Wrapped in the Flag and Carrying a Cross.

18 06 2016

That headline is from a quote by Sinclair Lewis which seems more and more to be chillingly prescient. Here’s another quote appropriate to the topic at hand:

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”- George Santayana

You may be curious about where I’m going with these quotes. I’m going to post a link to a news article here that will make my meaning crystal clear:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/14/politics/newt-gingrich-house-un-american-activities-committee/

Is everyone all through vomiting at the idea? Good. Let us continue.

For those who may have been living in a cave for the past few decades, there is an election approaching. This country has been mired in an election campaign for what seems like six or seven squintillion years. A campaign where the presumed nominee of one of the two major political parties has been openly espousing fascist ideology and overt racism to throngs of cheering supporters. Those same supporters who appear to be just fine with physically attacking anyone who vaguely hints at disagreement with their Leader or anyone with a less than lilly white skin tone. Supporters who have openly warned they would resort to violence if their Leader doesn’t win.

That’s bad enough, but now we have a retired politician from that same major political party saying- on camera- to a news organization that the country needs to return to the halcyon days of yesteryear in the form of the House Un-American Activities Commission. If you aren’t familiar with HUAC, go look it up. I’ll wait.

Here’s a bit of background for those unwilling to learn from history. In the 1950’s, a US Congressman names Joseph McCarthy claimed that he was in possession of a list of communists who had “infiltrated” the US government. He gleefully exploited public fear over the “Red Menace” (OMFG- the eebil rooshians are gonna come pollute our precious bodily fluids!) to establish the House Un-American Activities Commission in order to search out these communist infiltrators, wherever they might be- presumably including under your bed.

And so, the witch hunt was on. American citizens were accused to being communists or communist sympathizers, and the resulting public furor meant most of them lost their jobs and couldn’t get hired anywhere else. People were exhorted to inform on their friends, neighbors, and relatives if there was even a vague hint of “un-American activities”. Fear and prejudice and panic ensued, resulting in the director of the FBI investigating thousands of government employees to determine if they were sufficiently loyal to the United States- essentially based upon whether or not J Edgar Hoover agreed with their politics. Actors, writers, journalists, and publishers joined government workers in the endless search for the evil commies.

Please note that there was no burden of proof involved. Merely being accused was enough to destroy someone’s life and livelihood, and even successfully avoiding getting convicted in court wasn’t enough to undo the damage caused by being denounced.

This is what “the smartest man in the GOP” has publicly called for. On camera.

Never mind that HUAC was a cynically successful ploy by a small number of senior government officials and congressmen to gather more power for themselves. All these few people had to do was continually warn everyone they were in danger from godless communism and should therefore allow the power of the US government to be turned upon US citizens without check or hindrance. And the American people fell for it.

And a large number of Americans are being led down the same path to Hell today by their Leader.

Ooga booga! The evil moose limbs are coming to kill your children. Only we can protect you from this existential threat, but you gotta let us throw out that pesky Constitution in order to keep you safe. We pinky swear these powers will only be used against “them“. Them. The “others“. The people who don’t worship your god the same way you do. The people possessed of insufficiently white skin pigmentation. People who speak other languages. People who disagree with you politically. “Them“.

Shockingly, this message of xenophobia and bigotry is finding eager listeners among people who aren’t willing to use their brains much. Thinking is hard, and so is remembering lessons learned from long ago. Sure, it turns out that locking up tens of thousands of Americans who happened to be descended from Nipponese immigrants was stupid, expensive, wrong, and totally ineffective. Never mind that. This time is different, because … uh … because reasons.

Actually, there is a reason why dumb white people are buying into this line of thinking. There’s a reason why they have so much trouble articulating the source of their ignorant fear, and that reason is demographics. It turns out that white people will soon be less than half of the population. Oh, the horror! Rather than learning to treat other people equally, these dim-as-five-feet-up-a-pig’s-ass yokels are willing to destroy the very thing that made this country great: our non-homogenous society.

