According to the Army Times, the situation of the COVID-19 virus has seen deployments of the national guard, prompting concern that they may be called up to police the streets.
The National Guard is expecting a rapid increase in unit activations over the next few weeks, leaders said at the Pentagon Thursday, filling roles like coronavirus testing and potentially law enforcement.
Governors in 27 states have already activated elements of their National Guard forces, but everywhere in the country, state leaders have declared states of emergency, said Air Force Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau.
“With COVID-19, it’s like we have 54 separate hurricanes in every state, territory and the District of Columbia,” Lengyel said. “Unlike a hurricane, we don’t know when this will dissipate or head out to sea. But a historic event requires a historic response.”
More than 2,000 Guard personnel have been activated in total so far.
“We anticipate that number going up relatively quickly, in fact, doubling by this weekend,” Lengyel added. “I’m expecting tens of thousands to be used inside the states as this grows. … This could quickly blossom in the next couple weeks.”
“That would not make sense in this situation,” said Lengyel, adding that it’s better to leave Guard units under the command and control of each governor. “Every state has a different way to deal with disasters. … If you were to federalize them, you’d lose some of those abilities.”
One capability that would be lost if the the Guard is federalized is their capacity to operate as law enforcement to assist state officials, Lengyel said, as that would violate the Posse Comitatus Act. That law prevents the Department of Defense from interfering in domestic policing.
In many disasters and responses, when there’s overwhelming pressure on local and state police, Guard personnel are sometimes called upon to assist.
“I don’t see any demand signal that’s demanding we use the national guard in that scenario — but governors could,” said Lengyel, which is one of the reasons he advised against federalizing the Guard.(source)
The bold text is what concerns me.
It is true that this virus is a threat, but the response to a threat can be long-term deadlier than the threat itself.
What is to say if Posse Comitatus is violated?
Can one guarantee that it will not be violated again?
If one is not careful, and certainly one would know what one is doing, such actions could lead to a final erosion of what little freedoms are left and result in the creation of a new and enforced style of militarism seen in other nations throughout the world.
Are we seeing the end of freedom as we know it?
It might be. Perhaps freedom dies not by violence, but in a lone hospital bed.