“First they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.” — Martin Niemöller
If you have a Facebook account, be careful what you post, because people other than your “friends” are watching. It’s the perfect place for local, state and federal law enforcement to monitor you in order to catch you before you commit a crime. But what criteria do they use to determine whether or not someone will commit a crime? They look at status updates, conversations and anything else that you have on your page, what books you read, what movies you watch. If your conversations involve criticism of the government, the authorities may come after you, detain you without charge and force you to stay in a psych ward.
This is just what happened last week in Virginia to Brandon Raub, a Marine vet who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under Virginia law, if law enforcement have “probable cause” that someone is mentally ill and may possibly commit a crime, that person can be taken into “emergency custody” and evaluated by a mental health official, who will determine if the person requires hospitalization.
Raub had posted some questionable comments on his Facebook page that prompted the Secret Service and the FBI with the help of local police to come and take him away to a psychiatric hospital, and after a 25-minute “trial,” the judge ruled that Raub be committed for 30 days. The Facebook post that earned Raub a stay at the local psych ward was taken from lyrics from a band called “Swollen Members.” He posted, “Sharpen my axe; I’m here to sever heads.” Law enforcement also expressed concern that he believed in government conspiracy theories which was evident in the conversations he had with other Facebook members. These posts were enough to have Raub placed in “emergency custody” without charge.
All this coming from a state whose own motto is Sic semper tyrannis: “Thus always to tyrants.” Try putting that as your Facebook status with the state’s seal as your profile picture. The state’s seal depicts lady Virtus standing victoriously and with her foot on the neck of decrowned “Tyranny,” a symbol of the British government, from whom we fought for and won independence. Now, those very things are considered probable cause for mental illness.
If you don’t believe in government conspiracy theories, and you don’t post hip-hop lyrics on Facebook, you’re not necessarily immune. There is another case that might be a little more close to home. The very thing that happened to Raub happened to a Christian gun-owner in Pennsylvania earlier this month, and Facebook wasn’t even involved. His name is Jason Ergoff, and he was a regular caller to a radio station. His comments and conversations usually revolved around how Christians are being attacked in this country and abroad for their beliefs.
He talked about Obama’s anti-Christian agenda, something that we all here might agree on. But it was enough for one of Ergoff’s “friends” to call law enforcement and state that he was concerned for Ergoff’s mental health and that he was also a gun owner. This was all it took for local police to come and pick Ergoff up and take him in for a 20-hour psych evaluation, which ended with his being urged to take medication for his “psychosis.” As a condition of his release, he had to give up his guns and consult with a crisis counseling center upon his discharge.
For years, people have warned that these things would happen in America, but we looked the other way when it happened to people that we didn’t care about. If things keep going the way they are now, you and I will be next and no one will be left to speak up for us.