Every group of immigrants has made America richer. They bring in new ideas, new foods and drink, new attitudes, new beliefs, and America gets better and stronger from adopting the globe-spanning range of new stuff brought here by immigrants. And every single one of those immigrant groups is treated like shit by the descendants of previous immigrants. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the Irish being vilified by descendants of English and Dutch immigrants.When Italians began arriving on our shores, the descendants of those Irish immigrants who been the subject of bigotry treated the Italians the same way. Asians, Africans, and Jews have been perennial victims of American xenophobia, along with anyone from any cultural background who doesn’t belong to the right religious group. They’re different, and therefore suspicious- if not outright evil.

Here’s a clue chit for the small-minded bigots among us: Different does not equal evil. Stranger does not mean enemy. Those “foreigners” you’re wetting your panties about aren’t foreigners anymore- they’re Americans. What are you imbeciles afraid of?

I want you

WITCH HUNT by Rush

The night is black
Without a moon
The air is thick and still
The vigilantes gather on
The lonely torch lit hill

Features distorted in the flickering light
The faces are twisted and grotesque
Silent and stern in the sweltering night
The mob moves like demons possessed
Quiet in conscience, calm in their right
Confident their ways are best

The righteous rise
With burning eyes
Of hatred and ill-will
Madmen fed on fear and lies
To beat and burn and kill

They say there are strangers who threaten us
In our immigrants and infidels
They say there is strangeness too dangerous
In our theaters and bookstore shelves
That those who know what’s best for us
Must rise and save us from ourselves

Quick to judge
Quick to anger
Slow to understand
Ignorance and prejudice
And fear walk hand in hand…

Current status: Appalled

Current music: We Belong by Pat Benatar

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Folly Writ Large

13 06 2011

I sometimes despair at the pathetic attention span so often demonstrated by my fellow Americans.

In the past few weeks, a great many important things have been happening all over the world. The government of Syria has been using increasingly brutal means of crushing dissent, lest Bashar al Assad go the way of ben Ali and Mubarak. In doing so, Assad has brought his people ever closer to the precipice of open revolt. Open revolt is already underway in Yemen, where a rebel attack on a mosque seriously injured Yemen’s embattled president. Also in Yemen, the not-very-covert US campaign to attack anything remotely resembling Al Qaeda with air strikes and drone attacks has been accelerated, in an attempt to do as much damage to Al Qaeda in Yemen before what’s left of the government there collapses. NATO is increasing the number and frequency of air strikes in Libya, trying to kill Muammar Ghaddafi without technically trying to kill him. The government of Russia is steadily returning to the old Soviet ways, even ordering several hundred leather trenchcoats reminiscent of the old NKVD uniforms. North Korean shipping has been intercepted trying to transport arms to Burma/Myanmar in violation of a couple of different UN resolutions. Mexico is sliding farther into anarchy near the US border, with drug cartels making war on the government through assassination and open conflict- some of which is spilling across the border into the US.

Here at home, various police agencies have been alienating the citizens they supposedly serve through violent raids on non-violent suspects. Even such agencies as the Department of Education have SWAT units to carry out such assaults on private citizens. Police officers all over the country assault, rape, beat, maim, and kill US citizens without significant consequences beyond a few days suspension with pay, for the most part. Every single report commissioned by the government on the status of the “war on drugs” has repeatedly demonstrated that our decades-long attempt to recreate Prohibition has had exactly the same results as the original Prohibition: a supremely profitable environment for organized crime, millions of Americans thrown into prisons for ridiculous reasons, widespread violations of civil and Constitutional rights, and hundreds of billions of dollars poured down a rat hole for no measurable gain. Drugs are more readily available, cheaper, and are of a higher quality than before the “war on drugs” got kicked off by Tricky Dick Nixon in a vain attempt to distract the public from the unpopular real war in Vietnam. Despite this abject failure, there is no end in sight to the war on drugs. The FBI has been given wider powers to spy on American citizens for any reason at all without the bother of opening a formal investigation- effectively putting the US and Russia on equal moral footing as the Hoover-era Feebs were but pale reflections of the NKVD.

These things have all largely gone unnoticed by most Americans because their attention was elsewhere. What could possibly have so thoroughly distracted the public’s miniscule attention span? A US Congressman sent pictures of his schlong to a woman not his wife. Horror of horrors! That’s just … just … utterly and completely fucking lame.

