Martial Law in One City: The Case of Paragould, Arkansas
The LRC Blog
December 19th, 2012
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âThe fear is whatâs given us the reason to do this,â insistedÂ Todd Stovall, the head functionary of the paramilitary occupation force afflictingÂ Paragould, Arkansas, as he announced that the city would be placed under martial law for the supposed purpose of deterring crime.
âOnce I have stats and people are saying theyâre scared, we can do this. It allows us to do what weâre fixing to do.â
What Stovall and his fellow tax-feeders are âfixing to doâ is to leave the cityâs streets clotted with SWAT operators toting AR-15s and official permission to harass anybody who comes within eyeshot.
The marauders âare going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,â grunted Stovall at a town hall meeting held last Thursday at the West View Baptist Church.
âIf youâre out walking, weâre going to stop you, ask why youâre out walking, check for your ID.â
âWeâre going to do it to everybody,â Stovall explained, anticipating objections. âCriminals donât like being talked to.â
The same is true of citizens, of course â but like most members of his paramilitary tribe, Stovall divides the world between enlightened agents of State âauthorityâ such as himself and the Mundane population, which is to be intimidated into submission.
Stovall insists that constitutional quibbles over probable cause donâtÂ apply, because the âcrisisâ justifies imposition of a city-wide curfew and garrison state measures.
âIâve got statistical reasons that say Iâve got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what youâre doing out.â
He admits that heÂ didn’tÂ consult anÂ attorneyÂ before reaching that conclusion, and that âI donât even know that thereâs ever been a differenceâ between what heâs proposing and undisguised martial law.
To those who might complain about being harassed by Stovallâs minions, the chief offers an unqualified promiseâ âWe have a zero-tolerance. We are prepared to throw your hind-end in jail, OK? We are not going to take a lot of flack.â
ParagouldÂ historically has a very high burglary rate, but the violent crime rate is substantially below the national average:
In 2010, the last year for which stats are available, there wasnât a single murder in the town of roughly 26,000 people.
But political elites and their enforcers are adept at manufacturing fears, and the bullet-headed militarist who heads the police department â andÂ appears to be building his own little private armyÂ â assumes that government derives its âjustâ powers from whatever fears it can instill and exploit in its subjects.
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Contributed by William Grigg of The LRC Blog.
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