Full-Blown Martial Law Breaks Out in Paragould, Arkansas

December 18th, 2012

Citizens in the United States have enjoyed the lawful recognition of fundamental human rights for most of the American Republic’s history. In Paragould, Arkansas, those days just ended. Officials in the crime-riddled town have announced new law enforcement policies that many are describing as martial law.

The Paragould Daily Press is reporting that the mayor and local police plan to launch a new law enforcement strategy for 2013 that involves equipping all officers with SWAT body armor, instructing police to open carry AR-15 rifles everywhere, and requiring all citizens to submit to ID checks when walking in public. Citizens in Paragould will soon be living in conditions similar to those in Afghanistan if these policies are not reversed.

High Crime Rates Used by Officials to Justify Martial Law

Paragould, Arkansas has some of the highest crime rates in the nation. Police have failed to provide a safe community for citizens. Rather than hiring better officers, the city government has decided to essentially suspend constitutional protections that are a fundamental part of the American experience.

“[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck,” said Police Chief Todd Stovall. “If you’re out walking, we’re going to stop you, ask why you’re out walking, check for your ID.” The constitutionally-challenged police chief believes that demographic statistics are a form of individual probable cause, “Well, I’ve got statistical reasons that say I’ve got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you’re doing out.”

Town Hall Event Canceled Due to Community Outrage

Apparently people in Paragould are not wild about staring down the business end of an AR-15 while being unconstitutionally investigated on trips to work and the store. Today, Paragould Daily Press covered the fact that the city government just canceled two town hall events on crime in the community due to the controversy over the new martial law policy.

Outraged citizens have been making their objections known online, and officials seemed concerned that this would also happen at the scheduled town hall talks. This statement was posted on the Paragould Police Department website, “We feel that with the strong feelings on both sides of the Street Crimes Unit issue, a safe and productive meeting would not be the probable outcome.” Does this mean that Paragould police do not feel that they can ensure the safety of people at a town hall event simply because there might be contentious debate?

Police are paid to provide safety in the community. They are expected to balance this task with healthy respect for the rights of citizens. It’s a tough job. However, the path being taken by Paragould, Arkansas is a wrong turn down the road to tyranny. Law abiding citizens should not be blamed for rising crime rates, and their rights should not be suspended. If anything, taxpayers should be asking questions as to why they’re not getting a good return on their law enforcement investment as is. Can someone get Paragould some skilled police officers that don’t need to declare martial law just to do basic community policing?

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

Barry Donegan is a singer for the experimental mathcore band Look What I Did, a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.