What the fuck is wrong with you people? Are you all so fat, dumb, and happy that you are willing to allow our Republic to drift slowly into authoritarianism so long as there’s something salacious on TV? Millions of Americans shed their blood over the past two hundred years or so to secure freedom for their descendants, but those descendants are too busy watching the antics of various attention whores to notice as that freedom is slowly and inexorably stolen by their own elected representatives. Our elected officials- from both parties- are gradually taking away all of our cherished liberties in their blind pursuit of money and power for themselves and their cronies, and you can’t be bothered to pay attention because American Idol is on? If the Founders were alive today, they’d die again from shame at what apathetic, easily distracted simpletons their countrymen have become.

The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation– enlightened as it is– if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men.Samuel Adams

The greatest defense our country has against government tyranny is a well-informed and educated electorate. That defense has been weakened over the past fifty or so years by generations of Americans who care more for their rights than their responsibilities as citizens. Less than half of those eligible to vote do so in any given election. Because of this, our political processes have been hijacked by a vocal minority who regularly vote. In an election with a larger voter turnout, the fanatics on either side would be marginalized by the vastly larger number of moderates from both political parties. With a smaller voter turnout, the votes of that vocal minority of utter whackjobs have a far larger proportional influence than their demographic statistics ordinarily deserve. With lunatics and madmen at either end of the political spectrum  exerting ever-greater influence on our political leaders, our national political discourse has become increasingly polarized to moronic extremes. That fanaticism in politics disgusts and repels more and more moderates, leaving the loonies at either extreme increasingly in charge of the asylum. And so the vicious cycle continues unabated.

Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. – George Jean Nathan

What can you do about it? VOTE, you lazy bastards! Vote in every election. Find a moderate in your local area and elect him or her to whichever position is up for election. If there aren’t any moderates on the ballot, find one and start a write-in campaign. Do this often enough at the local level and it will become easier to do at the state and federal level, too. The best way to drive the shrill fundamentalists out of the political process is to vote down their extremist agenda at every turn. Vote against every incumbent. Those in office are growing fat at our expense- kick the bastards out.

People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people.  Of course, that is not true.  Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote – a very different thing.Walter H. Judd

We, the People, are supposed to be running this country. That only works if we, the People, get off our ever-fattening behinds and do our duty as citizens. There’s more to citizenship than your rights and paying taxes- you also have a responsibility to serve your country by voting in elections and taking a turn as a juror. We seem to have forgotten that our rights are balanced by responsibilities. Out of sheer laziness, too many Americans have allowed the government to take over far too many of those responsibilities. Thus, we have also granted our government the responsibility to take care of our rights, and governments are demonstrably unwilling to do so if it conflicts with the pursuit of power and wealth.

Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed.Barry Goldwater

And so, our Republic dies the death of a thousand cuts. Not with a bang, nor with a whimper, but with the self-satisfied sighs of millions of indolent citizens who cannot be bothered to pay attention as their elected representatives sell their future for short-term gains.

The most important political office is that of the private citizen. – Louis Brandeis

Current status: Pissed off

Current music: I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie





Overkill

22 05 2011

Advanced warning: The subject of this post might make you physically ill. It still makes me sick to my stomach.

At about 9:30 AM on May 5th, Jose Guerena was shaken awake by his frantic wife telling him that there were men with guns in their back yard. Guerena, a Marine Iraq war veteran, rolled out of bed, told his wife to take their youngest child and hide in the closet,then grabbed his rifle and went to see what was going on. Before he even had a chance to take the weapon off “safe”, he was shot 60 times by the Tuscon Police SWAT unit. Guerena’s wife was still frantically talking to the 9-1-1 dispatcher when the cops dragged her out of the closet and pointed their guns at her. She screamed that she had her baby with her, and the police didn’t shoot her. Paramedics were on the scene within 2 minutes, but were not allowed into the house for more than an hour while Guerena bled to death.

Tuscon  was using the SWAT unit to serve search warrants for “multiple households”. Using SWAT to serve search warrants is moronic. This sort of dumbassery has already led to scores of dead citizens, suspects, and police officers all over the country, but police continue to follow this imbecilic practice in order to justify all the neat paramilitary stuff they have on hand. Conducting searches of “multiple households” on a single warrant is of dubious Constitutionality, and Tuscon PD has yet to say why Jose Guerena’s house was targeted. They never did find anything illegal in his house after they shot him down, by the way.

