“Whenever you hear a man prating about the Constitution, spot him as a traitor.” This instruction was given by President Andrew Johnson during the military occupation of the conquered southern states as a means of winnowing out the real troublemakers for special treatment.
Today, being described as a “constitutionalist” can have fatal consequences – as in death-by-government consequences.
The precise definition of “police state” may be elusive, but this one is suitable for our purposes: A police state exists anywhere an innocent, law-abiding family can have its home violated, and their lives threatened, by a paramilitary strike team -- who abducts one of the children at gunpoint -- as the result of an anonymous phone call. Boiled down to its essentials, this is what happened to the Shiflett family of New Castle, Colorado.
Glenwood Springs Post-Independent
Last Thursday (January 3), 11-year-old Jon Shiflett fell and hit his head while attempting to grab the handle of a moving car. His father, 62-year-old Tom Shiflett, is a Vietnam veteran with adequate medical training to deal with minor emergencies of this sort. He's also something of a curmudgeon, a bearded patriarch who has raised ten children, home-schooling them all and raising them in commendable isolation from our depraved popular culture.
A few years ago, Tom reportedly chased away one of his daughter's undesirable suitors with an axe. He was charged with felony menacing, but the case was dismissed under Colorado's “Make My Day” law, which may be one of the more enlightened enactments in the history of that or any other state. The young male in question reportedly trespassed on the family's property and spent a half-hour making threats before Shiflett chased him away. And it was Shiflett, not the supposed victim, who called the Sheriff's Department.
As the father of two young daughters, I understand Tom's reaction and admire his restraint: If a two-legged predator were lurking near one of my daughters with malign intent I doubt I'd give him a warning and a fifty-yard head start.
After Jon injured himself, local paramedics materialized at the Shiflett home and entered it uninvited. Tom was reportedly curt with them, but allowed them to examine his son. As the medical personnel described the incident, Tom was abusive and threatening.
This account was disputed by a neutral eyewitness, Ross Talbott, who manages the Apple Tree Mobile Home Park where the family lives. Talbott told the local paper that it was the paramedics, not Shiflett, who acted “belligerent,” and that Tom – his undeniable crustiness notwithstanding – didn't yell or otherwise abuse the uninvited visitors.
In that adjective -- “uninvited” -- the problem resides. Tom was capable of caring for his son. He didn't call the ambulance, and wasn't interested in incurring a huge service fee for an unnecessary hospital trip. The paramedics arrived because some local resident, impelled by civic-mindedness – or by the buttinski instinct, which is pretty much the same thing – called 911.
But Jon was already receiving competent medical help from a loving and highly motivated caregiver. Tom and his family (wife Tina and six children still at home) didn't want outside help, and “help” inflicted on an unwilling recipient is sometimes better considered a form of abuse.
So the ambulance service turned to the local magistrate and department of official child abduction and got a court order to take Jon in for a medical evaluation. Two social workers materialized at the Shiftlet's door to inform Tom that his son had to be taken in for treatment. It's not difficult to imagine Tom's reaction, which – given the fact that the government pests were able to leave under their own power – was another miracle of self-restraint.
Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario (who, appropriately enough, shares a name with a Genovese mob family kingpin) claims that Shiflett's reaction left him with no alternative but to dispatch the Garfield County “All-Hazards Response Team” to enforce the treatment order.
“Our history with him [Shiflett] shows that he can be violent,” commented Sheriff Vallario. “I knew he wasn't going to comply with us, I knew that he had to comply with this order, so I felt like for the safety of everybody that the All Hazards Team should be called and help to support the Sheriff's Office in this.”
See if you can wrap your mind around what passes for Vallario's reasoning here:
An 11-year-old boy got a bump on his head. His father is a retired Army medic who prefers to be left alone with his wife and several other children. There's a court order requiring that the child receive competent medical treatment. So rather than making a low-key visit to ask if the youngster is all right, you send in the jackboots late at night, locked, cocked and ready to rock.
Yeah, that's the safer approach. Everybody knows that the best way to see to a child's safety is to fill his small living space with masked, armed strangers who throw his father, mother, and siblings to the floor and seize him by force.
In fact, according to a letter Tina sent to WorldNetDaily (which broke this story), the Sheriff actually pretended to be making a friendly, informal visit as a way of luring Tom into letting him talk with Jon.
(Continues after jump)
Garfield County's "All-Hazards Response Team," a fully-funded subsidiary of the Department of Homeland Security: You remember all the engineered hysteria about "citizen militias" a decade and a half ago? How we were told it was dangerous for middle-aged white guys to deck themselves out in military drag and play with guns? Well ... the citizen militias pretty much evaporated, but outfits like this -- the Garfield County "All-Hazards Response Team" -- have pullulated across the countryside like mushrooms in cow manure. Not a single person was ever killed by a member of a "citizen militia," but people are killed every single week by gun-toting onanists like these guys.
“As soon as Jonathan was visible to the sheriff, a SWAT team appeared shining lights on Jon's face and others were bashing at the door with a ramming device,” recounts Tina. “My daughter resisted and pushed against the door to stop them as she didn't know who they were. I told her to back up and not try to fight them. They then entered our home, held a gun to my daughter's face and others of them, five or more, rushed into the living room and forced my other children to the ground.”
