The politics of universal criminality

Tim DunkinRenew America

Pretty much anybody who is paying the least bit of attention can see that the United States of America is slipping inexorably toward a police state. The courts have systematically gutted our 4th amendment right to be secure in our persons, possessions, papers, and property. Militarized SWAT teams abound in police departments from the largest cities down to the most backwoods hamlets. Even government agencies for which the need for automatic weapon-toting hit teams is not immediately apparent, such as the Department of Education and the Bureau of Land Management, have and employ these teams for raiding citizens in their homes. Americans are being desensitized to having their privacy removed by the TSA searches at airports. And so it proceeds, increasing with each passing year.

John Whitehead has written a great article about one particular manifestation of this — the VIPR (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) teams that the TSA is using more and more. These teams, paramilitary in nature, form the nucleus of the "expanded role" that the TSA leadership envisions for its agency. This involves extending the reach of TSA interventions and checkpoints beyond airports to other transportation-related entities, such as buses, trains, and even our highway system itself (as this article demonstrates is already starting to happen), with an eventual "goal" of "fighting terrorism" by establishing security checkpoints at all "soft targets," including malls, restaurants, and schools (a scope which, to put it mildly, would require the vast expansion of the number of VIPR teams and associated personnel to man them). VIPR teams have already been used for providing additional "security" at some high-profile public events; they've been used to conduct raids at Amtrak stations during which every single passenger and their luggage was searched, without a warrant of any kind. TSA wants to extend this to pretty much every place where people might use any mode of transportation or might congregates in public in any numbers.

Let's explore the ramifications of that for a moment.

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