Letter: From left and right, basic rights are being squeezed

Letter: From left and right, basic rights are being squeezed

Record-Journal
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If readers think the incident in Stonington described in the Sunday, July 30, Westerly Sun column, “Roadside injustices, courtesy of the DMV,” by Steven Slosberg, is a rare, isolated incident, they should think again. It is often said that George Orwell’s “1984” is not a prediction of what is coming, but an exaggeration of the way things are now. With license plate recognition (which was used in that case), facial recognition, and the ability to track people with their cellphones, it seems we are not far from “1984.” In that particular incident the Department of Motor Vehicles was acting very much like Big Brother.

The larger problem today is that policing is more of a moneymaking operation than preventing actual harm. In many places policemen have quotas of arrests they need to fill by hook or crook.

For example, police and corrections officers unions in California take money that officers are required by law to give them to promote more draconian laws to lock up more people. It is a great job security system.

The system of asset forfeiture, in which police can seize huge amounts of money just because they “think” someone has committed a crime, is nothing but a huge denial of basic rights. Prohibition was a disaster that caused more harm than good. The war on drugs is no better, but law enforcement and the fundamentalist religious right don’t want to give it up.

The thing that is destroying this country is that we are being squeezed between the socialists who think they can manage everything and everyone and fundamentalist religion with its Abrahamic (Old Testament) obsession with punishment of anything they see as immoral. As I have suggested in previous letters, go to Reason.com see how bad things are getting.

Vic Arnold

Westerly


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