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Texas: Police state

By William S. Lind
web posted March 4, 2002

According to the February 22 Washington Times, the Gestapo is alive and well in the state of Texas:

"Jerry Shifflet received a $300 ticket last Friday. But it wasn't from a cop catching him speeding. The ticket was written by an officer patrolling his child's school. The offense: his 15-year old son cursed at another student. Ticket-writing in schools is nothing new, said Karen Olson, the district's Director of Security. She coordinates nine to twelve city police officers and Department of Public Safety troopers each school day... The fines they dispense range from about $250 to $500. In 2001, police issued 132 tickets to students for disrupting class and 182 tickets for disorderly conduct."

As my father used to say, sometimes I really regret the fact that Hitler won the war.

Whatever happened to being sent to the principal's office? Or detention? Or simple common sense? If a schoolboy uses a bad word, state troopers stationed inside his school now ticket his parents? Why do we, the public, put up with this sort of totalitarian nonsense?

Our ancestors, who evidently had more guts than we do, would have solved this problem with tar, feathers, and a rail. We meekly allow ourselves to be dragged through every absurdity, not even protesting. Since we have decided to behave like sheep, we should not be surprised that we get fleeced, then slaughtered.

What lies behind this bizarre policy in Texas schools? A few factors are easy to identify:

• We have stripped schoolteachers of the authority they need to maintain discipline. If they attempt to do so, they face a myriad of rules, the violation of any one of which puts their job in jeopardy. And, they face civil suits from parents if Johnny's or Susie's "self-esteem" is damaged. If the miscreant is a minority, the teacher's situation is even worse. Most of them gave up long ago, and now just go through the motions and wait for retirement.

• Everyone is terrified to challenge any policy that is justified by the magic word, "security." To oppose Gestapo tactics in a school is to "put children in danger." (Dr. Johnson said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel; today, scoundrels find safety by hiding behind "children.") Few parents are willing to stand up to the bureaucrats in the face of the "security" claptrap, even when the policies are patently absurd.

• Political Correctness, aka cultural Marxism, works at every turn to condition us as to the words we can and cannot use, hence the thoughts we can and cannot think. From the PC perspective, the sooner kids learn to fear the law for speaking a wrong word, the better.

• Finally, most Americans seem to accept without question that the state can do anything to us it wants. Here too we have been conditioned, by one absurd law after another: by tax forms that are incomprehensible but must be filled out accurately, by "wetlands" legislation that keeps farmers from plowing and builders from building, by "asset forfeiture" laws that allow the state to seize your property without a conviction or even a trial.

We have accepted so much that we cannot draw the line anywhere.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that 50 years ago, America was still a free country.

William S. Lind is the director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation.

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