Which is scarier and more tyrannical, the Department of Homeland Security or the Environmental Protection Agency?

The answer? Both working together.

That’s the deadly combination that Bill and Jennifer Brinkley faced coming up their driveway in Statesville, North Carolina. Six law enforcement vehicles entered their property, inspected the VIN on their Land Rover Defender, and confiscated the vehicle.

Jennifer and Bill could do nothing but watch.

The DHS was armed with a list of VINs of imported vehicles wanted for violating EPA regulations. The 1985 Land Rover should be exempted from those regulations since it’s over 21 years old. But there’s a question that the vehicle, which the Brinkleys bought on eBay, had its VIN changed at some point before being imported in order to avoid the regulations.

The agents weren’t positive that the vehicle violated the Clean Air Act – but they seized it anyway, just to be safe. And now it seems the Brinkleys have to clear their vehicle themselves in order to get it back.

They have 35 days to appeal the seizure, but in the meantime, the feds won’t tell them where their car is being held. If they are unsuccessful, they’ll be out $65,000 and the vehicle. Of course, the DHS does not issue refunds.

What most disturbed Bill and Jennifer was not learning that their eBay seller might have duped them – it was the way a federal agency was able to sweep into their home, raid-style, and confiscate their property without a word to the owners.

“It’s just unnerving,” said Bill. Jennifer told Fox News, “It’s just an iconic car. I’m in disbelief … and surprised that somebody can come in and take your property. It’s scary, it’s scary when it happens to you.”

The Brinkleys’ was just one of 40 vehicles seized by the DHS on the same day. Maybe the Department of National Security has run out of things to do, if they must turn to “protecting America from the deadly threat posed by vehicles which flout emission standards.”

The Department of Homeland Security was created after 9/11 to protect the US against terrorist attacks and other threats. In a few short years, it has become what John Whitehead calls a national police force. Its “duties” now include monitoring websites for copyright infringement, confiscating fake NFL merchandise – and seizing vehicles that might hurt the environment.

Whitehead wrote, “The menace of a national police force, aka a standing army, vested with so much power cannot be overstated, nor can its danger be ignored.” This is exactly what the Founding Fathers were determined to avoid – a domestic standing army on American soil, interfering with the private lives of citizens.

No one would never think it could happen here in the land of liberty – until a semi-military convoy parades up your own driveway.

Sadly, Whitehead is right – there are countless more examples of the DHS and other federal agencies trampling Americans’ rights unchecked. Our government has become bloated with federal agencies that aren’t held to the checks and balances of legitimate government branches.

The EPA, DHS, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), etc. are all accustomed to unaccountably passing regulations afforded the color of law, enforcing those regulations, adjudicating challenges to those regulations in front of “judges” appointment by the commissioners of those agencies, and imposing burdensome fines on anyone foolish enough to defy these petty tyrants.

Tyranny is exactly what is happening when citizens become servants to the government. Check our founding documents – the government is to serve and protect the people… from more serious threats than vehicle emissions.

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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