It’s no secret that the U.S. has become more and more of a lock-down zone since 09/11. That event made people scared, made people want to feel protected and safe again, and many people willingly chose to allow changes to occur in our society to soothe their sense of panic.
What this has essentially meant for our everyday lives is a rather quick loss of freedom, though most people wouldn’t recognize it. Sometimes it takes a visit to another country for you to realize what is really happening right before your eyes.
This is exactly what happened to Dave Lindorff. Lindorff took a trip to Canada with his wife where she was giving a music recital. When traveling into Canada, the Canadian official was courteous, friendly, and even asked the composer whose works Lindorff’s wife his was playing. The Canadian official then waived them through with a smile. But the return to the U.S. was a different issue. He writes,
“On our way back into the US, we found ourselves being questioned by a grim-faced, beefy, cop-like guy, complete with sidearm, about where we’d been and what we’d done in Canada. Now this is getting draconian. We are both US citizens traveling back from home from a visit to a country that is about as close an ally to the US as a country can be. There is no reason why an immigration official, having looked at our passports, should be asking us about our activities while in Canada. Hell, I could have said I was attending a conference on promoting world socialist revolution, or a global meeting of some white supremacist organization. It wouldn’t matter. He’d still have to grant us entry. I have every right to attend such political meetings in the US with impunity if I want to, and I have the same right as a US citizen to attend them abroad too.
“The stupid thing, of course, about such questions, is that if I actually were doing something illegal — say passing stolen state secrets to a spy connection in Canada, or meeting with some terrorist organization to plot a bombing in the US — I certainly wouldn’t offer that information to a border patrol officer.
“So why would we be asked by a border patrol official to report what we had been doing in Canada?
“The only reason I can come up with is intimidation. We were being shown that our behavior as US citizens is being monitored, and that if we do things that the government finds bothersome, we will be questioned and monitored further. It wouldn’t surprise me that if I had actually attended a conference on promoting world revolution during my trip and had lied about it by saying all I’d done was attend a music conference with my wife, I could be accused of committing the felony of lying to a federal border official. It is, after all, a felony to lie to an FBI agent — something that itself is incredibly draconian when you stop and think about it.”
Lindorff also details the difference in police presence between the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., police officers are everywhere. In Canada, they had trouble finding a police officer in a major metropolitan city (Montreal) to even ask directions. Montreal would have to nearly double their police force to match the police to population density of Philadelphia (city of brotherly love, eh?) and would have to triple their police force to reach the police to population density of New York City.
Now, some will undoubtedly say that New York City is more dangerous than Montreal. They may be right, but we have to ask, if that is the case (and I don’t know the statistics to be able to say if it is or if it isn’t), why is that the situation? There are certainly many potential answers and, undoubtedly, many factors, but what seems clear-cut is that we live in a United States in which the police are being treated by their employers (the government) as “law enforcement officers” instead of “peace officers.”
This is not the America in which I want my children to grow up. I want my children to grow up with a sense of peace and security. The government gives us rising and militarized police forces under the excuse of giving us peace, but they aren’t giving us peace. They’ve just taken more control.
It may be time to consider other options or even go completely off-grid, if you haven’t already done so. What do you think about the rising number of police in the U.S.? Tell us below.