Let’s re-cap: Tuscon PD shot a completely innocent man 60 times in his own house, then let him bleed to death while the paramedics were kept away from the scene for 75 minutes. But it gets worse. The police originally claimed that Guerena fired at them, but later had to retract that statement when it turned out his weapon was still on “safe”. One of the keystone cops in question had fired first, thus sparking all the rest to fill the Marine veteran full of holes. All told, the cops fired 71 times, hitting Guerena with 60 of those shots. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that might have been excessive force. Just a hunch.

Clarence Dupnik, the Police Chief responsible for this execution of an innocent citizen, went on to criticize the media for questioning the legality of the shooting. Allow me to paraphrase: “Nothing to see here, citizen. We’re just doing our jobs, keeping y’all safe from evil-doers. Everyone go back home and keep quiet, and don’t you dare ask any questions about it.”

I don’t know about you folks, but I have a serious problem with the police executing citizens and then pretending the public has no business knowing what actually happened. Given the dismal statistics of the long-since-lost “War on Drugs”, I submit that we (the People) need to start paying a lot more attention to the actions of those we pay to enforce our laws. In similar cases around the country over the last couple of decades, the police officers involved were never even reprimanded for murdering a member of the public they allegedly serve. I predict something similar will be the result here. The “internal investigation”- which is not subject to public review- will determine that the officers acted “in accordance with department policy”. Nothing to see here. Move along- or else.

Our law-enforcement agencies are increasingly treating the public they supposedly serve as the enemy. They sneeringly refer to us as “civilians”- despite the fact that they are also civilians. Police agencies and their agents are not above the law- at least, they aren’t supposed to be in this country. Incidents like this one- which, let us remember, ended up with the police murdering an innocent man- only serve to underscore the increasing divide between the police and the public. In online discussions of this particular incident, far too many people claiming to be police are defending the officers involved. Unless you have completely lost all traces of humanity, this murder by the police is completely indefensible. There is no excuse for this.

Let us look at the end result of allowing the police to continue to treat the public as enemies. I don’t do drugs. I have a license to carry a concealed weapon, which means I have passed a thorough background check. I have passed several more intense background checks for my work with the US Navy. I have served my country in the Armed Forces, and am permanently disabled as a result. Despite all this, if my house were attacked under similar circumstances while I was home, the result would probably be the same. The media would then be fed a line of bullshit about the “assault rifle” (actually a semi-automatic hunting rifle), pistol,  prescription drugs, and the case of ammunition they would find after searching the premises. The impression would be that a dangerous criminal had been taken off the streets. The fact that my wife would undoubtedly win the ensuing lawsuit would be of little comfort to me. And yet, this exact situation has been happening for years. Something has gone very wrong in this country.

What can we (the People) do about it? Glad you asked. First, make a stink about crap like this. Every time the police end up shooting a citizen, demand an impartial, transparent review. Write letters and emails to your city council, mayor, police chief, and state legislators. Make sure the press is kept informed. We grant the police a lot of power to be used in our name, we should make sure they’re held accountable for the uses of that power.

Next, vote. Remember which local officials are a little too cozy with the police and vote the bastards out of office. Do the same thing for district attorneys who fail to indict police for illegal behavior. Make sure you tell all your friends and neighbors to do likewise. The only way to retain (or regain) control of our police agencies is to put pressure on the elected officials who control them. Run for office yourself, if that’s what it takes.

If those two options don’t work, take the bastards to court. Public officials are supposed to represent the public’s interest. If they fail to do their jobs, take ’em to court. Another court-related option involves jury duty. Make a point of voting your conscience if you’re selected for a jury. This is one of the most powerful votes you have, as a citizen. Make it count.

If nothing else works, we’ll be left with only one option. It isn’t a good option, but it’s better than being relegated to the status of serfs. Armed resistance. I really hope some policy-makers are made aware of this post, because they have the power to prevent any such uprising by keeping a tighter rein on the police. If they fail to keep the police under control, the public could be forced to protect themselves against the police with force. Nothing good happens after that, so let’s get ahead of the game by making a stink about it now.

