Monday, July 23, 2012

All Hail the Police State, part 6

On of the things that defines a tyrannical regime is selective application of the law.  Either I'm just paying more attention as of late, or there is a noticeable increase in instances of this recently.  Here are some examples I saw just this week.

Nobody likes the IRS but they are a necessary branch of government.  It is imperative they be fair and unbiased, especially if they get to the point where they are taking action against a taxpayer.  They should be fair during audits, and if they get to the point of seizing property or locking bank accounts they especially need to follow procedure.  However, during a recent audit they didn't follow their own guidelines during property seizures more than 20% of the time.  That's startling.   This report highlights the significant ways those procedures were not followed to the detriment of the citizens involved.

Nobody likes the TSA and unlike the IRS, they are completely useless.  The accounts of individual TSA employees not following procedure, stealing property, harassing citizens and breaking the law in other ways are legion.  They are the fastest growing government agency and offer a lot of negatives as a trade off for intangible or even non-existent benefits.  This story was more unsettling than most, as it doesn't involve individual or even groups of officers, but an endemic scoffing at the law by the organization as a whole to not comply with a court order, a full year after that order was issued.  They view themselves as above the law, apparently.

The BATFE has had a rough couple years with the debacle they call Fast and Furious.  It seems they had this genius plan of helping criminals run guns to drug cartels with no way to trace them and no convictions.  There are been people killed with those guns, including a federal agent.  But mostly Mexicans, which apparently the ATF doesn't  worry too much about. 

But the new thing that is disconcerting is their change to the Form 4473.  This is the form you have to fill out to purchase a gun, one that is kept by the gun dealer after he calls in a background check.  They added a new box, labeled 10a.  The old box called 10a is now 10b.  10b asks what race you are, Caucasian, African American, Latino, etc.  But for some reason they needed a new box, one that only asks if you are "Hispanic or Latino" or "Not Hispanic or Latino".  You know, because checking one box if you identify as Latino wasn't enough, now you have to do it twice.  What happened to laws against racial discrimination and profiling.  I don't know what the goal is being box 10a, will dealers have to start divulging this information during background checks?  Will Latino citizens get extra scrutiny?  I don't really understand why this is important to track.

Lastly, we see the influence of public sector unions.  We look to Oregon, where it seems you can't fire a cop without the union having him reinstated, no matter how heinous the transgression.  In the private sector any of these actions would get normal citizens fired and likely brought up on charges.  But in Oregon the cops get a brief paid vacation while the union gets them their job back.  Again, they are above the law.

I'm sure there are other ways that government agencies are not applying justice fairly, but these are the ones that caught my eye this week.  Yes, all these are stories from this week.  I find that alarming and I'm nervous about what next week will hold.

Stay safe out there!

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