Monday, December 5, 2011

The Militarization of Police

Radley Balko over at the HuffPo has an excellent breakdown on the militarization of police. I'd highly suggest going to read to it.

It's chilling, and quite relevant to today's circumstances. We live in a world where everything is being declared a war, the "War on Drugs" being the most obvious. Of course, with the "War on Terror," it only makes sense that the police need to be militarized, or that the military needs to operate as police within the country, right?

When you couch things in the language of warfare, you're not really looking at "suspects," or "witnesses," or "citizens;" you're considering "enemy combatants," or "potential targets." We sent SWAT teams in to avoid search warrants and arrest low-risk offenders. Anyone who gets killed, even when it's cases of incorrect information, is "collateral damage" in the overall war. It's meant to teach us all a lesson - if we don't completely police ourselves and follow every government edict exactly, we may end up as collateral damage. Actually, scratch that, even if we do all the right things, we may still up getting gunned down because of falsified or incorrect information.

Again, I want to make it clear - I don't hate the military or the police. I think both groups provide a very useful and necessary function. However, I think their functions should remain quite distinct, and I don't think they should have the same tactics or theaters of operation. Use of force is sometimes necessary while on the job as a cop - this doesn't mean that it should be the first option for all situations.

In slightly more humorous news, Fred Upton (R-MI), a member of the GOP Supercommittee, has no idea why job growth was better with higher taxes on the upper income brackets than under the Bush tax cuts, but still thinks that tax cuts will create jobs.

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