Dial 9-11 for Police State
Washington Examiner columnist Melanie Scarborough believes the recent tasering incident at a John Kerry speech at the University of Florida, and particularly the students’ passive reaction to it, is a sign of something truly depressing.
Try to imagine that happening on a college campus in the 1960s.
In fairness, the Florida students had little time to react at the moment, and many of them have belatedly. Nonetheless, their nonresponse is worrisome because today’s college students are the first generation to mature in the post-9/11 world.
This year’s freshmen were 12-year-olds on Sept. 11, 2001, which means they have only a vague recollection of life in a free society. To them, it is normal to be stopped and searched before entering public facilities. They think nothing of police officers capriciously demanding that they produce identification. They have been trained not to question their government.
Since 2001, the United States has undergone a subtle, but tragic, transformation from a nation where citizens were free to do as they wished as long as they broke no laws to one where they are free to do only what their government expressly permits. And unfortunately, one of the things the government most discourages is dissent.
She notes that anyone wishing to assemble to protest in D.C. must now apply for a permit from the Park Police and, if allowed to exercise their 1st Amendment rights, they must do so “herded by an army of police officers, and their movements will be recorded by close-range surveillance cameras.”
As I’ve noted many times, we’ve got the same mentality now at the nation’s airports, where taxpaying citizens must silently and patiently endure unreasonable searches by poorly trained and surly federal agents on the incredibly unlikely event that one of their fellow passengers is planning to hijack the plane. Like good little boys and girls, we put our toiletries in 6 ounce bottles in plastic bags of government specification to facilitate more easy searches and then, like sheep, we strip off our belts, take off our shoes, and empty our pockets while hoping that the TSA agents don’t single us out for extra special scrutiny. All the while, we dare not complain or make a joke.
Yet, few seem to think any of that is problematic because, well, “Everything changed after 9-11.”