Texas’ New Stasi Surveillance Force

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During my first Army duty assignment in Vicenza, Italy, I had the opportunity, twice, to go through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin. Imagine being a young 24-year-old from the inner city of Atlanta, and the lasting impression left by walking the same streets with Soviet officers. But, the thing that I remember most, even to this day, was the look of abject despair, despondency, dejection, and depression on the faces of the East Berliners, completely opposite of the joy found in West Berlin. I remember going into stores and finding them not well stocked, and the fear in the eyes of the people. They did not want to speak, or even make eye contact, because wherever we were, the East German secret police, the Stasi was there.

I learned what it was like to live in a surveillance state, where the penalty was imprisonment, or worse, your life. Construction on the Berlin wall started on August 13th, the same year of my birth, 1961. The demolishing of the Berlin Wall came on November 9, 1989. At that time I was a captain in the First Infantry Division, commanding an artillery unit. Upon hearing the news, I reflected on the two times I traveled through that narrow passage, Checkpoint Charlie, and just imagined the faces of despair that now could rejoice.

Now, I am a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel, my last duty assignment was Ft. Hood, Texas, and now I reside in Garland, Texas. And, something is happening, here, in the Lone Star State that is of grave concern to me. I never thought I would see a potential creation of the Stasi, secret police, coming to fruition in Texas…in America.

As reported by the Houston Chronicle:

“Texas health officials have awarded up to $295 million to a private technology company to quickly grow and manage a large fleet of contact tracers as the state braces for up to two years without a coronavirus vaccine. The 27-month contract, signed late this week with MTX Group, comes as more businesses begin to open and the number of new daily COVID-19 cases in much of Texas continues to grow. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has said new outbreaks may be inevitable as restrictions loosen, and has vowed to bring on at least 4,000 tracers by the end of the month to help contain them.”

For those of you who were not aware, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was awarded billions of dollars in the first stimulus package dedicated to the creation of a “surveillance” system.

I have a simple question: why are we creating a surveillance system and contact tracers for a virus that has a 99.6 percent recovery rate? If someone has been tested for COVID-19 I am sure that they provide their contact information in order to receive results. We recently reported the despotic, and absurd edict of Austin Texas Mayor, Steve Adler, ordering businesses to collect the personal information of patrons to be collected by health officials. Why?

Why is the corporation MTX being granted $295 million of Texas taxpayer dollars, for a 27-month contract to “trace” citizens?

We were told that it was necessary to “flatten the curve” in order to not overburden our healthcare system. Well, here in Texas, we had only a 2 percent hospital utilization rate. Texas spent $60 million on a Harris County tent hospital structure at the NRG stadium that did not see one patient. We have seen several states revise their “numbers” on COVID-19 related deaths, Pennsylvania and Colorado most recently.

I am befuddled as to why we need to have “contact tracers” for a virus that can be contained to the most vulnerable demographic. I suffer from a heart ailment called “sick sinus syndrome” and had to have a heart pacemaker implanted. Hundreds of thousands of Americans lose their lives yearly to heart disease, yet we do not need tracers for them? We have been searching for a cure for cancer for ages, we do not have tracers for that?

Okay, I can hear the intellectually challenged screeching that this is different. Well, do we have contact tracers for each flu season? Yes, COVID-19 and influenza are coronavirus-related illnesses, yet we have never had any contact tracers for any previous contagious virus, Avian (Bird flu), H1N1 (Swine flu), Ebola…Heck, imagine if we tried to institute a system of “contact tracers” to combat the virus of Islamic jihadism?

None of this is making sense. For those who believe this is a good idea, well, remember that thing called the Patriot Act? Yep, that gave us the unconstitutional FISA courts, and look at what that has morphed into. I have stated this before, and I will reiterate, I do not like the combination of these words, “government authorized surveillance,” and I don’t give a doggone if you give it a cutesy, nuanced name like “contact tracers.”

What should anger us all is that not a single elected official — those making the determination of who and what is “essential”– has stopped receiving a paycheck. Their compensation comes from the very people they have put out of work, to the tune of over 2.2 million in Texas. Now, the same individual who unilaterally instituted unconstitutional orders is now using taxpayer dollars for the purpose of having us traced.

I will not be told that I must undergo a test, or submit to a mandatory vaccine. So, there will be no need to “contact trace” me. My health is my responsibility, and if I get sick, I will take the necessary precautions. I will not succumb to health kommissars lurking about, tracing me, or any other fee individual, in order to put us on a list. To this date, I have not worn a mask, but I have awakened every day to complete my exercise routine, take my vitamins and medications, and eat well, okay, I do have a burger every other week.

Governor Abbott, this is completely wrong, and a violation of everything Texas, and America, stands for. Going into Memorial Day, this is not what many made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and defend: the Constitution of the United States of America…individual rights, freedom, and liberty.

I recommend that you rescind this insidious, dangerous, and absurd concept of using $295 million of Texas taxpayer dollars to hire a 4,000 member Texas Stasi.

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