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Federalized Local Police: More Armor, Deadlier Force, Less Honor

May 31, 2012 by  

Federalized Local Police: More Armor, Deadlier Force, Less Honor
PHOTOS.COM
Local police in the United States have become increasingly militaristic in the past several decades.

There are many good law enforcement officers in the United States who take seriously their duty to serve and protect the citizenry; but, as referenced all too often in media reports, there are many police officers who are themselves criminals.

Recent headlines in the case of Florida shooting victim Trayvon Martin blared, with a sense of misplaced shock, the fact that Martin’s killer George Zimmerman had been critical of his local police department in Sanford, Fla., in years past. Zimmerman reportedly even went as far as going on a ride-along with an officer and reporting back to the City Council the “disgusting” lack of motivation to combat crime in the area.

What many people who are concerned about the growing number of stories about police misconduct and abuse find shocking, however, is why it seems out of the ordinary for citizens to demand that their local police departments operate in a manner that cuts crime without eviscerating the Constitutional rights of innocent citizens.

Last week, the Cato Institute reopened a blog that focuses solely on documenting examples of police misconduct throughout the Nation. Here is a sampling of some of the events the blog reported last Friday:

  • A Denver, Colorado police officer allegedly sexually assaulted a woman during a traffic stop. The officer was charged with rape and kidnapping charges
  • A lieutenant with the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office has been demoted and suspended for striking a correction officer
  • Dallas City Council approves $500,000 settlement for motorcyclist, Andrew Collins, whose beating was caught on a police dash-cam. “It was a good resolution to a bad situation,” said Mr. Collins’ attorney. “It was an acknowledgment from the city that Mr. Collins’ civil rights had been seriously violated.” Criminal charges are pending against the three former officers
  • A New Jersey officer tried to set up a sexual encounter with a 12-year-old girl. The officer sent explicit photos of himself in uniform. The accused Woodland Park officer pleaded not guilty to charges ranging from attempted aggravated assault to luring and enticing a child
  • In Barre, Vermont, prosecutors alleged an off-duty cop left a bar Jan. 3, 2011, entered his neighbor’s apartment and stole a flat-screen TV from under her Christmas tree. When confronted at his home by two officers, the cop, Zak Winston, tossed the TV into the river behind his apartment. Winston was found guilty of felony unlawful trespass, misdemeanor unlawful mischief and misdemeanor resisting arrest
  • Lanagan, Missouri police chief and officer have been indicted and suspended for forgery pertaining to racial profiling reports and citations

In light of some of the disturbing trends being discovered regarding many police officers’ lack of restraint and disdain for the rule of law on and off duty, the increasingly militaristic nature of domestic law enforcement has also come under scrutiny.

Reports like this one from KRDO in Colorado are becoming commonplace throughout the country:

Police are using some new tactics and equipment to protect themselves in dangerous situations.

In the past, you wouldn’t see a Colorado Springs police officer with a ballistic shield, helmet and rifle on your average police call, but that’s changed.

“It might look like SWAT activity is going on when, really, it’s just patrol officers using some new equipment that’s been made available to us over the last couple years,” said Sgt. Darrin Abbink. “We’ve had quite a bit of training going on with our patrol officers to provide them with better officer safety tactics.”

And a set of recent studies shows that even when police use less-than-lethal tactics to subdue lawbreakers, the outcome has an increasingly negative effect on the life and limb of citizens. The two studies from the University of Central Florida and Michigan State University are published in the journals Justice Quarterly and Police Quarterly.

Researchers looked at injuries associated with stun guns. The devices produce an electrical charge up to 50,000 volts and can be deployed by pressing the stun gun against a person or by shooting two probed darts at a person from a distance. Their use has been controversial because of some reported deaths following the use of stun guns, as well as their use on vulnerable citizens such as pregnant women, the elderly and children.

In their studies the researchers analyzed nearly 14,000 incidents from seven agencies. Of those, stun guns were used in more than 2,600 cases. They report that citizens were injured 41 percent of the time when stun guns were used as the only type of force and 47 percent of the time when they were used in conjunction with another form of force. That compares to people being injured 29 percent of the time when no stun guns were used.

