Sic Semper Tyrannis, which means “thus always to tyrants”, is a shortened version of Sic Semper evello mortem Tyrannis. This Latin phrase, which means “Thus always I bring death to tyrants” has been attributed to Marcus Iunius Brutus ( et tu, Brute!), one of the people who participated in the murder of Julius Caesar.
Let’s fast forward approximately 1900 years to the Ford Theatre where John Wilkes Booth has just shot Abraham Lincoln. Before jumping on his horse he shouted, “Sic semper tyrannis! The South is avenged!”
Today we see Sic Semper Tyrannis being sported by various right-wing militias, white supremists, 2nd Amendment advocates, and various other ‘anti-government’ organizations. Their existence, they claim, is to prevent a tyrannical government from taking over the United States and taking away our constitutional rights. For this, it is argued, they need guns and not just any guns. These guns need to be military-grade weapons in order to stand a fighting chance against the fascist soldiers and secret police who will certainly be armed with the same. This is and has been the claim. Recently, the clarion call to defend first amendment rights has been issued. It is interesting to see what has happened. Before we look at that, a little background information on your’s truly, the author.
I’ve had some first-hand experience with fascist and totalitarian governments. I was a Russian linguist in the United States Air Force and was stationed in West Berlin from 1979 to 1982. Berlin, both East and West, was a geopolitical hot spot, with the Berlin Wall being an ever present reminder of the state of the world: fiercely divided
Looking across that no-man’s land full of “vicious dogs and ominous weapons” was the Soviet-controlled East. The East Germans were subjected to not one but two Secret Police organizations, the East German Stasi and the Soviet KGB. These are the people who would come for you in the middle of the night if you were a dissident or a reporter who was not following the party line and writing “subversive” articles. On that side of the Wall, there were none of the freedoms we have. The desire to live in a world where those freedoms existed motivated many to try and get across that wall. Many made it, others did not. We were told that the government in the East was a fascist and totalitarian one and rightly so. They were. A brief study of history is enough to show that repression, fear, and control of information are the tools of the trade of any fascist regime no matter what flag they fly.
Fast forward to the present day. The streets of America are filled with protesters exercising their Constitutional First Amendment right to “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The press are also out in the streets documenting the happenings and the goings-on. This is the same press that has been under attack by the current administration for the last three years. At night, the protests turned violent as clashes between the police and protesters escalated. The President and the Attorney General both issued statements that elements from Antifa, a far left organization, were responsible for the violence and took no questions from the press regarding that claim. Soon enough, the President wanted to designate them a ‘terrorist organization’ as are groups such as the Taliban and ISIS. But as the FBI gathered intelligence and arrests were made a different picture began to emerge. Right wing groups were the ones responsible for the violence. A number of specific right-wing groups, according to an ex-FBI agent interviewed on TV. These right-wing groups were using social media to tell their members to go down and cause havoc. Their job, as they saw it, was to turn peaceful protests violent. As the violence escalated, the police turned their weapons on the press. One officer, when asked why he was shooting at a press crew filming, apologized and said, “he was just following orders.” Freedom of the press was being trampled on by barrages of rubber bullets. Where were the Sic Semper Tyrannis patriots defending the press? No where to be found.
Lafayette Square, where peaceful protesters were fired upon with rubber bullets, tear-gassed, and attacked by riot police so the President could get a photo op holding a bible in front of a church, has been renamed Black Lives Matter Square. While history is still being written, BLM Square will be remembered as the spot Freedom to assemble was trampled on. Where were the Sic Semper Tyrannis patriots coming to the aid of the protesters to defend their Constitutional right to be there protesting? No where to be found.
As it turns out, these “patriots”, as they often describe themselves, had the opportunity they have supposedly been waiting for. An authoritarian government was and is trampling on our Constitutional rights. Here they were, aiding the government, by trying to cause havoc to validate the government’s narrative. Riot troops, with no insignia or identifying patches, began roaming the streets. Who they were and what government organization they came from was a secret, in other words, they were secret police. If you haven’t felt the urge to fly the American flag upside down, now is the time to start thinking about it. Where are the Sic Semper Tyrannis chaps fighting this no-name army of secret police patroling our streets? No where to be found.