Now that the public is finally starting to have doubts about the drug war, another type of war has arrived: the War on Terror. The idea that domestic enemies need to be raided and rooted out -- that law enforcement should be given a free hand or we could all be killed -- got a new lease on life.
And a new source of funding.
Despite laws clearly saying that soldiers may not be used for domestic policing except in very special circumstances, the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security now offer armored vehicles -- tanks and troop transports, body armor and stun grenades -- to police departments, large or small.
Local police jumped at the chance to have new toys -- so they expanded the circumstances under which those toys get used.
The police chief in quiet Concord, N.H., cites people not so different from me as an excuse for getting DHS money to buy an armored vehicle. In an application for what is essentially a tank, he wrote that groups like the Free State Project -- libertarians who moved to New Hampshire seeking increased individual freedom -- pose "daily challenges" to the police of Concord.
Free Staters better watch out next time they get into an argument over a traffic ticket.
Most libertarians argue that police, courts and military are legitimate functions of government. We focus our skepticism on completely illegitimate government actions, like corporate welfare.
But few freedoms are more basic than being able to sleep securely in your bed without armored men bursting through your door.
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