The local chapter of Americans for Prosperity had the honor of having Coos County Sheriff Craig Zanni as guest speaker at their first meeting of the year. He was there to dispel the worries generated by President Obama’s unprecedented reach to enact a litany of new gun regulations via Executive Order.
The Sheriff reassured the group that the Officers of his department had sworn an Oath to uphold the US Constitution and protect its citizens from enemies foreign and domestic. He promised that his officers would never obey unconstitutional laws, but he also added that he did not think any of the new 23 Executive Orders were unlawful, much less unconstitutional. He promised to watch how they evolved to make sure that their legal status did not change. It was refreshing to hear a Law Officer invoke a patriotic stance, but the question remains, what happens if or when we have a Sheriff or a Sheriff’s Department that does not have any compunction in
seizing the lawful weapons of American citizens?
Since the fall of The World Trade Towers on September 11, 2001, and the start of the War on Terror, Americans have seen a slow but steady increase in laws that violate the tenants of our basic liberties. One of the first pieces of legislation to come out after 911 was the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The measure successfully passed both houses of Congress and President George W. Bush signed it into law on September
The legislation became Public Law 107-40 and it has been at the heart of several controversies over the past decade. Bush cited the AUMF as his administration’s defense in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. The US Supreme Court ruled that the administration's military commissions at Guantanamo Bay were not competent tribunals as constituted and therefore illegal. In another court case, The National Security Agency (NSA) cited the AUMF as a defense for the enhanced surveillance program during the trial of the ACLU v. the NSA. The Department of Justice advanced the argument that the AUMF implicitly overrode the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which gave the NSA the authority for "Warrantless Wiretapping.”
In 2008, the US Congress tried to avert the controversy and legal liability by passing amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. On December 9, 2012, Congress extended FISA with all the provocative provisions of the act intact for five more years, until December 31, 2017. Specifically, the Law protects telecommunication companies who spied on Americans for the government. It lowers the standards for spying on Americans by the federal government. It also allows federal agencies to destroy the records of people who have been under the surveillance of the government. Combine these provisions with all the stipulations that were contained in the very unpatriotic Patriot Act and it does not take long to see that the War on Terror is really a War on Civil Liberties. Since the 911 attack on America soil, The United States has traveled a long way to
unraveling the Rights that were granted by Nature and guaranteed in the US Constitution.
The War on Terror becomes even more disconcerting when revealing that most Sheriff Offices, including the Coos County’s Sheriff Office, receive some percentage of the department’s budget from the grants provided by the US Federal Government. Currently, some of these local Law Enforcement Agencies derive up to 80% of their budgets from the funding that these financial mechanisms provide and it is not exactly clear what happens if the Feds leverage this money against the department’s loyalty to the Constitution and the citizens of the county. Will law enforcement allow themselves to become hostage over the funding needed to run the agencies?
In the past, The Federal Government used the practice of leveraging money against the states. The Feds threatened to take away Transportation Funding if the individual states did not pass the Seat Belt Law and now all 50 states have enacted these regulations. What or who is going to stop the Feds from using this type of financial extortion against those who are there for our protection?
The answer is, well, the people.
The people of this country have to except their civic duty and become advocates for something bigger than themselves. The future of our children, and our children’s children, depends on our response to the
encroachment of the Federal Government. Our future depends on our vigilance to the trampling of the principles established by our Founders. We must learn and then strive to be better Americans. We have to be involved in the process and become participants in our country’s leadership at a level of commitment to make those changes possible or suffer the consequences of our own inaction. Otherwise, we will get the government
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