John W. Whitehead's blog

Why do local cops need battle tanks?

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Drones, tanks, and grenade launchers: Coming soon to a police department near you

Why does a police department which hasn’t had an officer killed in the line of duty in over 125 years in a town of less than 20,000 people need tactical military vests like those used by soldiers in Afghanistan?

For that matter, why does a police department in a city of 35,000 people need a military-grade helicopter? And what possible use could police at Ohio State University have for acquiring a heavily-armored vehicle intended to withstand IED blasts? Read More»

No thanks for these bad developments

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I will be the first to acknowledge that there is much to be thankful for about life in America, especially when compared to those beyond our borders whose daily lives are marked by war, hunger and disease. Despite our kvetching, grumbling and complaining, most Americans have it pretty good compared to less fortunates the world over.

Still, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that all of our so-called blessings will amount to little more than gilding on a cage if we don’t safeguard the freedoms on which this nation was founded. Read More»

Who will protect you from the local police

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“Democracy means that if the doorbell rings in the early hours, it is likely to be the milkman.” — Winston Churchill

It’s 3 a.m. You’ve been asleep for hours when suddenly you hear a loud “Crash! Bang! Boom!”

Based on the yelling, shouting and mayhem, it sounds as if someone — or several someones — are breaking through your front door.

With your heart racing and your stomach churning, all you can think about is keeping your family safe from the intruders who have invaded your home. You have mere seconds before the intruders make their way to your bedroom. Read More»

Fleecing taxpayers in the age of petty tyrannies

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We labor today under the weight of countless tyrannies, large and small, carried out in the name of the national good by an elite class of government officials who are largely insulated from the ill effects of their actions. Read More»

Common Core and the path to citizens who cannot think

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“A fool with a tool is still a fool. A fool with a powerful tool is a dangerous fool.” — Michael Fullan, international school reform authority, on the powerful “tool” that is Common Core

As I point out in my new book, “A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State,” there are several methods for controlling a population.

You can intimidate the citizenry into obedience through force, relying on military strength and weaponry such as SWAT team raids, militarized police, and a vast array of lethal and nonlethal weapons. Read More»

Disturbing trend: Cops shooting unarmed citizens

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Here’s a recipe for disaster: Take a young man (or woman), raise him on a diet of violence, hype him up on the power of the gun in his holster and the superiority of his uniform, render him woefully ignorant of how to handle a situation without resorting to violence, train him well in military tactics but allow him to be illiterate about the Constitution, and never stress to him that he is to be a peacemaker and a peacekeeper, respectful of and subservient to the taxpayers, who are in fact his masters and employers. Read More»

Is America now occupied by a military force?

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Despite the steady hue and cry by government agencies about the need for more police, more sophisticated weaponry, and the difficulties of preserving the peace and maintaining security in our modern age, the reality is far different. Indeed, violent crime in America has been on a steady decline, and if current trends continue, Americans will finish the year 2013 experiencing the lowest murder rate in over a century. Read More»

Grasping for dignity in the police state era

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“The Fourth Amendment was designed to stand between us and arbitrary governmental authority. For all practical purposes, that shield has been shattered, leaving our liberty and personal integrity subject to the whim of every cop on the beat, trooper on the highway and jail official.” — Herman Schwartz, The Nation. Read More»