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America is a
different place today, than it was 4 short years ago, but just how
different, is increasingly becoming clear, and that realization should be
upsetting to everyone who lives in the USA. How different ? For
instance, torture, a remnant of dictatorships, is now a common point of
discussion, in Congress, on television talk shows and at breakfast tables
April 29th, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, closed two of its remaining 6
regional offices, and cut existing staff in the remaining offices. They
also are offering early retirement packages for their employees, according to
Kenneth Marcus, the Commission's Staff Director.
Commission came into existence in 1964 and was chiefly responsible for the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In the last ten
years its budget has not been increased, and is now facing a deficit. The
Commission faces a backlog of cases that can take six years or longer to fully
Amid such a
scenario, 1 in every 138 Americans today, is behind bars-- the highest
percentage of incarceration of any industrialized nation, or democracy.
America's incarceration rate is higher than Russia and China, whose populations
surmount the U.S.'s by a 5 to 1 margin. America, so it seems, is becoming a
nation of criminals. Is this really the case, or is this just an
indication of a society that is rapidly becoming a police state ?
Just in the
month of March, there were various instances of confrontations with police
across the U.S., when children, the elderly, and even sick individuals were
shocked with tasers, in highly questionable circumstances.
this past Thursday in Fall River Massachusetts a 7 year old boy was handcuffed
(wrists and ankles) for a tantrum at school.
In Salt Lake City, Utah, last month police tasered a man to death
with a 50,000 volt stun gun for refusing to follow
March, in Pensacola Florida, police tasered a man several times at a
Hospital because he refused to provide a urine sample, this while he was
restrained to a hospital bed.
Ohio, police tasered a high school freshman who would not stop
fighting with other students.
In March as
well, in a Chicago suburb, a choking teen was tasered 12 times and pepper
sprayed because police couldn't figure out what was wrong with the boy who would
not stop stumbling about.
Jacksonville Florida a 13 year old girl, is handcuffed to a
police car and tasered with 50,000 volts for refusing to be
is the account from Pennsylvania of a man in diabetic shock who would not answer
police questions, so he was shocked with a 50,000 volt stun
Or the case
from Toledo, Ohio of a man who refused to answer police questions and is hit
with a taser four times, arrested, put in a jail cell, tasered four more times
And in Detroit, police used their stun guns to shock a 14 year old
boy who threw a tantrum in school when a teacher tried to separate him from his
Nintendo game boy.
are not restricted to the young and mainly helpless, in Rock Hill South Carolina a 75 year old woman was tasered with
a 50,000 volt charge when she refused to leave a nursing home that she was
past week, in New Mexico, an elementary school was charged by a SWAT team
because one of the students was reported carrying something strange wrapped in a
T-shirt, the object was found to be a huge burrito filled with steak, guacamole,
lettuce, salsa, and jalapenos.
As if these
cases listed here aren't enough to be concerned about, in the land of the free
and home of the brave, now police incriminate the innocent, such as the recent
cases in New York, when police were caught 'red-handed' doctoring
video tapes in order to substantiate arrests of innocent
has changed. Fear is rampant, and extreme. What happened to love thy
neighbor as yourself ? What happened to the lofty ideals of a nation in
search of conquering poverty and injustice ? What has happened to
the nation in search of its soul, holding out its hand to the weak, to the
huddled masses ?
Is America a
nation of criminals, or a criminal nation--a runaway police state trouncing its
citizenry as well as those of weaker nations ? Yes, something is very
wrong in America, but I for one refuse to believe that it lies in its
L.M. / Contributing
Posted April 30, 2005
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