Because, no matter how you look at it, the current situation really stinks, and ignoring the smell won’t make it get any better.

Current status: Alarmed

Current music: Secrets by One Republic





It Was Nice While It Lasted

17 05 2011

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I regret to announce the untimely demise of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution (1791-2011), at the hands of the United States Supreme Court (like a regular Court, but with tomatoes and sour cream). The Fourth Amendment fought the good fight for more than two centuries, but was eventually eaten away, bit by liberty-guaranteeing bit, over the last few decades while few people noticed. It finally succumbed to terminal frustration yesterday, May 16th, 2011, when the Supremes voted 8-1 that the police basically no longer needed a warrant to break down your door and search your house.

Many of us saw the end coming for the Fourth when the Supremes decided that we (the People) had no recourse if the police wanted to set up roadblocks and check to see if anyone was driving under the influence of alcohol. Apparently, the needs of the many to be free from the possibility of encountering a drunk driver outweighed the desire to be free from unreasonable searches. Not long thereafter, it was decided that- in the interest of the War on Drugs- we no longer had the right to be free from searches and seizures in our own homes if the police were afraid that evidence might be destroyed. Thus began a long period of increasing use of paramilitary raids on private homes using “no-knock” warrants.

This last, fatal injury came when the Supreme Court ruled that the police no longer even need to bother with a “no-knock” warrant if they claim to hear something which may or may not be someone possibly making noises which could possibly be the sounds of maybe destroying evidence- whether or not a crime had been previously suspected in the residence. The police can now claim “exigent circumstances” on almost any pretext and break in the door of any home if they think evidence of a crime may be in danger of being destroyed.

We are no longer citizens- we are serfs. Our rights against unreasonable search and seizure have been stripped from us in the interest of police convenience. What few rights remain to us are getting nibbled to death by ducks, and the majority of people in this country stand up and cheer because it is in the interests of “being tough on crime”. They are willingly trading liberty for security, blind to the historical truism that they will most likely fail to achieve either one.

It is especially depressing to note that the demise of liberties in the United States is accelerating at a time when oppressed people all over the world are just now beginning to realize the possibility of liberty for the first time. The people of Egypt and Tunisia have thrown off the yoke of their oppressors and are even now working out for themselves the rules for how their countries will be run. In Libya and Syria, people are standing up to the autocrats and dictators who rule them and many pay the ultimate price for their courage. The people of Yemen are very close to driving out their president under similar conditions, and at similar costs in lives. In China, people speak out against the excesses and failures of their police state in spite of the risk they might end up in prison- or simply disappear. Here in America … the Supreme Court of Indiana just ruled that citizens have no right to resist an illegal search of one’s home by police.

Some might say that these rulings are not such a big deal. Surely we can trust the police to use their new powers sparingly and only at great need. Sadly, we cannot. An Indiana Sheriff has already stated publicly that police can now conduct house-to-house searches if they feel the need to do so as a direct result of these recent rulings by the US and Indiana Supreme Courts. He even opined to the media that most citizens would welcome such exercises of byzantine power.

A perusal of English Common Law- upon which much of US law is based- shows that we have been cheerfully relinquishing our liberties to near duplicates of the same conditions which led to their creation. “King’s Messengers” and similar agents of the Crown once raided and searched the homes of Englishmen who spoke out against the government. Victims of those transgressions sought relief in the courts, eventually winning the same guarantees of liberty which we Americans have so recently abandoned. The similarities are rather startling- to me, at any rate.

Still worse are the attitudes of the people to whom I speak about these infringements of our liberties. Far too many people are willing to put up with violations of their inherent rights in the interest of convenience. They would rather allow warrantless searches of their homes, vehicles, and persons than face the possible delay while the police get a warrant. This exaltation of convenience over liberty is the final step from being citizens to becoming subjects.

An author named Mike McQuay wrote a series of dark novels about a dystopian future America where the police were blatantly agents of control for the political and corporate elites, and the wealthy few in their fortified mansions and villas were protected by gaudily-uniformed security thugs referred to as “fancy dans”. Ordinary people were treated harshly by these uniformed servitors for the benefit of the privileged few, with little to no recourse. I used to enjoy those stories. Today, they seem a little too close to reality for comfort.

