I found this document, The Rise of the American Police State (pdf)
linked on I Am The Witness
yesterday and I thought I'd post it to open up a dialogue on whether you think that America is a police state or not. I am in the process of reading it, and it documents many instances of blatant abuses of power over years since the 9/11 media terror event. The Rutherford Institute-Virginia Themis Society Research Program conducted this research paper.
AUTHORS: Katherine Coleman, James Parker Gochenour, Kathryn
Lawryszek, Nina Chandnani, Rutherford Institute, Virginia Themis Society.
PURPOSE: To analyze the cultural, historical, and political contexts of the increasing militarization
of the American police force and to articulate the role that the citizens and the media in defining
their relationship with the police.
BACKGROUND: Since the middle of the twentieth century, the American police force has
become increasingly centralized and militarized. This has been intensified by recent terrorist threats,
which have fostered an environment that is more permissive of a powerful police force. This report
probes the extent to which the authority of the police has been expanding, considering the
technological, historical, and legal developments that have contributed to the enlargement of the
METHOD: Research, synthesis, and interpretation of relevant scientific and journalistic material,
as well as recent studies completed by leading civil liberties organizations including the American
Civil Liberties Union and the Cato Institute.
RESULTS: The growing militarization now threatens American liberty. This threat is evident from
the increasing arsenal of weapons available to police units, the changing image of the police within
communities, and the growing idea that the police can and should use any means necessary to
maintain order. When viewed in a historical context, these patterns bear resemblance to those
observed in the early stages of the world's past police states. The increasing militarization of the
police poses a real threat to American civil liberties, especially First and Fourth Amendment
freedoms. In the face of the threat of an increasingly powerful police force, the American populace,
with the help of a vigilant media, must inform themselves about the issues at stake and ensure that
the police protect the order but also the liberty in their communities.