A Nation United By Fear

A while ago, I argued that there is a climate of fear created by our domestic security forces that is slowly corrupting us:

But the real question is why did no one else do anything to stop it [TSA agents taunting a deaf person]. Why did no one say anything? I’m sure some people just didn’t notice–you would be amazed at what people can miss. And I’m sure some people thought it was funny (again, assholes among us). But there were probably some people who were scared to speak up. Maybe the TSA agents would give you grief. Maybe they would make you miss your flight. Maybe you would be detained or even put on the Kafkaesque threat lists (the government doesn’t even have to confirm that you’re on the list, let alone tell you why) and always given the third degree. Better off keeping your head down and just avoiding trouble.

When good behavior is punished, and craven behavior is rewarded, it doesn’t work out for the rest of us:

So if TSA personnel call someone “a fucking deafie” or terrify a small child with cerebral palsy for no reason, and you decide to act like a decent human being, you might be put through the ringer from thereon out. Simply for expecting that people should treat others with respect.

This is how a security state, bit by bit, corrupts a republic.

Turns out this same fear is affecting our journalists (boldface mine):

This is what we’re afraid of when we don’t report that the police have too much power and simply do not live under the same set of laws as the rest of American citizenry, despite having to undergo less schooling than someone who graduated from culinary school.

We’re afraid that maybe if we write something about the police that law enforcement might single us out at the local level, or persecute us based on our prior coverage. We’re afraid—us journalists, 90 percent white at the supervisory level—might be tailed simply for driving down the street, or, if there’s an emergency at our homes, dispatchers will make no effort to help us beyond a late, procedural check-in.

We’re afraid that we will be treated like black people by police.

That is how black people are treated every day by too many police forces in America, solely due to the color of their skin or the zip code on their mailing address.

It is not just in Ferguson, Missouri, where police arrested two journalists last night for sitting in a McDonald’s, but that is certainly the worst of it…

It [police brutality and suppression of civil liberties] is all over America. It is not on CNN. It is not even above the fold on the front page of The New York Times today.

It is because we are afraid of being treated like black people are treated every single day.

Time to take back our country from the security assholes. No more fear.

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