America’s expanding police state
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Posted by:Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh
In the increased police state around us and the amplified NSA surveillance everywhere, citizens are feeling more and more like they are guilty until proven innocent. The police in Fairfax County, Virginia, cannot stop many people for speeding since the interstates and highways are constantly partially blocked by accidents, road repairs, and rush hour – it is almost impossible to go fast – just a crawling speed bumper to bumper at all hours of the day and night.
What is a cop to do to make his quota of tickets? “Taxation through citation” for simple stuff, often made up charges, harassing innocent citizens, while real crimes go unpunished. The area is overrun with illegal aliens who drive unlawfully and badly because they cannot read nor understand the road signs, yet ordinary Americans are stopped constantly. Is the role of police to protect Americans who pay their salaries or has it morphed into taxing citizens through endless minor but expensive citations?
The tickets run from you did not stop long enough at the stop sign, you ignored it, you stopped way before the white line, you stopped past the white line, you changed lanes illegally, you did not signal, etc. When roads are treacherous or covered in black ice, it is hard to stop precisely on the white line as policemen dictate.
Stop light cameras everywhere catch even the most diligent drivers who are tired of waiting in endless traffic lights that are not synchronized, and misjudge the timing of the camera flash after the light changes from yellow to red. Nobody argues with cops, it’s their words against the mighty police, unless they want to wind up in jail, tazed, or cavity searched.
I am sure many policemen put their lives on the line at times when they encounter bad guys. Must they hide behind unmarked cars in order to catch speeders or other violators? If the police’s role is to protect and serve the honest, law abiding taxpaying citizens, if we are in real trouble and need to seek police help, how do we know who to ask? How do we know they are the legitimate cops and not bad elements prowling to kidnap or rape the innocents?
Do police need tanks and armored vehicles like the ones used in battle in Iraq to protect its citizens from drunks, bar brawls, home invasions, convenience store robberies, and traffic violations? Yes, criminals have outgunned police at times, as was the case years ago in California during a bank heist gone terribly perilous.
For every lazy and novice cop who hides in quiet neighborhoods to catch residents going 2-3 miles over the speed limit or not stopping long enough (What is long enough and who decides?) at the stop signs, there are thousands of policemen who put their lives on the line to really serve and protect innocent citizens from harm. And they do it for modest remuneration.
As a law abiding citizen who has nothing to fear, I find myself more and more afraid of the police. It’s a feeling of dread I had growing up under communism. A person in police uniform was someone to fear because they were not there to protect us, they were there to harm and harass us – we were guilty until proven innocent. For three years after I arrived in the U.S., my heart skipped a beat every time I saw a cop – they were the enemy. I learned that policemen in the U.S. were there to help and protect, and I relaxed.
I never see a policeman on the road in Virginia helping a stranded motorist or changing a tire for a lady in distress as was the case in other parts of the country where I lived.
I see blue lights as more aggravation on the side of the roads with perennially slow moving traffic. Is it necessary for cops to call in another cruiser as a backup when they are ticketing someone for allegedly ignoring a stop sign?