Martial Law in One City: The Case of Paragould, Arkansas
The LRC Blog
December 19th, 2012
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â€śThe fear is whatâ€™s given us the reason to do this,â€ť 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.
â€śOnce I have stats and people are saying theyâ€™re scared, we can do this. It allows us to do what weâ€™re fixing to do.â€ť
What Stovall and his fellow tax-feeders are â€śfixing to doâ€ť is to leave the cityâ€™s streets clotted with SWAT operators toting AR-15s and official permission to harass anybody who comes within eyeshot.
The marauders â€śare going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,â€ť grunted Stovall at a town hall meeting held last Thursday at the West View Baptist Church.
â€śIf youâ€™re out walking, weâ€™re going to stop you, ask why youâ€™re out walking, check for your ID.â€ť
â€śWeâ€™re going to do it to everybody,â€ť Stovall explained, anticipating objections. â€śCriminals donâ€™t like being talked to.â€ť
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 â€śauthorityâ€ť such as himself and the Mundane population, which is to be intimidated into submission.
Stovall insists that constitutional quibbles over probable cause donâ€™tÂ apply, because the â€ścrisisâ€ť justifies imposition of a city-wide curfew and garrison state measures.
â€śIâ€™ve got statistical reasons that say Iâ€™ve got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what youâ€™re doing out.â€ť
He admits that heÂ didn’tÂ consult anÂ attorneyÂ before reaching that conclusion, and that â€śI donâ€™t even know that thereâ€™s ever been a differenceâ€ť between what heâ€™s proposing and undisguised martial law.
To those who might complain about being harassed by Stovallâ€™s minions, the chief offers an unqualified promiseâ€ť â€śWe 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€ť
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 wasnâ€™t 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 â€śjustâ€ť 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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