“The bottom line is there is an increased risk to citizens,” said Gene Paoline a UCF associate professor of criminal justice and one of the authors of the studies. “On the other hand, the devices increase the safety of officers when used as the sole method of restraint. In essence, we have to consider the costs of citizen harm versus benefits of officer safety. It is something for police agencies to weigh when setting up policies on their use, or whether or not to even use them at all.”

Unfortunately, as the police state burgeons (as do reports of misconduct and abuse), it looks as though citizens can expect little protection from the courts from overzealous police who find it necessary to use excessive force during even the mildest encounters “for their own safety.”

The Supreme Court decided on Tuesday that it will not review the appropriateness of stun guns used by police on suspects. The high court refused to hear appeals from police in Hawaii and Washington, or people who got stun-gunned by officers in a case that was handled by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The lower court ruled that officers could not be sued in Federal court. But judges also said officers used excessive force by using stun guns.

Perhaps the only way to keep local police forces from growing out of control and becoming rife with misconduct is to encourage transparency through citizen involvement, as organizations such as The John Birch Society suggest. Currently, by attending Redefining the Role of Local Police, a JBS speaking tour, citizens can learn to ensure accountability of local police. Former police officer and JBS National Director of Field Activities Jim Fitzgerald is currently headlining venues across the country, discussing ways to support local police while keeping them from becoming a national police force through protecting the interests of the community verses the interests of the Federal government.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • http://httpaol.com sean murry

    gespo

    • Robert Smith

      Looks to me like the bad cops have been caught. Not all but certainly enough to send a message. I’m sure more will be caught. There are a lot of cops and just like anything else there are some bad apples.

      We also need to consider that not all places are like Maybury. There is some dangerous stuff going on making some places very dangerous.

      It’s called finding a balance… Something that neither the extreme right nor the extreme left wants to do.

      Rob

      • http://gravatar.com/rocquedog rocquedog

        You are spot on Mr. Smith. Cops are just like people, most are good. Some are bad. If thinngs keep going South with our Fed. govt. look for the metro agencies along with State Police (depending on political environment of each area)to become more “federalized”, which means anti-Constitutional. Sheriff’s depts., as a rule, are more inclined to be following the rule of law, as Sheriff’s are elected, not appointed.

      • Michael

        Robert;
        Bad cops do not “get the message”. Unless everyone of them is found guilty and get to become someone’s boy toy in the slammer.

      • fastfood

        Seems a lot of “message” sending will continue to tie up the courts until the courts, much less the supreme court decide to get off their hands and deal with the matter. Apparently the courts think a black robe and misled political base gives them license to play chicken with Human rights and personal dignity. Sooner or later something will have to give and perhaps it ill be “Joe the plumber” leading the charge as it seems the so-called “justice” system isn’t going to right it self.

  • David in MA

    America a police state?
    Seems to work well in Russia, China,
    Cuba, N. Korea, Venesualia
    and a few other places.
    (just being “funny”, we know
    how it works in those places,
    don’t we?)

  • http://huggybeartrucks.com Earl Conlon

    the very last line sums up the whole problem “becoming a national police force through protecting the interests of the community verses the interests of the Federal government.”
    The police have forgotten or not told they are there to Protect the PEOPLE not the Government interest!!

    • David in MA

      I seem to recall that some years back the supreme court ruled that the police DO NOT have to protect you (us), I don’t remember the details but remember thinking “then what do we need the police for?”

      • SCOTT in CO

        It is impossible for police to protect an individual. They are chartered to protect the public as a whole. That means if you happen to be the unlucky victim, your misfortune can be used to stop it happening to someone else. Only you are responsible for your protection. CCW permits allow you the opportunity to protect yourself. Get a gun, get trained and get a permit if you want to protect yourself because after all, when seconds count, police are just minutes away.

      • ranger hall

        David, The Supreme Court SAID THE POLICE DO NOT ANSWER TO THE PEOPLE, THEY ANSWER TO THE POWERS TO BE, WHICH IS YOU LOCAL GOVTS.

      • 45caliber

        David:

        The police do not and cannot protect us. All they can do is arrest the criminal after the fact. If you wish protection, you have to take care of that yourself. The police do not even have to stop a crime that they witness.

