September 25, 2013 | Volume 100 / Number 39

How Safe Do You Really Feel?

How incredulous would you feel if I were to tell you that personnel in the Office of Odometer Fraud Investigation are allowed to carry firearms?

Or that there are 36 federal officers carrying firearms for every 100,000 residents? (In Washington, D.C., the ratio is 1,662 per 100,000).

The federal government has 105,000 full time personnel authorized to make arrests and carry firearms in 50 states and D.C..

Three of every four federal officers are attached to offices of Homeland Security, which included the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The Department of Homeland Security was established right after 9/11 and has cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars. No figure has yet been determined if the HLS and it's affiliated offices have actually stopped any further terrorist activities in the United States.

The Nation of Islam and the Chinese feel the same, in thinking the United States is too strong to bring down militarily so they'll simply put us into financial ruination. Their plan is working, in case you haven't noticed.

So, in that case, I suppose all these "federals" with permits to carry are actually doing their part in helping to protect us by trying to keep the 'baddies' at bay.

But I'm thinking, how many crimes against the country do these people in federal law enforcement actually stop "before the act?" Or are they similar to most other law enforcement officers in that they don't actually stop crimes from happening. They go in after the act, do their investigation, assign someone to do the clean-up work and leave.

Some of the agencies that have military style units are the U.S. Postal Service, many, many offices of the Department of Justice, Fish Wildlife and Parks, National Forest Service, Amtrak, Bureau of Reclamation and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), you know, the folks who forecast the weather.

The Internal Revenue Service has personnel who are authorized to make arrests and carry firearms. And have you been to your local Social Security Office lately? Armed guards protect the premises and employees.

It has been estimated that just over 50% of the working population in the United States work for some form of government be it local, county, state or federal. About 15% of that number are authorized to make arrests and carry firearms.

This number doesn't take into consideration the number of National Guard personnel living in a particular area, many of whom are authorized to "carry" under special circumstances.

The passage of the Patriot Act in October of 2001 gave authority to a multitude of federal offices to carry and arrest.

My question is this: Would you feel safer living in a police state where virtually every one you know has some kind of authority to either arrest you, investigate you or shoot you? Or can we trust our elected officials to do something that will take us back to a time when we didn't feel the need to lock our homes or cars and when we felt safe sending our kids to school?

That's it for now folks. Thanks for listening.

Virgil Vaupel is The Courier's Hinsdale correspondent and the Montana Newspaper Association's 2012 second place columnist in Division 2.

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