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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Is This the Way Forward?


Increasingly, I’ve observed sociopolitical division within the United States (U.S.) heading in a concerning direction. Of course, this observation isn’t novel, because there presumably has always been some sort of social and political disconnect since this country’s inception.

Discharged from the military, no longer serving in the capacity of military police and having earned a college degree with a focus on justice administration in 2009, I made the decision to forego my continued path as a federal law enforcement officer (LEO).

There are many reasons for this decision—more than I care to discuss in the current blogpost. Still, it’s worth noting that one of the major factors for my decision related to the hypocritical behavior of those who enforce laws when contrasted with the people they police.

Therefore, I began education and training to become a counselor. In 2011, having earned a graduate degree in the field, I began noticing the militarization of local and state LEOs. Regarding this observation, one 2011 source stated:

In an effort to remedy their relative inadequacy in dealing with terrorism on U.S. soil, police forces throughout the country have purchased military equipment, adopted military training, and sought to inculcate a “soldier’s mentality” among their ranks. Though the reasons for this increasing militarization of American police forces seem obvious, the dangerous side effects are somewhat less apparent.

While in the military, I learned about the mass surveillance of U.S. citizens. This came to my attention when serving under Bill Clinton though ramped up during the George W. Bush administration.

Combatting terrorism abroad allowed U.S. intelligence agencies and LEOs to employ tools, tactics, and tradecraft on U.S. citizens. Again, this wasn’t a novel observation when understanding federal LEO involvement in various domestic matters since the days of J. Edgar Hoover.

However, what I didn’t understand in 2011 was that by the time the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) campaign in the Middle East would officially draw to a close in 2021, the focus used to fuel that conflict would be readjusted to so-called “domestic terrorists.”

Think critically about what you know of the government. What program has ever received massive funding and merely expired once cash reserves were exhausted?

Having worked in or with various U.S. government organizations, I learned how the re-up game was played. With the government’s fiscal year running from October 1 of one calendar year through September 30 of the next, funding for programs is reduced or cut unless justification for renewal is provided.

The game is simple. Agencies carefully budget throughout the year and as October approaches, overspending behavior ramps up. Then, those who hold the purse strings are be solicited for additional funds for the next fiscal year.

I observed this when associated with the Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Energy, and Department of Veterans Affairs. When the GWOT drew to a close, merely adjusting the target of terrorism from abroad to domestically was the game strategy moving forward.

I realize that this all sounds like a grand conspiracy theory. Allow me to share evidence that supports what I’m saying. According to a 2022 source:

In its budget proposal this spring, the Justice Department requested an additional $101 million to address domestic terrorism, including $45 million for the F.B.I. and $40 million that federal prosecutors can use to manage their increasing domestic terrorism caseloads.

One may wonder what types of domestic terrorists federal LEOs are targeting with a ramped up initiative. School board protesters, a movement for racial justice, pro-abortion protesters and pro-life activists alike, and of course those who protested during January 6, 2021 have been targeted.

For good measure, federal intelligence apparatuses and LEOs have unlawfully infringed upon constitutionally-protected rights by influencing social media platforms. Again, this is not a novel approach, as one source states:

Operation Mockingbird is an alleged large-scale program of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that began in the early years of the Cold War and attempted to manipulate domestic American news media organizations for propaganda purposes.

Is this the way forward for a civil society—treating U.S. citizens like the so-called “terrorists” of the Middle East who for almost two full decades defended their homeland against invasion and occupation? When you think of domestic terrorism, does anything other than a Taliban-esque figure occupy your mental image?

Keep in mind that regarding the Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot, one source reports that the “FBI had used at least a dozen informants and several undercover agents to build the case.” There was reportedly more LEO participation in the alleged kidnapping plot than there were defendants.

Imagine being indicted for a crime in which you and 14 other people are accused of a felony, only to discover that a dozen of the other defendants are informants and undercover agents. At that point, one would wonder if perhaps LEOs were responsible for facilitating the crime.

Of this, one source states, “The FBI has typically portrayed these investigations as efforts to thwart domestic terror, but all too often, the result has been to encourage or invent plots that were unlikely to succeed.” When LEOs “invent” criminal plots, one wonders if the supply of terrorists fails to meet the demand.