The assailants seized Jon – who was utterly terrified -- to take him to the hospital, warning that if his parents or family tried to visit him “criminal charges would be pressed against us.”
Jon was returned about three hours later. The government-licensed health care workers certified that the youngster had been getting adequate treatment at home. Not a particle of evidence was found that the boy had suffered abuse or neglect. Drawing from the “Well, Duh” handbook of basic first aid, hospital officials recommended that Jon ice his injury, drink plenty of fluids, and receive Tylenol to relieve pain and inflammation. All of this was being done by Jon's father, mind you, but since it didn't have the government's imprimatur, it didn't count, or something.
None of this was necessary. But all of it was inevitable. In justifying this attack, Sheriff Vallario – who really needs the kind of attitude adjustment the likes of Chuck Liddell could administer – claimed that the use of a strike team was necessary because Tom Shiflett is a "self-proclaimed constitutionalist.” Which means he's a law-abiding man who is both reluctant and willing to use force when necessary and proper.
Tom Shiflett, seen through the door that was forced open with a battering ram during the police assault on his home.
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Remember this well: The primary reason our country is afflicted with SWAT teams is not to protect the public from violent crime. At present, the primary mission of SWAT, as is the case with most of what we call “law enforcement,” is the collection of revenue, primarily through the lucrative, murderous fraud called the “War on Drugs.” On occasion, SWAT or tactical teams actually conduct hostage rescues or intervene to protect the public from violent criminals, but that's a mere lagniappe.
An important secondary purpose of SWAT teams that will eventually become their primary function in the emerging Homeland Security State is the role they play in beating down people who don't grovel. I can't say it any plainer than that.
And let there be no misunderstanding here: This was an assault by the Homeland Security State, because nearly all of the funding for the Garfield County All-Hazards Response Team comes from the Department of Homeland Security.
Sheriff Vallario, who heads a local joint drug task force called TRIDENT and has experience with the DEA and training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia on his resume, is typical of the new breed of “local” sheriffs and police: His role is to administer the Regime's policies, not to protect the rights and property of those living in his community. His histaminic reaction to a “constitutionalist” illustrates this perfectly (as does his enthusiasm for incremental civilian disarmament).
Beginning about thirteen years ago, police agencies across the nation have been catechized about the dangers of “constitutionalists” -- that is, people who have no gift for groveling. The most notorious example of this indoctrination was a pamphlet distributed by the Phoenix FBI office in 1999 and publicized in late 2001 by firearms activist Angel Shamaya. That document instructed police officers: "If you encounter any of the following, call the Joint Terrorism Task Force."
The very first category listed in the document - and, presumably, the single greatest danger - was "Right Wing Extremists," specifically "'defenders' of US Constitution against federal government and the UN (Super Patriots)." Interestingly, although peaceable disciples of Madison were listed as potential terrorists, radical followers of Mohammed didn't make the cut.
Several years earlier – April, 1996 to be exact – a consultant named John J. Nutter of the Ohio-based Conflict Analysis Group held a seminar in Oklahoma City entitled "Criminal Justice and Right-Wing Extremism in America." About 500 law enforcement personnel attended the event.
The syllabus from Nutter's seminar describes "right-wing extremism" as a "lightning rod for the mentally disturbed" and a movement which threatens "assassination, mass murder, and armed uprising." To help law enforcement deal with the "danger" from the right, Nutter offers an extensive list of "Potential Warning Signs." "Each of the following indications by itself might not mean an individual is active in an extremist group, or planning violent or criminal activity," the outline stresses. "However, if you observe one of them, better look for others."
Symptoms of someone suffering from incipient terrorism syndrome, according to Nutter, include "militia symbols" such as "firearms lapel pins, bumper stickers or window decals about the New World Order ... 'I fear the government that fears my gun' ... or 'Don't Tread on Me' flags."
Other stigmata of extremism listed by Nutter include expressing concern about a loss of national sovereignty, collecting gold or silver coins, or expressing contempt for the Federal Reserve and a desire to restore the gold standard. So presumably a “Ron Paul for President” yard sign would be considered a warning sign under this standard, as well. (Nutter went so far as to list The Law by Frederic Bastiat -- a tract that reflects its author's comprehensively non-violent views -- as the type of literature a potential right-wing terrorist might possess. Oh, and he listed one of my books, as well.)
Similar profiles were presented in Project Megiddo, the immensely foolish FBI report (is there any other kind?) published in 1999, as well as more recent documents distributed by the state governments of Alabama and Virginia(.pdf). And now we see the Sheriff of Garfield County, Colorado actually acting on that assumption in a SWAT raid that needlessly terrorized an innocent family and endangered the lives of six children.
A not-entirely-gratuitous plug....
The incident in Garfield County is a timely illustration of the central themes of my new book, Liberty in Eclipse: The War on Terror and the Rise of the Homeland Security State. It's available for sale on-line at e-bay, and will soon be available (I promise!) through Amazon and other major retailers.
Dum spiro, pugno!