Two days ago, this nation had its annual "Patriot Day" remembrance. As I'm sure you're probably already aware, "Patriot Day" was so-named in honor of the attacks against this nation on September 11, 2001.
I remember that day very vividly. I was living with my aunt and her son in West Columbia, TX at the time. I was not working that day, and was mildly hung over when I woke to hear a man on the radio talking about the "horrific accident" that had just occurred in New York City's World Trade Center. I was about to reach over and turn off my stereo when I heard the man on the radio screaming "Oh, my God! There's another one!"
I ran into the living room and turned the television to CNN just in time to see the footage of the second plane smashing into the other tower. That was the "Zapruder Film" of my generation, with the 9/11 attacks being our Kennedy assassination. Our world changed forever on that morning.
Within a few months of the attacks, our nation launched an assault on Afghanistan in what has been called the "Global War on Terrorism" by our government. This GWOT soon spread to Iraq under the most baseless of pretenses. Sadly, this "war on terr'r" was also seen right here in our home country, being "fought" in the most immoral, unethical, and constitutionally unlawful manner you can imagine.
The so-called "USA Patriot Act" has given even our local police departments (not to mention our state and federal boys) unprecidented power and authority that this nation had never seen before, all in the name of "fighting terrorism". The overwhelming majority of crimes that have been prosecuted by using these new authorities have not been related to terrorism, but rather, to petty dope dealers. It would seem to me, as well as anyone with at least three cooperative and functioning brain cells, that those who actually have been prosecuted for "terrorism-related" offenses are nothing more than incompetent "wanna-be"-types...and most of these have been arrested through "sting operations" by the FBI, using criminal informants wishing to reduce their sentences. Many of these people have no knowledgeable ability to carry out any kind of attack on anyone or anything beyond the capabilities of your average urban gangbanger.
Oh, let's not forget the random high school kids we occasionally hear about, who get arrested for detonating "bombs" (read: HOMEMADE FIRECRACKERS) in trash cans and mailboxes. Oh yeah, Johnny and Jimmy McSuburbia are the real-deal American Jihad, let me tell ya! Placing a piece of dry ice inside a 35mm film canister was a prank pulled by my high school science teacher 15 years ago. Try doing it today, and you're likely to get arrested for "detonating a chemical device"!
Let's also not forget about the handful of civil liberties that we no longer have in this country. A good friend of mine once asked me, after we got into a heated discussion about this subject, "Specifically, what rights have you personally lost?". To him, I replied that I have lost every right denied to any individual citizen of this nation as a result of these supposed "anti-terror" laws.
He looked at me like he didn't understand, because I had never been arrested for failure to remain inside a "Free Speech Zone" at a protest rally. At the time, I had never even been to a protest rally! Federal agents had never (to my knowledge, anyway) performed a "sneak and peek" search on my house. They had never issued (again, to the best of my knowledge) a "National Security Letter" stating that they had reason to believe I was engaging in terrorist activities, in order to do a search of my financial records, my library history, my emails, et cetera without first obtaining a warrant signed by a judge.
But then again, they had done these to numerous other American citizens, and did so under the color of law...in direct violation of our constitutional rights. Even the FBI's Director Mueller has allowed a report to be issued, stating that these so-called National Security Letters are (and had been) an often-abused tool used by members of his agency. If it can happen to others, it can just as easily happen to me...which means I no longer have the rights guaranteed by my 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments. I no longer have the right to petition the court for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, if I am unlawfully imprisoned without charges, because the government has seen fit to do so with other American citizens.
I have been distrustful of "authority figures" since I had my first run-in with a pair of dirty cops following a juvenile arrest at the age of 15. Since I "woke up" after realizing in 2003 a few months into our war in Iraq that it was based upon nothing but solid bullshit and lies, I've been reading into the subject quite heavily, and have focused quite a bit on what is going on right here in America.
Non-violent political activists have been labeled as "domestic terrorists" by state police departments, who have infiltrated various activist groups who advocate everything from clean environmental policy to anti-abortion to the abolition of the death penalty. The FBI has trained "bloggers" to deliberately incite and intice people into making statements over the internet that can be defined as a "terrorist threat". Even though it became a bigger issue after the release of the MIAC report, our state police departments have been issuing all manner of "bulletins" describing asinine reasons for suspecting people of being "potential terrorists. The MIAC report listed people who yearn for a constitutional government and support third-party political candidates...but the Texas Department of Public safety thinks I might be a terrorist for a completely different reason. I WEAR LEVI'S BLUE JEANS! Yes, I'm serious...that was actually listed as a way to spot a potential terrorist, on a Texas DPS anti-terrorism bulletin!
Our local cops have become increasingly militarized, and their attitudes have shifted even further away from the "Officer Friendly"-type, to the point where many now seem to think of themselves as some twisted version of a stay-at-home military. The Sheriff's office of Harris County even discussed a plan to purchase MACHINE GUNS for patrol boats of his county's waterways! Ummm, this is Texas, not "the 'Nam"! Nearly all of our cops are now equipped with Taser hand-held electrocution devices, which were supposedly intended to reduce the number of times officers fired their duty weapons at suspects...but, as statistics have clearly shown, shootings have not decreased. Taser usage, as well as Taser abuse, have definitely increased.
So that's that, folks. I've always believed that they were "out to get me". Turns out I'm not being paranoid, they're really out to get me...and everyone else who thinks for themselves, and refuses to buy into the bullshit. It's been going on for quite a while. 9/11 just sped up the process quite a bit. I was in mourning on Friday. Not only for the nearly three thousand people who lost their lives on 9/11/01, but also for the loss of the American way. So sad, so shameful...