aspect of human nature is to resist being a yes-man at every opportunity. Recognize that no tyrant can succeed without those below him carrying out his orders.

When we make a personal commitment that our hands will not take part in any abusive or destructive behavior, the tyrant’s goal is thwarted.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn counseled: “It is inevitable that evil will enter the world. Take care it does not enter through you.”

 

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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