The Overarmed and Dangerous Police State

Police stand next to a SWAT robot in Sanford, Maine, during a media demonstration.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Imagine waking up at 5:30 a.m. in your third-floor apartment to a SWAT team raiding your family with guns drawn. You’re barely clothed, but you immediately grab your seven-year-old and 18-month-old daughters. You begin praying, hoping that everything will be okay and you will all survive.

This was a reality for Marianne Diaz last week. Her fiancé, Bryant Alequin, was in the bathroom getting ready for work.

The local Boston CBS affiliate had the reactions from Diaz and Alequin:

“It was terrorizing, and the worst thing I’ve ever been through in my life. They were loud, vulgar, and disgusting in behavior,” [Diaz] said.

“I was scared, honestly. They put me in handcuffs, they were very tight, and it was ugly,” [Alequin] said.

Oops. Guess what. The police had made a mistake. Apparently, the person who used to live in the apartment had a criminal record, but the family there now has no criminal record at all. The DA’s office issued a wimpy apology hiding behind the execution of a search warrant “based on the best intelligence at the time.” The family is considering all of its legal options.

Hector Pineiro, Alequin’s attorney, said: “You can imagine 10 officers looking and pointing guns at a naked 23-year-old mother protecting her two kids. The horrific language and pointing of weapons at children cannot be justified under any circumstances.”

But this is bigger than this one family and this one incident. This is the police state run amok over our basic liberties. And it happened in Worcester, Massachusetts—less than an hour away from the site of the Boston Tea Party and Boston Massacre.

Unfortunately, this is yet another example of what has happened far too many times. I’ve reported previously on how the Wisconsin John Doe investigations led to home invasions that upend our democracy and spit on our Constitutional freedoms.

There was Cindy who woke up to a battering ram at her front door and a rushing mob of policemen yelling at her as they barged through her house.

Another woman’s children woke up to armed police officers rummaging through their house, pinning them to the floor.

These stories took place in many homes—but not under a totalitarian regime across the ocean. Not to the families of drug dealers or violent criminals. These traumatic invasions happened in our own United States in 2013, in the state of Wisconsin, to ordinary citizens whose only offense was holding conservative or libertarian political views.

Thankfully, conservatives in Wisconsin were not silenced. Judges struck down these unconstitutional John Doe investigations.

But now, the abuse of power of the police state is popping up in other places. Law enforcement feels no need to adhere to the Fourth Amendment protections owed to every individual citizen in our country.

Many of our Founding Fathers risked their lives for the protections against unlawful searches and seizures; many of them died for these liberties. And now, with the advance of technology and the federal government selling military-style weapons to local law enforcement, the fundamental protections for citizens are eroding.

But it’s not too late. We must fight back. Our very republic depends upon it. The American Experiment hangs in the balance.

Luckily, I talk with Americans like Marianne and Bryant every day – Americans who care about liberty. They are patriots who simply want what was promised to them more than 200 years ago – the right to govern themselves and raise their family in peace and security.

Incidents like these in Wisconsin and Massachusetts remind us of what can happen if we are not persistent and resilient in defense of our liberties.

As Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Mark Meckler is the President of Citizens for Self-Governance, which created the Convention of States Project.


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