Exhibit A: In Aurora, Colorado, police searching for suspected bank robbers locked down an entire intersection, dragooned 40 random motorists out of their cars at gunpoint, handcuffed them and “asked” for permission to search their vehicles. (See here for the ABC News story.)
Naturally, no one refused permission.
The action itself is startling: 40 people, guilty of nothing more than proximity, of being in the same general area where a suspected criminal might also be, are literally pulled from their vehicles, shackled and detained for more than two hours – even after it was obvious they were guilty of no crime at all.
Even more startling, however, than these over-the-top tactics is the fact that (apparently) every one of these 40 innocent people complied without a peep of protest. Not one said: “I’m sorry officer, but unless I’ve committed a crime I’d like to be free to go about my business.” Not one said, ” I do not consent to any searches.”
None put up a fuss when the cuffs came out.
One woman interviewed by ABC News clucked happily: “Yeah, we all got cuffed (laugh) until they figured out who did what.” No doubt this woman will not object when a gang of armed men kicks in her door, invades her home and holds her family at gunpoint until they figure out who did what. After all, there are criminals about. They could be anywhere. Which means, anything is justified.
In the words of one ABC News blogger, “Sounds like the police did their job – and did it exceptionally well!” And another: “I think the police did a great job in an unusual circumstance and protected the people of the city from a dangerous criminal. Those people should praise the police, not sue them!”
This is an incredible thing. A lurid testimony as to the current state of the American mind – cowed, in awe of “law enforcement” – and utterly indifferent to the inevitable consequences of countenancing such thuggery.
And thuggery is precisely the right word. Because thugs use violence to intimidate and get what they want. They do not care how they get what they want.
Just so they get what they want.
Aurora, Colorado Police Chief – and four star “general” – Dan Oates agrees, describing the trampling of 40 innocent people’s civil liberties in pursuit of his Greater Good as a reasonable exercise of what he called “investigative detention” for a “reasonable” period of time.
The question arises: If it is “reasonable” to pull scores of random people out of their cars, handcuff them at gunpoint, search their vehicles under extreme duress and then “detain” them for hours, what would constitute unreasonable?
Summary execution, perhaps?
In fact, they might as well have just shot everyone. It’s logical, according to the unreasonable reasoning of General Oates. After all, God will know his own. The guilty would have been dealt with – and as the saying goes, you can’t make am omelet without breaking a few eggs… .
Americans are becoming so accustomed to tyranny they hardly notice it anymore. The outrageous has become the routine. And the routine quickly becomes accepted as normal. A nation that has been taught to raise its arms – and spread its legs – as a routine part of air travel, which thinks it’s ok to subject anyone arrested for any reason at all (including jaywalking) to forcible strip searches and which accepts random, dragnet-style searches of anyone at anytime as “reasonable” is fated to accept things far worse in due course. It’s now only a question of time. The principle of unreasonable authority – limitless, unconstrained by any civilized rules of engagement – has been accepted by millions of Americans. And the consequences of that ought to be obvious.
Except, of course, they are not.
Most people don’t see what’s coming because they view things in a limited way. The cops in Aurora were only trying to get their man, they will tell you. Such tactics would never be used against innocent people. It never occurs to them that in fact such tactics have already been used against innocent people. 40 of them, in fact. Not one of the 40 Accosted had to rob a bank – or even jaywalk – to be treated just the same as if they had robbed a bank. Just as we are treated as presumptive drunks at “sobriety checkpoints” – and just as we are treated as presumptive terrorists by the TSA.
What, then, will prevent the Boys in Blue from treating anyone they wish to as a “criminal” – given that it is no longer necessary for them to even pretend that us anyones have done anything at all?
Innocence itself is no longer a defense.
If anyone’s paying attention.
Throw it in the Woods?