The Feds Are Still the Jackbooted Thugs We Were Warned About

Government agents brutalizing people are in the wrong, whether or not we sympathize with those on the receiving end.

by J.D. Tuccille

Federal law-enforcement agents brutally enforcing the government’s will against a segment of the population on the outs with the current administration are “jack-booted government thugs,” the National Rifle Association (NRA) charged in communications with its membership. Questioned by the press, the gun-rights group’s Wayne LaPierre defended the heated words, saying “they are a pretty close description of what’s happening in the real world.”

But that was in 1995, and the federal agents in question were (very much still) out-of-control agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Now booted-and-helmeted Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents battle protesters in Portland over the protests of local officials, adding fuel to the fire of violent demonstrations there and in a growing number of other cities. Yet the NRA and other past critics of federal overreach are silent.

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