I’ve been in law enforcement for the past 18 years. I have attended a variety of training over those years. During the 1990s, most training I attended was community-oriented, sponsored by local agencies or private companies specializing in police training. Themes common to training of the past included topics such as Constitutional rights, community partnerships, youth-oriented programs and problem-oriented policing.
During the past several years, I have witnessed a dramatic shift in the focus of law enforcement training. Law enforcement courses have moved away from a local community focus to a federally dominated model of complete social control. Most training I have attended over the past two years have been sponsored by Department of Homeland Security (DHS), namely the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
No matter what topic the training session concerns, every DHS sponsored course I have attended over the past few years never fails to branch off into warnings about potential domestic terrorists in the community. While this may sound like a valid officer and community safety issue, you may be disturbed to learn how our Federal government describes a typical domestic terrorist.
These federal trainers describe the dangers of “extremists” and “militia groups” roaming the community and hiding in plain sight, ready to attack. Officers are instructed how to recognize these domestic terrorists by their behavior, views and common characteristics. State data bases are kept to track suspected domestic terrorists and officers are instructed on reporting procedures to state and federal agencies. The state I work in, like many others, have what is known as a “fusion center” that compiles a watch list of suspicious people.
So how does a person qualify as a potential domestic terrorist? Based on the training I have attended, here are characteristics that qualify:
* Expressions of libertarian philosophies (statements, bumper stickers)
* Second Amendment-oriented views (NRA or gun club membership, holding a CCW permit)
* Survivalist literature (fictional books such as "Patriots" and "One Second After" are mentioned by name)
* Self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies)
* Fear of economic collapse (buying gold and barter items)
* Religious views concerning the book of Revelation (apocalypse, anti-Christ)
* Expressed fears of Big Brother or big government
* Declarations of Constitutional rights and civil liberties
* Belief in a New World Order conspiracy
A recent training session I attended encouraged law enforcement agencies to work with business owners to alert police when customers appear to be stockpiling items. An example was given that a federal agent was monitoring customers at a well known hunting and fishing retail outlet and noting who was purchasing certain items. This is something to remember the next time you purchase a case of ammo at one of these popular outdoor sports retail stores.
Methods of developing evidence of terrorist activity from virtually any search have also been discussed. Various common materials which may be associated with homemade explosives are listed, such as lengths of pipe, gunpowder, matches, flammable liquids and fireworks. Officers are told when these items are found, they can be listed as “bomb making materials”. The training even goes so far as to instruct officers that the items are cleverly disguised as legitimate, such as gasoline stored near a lawn mower, pipes stored in a shop building or gunpowder stored with reloading materials.
One course I attended used the example of a person employed as a plumber being the target of a search warrant. In this example, the officers were told how to use his employment as a plumber as further evidence of terrorism. The suspect’s employment would be described as an elaborate scheme to justify possessing pipes and chemicals so as to have bomb making materials readily available. Based on this example, all plumbers are potential pipe bomb makers. All gun dealers are plotting to provide arms to gangs or terrorists. All pest control companies are preparing mass poisonings. By using this logic, simply having the ability to do something criminal automatically makes the person guilty of plotting the crime. With all the various methods of manufacturing methamphetamine, it would also be easy to claim that a disassembled clandestine drug lab was located during the search. In other words, it is easy to frame anyone for possessing bomb making materials (or other crimes) if the officer knows what items to list in the report and how to link these items to terrorism.
Another common tactic used in DHS sponsored training is the slander of certain ideologies by linking an erroneous characteristic to a particular group. Here are some examples:
* These groups hold the anniversaries of certain dates as significant such a Ruby Ridge, Waco and Hitler’s birthday
* They oppose abortion, support gun rights and are affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan
* They are fearful of big government, espouse support for the Constitution and want to kill police officers
* These groups collect firearms, survivalist books and explosives
* These extremists read books such as Patriots, One Second After and The Anarchist Cookbook
* They are religious zealots, reading the book of Revelation, speak of the second coming of Christ and plan mass murders to summon the end of the world
* These people grow their own food, raise livestock and plot attacks on commercial food production facilities
Do you see how this tactic works? List common characteristics of libertarian/conservative minded people, then throw in a slanderous accusation. If A and B apply, then you should automatically presume C applies as well. If they were disturbed by the incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco, then obviously they must celebrate Hitler’s birthday. Officers are being conditioned to assume criminal and terroristic views when politically-incorrect views are observed. As simple-minded and ridiculous as this line of thinking is, there are some officers who unfortunately buy into this.
Another training session I attended two years ago discussed the dangerous of people who have strong views of the U.S. Constitution. One trainer made the statement that “these people actually believe the Second Amendment gives them the personal right to own a gun.” Of course, the trainer failed to mention that our Founding Fathers, as well as recent Supreme Court rulings, verify this view as being completely accurate. The obvious attempt here was to suggest to officers that the Second Amendment does not apply to individual gun ownership and to be suspicious of anyone who holds such a view. It was also stressed to be cautious of anyone who quotes the Constitution and even worse, actually possesses a copy of this radical document. Incredibly, in the United States of America today belief in our founding legal principles is now grounds for being labeled a domestic terrorism. Imagine how they would respond to some of the known statements of Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry or George Mason concerning the issue of individual liberty and limited government. It is true that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.There are several things that we, the patriotic, self-sufficient defenders of liberty can do to counter this effort. First, get involved in local elections. Elect county sheriffs who will not fall for such propaganda nor go along with oppressive federal agendas. Elect city council members who will not tolerate such behavior by their city police department. Elect state representatives who will hold state agencies accountable for participating in such tactics. Bring these issues up during elections, demand a public statement on their position on such propaganda and a promise to stand against these efforts while in office.
Second, get to know your local law enforcement officers. It is much more difficult for DHS to brainwash officers against people they personally know. When you are viewed as a neighbor, friend or fellow Christian, these officers are far less likely to submit your name to a terrorist watch list or view you as a potential terrorist. We want local officers to be personally offended when they hear members of their community slandered in such ways.
Third, always be friendly and courteous when speaking to your local officers. Even if that officer has fallen for this propaganda, be sure not to resemble the negative stereotypes labeled to us. After the fifth, sixth or maybe tenth time he deals with one of us, he or she may come to realize we are of no threat to law enforcement or anyone for that matter. Eventually, the officer may attend one of these training sessions, hear the propaganda and say to himself, “This isn’t true, I’ve dealt with many people like this, they are God-fearing, liberty loving Americans, they are not the enemy!”
I hope you find this information useful. Please remember that there are many people in law enforcement that have not, and will never, fall for DHS propaganda. Some of the most patriotic defenders of liberty and believers in self-sufficiency can be found in law enforcement. Officers like me will continue to do our part to fight tyranny from within while the general public can do its part by electing liberty-minded candidates to office and educating their friends and neighbors about issues important to all of us.