I was awoken very early to pounding on my door. Armed thugs from various government agencies were there to greet me, along with my parents of all people. They explained they were there to collect me for mental evaluation.
I immediately thought of the former Marine who was disappeared for his "revolutionary" and "truther" posts on the Internet and thrown into a psych ward. Somebody saw something in his writings that appeared threatening and reported him to the authorities.
Since my blog covers many of the same issues this Marine was ranting about, there was a fleeting thought that this could happen to me one day as well. But since I don't own a weapon and I publicly denounce violence in all its forms, including and most especially the kind of violence that is now occurring to me on my front porch, I was never too concerned.
It didn't seem to matter to these goons that I professed peace and non-violence from every fiber of my being. They have never read my blog and they were just following orders.
I tried to reason with them that I was perfectly sane and not a threat to anyone, while my parents watched on with tears in their eyes. Yet, it wasn't the type of sadness that their child was being abducted by an army against his will. Rather, it was the look of extreme disappointment that I was somehow confirming my insanity with my defense.
Then it suddenly hit me that this was an intervention of sorts sparked by my own parents. My heart immediately got so heavy that I could barely breathe. Could it really be true that they turned me in for my beliefs? I thought.
To preface, my parents are as straight and narrow as they come. They love their country, but not because of the principles of the Founders, but because the flickering box in their living room tells them to. They are ultra conservative and have never broken any laws.
My father is a "Ditto-head" who religiously listens to Rush Limbaugh's podcast while running errands like getting permits to grow a garden or to burn a small pile of leaves on his own property. Since I was a bleeding heart liberal in my youth, it sparked fierce arguments which eventually led to a rule of no politics in the house.
Since then our conversations have been relegated to the weather, sports, my father's garden, and other trivial topics. But I've also gotten wiser over the years and realized that many of my early beliefs were misguided, and I felt bad for being so condescending in my defense of them.
By now my wife and children were stirred awake from the commotion. They're accustomed to sleeping in much later because we unschool our kids and don't maintain a strict schedule, another strike against my sanity in the eyes of my parents who never understood our decision to unschool.
Once my wife realized what was happening, she immediately began screaming at the gun-wielding gang on our porch to follow their oath. While I somehow managed to maintain my composure, her outburst seemed to heighten the tension, and a few seconds later I was forced to the ground and placed in handcuffs.
As I was being marched to the unmarked government vehicle, I could hear my kids collapsing into hysterics and my throat swelled in sympathy for their pain and confusion. But I did my best to appear strong for them to reassure them that I would be home soon.
A few hours later I found myself in the coldest room I'd ever been in. The padded cell in the psych ward was bright white and had nothing more than a cot, a stainless steel sink/urinal, and a bright fluorescent light that seemed to flicker and pulse in an incalculable rhythm.
A large male orderly wearing a white medical smock peered through the porthole window of the metal door to my cell before entering. He told me to be cool and that everything would be fine once I was evaluated the following day. In his hand was a small paper cup full of colorful pills that he insisted I take. When I refused, he told me they're to help me relax and sleep because the fluorescent lights stay on 24/7. Still, I refused. He said, "suit yourself," and left the room.
I've always avoided pharmaceutical drugs save for an Advil from time to time to get rid of a headache. But if there was ever a time that I was physically jonesing for a fat joint to relieve my anxiety, this was that moment.
The next day I was emotionally drained and exhausted and feeling somewhat hypnotized by the pulsating light in my cell when I was brought into the evaluation room.
The room was not unlike the grey interrogation rooms you see in cop shows with what clearly appeared to be one-way observation glass on one wall and two cameras mounted in the corners of the room facing the chair where I was seated. One of the cameras appeared to be a cheap surveillance camera used in convenience stores to record the events, while the other was more high tech, perhaps to pick up infrared changes in my body temperature or pulse.
The only difference between this room and the ones in cop shows was that I sat in a comfortable chair with a coffee table separating me from where the government-paid doctor sat with a clipboard instead of the typical setup of a traditional kitchen table and chairs.
He began by asking me a series of yes-or-no questions which I answered entirely honestly:
Do you believe the U.S. government is your enemy?
Yes, I do, especially today.
Do you believe that the attacks of 9-11 were an 'inside job'?
In so many words, yes.
Do you believe there is a conspiracy to destroy the Bill of Rights?
Do you believe the U.S. to be the bad guys in foreign wars?
Do you support politicians who talk of abolishing the Federal Reserve?
I was beginning to think I was failing my psychiatric evaluation miserably based on the government's new definition of a terrorist threat. But then came some more pointed questions to determine if I was a threat to myself or others.
Do you wish harm to the president or members of government?
Do you think it would be good to violently overthrow the government?
Have you ever had suicidal thoughts?
Have ever been prescribed psychiatric drugs?
No, not until last night.
Have you ever been arrested?
And so it continued.
During my evaluation I noticed there was only a single sheet of paper on his clipboard. This paper had a series of characteristic labels with check boxes next to them on the top half of the page, and a place for notes on the bottom half. It seemed very unscientific and appeared to originate from a tear-away pad. It had a bold headline that read "See Something, Say Something: Threat Assessment Form".
I couldn't help but laugh at how dumbed down they had to make this form for the government agent who likely only spent ten minutes with my parents to check off enough boxes to trigger my detention. It reminded me of how McDonald's changed their cash register keys some years back to images instead of words and numbers to accommodate an illiterate workforce.
When the "doctor" was finished with his evaluation, I was escorted back to my cell for a few hours before my wife arrived at the facility with our good friend who also happens to be a brilliant lawyer. After filling out some more sophisticated paperwork, I was released and I returned home to the spirited embrace of my children.
To this I woke up from my nightmare, sweaty, but with a feeling of relief that only genuine love can provide.
The dream made me realize that all the years of silly propaganda aimed at demonizing peace and liberty activists had a distinct purpose. It was to be coupled with the expanding "See Something, Say Something" program to trigger a subconscious threat alert in unthinking citizens whenever they hear someone utter such anti-establishment views, thus halting the peer-to-peer flow of forbidden information.
I realized the government would rather not forcefully detain truth activists if they can help it, because that would alert the sleeping masses to their cruelty. Instead, they hope that intimidation and the occasional show of force will simply prevent more people from awakening.
But when the overly trusting generation begins to fade, they will have to deal with the Internet generation, like my children. The un-indoctrinated. Then, they will finally experience the full force of the peaceful revolution that will destroy them.
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