I believe we don't realize what a repressive (police) state we live in, because in nearly every community, with the exception of the black communities, the repression is held behind the curtains until those in power order it used. The curtains open, Mumia or the Branch Davidians or the Detroit Newspaper strikers are forcibly and illegally repressed, and the guns and clubs disappear behind the curtains again.
We are allowed all the Bill of Rights – until our use threatens to become effective in enforcing our democratic will. Then we get our visit from behind the curtain.
This is a system. An overall structure. It says absolutely nothing about the various individuals trying to find their way in this deliberately confusing situation. – 2.5 cents, I guess.