the TV news report, but it seems that six or seven police officers, dressed in battle gear and carrying assault rifles, burst into an Iowa home last Thursday as they executed a search warrant for someone who had used a credit card fraudulently. None of the people in the house had a criminal record beyond a dismissed theft charge. Police did not find what they were looking for. Needless to say, the police scared the crap out of the people inside.
Let me see: Six or seven heavily-armed men, under color of authority, are needed to apprehend a person or persons accused of credit card fraud? Here's a Washington Post blog post by Radley Balko that details the incident.
What scares the crap out of me is not so much the welcome-to-our-dictatorship implications of the Iowa incident but the sense that the whole matter will be written off or glibly camouflaged ... OK, the cops screw up now and then, but hey, it was just one bad-apple incident in a barrel of activity that will 'protect' us all in the long haul... sorta like drones and the massive gathering of private Internet or phone information. Let's just forget about this one incident, paper it over, and keep militarizing police and other forces.
It is somehow flabbergasting that the people who profit most by the sowing of fear and the 'defense' against that fear -- often red-white-and-blue, self-professed patriots -- see no downside to the diminution of democracy. I don't really expect them to feel shame -- they are a shameless lot -- but even at the level of income assurance, authoritarianism may keep the masses in line, but the flow of income is slowed.
Once, this country was a leader in thought and invention. Now, perhaps, it will be first as well in the ascendancy of the mediocre and ruthless and self-serving. No sense in letting Russia and China and third-world dictatorships get all the glory.