The Security State Gone Wild

by Chuck Donovan

Last week I was asked about airline pilots going through the airport security pat down.  Every time I am asked about this I flash back to an actual experience I had as an airline pilot-in-command.  I want you to imagine a crew with a Captain who was a U.S. Marine officer.  His First Officer was an officer and a U.S. Navy patrol pilot who had kept tabs on Soviet nuclear submarines.  His Second Officer, a former U.S. Air Force officer, had flown B-1 and B-2 nuclear bombers.  His crew of Flight Attendants had a minimum of 15 years with the same company.  All were lined up at the airport security machines; shoes off, belts off, jackets off, laptops out, arms out to the side, bags each carefully examined.  Each member of the crew was wearing visible identification.  Right next to their line was a door where an out of uniform police officer flashed his badge, and he and his suitcase were allowed through the checkpoint after his name was written into a logbook.  This is the reality of the government “club” and the rest of us.

We are witnessing the militarization of our police.  We have gone from a 1980’s average of 50 SWAT raids per year nationwide, to over 50 per month.  We have seen the recent killing or two-tour Iraq U.S. Marine veteran, Jose Guerena, by Pima County police at the wrong address.  Here in Atlanta, 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston was shot down in her own home by police who were also at the wrong address.

My own Georgia State Senator thinks it is a more equitable way of charging you for your road use by tracking where your car drives.  The hardware already in new cars could be used to make a record of the roads you actually use, and your road taxes would be based on this data.  Additionally, this would allow the government to spend money on the roads used more often.  That is the theory.  The reality is that the government would have even more information about you than they already have.

The government continues to justify its’ overreach by blowing out of proportion stories such as the man in Massachusetts recently taken into custody because he planned to fly Radio Controlled model airplanes into the Pentagon.  Leaving aside for a moment the insanity of a man who thinks he can mail order plastic explosives and hand grenades, the ridiculousness of his idea is demonstrated in the video linked here.  In the video, two young RC modelers attempt to build a model airplane that will fly carrying a cinder block.  It is tongue-in-cheek, but it shows the severe payload limitations of these toys: Flite Test: Flying Cinder Block – Project.

These stories are only meant to scare you into thinking we need even more government.

Most of your listeners know I was a Marine Corps officer, and I flew as a fighter attack pilot.  I was born raised and educated in the U.S.  I have been working for the same company for almost 25 years.  I have layers of company I.D.’s, Passports, a drivers license, an FCC Radio Operators permit, and a pilots license with multiple certifications that go back to 1976 when I began as a student pilot.  Every six months I visit a government approved FAA doctor and on alternate visits my heartbeat is data-linked directly to the FAA offices in Oklahoma City, OK.

This month I will be E-Verify’ed by my government.

This is what comes of governmental empire building.

Last week Atlanta police proudly displayed their new security cameras system.  This system was built with the aid of Federal funding, but without any sensible analysis of how effective these systems have been in other places.  This again comes under the heading of doing something to do something without doing a qualitative review of the action.  Great Britain has embraced this kind of system with shameful results.  In London alone there are about a million surveillance cameras, yet about 80% of London crime goes unsolved.

I would like to have people take a look at the response to Atlanta’s new surveillance cameras that was written by Georgia Libertarian Party Executive Director, Brett Bittner and published in the AJC.  In the end, Georgia Libertarian Party Executive Director, Brett Bittner, asks, “Which America do you want?”

“Such systems lead residents to have a false sense of security as they abdicate personal responsibility for their own safety and security, delegating them to the ever-growing and ever-present government.

Dependence on the state — and the taxpayers who pay for this mission creep — relinquishes responsibilities that are the price we pay for individual liberty.

Is this the America in which you want to live?”



“They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  – Benjamin Franklin

“… And will soon find themselves without both.”  – Chuck Donovan


The government is working to control, intimidate, humiliate and coerce us.  Without our efforts to resist government’s continued probing and intervention into every aspect of our lives, we will soon find ourselves with no liberty or security.

I think Ron Paul said it best in his recent comments on the assassination of Awlaki.

Serving justice is unquestionably necessary and important. But so is how it is served. Our first concern should always be for the rule of law, or we will continue to find ourselves under the rule of the lawless. This becomes of special concern when the lawless can now include the President of the United States.” – Ron Paul

There are no perfect security systems.  The American system of justice has served us well for over 200 years.  We shouldn’t run our government differently now just because technology and circumstances have changed.  The principles remain the same.  Some people do bad things.  Governments do bad things.  It is easier to deal with a few people who have gone out of control than to deal with a government that has gone out of control.

Our civil rights remain the same as they have been since they were recognized with the Declaration of Independence.  Let’s not forget that in our rush to “do something” to be more safe and secure.


The mission is liberty.
The vision is now.


cartoon by Ron Cobb, circa 1968


Right after I published this article, I found the Cato Institute had also done a recent article on Civil Liberties.  Here is a link to their excellent Podcast on the subject.  Obama and Civil Liberties

Later the same evening, I was reading an article on a shooting at a Cupertino, California quarry.  The first press picture I saw nearly shocked me.  Are these police from the United States, or from a country run by a brutal, militaristic, tin-pot dictator?   California Quarry Shooting  Take a look at this picture then reread my comment above about the militarization of our police.