Requiescat en pace, American liberty. I, at least, will miss you.

Bugler, taps.

Current status: Locked, loaded, and liquored up.

Current music: The World I Know by Collective Soul





Taking Liberties with our Liberty

15 03 2010

A few days ago, George Orwell was again proven prophetic. The police in Medford Oregon surrounded a home in the hours before dawn, then summoned the sleeping resident by telephone out onto his porch, where he was taken into custody (for his own protection), handcuffed, and transported to the local Government mental ward for “evaluation”. His “crime”? Glad you asked. It turns out this gentleman had been suspended from his job with the State government and then had the effrontery to use his tax refund check to purchase three firearms. The police insisted that he had been taken into “protective custody” and had not been arrested. They claim that they were being “proactive instead of reactive”. Our victim of this soviet-style inquisition, who was released after a few hours of “evaluation” by State mental health professionals, somehow doesn’t see it that way. He’s publicly demanding that his five firearms (the three new purchases and the two he had already owned) be returned, and he is looking for a good attorney.

For those of you who slept through high school Civics & Government classes, this man- who was never charged with any crime- had his Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights violated by Government agents who were concerned that he might be planning something. In plain language, those are (in order): the right to keep and bear arms, the protection against unreasonable search and seizure, and the right to due process of law.

I sense that some of you still don’t get it. Allow me to explain. The police arrested a citizen with no warrant, had him involuntarily committed for “evaluation” with no court order, and seized his legally owned and obtained firearms without probable cause. Please point out where these actions are considered Constitutional. Here’s a hint: It won’t be in THIS country.

The really scary part about this story is not the bit about a US police agency trying to get away with such gross violations of civil rights. The truly wet-your-pants frightening bit is the large number of people in this country who don’t have a problem with the cops getting away with it. Assuming this bullshit is allowed to pass unchallenged, it means that our liberties- previously guaranteed (but not granted) by the Constitution- will be instantly revocable at the whim of some police officer who thinks you might be up to something.

“Excuse me, citizen. I notice you just purchased a six-pack of beer at that convenience store. Do you have a driver’s license?”

“Yes,officer, but I’m not driving. I only live a few blocks away, so I’m just going to carry the beer home and …”

“There’s a possibility that you could drink one or more beers and then try to drive, or even drink one or more beers while walking home. In either case, I’ll have to take you into custody- for your own good.”

“What? That’s ridiculous! I haven’t broken any laws!”

“Well, I think you might be planning to break either the drunk-driver law or the drunk in public law, so I’ll just put you in cuffs and haul you down to the State Sanitarium for evaluation.”

“Wait a minute! Aren’t you supposed to read me my rights? Why not take me to jail?”

“No need for that, citizen. We’d rather let the docs at State keep you under observation for a while. No need to go through all the paperwork and bother of a booking.”

“W.T.F?”

Before this story broke, I would have laughed at the yarn above and claimed smugly that it couldn’t happen here. Guess what? It just did. Worse, the folks who generally make the biggest outcry at any infringement of Constitutional protections are largely wondering why this is a big deal. Here is an actual quote from more than one commenter on a generally left-leaning message board: “He could have been planning to replay Virginia Tech. He was in possession of the means to commit a massacre. The cops may have prevented a tragedy.”

Really? By that logic, every female should be arrested for prostitution, every computer owner should be arrested for cybercrime, and every driver should be automatically charged with DUI. They are all equipped for committing those crimes. Might as well lock them up to “prevent a tragedy”. Just think of it as being proactive instead of reactive.

By the way, there used to be a country where this sort of Byzantine abuse of authority was common. The USSR used to have dissidents and other non-conformists tossed into mental institutions on the grounds that anyone who didn’t agree with the all-powerful State had to be insane. The Soviet Union crashed and burned after seventy years, but I bet  Old Joe Stalin must be laughing in his grave at the idea that his greatest enemy is keeping his legacy alive.

In Medford, Oregon. USA. Ungood. Doubleplus ungood.

Bitte zeigen Sie mir Ihre Papiere, mein Herr.

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Current status: Locked, loaded, and liquored up.

Current music: Landslide by Fleetwood Mac