While I believe those in power are more and more willing to resort to force, simply because of the falling respect for individual liberty, I think we also should remember this from their playbook:
RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)- Rules for Radicals
I am a firm believer that many of these stories (especially the over the top ones like FEMA concentration camps, etc) are meant for just this reason, to make people feel more and more helpless. Install the fear of the threat of violence so people won't speak out. Make the people fear, if you speak out, we'll turn the military on you... now go about your business and watch Honey Boo Boo, buy burgers, and run that credit card up.
The story costs almost nothing but it can do as much damage as the real thing.