    • mike

      But you do know that the people with all the money makes the laws to to keep them that way Rich and the poor under there thumb.

  • Steve E

    To fix the problem with abusive police officers you can have the New Black Panthers put out a Dead or Alive wanted poster on them and give out the offending officers home address. You have to do it through the New Black Panther Party because they are the only group that the Justice Dept. will not prosecute.

    • eddie47d

      Lopsided Steve speaks again. You forgot to mention Stormfront and Christian Identity who makes threats to police and other public officials and are seldom prosecuted. The NBP’s are not choir boys but either are the many organizations on the right fermented trouble.

      • Opal the Gem

        more usless drivel from eddie.

      • Monk

        Agreed Opal.

  • roger gunderson

    Our federal and state legislators are the problem. They seam to be going toward a police state. Our state legislators use the police to write as many tickets as possible to bring in the revenue. Seat belt laws are “big easy money”. Obama and the legislators snuck in the NDAA in the last few seconds and now there talking about “legal propaganda”. I don’t know where the USA is headed.

    • T i m

      SIR ROGER , SURELY YOU DO KNOW WHERE AMERICA IS HEADED WITH ALL THIS . This is not about Obama. Read the definition of AMERICA as printed on the dollar bill you have in your pocket . BUSH JR. did the same thing . Gov. Arnald wanted the NATIONAL GUARD TO HELP WITH PUTTING OT FOREST FIRES 5 years ago , Arnald wanted the Federal Government to pay for the forest firs protection . BUSH JR. SAID , IF SO WE MUST FEDERALIZE THE GUARD , IF YOU USE DISASTER RELIEF MONEY . This stuff been here for decades . ALL POLITICS IS THE SAME ………RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT . T i m

  • Karolyn

    Police misconduct is nothing new. The only thing new is that we hear about it. There will always be corrupt cops who like the power and abuse their positions.

    • Gordon

      Every place I have ever been for decades we’ve heard of police corruption and misconduct. Generally we can say that it is rarely if ever punished beyond a slap on the hand. Nothing changes, they just get more covert, just like all revolving door criminals. I know of only one cop disiplined because his EX wife turned him in for drinking beer in the patrol car while on duty… he was fired by the mayor and has yet to find another police job. Old stories claim he was a drug seller before he became a cop. Nothing changes. Character is character. Leopards don’t change their spots.

      • eddie47d

        In the 60′s we had a major police scandal in Denver where there was much misconduct. Mostly shakedowns and extortion and it took years to put an end to it. Now it seems like there are more careless killings and beatings of innocents and the police in the majority of cases get away with it.

      • mike

        You are so right. Just keep your loaded gun were you can get your hand on it.Shot first ask question later.

  • Warren Cohen

    For a preview, take a trip by air from your local airport

    • Monk

      Wow did you drive the point home.

    • Bert Cundle Sr.

      “Exteram Security” & Government Ofices & Courts! ( The Travel Agencies, Insurance Companies, Supply the Security) ” Insurance… Out of Control !!!

      • Bert Cundle Sr.

        Security” & Government —– ( Security @ Government…)

  • Ray

    From my own personal experience thirty years ago, I was beaten, locked up and had false charges brought against me because of a traffic stop. Yea, I told the cop to go to HELL. That gave him and the court the justification to allow criminal actions against me on behalf of the Maplewood PD, New Jersey. No cameras then! The courts are NO Better!

  • Neil

    Where do you go to file criminal complaints/charges against local police officers?

    Can a Sheriff department handle the complaint?

    Does it need to go directly to the State police?

    • T i m

      SIR Neal , I am aware you did not ask my opinion , EVEN SO , 1 st thing , I would write to CHEIF OF POLICE , Then the mayor . If the mayor does not care , then you follow what you already know ……….RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT . T i m

    • Warren Cohen

      Go to the local District Attorney office, if you do not get satisfaction go to your State’s Attorney General office (also be sure to tell them that you have already contacted the local DA)

    • Bert Cundle Sr.

      If you don’t have enough mustle… don’t lift the bar bell!

  • Dad

    Well, their bosses are criminals… and you expect… what?

