Are our (Americans) rights being stripped from us? If so, is this loss worth the security?
No, we still have the right to pay way too many taxes. Especially if we are part of a minority group with no real political power - then the rights to pay (and pay and pay and pay) are multiplied.
Ultimately, we cannot lose our rights since they are a part of us - thus the "Inalienable" in the Declaration of Independence, but we can lose out liberty.
Unfortunately, we can be arrested, fined and even killed for expressing our rights.
The problem between rights and security is it is in direct conflict with Americas globalization strategy. America wants to encompass the world with its products, economics and culture but there are those who wish to have none of it. Culturally for America it is a nightmare as our secular approach is in direct defiance of many who cannot separate culture from the religious. So how do you play wack-a-mole on a global scale to protect a policy that is attacked through terrorism in all directions. The answer is quite simple! Everybody is a mole and that is how the NSA, CIA and the rest of the security organizations are handling it. Do we have the right to free trade? Absolutely! Is it dangerous and expensive? Absolutely! But if we want a blanket made in Pakistan or a cup of Earl Grey for our tea party we will have to accept the consequences for our wants and actions that ensue.
Yes, I'm sure America does want to dominate the world with its own products and political influence. Are there any countries that don't wish to do the same thing, dominate the world with their own products and political influence? The world is filled with competitive countries that wish to do the same thing for which America is criticized. Do those countries receive criticism for the exact same policies and intent?
Yeah, I get that... And all those taxes are, in part, paying for increased security programs and intelligence gathering of American citizens. Those taxes are also paying for the militarization of police forces as well. So, is it all worth being "safe" from terrorism? I take a lot of issue with the power and immunity of action of our nations police forces. In my own country, I feel much more threatened by the people meant to "protect and serve" than any terrorist organization. For me, it's not worth it..
Don't know about it being worth being safe from terrorism. Because while Americans have had almost no lives lost to terrorism (almost!) since 911 we citizens don't know how much of that is due to the loss of freedoms you mention. Perhaps without them we would have lost 10,000 or 100,000 lives. Maybe New York City to a suitcase nuke. Or maybe none at all - we don't know.
And unfortunately it has to be that way. Detailed knowledge of how and what plans were foiled cannot be made public and maintain security. The citizenry must remain in the dark about what is actually happening and trust their politicians - a really stupid thing to do in a lot of people's opinions (including mine), but what else is there?
*edit* I guess it comes down to you feel more threated by cops, but you really have zero idea of how much threat terrorism gives. You may well "feel" something that isn't there while NOT "feeling" what most definitely IS there.
I guess I am one of those people that would rather die in a terror attack as a free man than live to 100 in a country that is becoming more and more of a police state, in my opinion. I have no doubt that we are in the black to quite a bit of information, which may very well include thwarted attacks. That said, I still do not believe a militarized police force is required to achieve those ends. It is very disturbing to me that, since 9/11, American police forces have killed more Americans than our terrorists enemy has killed in either theater of war (Iraq or Afghanistan). To me, such a metric bodes poorly for our war...
I'll agree that a militarized police force is unnecessary to control terrorism within our borders. It has little to nothing to do with it.
But then I don't know that our police forces are any more militarized than they ever have been, either. A handful of better weapons, among hundreds of non-deadly ones, does not make a military.
Just for conversation... you raise several points, but regarding police killings, (of others), do you differentiate between necessary/justified vs. unnecessary/suspicious?
Considering the quality of citizens most police deal with - regarding criminal matters, I am thinking that just a raw number of police shootings might be very misleading. But you have mentioned it a couple of times, so it must be important to you. Do you see it differently?
Countless images such as the attached, government programs sending military surplus to police forces and the military-like tactics used by police today are the reasons I feel our nation's police are becoming militarized. 50,000 SWAT raids a year, in which the majority are for warrants tied to non-violent crimes is another reason.
warrants tied to non-violent crimes, but for people known to be extremely violent, maybe? Or for hostage situations? Or suicides?
There can be lots of reasons to call in the goodies a SWAT team brings, and a warrant for a violence oriented crime is one of the less common ones.
I guess if you are comfortable with setting aside rights for security, it's easier to justify a higher frequency of SWAT incursions for minor infractions, police in armored tank-like vehicles on American streets and hundreds of police killings every year. I am not comfortable with that and I am ashamed that other governments are operating a democracy far better than us. It's a bummer to me that our country is no longer THE BEACON of freedom.
Personally, I like seeing cops in armored tank-like vehicles - as long as they aren't tanks and aren't armed like tanks. I believe the cops protecting us deserve as much protection as we can give them, and don't understand people that want to intensify the danger because the vehicle looks mean. That police are killed year should indicate that they are in danger, not that they need a cardboard car.
Yeah, but many of the armored vehicles and gunboats are armed with chain guns. I don't blame them for being protected, but they are plenty efficient at killing citizens already and don't need the weaponry. This is the US, not Afghanistan. Armor themselves all they like, but a .50 cal isn't necessary when serving misdermeanors warrants. They are meant to "Protect and Serve," by their own words. Anymore they behave as an offensive paramilitary force. Justify their use of force all you like, statistics do not lie.
I have never seen a cop armed with a chain gun. I've never seen one in the US except on display in a museum or military parade kind of thing. I do not believe there are 50 caliber chain guns on armored cars being driven by cops - sounds more like scare tactics than anything else. Just lies to scare people into disarming the cops so they can commit more crimes without fear of being nailed for it.
And you have no right whatsoever, or valid reason, to claim that heavy arms (not a 50 cal chain gun) are not necessary when serving any warrant whatsoever as you have zero idea what will be found behind the door.
Statistics quite often lie, but which ones are you referring to?
Hmmm... just to be sure, we are talking about the U.S.?
Who has the chain guns? Granted, I only did one of my famous "20 minute Google Searches," but the only thing I could find was a reference to Texas State Police/Rangers getting gun boats for patrol duty on the Rio Grande. Hardly a place of misdemeanor crimes and search warrants. They were semi-armored, and did have machine guns - but no "chain" guns.
Perhaps I did not look deep enough, but, I could not find anything about police armored vehicles with chain guns.
I too would be disturbed if they had those weapons as a standard part of SWAT raids. Maybe you could direct me to the sources you have verifying this?
Also, are you in a locale where SWAT teams serve misdemeanor warrants? Sounds a little odd to me. Unless of course it is in the heart of a violent gang-controlled complex. Is that the type of incident you are referring to?
And what statistics are you referring to that do not lie? Maybe I am too naive, I'm sure I might have to do some heavy thinking if I had the information you seem to have.
Oops, looks like I stepped on Wilderness' response. Sorry, but it wasn't there when I started.
Well, I am currently out and about and I will provide the statistics I am talking about, with references, when I get home. Also, as an American taxpayer, I have every right to question the tactics and equipment my money is paying for to police us. If you do not want to question it, that fine, live your life as you like.
Oh, no - questioning of government is necessary to maintain freedom, such as we have left.
Just don't expect others to jump on your bandwagon without also questioning - the big one now is the claim that cops are being armed with chain guns in military armored vehicles. And that SWAT teams are called out for simple misdemeanor warrants with no reason to think there will be violence, I guess.
I thought by now somebody would have quoted Benjamin Franklin -
"They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
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