Ours, A Tyranny

To my countrymen:

The video below is not pleasant. If it were shown on night time television it would likely to be cut into a 20 second made-for-TV clip with the label “viewer discretion advised” tacked onto the front. It is coarse. It is violent. It is real.
My countrymen – watch this. Watch this now. And in doing so know that what you see has been done in your name.
 Mark Thompson, of the League of Ordinary Gentleman, had this to say on the matter:

Mark Thompson. League of Ordinary Gentleman. 5 May 2010.

What is so remarkable about this video is precisely that it is so unremarkable, depicting something that happens up to 40,000 times a year.  Indeed, perhaps nothing proves how common this is more than the calm, cool, and thoroughly routine manner in which the agents of tyranny carry out their task, quickly disposing of the family dogs (one of which was a corgi) and filling the victim’s home with bullets within, literally, moments.  All in front of what looks to be the victim’s six or seven year old son.

The cops did recover a “small” amount of marijuana though, which was apparently enough to charge the parents with child endangerment.  Somehow, the people who riddled that child’s home with bullets, killed that child’s pets, and forcibly removed that child’s father – all while the child was looking – were not charged with child endangerment.

When the government has the right to bust into tens of thousands of homes in the middle of the night, unannounced, with guns drawn and in full military armor, to take the life of beloved family members, and to menace 6-year old children, all because the homeowner is believed to possess a few grams of a plant or a non-explosive substance, tyranny cannot be said to be on the way.  It’s already here.  And President Obama wasn’t the one who created it, either.

This is tyranny. Our tyranny. It is a sickening mess of imperious power being brandished against our fellow citizens every night
And all of this because of our tacit and unspeaking consent. 
Do you still give it?


ADDENDUM (5/5/10): The folks at Threesources rightly point out that this video has been posted bereft of its context. To that end:

Brennan David. Columbia Daily Tribune. 23 February 2010. 

Police arrested Jonathan E. Whitworth, 25, of 1501 Kinloch Court on Feb. 11 on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and second-degree child endangerment.

A police SWAT team entered Whitworth’s residence around 8:30 p.m. suspecting a large amount of marijuana at the location, police spokeswoman Officer Jessie Haden said. SWAT members encountered a pit bull upon entry, held back and then fatally shot the dog, which officers said was acting in an uncontrollably aggressive manner

 This is the context of the raid seen above. Do my readers now find it more excusable? 


Radley Baklo. Cato Institute White Papers. 17 June 2006. 

An in depth look (170 pages, including citations) of this problem. Full of informative statistics and disturbing case stories.

Leave a Comment


I love your blog and agree with most of what you say. However, I have to disagree on this one.

It is a stretch to refer to this video as and example of tyranny.

1. A government in which a single ruler is vested with absolute power.
2. The office, authority, or jurisdiction of an absolute ruler.
3. Absolute power, especially when exercised unjustly or cruelly: "I have sworn . . . eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man" (Thomas Jefferson).
4. a. Use of absolute power.
b. A tyrannical act.
5. Extreme harshness or severity; rigor.

Please set aside #5 for a moment, I'll get back to it. The key component of a tyranny is a "a single ruler is vested with absolute power".

In this case, the police had a search warrant (they clearly announce this at the beginning of the video). Search warrants are issued by a Judge. In order to obtain a search warrant, the police and/or prosecutor must first present evidence to support a finding of probable cause. This does not appear to be a situation of "a single ruler vested with absolute power".

In addition, the accused man has rights. The police clearly explain that to him. The accused man will stand trial for the charges brought against him. He is also free to file suit against the police and the city for unjust damages.

As to #5, yes, the video is harsh, but, I would not classify it as "extreme harshness". For a real example of tyranny, including extreme harshness, allow me to direct you to the story linked here- Pakistani Christian couple refuses to convert: husband is burnt alive, wife raped by police

We do not live in a tyrannical state… Yet. The United States justice system is imperfect, yes. But, we must remember, it is still the best thing going today. And, this will remain true, as long as The Constitution stands in it's current form.

JN Kish,

Two thoughts.

Tyranny, as originally defined by the Greeks, simply meant rule by one man without limitations to power. Over time it came to mean unjust and harsh rule without limitations of power, and is currently used as short-hand for 'oppression'. While it was not in the latter sense I used the word, I am weary of limiting the term solely to governments headed by a single absolute ruler. Doing so makes it impossible to use terms like "tyranny of the majority", or discuss tyrannous laws passed by legislative bodies, and leaves us with a hole in out vocabulary when discussing today's most common forms of arbitrary coercion.

When I speak of tyranny, I call upon two definitions. The first is from Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary. It reads:

1. Arbitrary or despotic exercise of power; the exercise of power over subjects and others with a rigor not authorized by law or justice, or not requisite for the purposes of government. Hence tyranny is often synonymous with cruelty and oppression.

Also worth consulting is the phrase coined by John Basil Barnhill in his 'Debates in Socialism', often misattributed to Thomas Jefferson:

Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.

Given these two definitions, I stick with my guns. I will argue until my death that what we see above is tyranny.

You speak of rights? What of the right to choose who does and does not enter come onto our property? What of the right to keep our property and family members from harm? In the video above, an American citizen has had both of these rights torn apart – if there is an "exercise of power over subjects and others with a rigor not authorized by justice", surely breaking into a man's home in the middle of the night, shooting the place up, and then taking the man away because he possessed a small bit of marijuna is such.

Now consider that this is repeated thousands of times across America every year. At some point we have to ask ourselves – who is controlling whom?

I find appeals to foreign executions largely unconvincing. It uses the same logic as those who defend the Dem's economic policies with the phrase – "Hey, this is hardly the 5 year plans used by the USSR!" One can always find a worse crime. Rarely does it excuse lesser crimes committed.