    • Warren Cohen

      I assume your referring to the DoJ and that wiener Holder who heads it up – do you know the difference between “misleading” and “lying” to Congress? I don’t

      • independant thinker

        If Holder and others high up government officials do it it is missleading. If you, I, or someone in government with no political pull does it it is lying.

        That is the difference.

      • Warren Cohen

        is that the same difference between flip/flop and evolve?

  • Buck

    TO PROTECT AND SERVE ” has morphed into ” HARRASSE AND INTIMADATE ” and is now morphing again into ” MURDERING GESTAPO ” at the behest of our communist , ( excuse me ) , our progressive government .

  • Mike88

    What protections do the average citizens have against either an out of control police officer or an out of control government official who believes they are above the law, especially when the Supreme Court confirms they are above the law.

  • Bert Cundle Sr.

    In the past, you wouldn’t see a Colorado Springs police officer with a ballistic shield, helmet and rifle on your average police call, but that’s changed.///////////////\\\\\\\ That area: Should be Fortified!! And our Boarders should be fortified!
    The ratio of Good Cops Vs. Bad Cops is unknown, untill “you” get pulled over for a “Violation”… The Cops, are paid by a Criminal elimate of Government ( Control Freaks)
    We are expected to know all Laws… Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse.
    { Earth is the Pit of the Universe.}

  • Cheryl

    Let’s see here. 2008 G-8 Summit in Virgina. This year G-8 Summit at Camp David & Nato in Chicago. So they were all here for the Super Moon. That’s about 140 people that run the world. I agree with Ron Paul for President but I think that the outcome has already been decided, as before and before etc.

