John Whitehead's Commentary
Rule by Fiat: When the Government Does Whatever It Wants [SHORT]
Rule by brute force.
That’s about as good a description as you’ll find for the sorry state of our nation.
SWAT teams crashing through doors. Militarized police shooting unarmed citizens. Traffic cops tasering old men and pregnant women for not complying fast enough with an order. Resource officers shackling children for acting like children. Homeowners finding their homes under siege by police out to confiscate lawfully-owned guns. Drivers having their cash seized under the pretext that they might have done something wrong.
The list of abuses being perpetrated against the American people by their government is growing rapidly.
We are approaching critical mass.
The groundwork has been laid for a new kind of government where it won’t matter if you’re innocent or guilty, whether you’re a threat to the nation, or even if you’re a citizen. What will matter is what the government—or whoever happens to be calling the shots at the time—thinks. And if the powers-that-be think you’re a threat to the nation and should be locked up, then you’ll be locked up with no access to the protections our Constitution provides.
In effect, you will disappear.
Our freedoms are already being made to disappear.
We have seen this come to pass under past presidents with their use of executive orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations, national security directives and legislative signing statements.
President Biden’s long list of executive orders, executive actions, proclamations and directives is just more of the same: rule by fiat.
Now the Biden Administration is setting its sights on gun control.
Mark my words: gun control legislation, especially in the form of red flag gun laws, which allow the police to remove guns from people “suspected” of being threats, will become yet another means by which to subvert the Constitution and sabotage the rights of the people.
These laws, growing in popularity as a legislative means by which to seize guns from individuals viewed as a danger to themselves or others, are yet another stealth maneuver by the police state to gain greater power over an unsuspecting and largely gullible populace.
Nineteen states and Washington DC have red flag laws on their books.
That number is growing.
In the midst of what feels like an epidemic of mass shootings (the statistics suggest otherwise), these gun confiscation laws—extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws, which don’t require a mental-health diagnosis or an arrest—may appease the fears of those who believe that fewer guns in the hands of the general populace will make our society safer.
Of course, it doesn’t always work that way.
Anything—knives, vehicles, planes, pressure cookers—can become a weapon when wielded with deadly intentions.
With these red flag gun laws, the stated intention is to disarm individuals who are potential threats… to “stop dangerous people before they act.”
While in theory it appears perfectly reasonable to want to disarm individuals who are clearly suicidal and/or pose an “immediate danger” to themselves or others, where the problem arises is when you put the power to determine who is a potential danger in the hands of government agencies, the courts and the police.
Now consider the ramifications of giving police the authority to preemptively raid homes in order to neutralize a potential threat.
It’s a powder keg waiting for a lit match.
Under these red flag laws, what happened to Duncan Lemp—who was gunned down in his bedroom during an early morning, no-knock SWAT team raid on his family’s home—could very well happen to more people.
At 4:30 a.m. on March 12, 2020, in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that had most of the country under a partial lockdown and sheltering at home, a masked SWAT team—deployed to execute a “high risk” search warrant for unauthorized firearms—stormed the suburban house where 21-year-old Duncan, a software engineer and Second Amendment advocate, lived with his parents and 19-year-old brother.
The entire household, including Lemp and his girlfriend, was reportedly asleep when the SWAT team directed flash bang grenades and gunfire through Lemp’s bedroom window.
Lemp was killed and his girlfriend injured.
No one in the house that morning, including Lemp, had a criminal record.
No one in the house that morning, including Lemp, was considered an “imminent threat” to law enforcement or the public, at least not according to the search warrant.
So what was so urgent that militarized police felt compelled to employ battlefield tactics in the pre-dawn hours of a day when most people are asleep in bed, not to mention stuck at home as part of a nationwide lockdown?
According to police, they were tipped off that Lemp was in possession of “firearms.”
Thus, rather than approaching the house by the front door at a reasonable hour in order to investigate this complaint—which is what the Fourth Amendment requires—police instead strapped on their guns, loaded up their flash bang grenades and acted like battle-crazed warriors.
This is the blowback from all that military weaponry flowing to domestic police departments.
This is what happens when you use SWAT teams to carry out routine search warrants.
This is what happens when you adopt red flag gun laws, which Maryland did in 2018, painting anyone who might be in possession of a gun—legal or otherwise—as a threat that must be neutralized.
Therein lies the danger of these red flag laws, specifically, and pre-crime laws such as these generally where the burden of proof is reversed and you are guilty before you are given any chance to prove you are innocent.
Red flag gun laws merely push us that much closer towards a suspect society where everyone is potentially guilty of some crime or another and must be preemptively rendered harmless.
Where many Americans go wrong is in naively assuming that you have to be doing something illegal or harmful in order to be flagged and targeted for some form of intervention or detention.
All you need to do is end up on a government watch list.
Be warned: once you get on such a government watch list—whether it’s a terrorist watch list, a mental health watch list, a dissident watch list, or a red flag gun watch list—there’s no clear-cut way to get off, whether or not you should actually be on there.
You will be tracked wherever you go.
You will be flagged as a potential threat and dealt with accordingly.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this is pre-crime on an ideological scale and it’s been a long time coming.
ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His most recent books are the best-selling Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the award-winning A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, and a debut dystopian fiction novel, The Erik Blair Diaries. Whitehead can be contacted at email@example.com. Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The Rutherford Institute. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.
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