Alarmingly, one source reports that the “FBI lost count of how many paid informants were at Capitol on Jan. 6.” Imagine taking part in a protest and later discovering that LEO involvement was at least partially responsible for the event turning into a riot.

Is this the way forward for a society that purports to value justice—all while crafting plots of entrapment for a specific portion of the population? Truly, I understand how this sounds like conspiracy theory mumbo-jumbo.

Allow me to continue offering evidence to demonstrate my point. For matters of context, I invite the reader to recall when Hillary Clinton gleefully rejoiced by saying, “We came, we saw, he died,” in regards to the death of Muammar Gaddafi.

Discussing a report of the Libyan leader’s death, one source states:

The report claims that video evidence shows the former dictator was captured alive after being wounded by a grenade, which also killed his defense minister Abu Bakr Younis, before being savagely beaten and stabbed in the buttocks with a bayonet. By the time he is later loaded into an ambulance, he appeared half-naked and “lifeless”.

To be exceedingly clear, Clinton seemingly celebrated the anal rape (with a bladed weapon) of a man. One may conclude that Clinton not only appreciates maltreatment of those she considers her rivals; she appears to enthusiastically delight in their downfall.

With this understanding, it makes sense that in 2016, when running for presidential office, Clinton used an ad hominem attack by stating that half of those who supported Donald Trump were a “basket of deplorables.” She presumably detests her opposition.

On October 5, 2023, during a CNN interview in which the interviewer discussed with Clinton “how to go forward for the country,” Clinton stated:

And sadly, so many of those extremists, those MAGA [make America Great Again] extremists, take their marching orders from Donald Trump, who has no credibility left by any measure […] You know, because at some point, you know, maybe there needs to be a formal deprogramming of the cult members; but something needs to happen.

As has been echoed throughout this post, Clinton’s rhetoric isn’t novel. For instance, in 2021, journalist Eugene Robinson purportedly stated that “there are millions of Americans, almost all White, almost all Republicans, who somehow need to be deprogrammed,” and he apparently compared them to “members of a cult.”

As well, journalist Katie Couric purportedly stated in 2021, “And the question is, how are we going to really, almost, deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump?” Terrorists, cultists, and deplorables, oh my!

As a side note, when Clinton made her “basket of deplorables” remark and that related to Trump supporters being in a cult, the people to whom she spoke laughed—presumably in agreement. I’m not such a person. According to one source:

Extremism is “the quality or state of being extreme” or “the advocacy of extreme measures or views”. The term is primarily used in a political or religious sense to refer to an ideology that is considered (by the speaker or by some implied shared social consensus) to be far outside the mainstream attitudes of society.

Even if one were to ignore all of the shenanigans associated with the 2020 presidential election and agree that Joe Biden is said to have received 51.3% of the popular vote while Trump earned 46.8%, Clinton’s remarks malign almost half of the U.S. voting base as “extremists.”

Given federal intelligence and LEO past behavior towards people who are considered extreme, terroristic, or antagonistic to a particular ruling class, crude predictions may be drawn in regards to the future. A day before Clinton’s CNN interview, Newsweek reported:

The federal government believes that the threat of violence and major civil disturbances around the 2024 U.S. presidential election is so great that it has quietly created a new category of extremists that it seeks to track and counter: Donald Trump’s army of MAGA followers.

Sound familiar? What is the message to U.S. citizens who subscribe to the concept of a democratic republic—vote for anyone other than Trump and risk the ire of governmental retribution? Is this the way forward for our country?

Providing a counter narrative to the Newsweek claim, one source reports that “for hopefully obvious reasons, attempting to surveil or track millions of people who have made no threats or taken no violent action is not something in which the FBI is or could be engaged.”

Time will tell. What is clear is that the “deprogramming of the cult members” rhetoric used by Clinton has an ominous past. It smacks of communist re-education camps and re-education through labor programs.

One imagines that tens-to-hundreds of millions of U.S. citizens wouldn’t voluntarily submit to such treatment. Is this the way forward concerning peace when en route the 2024 presidential election?

As previously mentioned, one reason I left LEO was due to the hypocritical manner in which many LEOs behave. I observed far too many people willing to blindly adhere to questionable orders and violate the rights of U.S. citizens.

Concerned with the divisive nature of law enforcing, I decided that oppression of others wasn’t the way forward for me. How about you, dear reader? What mental, emotional, and behavioral preparedness do you use as 2024 approaches?

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


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