  • http://NONE SHYLA MOON

    YEAH, HERE IN ARKANSAS THE FBI DID A SECRET STING OPERATION BECAUSE A BUNCH OF POLICE WERE INTERTWINED WITH A DRUG RING IN MORE THAN 2-3 TOWNS. THE COPS WERE PROTECTING THE DRUG SHIPMENTS AND MAKING SURE THEY GOT TO THERE DESTINATION WITHOUT ANY POLICE INTERFERENCE. WHEN IT WRAPPED UP IT WAS LIKE 50 ARRESTED. CANT REMEMBER HOW MANY WERE POLICE BUT 1 IS TOO MANY AND IT WAS LIKE 10-15 I THINK….A DIRTY COP IN KANSAS IS WHAT MADE ME GET OUT OF THE FIELD…AFTER MEETING HIM AND BEING TREATED LIKE KAKA,, HE PULLED UP BESIDE MY MUSTANG AND REVVED UP HIS MOTOR AND THEN PEELED OUT OF THE TRAFFIC LIGHT. I CAUGHT HIM…THEN I SAW HIM ON HIS RADIO MAKING THE CALL TO THE PATROL CAR. HE WAS A SMART ASS AND TOLD ME MAYBE I NEEDED TO LOOK INTO ANOTHER LINE OF WORK…..TOLD HIM, “DONT WORRY, AFTER MEETING YOU, I’M DONE…SOMEBODY LIKE YOU, ENTRAPPING PEOPLE AND BEING AN ASS IS LIKELY TO GET “ME” KILLED SOME DAY. AND I DID JUST THAT. I GOT OUT OF THE MILITARY, WAS LAW ENFORCEMENT ON BASE. GOT ALOT OF EXPERIENCE AT NUMEROUS CAREERS. IVE ALWAYS MISSED LAW ENFORCEMENT….BUT I CANT BE DIRTY, CHEAT OR DO WRONG WITHOUT HEAVY CONSEQUENCES. THE SP’S IN THE AIR FORCE WERE JUST AS DIRTY…USED THEIR RANK TO SEXUALLY HARRASS AND PUT ME AT A DISADVANTAGE….COULDNT TAKE IT ANYMORE AND THE CITY ENTRAPMENT COP JUST CINCHED IT FOR ME. ONLY LIKE 4-6 FEMALES AND 300 MALES…IT WAS TORTURE SOMETIMES…BECAUSE OF MY TEST SCORES ON BASE AND THE CCAF WERE SO HIGH, THEY OFFERED TO SEND ME TO OTS…BUT I’D ALREADY FIGURED OUT I WAS DONE WITH THE SEXUAL HARRASSMENT. IVE KNOWN A COP 1 COUNTY OVER THAT TOOK DRUGS FROM THE EVIDENCE LOCKER TO HER GIRLFRIEND…MY NEIGHBOR. I WAS THE VICTIM OF A TERRIBLE CRIME THAT WAS RECORDED. THE EVIDENCE ROOM CLERK CALLED ME AND TOLD ME THAT I NEEDED TO COME DOWN THERE AND GET THE TAPE BECAUSE ALL OF THE COPS WERE CHECKING IT OUT AND TAKING IT HOME LIKE A LIBRARY BOOK. I ALSO WAS VICTIMIZED AND THE SAME COUNTY COPS ARRESTED ME INSTEAD OF THE PAROLEE THAT WAS TRESSPASSING ON MY PROPERTY AND THREATENING ME WITH A WHOLE CARLOAD OF PEOPLE….SHE WENT FREE AND I WAS ARRESTED, PLUS THE WONDERFUL DEPUTY CALLED DHS TO COME AFTER MY KIDS INSTEAD OF LETTING THEM GO WITH MY HUSBAND WHO SHOWED UP RIGHT AFTER THEY GOT THERE….BEING CALLED BY ME TO COME HELP BECAUSE OF THE HARRASSMENT. IT WAS HER 2ND TIME TO DO SAME TO ME, AND THAT DIDNT EVEN MATTER, NOR DID THE FACT SHE WAS ON PAROLE…I THINK HER SPECIAL FAVOR TO THE CONSTABLE IS WHAT GOT HER OFF…LOL SO TO SPEAK….IT WAS VERY DESTRUCTIVE TO ME AND MY CHILDREN, ONE OF THEM WAS ONLY 10 MONTHS OLD. I HAD CALLED A DEPUTY OUT AND MADE A COMPLAINT THE DAY BEFORE, HE DIDNT FIND ANYTHING WRONG WITH MY HOUSE, BUT ONCE THE WHOLE THING PLAYED OUT, THE DEPUTY DECIDED MY HOME WASNT FIT AND CALLED IN DHS. THEY ALL COVERED THEIR TRACKS…DHS SD IT WAS FREEZING. I GOT A LETTER, OR RECORD FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE THAT SAID IT WAS 78 DEGREES. IT WAS SUPPOSEDLY TO COLD FOR THE WAY THEY WERE DRESSED. 78 DEGREES!!! THEY STILL ROLLED MY FAMILY OVER THE COALS…NUTTIN IS WORSE THAN A DIRTY COP OR A STUPID COP. IT WAS SO HORRIFIC WHAT I WAS PUT THRU….AND I WAS ON “MY” PROPERTY WITH A VERY VISIBLE NO TRESSPASSING SIGN ON A TREE AS YOU ENTERED THE DRIVEWAY.

  • john

    ….just another slap in the face to the u.s. citizens!! obama wants a dictatorship, and will stop at nothing to get it!!

  • W. T. Brian

    Wait a minute, I have to be sure I read this correctly, the John Birch Society is trying to help define the role of the local police? I didn’t know the John Birch Society still existed.

  • ROGEr, Irish-Canadian LIBERTARIAN

    When Governments and their various bodies or departments make JUSTICE for the people IMPOSSIBLE, they make VIOLENCE by the people INEVITABLE

    That principle also applies to PEACEFUL PROTESTING. Governments are pushing people into a corner whereby they have no way to be heard or receive justice and the result over time will be MUCH MORE VIOLENCE by the people.

    Personally i think THAT is exactly what western governments want.It will give them the excuse they need to create the AUTHORITARIAN STATES, which the Establishment wants

    The GOOD NEWS is that Authoritarian States ALWAYS Fail BUT only after creating MUCH misery and poverty.

    • Warren Cohen

      Not only do they create much misery and poverty, but also generally, the cost of removing them is paid in blood. This is the reason the Founding Fathers put the Second Amendment into the Bill of Rights, as Thomas Jefferson said The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.

