Ferguson, Missouri, has taken up the news cycles for roughly two weeks – and rightly so. We've seen police wearing armored gear, riding atop an armored vehicle, slinging journalists in jail for failing to move from McDonald's at a fast enough pace – all the while dodging Molotov cocktails and rocks thrown by unruly protesters and thugs from out-of-town places. It's America's own little Iraq – and in fact, with the television volume down, news watchers would be hard pressed at times to distinguish the difference.
But Ferguson is hardly America's biggest worry. And it's certainly not even the best example of how police have taken on a more militarized mindset. That honor could instead go to the case of the SWAT storming of the Atlanta-area home and subsequent flash-bang bombing of the 19-month-old toddler dubbed "Bou Bou." The little boy spent five weeks in a medically induced coma, trying to survive a hole in his chest, and now faces a lengthy and intensive recovery process at home. Turns out, the suspect the police wanted wasn't even at the house. Turns out, too, that the Habersham County authorities who had promised to take care of Bou Bou's medical bills – including the cost to reattach his blown-off nose and repair his lungs – are now second-guessing that decision, suddenly concerned about the legal ramifications of paying the $800,000 bill.
The Daily Mail just reported that the attorney for Habersham County said: "The question before the board was whether it is legally permitted to pay these expenses. After consideration of this question following advice of counsel, the board of commissioners has concluded that it would be in violation of the law for it to do so."
Advertisement - story continues below
Nice. Suddenly, the county has found its moral compass. Where was that legal code when it came time for the local police to storm-troop the home where Bou Bou was visiting – from out of state – and blow up his crib? The same place where police found the real suspect hiding, a couple of hours later?
Too many times police have erred while executing warrants with similarly disastrous results. But the changing mindset of our nation's police – from the serve and protect mode to the search and destroy attitude – is only one cog in a massive gear that's been churning up U.S. politics, leaving a ripped and torn Constitution in its wake.
We're on the cusp of a police state nation – and that phrase means much more than militarized police. Just a little over a year ago, a Florida school admitted that it used iris scanning technology on about 750 students as they boarded the bus – absent parental permission. Just a few months ago, drivers in Fort Worth, Texas, were pulled over by police conducting a roadblock and directed into a nearby parking lot, where federal contractors requested samples of their breath, saliva or even blood. Why? The police were working with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and other federal entities on a years-long research project on drug and alcohol impaired drivers. Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. Navy outright banned Bibles in its lodge guest rooms around the nation, a concession to the Freedom From Religion Foundation and its members' claims that the mere presence of the Gideon book was offensive and promoted one religion versus another. In the face of massive uproar, the Navy reversed its decision – but how did America get to the point when atheists were given that much power?
Advertisement - story continues below
Now in America we've got environmental laws that prevent the building of a shed, or the paving of a driveway, because of some local zoning bureaucrat's interpretation of clean-water standards. We've got homeowner associations running amok, staffed by power-hungry people who demand residents tear down their flags and flower pots. We've got school administrators running roughshod on students for the simple act of bringing a plastic knife to lunch. We've got a federal government that spies on innocent Americans, a president who circumvents Congress with a gleeful wag of the pen and telephone, an unelected first lady who casts a patronizing eye on parents and tells schools how to feed the nation's children, a growing population of politicians who want to regulate soda sizes and plastic bag usage for our health – yet legalize marijuana for recreational smoking. That's a drop in the bucket of government overreach and abuse of constitutional boundaries.
Ferguson's just a drop in the bucket of what ails America.
Where does it stop?
A police state is far more than police donning Kevlar and riding armored vehicles. A police state occurs when the government usurps in every direction, at every angle, citing its need to provide for the betterment of society – for the good of the children, for the security of the nation – as justification for its overreach. And in the end, if we don't realize the path we're on and pick up the pace to rein in our duly elected, we'll have a nation that's no longer free. We'll have a nation that's lost its core greatest asset – the belief that rights come from God, not government – and a country filled with voters who don't understand the proper role of public servants. A generation or two down the line, and really, America as we know it won't even exist.