The FBI’s Tac Vest Fascism

I had heard about the FBI showing up in full regalia to arrest Paul Vaughn, father of 11, for a pro-life protest he’d been part of the previous year. Unlike the 2020 BLM peaceful protesters, Vaughn didn’t set anything on fire or kill anybody. But he had sat in the hallway of an abortion clinic singing hymns. The FBI swarmed his house wearing bulletproof vests and carrying AR-15s. They pointed guns at the door and banged on the house. Ultimately, they took the father away while ignoring his wife’s questions, including that an agent identify himself. At one point in the video, you can see this agent simply walks past her, waits sheepishly for the FBI driver to unlock the SUV’s door, and gets in and slams the door in the woman’s face. I recommend you find and watch a video of this for yourself, because there is no substitute for seeing it. 

We only know this happened because the wife had the presence of mind to film it with her cell phone. But what if this is happening all over the country to people who aren’t lucky enough to have friends or family nearby with cameras? What if there are hundreds of Paul Vaughns being carted away by federal agents for crimes of civil disobedience? 

Fascim has always needed a uniform, and the current one is windbreakers and tactical vests with big, government-agency letters blocked out in yellow. These bulletproof vests are not being worn for the agents’ safety: None of these agents actually worries about getting shot trying to arrest middle-aged family men. If they were worried about being shot, they’d come in tanks or send drones or just wait outside like the Uvalde police. 

In reality, the FBI’s and ATF’s vests are like the KGB’s blue-tabbed uniforms or the brown shirts of Hitler’s SA, and are worn for the same reason: They represent the intimidation of unlimited government power against the ordinary citizen. It is the power of the faceless, nameless—they never give their names—and unaccountable bureaucracy. It is the uniform of evil’s enforcement wing. The FBI have become what Hilter’s SA once were: Sturm Arbteiling, storm detachments, storm troops, whose purpose is to achieve obedience through fear. 

“We’re from the government, and we’re here to hurt.” 

Americans have always hated the sight. Which is why it is illegal for the military to be deployed domestically: Do you imagine the inspiration for the Posse Comitatus Act had anything to do with whether the people roaming around your property and pointing guns at you were officially in the army? If they look like soldiers, dress like soldiers, seem to think they are soldiers, does it matter that they’re officially from some other part of the government? It is explicitly illegal that the military be used as a police force. 

We do not tolerate, and have never tolerated, armies walking through our homes—not, at least, without firing back. Look at our Revolutionary War monuments: There is a reason the militiamen in our statues are dressed like farmers, not soldiers. 

It should be illegal for the government to come to your house looking like an occupying military force under siege. And if they feel themselves actually to be under siege, perhaps they’re doing something wrong. Certainly, a Washington, D.C. surrounded with fences and barbed wire does not scream “government of the people!” It looks more like a bunch of pirates occupying spaces to which they have no right, and to which they know they have no right. 

Tac vests, ballistic helmets, and for that matter “weapons of war” like AR-15s, have no place in the hands of federal agents. Their possession transforms these people into the domestic military presence from which we are protected by law. FBI agents should walk around wearing suits, floppy pink hats that say “FED!”, and perhaps they can have a little brass bell to ring if they need to draw attention to something. Because we are not a government that rules by force, but exactly the opposite. Our reliance is on our neighbors and a shared love and respect for freedom. Government isn’t just a bad substitute for those things, it’s the worst substitute. 

Our state governments need to be active in protecting citizens from federal intimidation and lawbreaking. Federal troops are not welcome in a police capacity, no matter what agency they claim to represent. I would like Florida, as a test case, to tell the FBI that they don’t need vests and rifles to arrest non-violent offenders, and that, if they want the cooperation of the state, they’d better leave the military gear home.

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