      The tactic of federalizing the local police is just another step in the process of more power to a Central government. An excellent example often overlooked is the US Dept. of Education; instead of assisting the state and local school boards this department has literally taken over control of the education system(s) of this country and is telling the local school officials what they will and will not teach. Has anyone checked the latest history books being used to teach American history your children’s school. If and when you do, it will shock you, as this country is portrayed as an overbearing and war-mongering nation.

      • T i m

        The reason AMERICA IS PRESENTED TO THE WORLD AS WAR MONGER , IS BECAUSE OF WHAT IS PRINTED ON THE DOLLAR BILL YOU HAVE IN YOUR POCKET . We are the NEW WORLD ORDER , WORLD POLICE ………….Says so on the dollar bill . If the schools teach anything different than that ……………WHO YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO . T i m

  • Bert Cundle Sr.

    How can we blame Cops? The State is So Corupt… The FRANCHISE TAX BORD… Steals for the D.M.V.! The D.M.V. Has taken Owners Athority of All Vehicles, unless We Lease Our Vehicles from them EVERY YEAR! ( Anual Tags.) Weather we use them on the streets “or not”! [ My State Tax Return went to D.M.V. for late tags on a truck , "not in use!"]

    • T i m

      My name is T i m . I go through that every year . I do not junk a vehicle . If it breaks , I drive something eles till I can afford to repair old 1 , then I drive it or sell it . The car taxes , is all about PAYROLL . …TAXES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PRODUCT , IT IS ALL ABOUT PAYROLL . EVEN IF YOUR CAR SITS IN THE DRIVEWAY , YOU WILL PAY TAXES ON IT . The government must have an object to justify takeing tax revenue . TAX REVENUE IS ALL ABOUT ……Government Payrol . WELFARE POPULATION PARTICIPATES IN THIS . ALL TAXES GO IN THE SAME HAT , TILL GOVERNMENT DECIDES WHAT NEEDS SPENT 1 ST . I am spending about 4 5 cents per gallon SALES tax on a gallon of gas . There are about 2 . 0 0 per gallon , other taxes NO ONE EVER HEARS ABOUT . T i m

      • Bert Cundle Sr.

        about 2 . 0 0 per gallon , other taxes NO ONE EVER HEARS ABOUT{ ……………….
        Tarrifs, & Fees, + & + etc. … Remember… The Politicans only have their alloted amount of time ( Term Limts ) To Steal All they Can. (For their Party) Who to vote for??????????

        • T i m

          R O N P A U L ……………. R O N P A U L …………….

      • Bert Cundle Sr.

        The Government has learned how to cut expenses…. Use Non Union Workers ( Ilegal alians.& Imported materials.)

      • T i m

        CUNDLE SENIOR , SIR . …TERM LIMITS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS . …EVERY ELECTED POLITICIAN GETS PAID …NO MATTER WHAT …… FOR LIFE . ….THEIR PAYCHECK DOES NOT STOP AT THE END OF THEIR ” TERM ” . I have long beleived , we must get rid of term limits . WE CAN NOT KEEP A GOOD ONE , AFTER 8 YEARS . …..LET US PEOPLE DO OUR JOB . vote them out . Mr. Romney is being pumped to be the new president , BECAUSE THE BUSH FAMILY said so . …..I WILL VOTE FOR RON PAUL . ………..NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE UNDER ROMNEY ……………RON PAUL

  • Liberterian

    i am not a believer in federalization of local police to any extent. We need to become police and community oriented, one working and cooperating with one another and thusly forging a partnership in which abuse and excess can be managed or neutralized to the most minimusm optimal point.
    Police officers in the field are at risk when they encounter the worst part of mankind and are called upon by the average citizen for safe streets and protection. As in any profession there exists enough corrupt players and rules to go around. Creating a super, national force will never eliminate corrupt people. It is up to the community and a police department through efficient selection and training for officers. Also the necessary mechanisms through legislation to weed out the abusers.
    It is the advancment of new dangerous, technological control and centalized information techniques for law enforcement both local and federal agencies, that must be in check or we loose our constitutional given freedoms and hell pray tell, once gone, forever. Trust not out of fear, don’t let officials and politicians sell you a bill of goods, control for fear, death for freedom.

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