Skip to comments.The “militarization” of police was not only inevitable, but necessary
Posted on 08/16/2014 4:38:17 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
The rioting, protests and controversy continue to swirl around Ferguson this weekend, and you will no doubt be reading plenty of coverage from both sides about it. But in the background, a disturbing, larger national conversation has erupted out of the troubles in the St. Louis suburb. The hot topic everywhere seems to be a growing call to halt the so called militarization of the nations civilian police forces, highlighted by the riot suppression gear on display in Ferguson. Its an argument coming from both sides of the ideological spectrum, too.
The IBD editorial board warns us to beware of this trend. John Fund, writing at National Review, worries over not just police, but a host of federal agencies being armed to the teeth. Bob Barr sounds the alarm as to how the psyche of our police must become warped when they are equipped like soldiers. Our own Noah Rothman has written thoughtfully on the subject, expressing some of his own concerns.
Frankly, I find the whole discussion to be a rather rapid rush to judgement and lacking in larger context. As far as the specific incidents in Ferguson go, we still need a lot more information before final conclusions can be drawn. The details of the initial shooting may remain in question, but what followed was well documented. Riots and looting broke out on a massive scale for such a small town, and continue this morning. The local police stood on the edge of being completely overwhelmed. And whether or not you find their level of response appropriate, this one local disturbance has turned into a national demand to defang the police. The Washington Post quickly began issuing advice on how to tame the cops. Clearly the nations legislators were listening, as Hank Johnson (D Georgia) has already drafted legislation to do just that.
Am I the only one who finds this rather insulting to the nations first responders in general? Even if we are to assume that the Ferguson police crossed a line in breaking out their heaviest equipment in an attempt to reestablish control (which has not been conclusively proven at all, in my opinion), what of the rest of the country? As these critics frequently note, police departments in cities and towns of all sizes have been equipped with more modern, military style equipment for quite some time now and they dont seem to be converting the rest of the nation into a series of oppressive death camps. And far too often, the cops find themselves in need of the big guns and body armor.
In case you think Im coming in late to this debate, its not true. There was apparently a meeting held at some point in which Radley Balko was appointed as the go to guy for such discussions, but that dates back quite a ways. More than a year ago, Balko was pushing his ideas about so called warrior cops and at that time I penned an editorial stating that he was going too far.
Do we need kinder and gentler cops interacting with the community in a friendly fashion? It is certainly to the benefit of the police to be in good standing with a cooperative community and to know the people they protect and serve, but they also deserve a fighting chance when the situation suddenly turns violent and ugly. The rise of warrior cops may not be what everyone would hope for, but I dont see any realistic alternatives.
While I both understand and sympathize with the reminiscing for the good old days, the times have changed. The era of the lovable flatfoot, twirling his baton and wagging a finger at the precocious kid about to steal some penny candy has passed us by. Have we collectively forgotten the riots that took place following the Rodney King verdict? How about the now infamous North Hollywood shootout? And for our friends on the Left, what about the next time somebody goes into an elementary school armed with a Bushmaster and a couple of 9mm Glocks? You dont want us arming the teachers or having local residents open carrying to keep the school grounds safe. Leave it to the cops, you say. But should the cops be going into a situation like that with nothing more than a layer of cotton uniform and a revolver to protect themselves and take down the bad guys? Or should they have to wait until a SWAT unit from an appropriately large city shows up, with the shooter mowing down third graders in the meantime?
While the shooting of Michael Brown may provide a teachable moment in terms of police interactions with the community, the nearly immediate mayhem which followed should also serve as a timely reminder. The old assumptions of law enforcement and their unwritten compact with the citizenry relied on a society where the police and the laws were respected, and criminals were a minority who would be rejected by the rank and file residents. But when the majority of an entire community decides to break that compact, the formula changes. They realize that they outnumber and frequently outgun the cops. A slumbering, snarling beast is awakened and in short order the police can find themselves on the run. This is not a formula for freedom of speech
its the path to mayhem and the breakdown of civil society. Before youre too quick to demand the demilitarization of the police, you might want to remember who it is that stands between the neighborhood you have now and South Central L.A circa 1992. And Ferguson has shown us that you dont need a huge metropolitan area for it to happen.
It is about time the country has this talk.
The writer seriously understates the importance to effective policing of having public's good will.
There is only one alternative for the law to being in good standing with the public. Its not something any country wishing to remain free would want.
Sarcasm or serious? And many police in the UK now have weapons.
If they want to be Rangers then they can volunteer for Afghanistan.
The aggravated assault rate has tripled since the 60’s. The reason Mayberry-style PD’s are out of fashion is because violent perps are the rule rather than the exception. It used to be that most perps understood that they were the bad guys, and gave up when cornered. These days, perps think they are the good guys, and their vicious conduct reflects it. Only much-improved emergency room care has prevented the tripling in the rate of shootings, stabbings and so on from tripling the homicide rate. Rap isn’t the cause of it - it is the symptom of an underclass radicalized by Zinn, Chomsky and all of other lefties pushing - via the public education system - their vision of an unjust America that needs to be put out of its misery. These people, both the perps and their relatives and friends, are as socialized in American society as lions and leopards are in African society.
“You dont want us arming the teachers or having local residents open carrying to keep the school grounds safe.”
Any time you extend government power for “good” sooner or later that same power will be used for evil. Increasing government power almost always doe mroe harm than good.
Government overreach and excessive coercion is one of the basic reasons for the breakdown of respect for laws and government in the first place. Government and laws that interfere with the personal and private lives of individuals create a disdain and contempt in people for one another and for those laws and that government. That is a big deal in our culture right now.
The Left is usually the instigator of these problems. Riots and a lot of nonsense usually occur under Leftist regimes that have no respect for individuals’ private rights and freedoms.
This ought to be fun. Just going to kick back, and see what comments the FR speed readers crank out after whizzing through this one.
Some specialist officers regularly carry weapons in Britain. It's not like here, where every Barney Fife gets issued a Glock.
Rioting has been going on periodically for my entire lifetime. The cops always deal with it the same way. They form a perimeter and then let the rioters do the watusi for 2-3 days and burn down their own neighborhoods. It has not changed over the decades.
In Ferguson the cops did the same thing they always do, they pulled back and let the looting and burning happen. Then they decided to make tough with the media and some protesters who in video I witnessed were fairly calm until they were accosted by jumped up cops looking like the military. Tear gassing and arresting the media is not policing. Inciting protesters who are standing on a sidewalk is not policing.
Arm the people not the cops
save a lot of money spent on prisons too
Of course the commissars of our budding soviet state need a militarized police. The new NKVD need all the muscle it can get.
There’s less violent crime than any time in the nation’s history. If you walk around with a hammer all day, everything begins to look like a nail. Apply that maxim to law enforcement with tactical gear and a tactical mentality, and you see where it takes you. There
Yes, there are times when extraordinary equipment and methods may be necessary. Those times are and should be rare. A garden variety civil disturbance doesn’t require armored vehicles, snipers, and police who think they’re Delta Force. And Ferguson is a garden variety civil disturbance. It’s not an all out insurrection that threatens the social order-despite what breathless pundits on all sides would have you believe.
When “protect and serve” are core values instead of just slogans written on the door of a cruiser, there’s not much need for cool-guy gear and cool-guy tactics. But that’s not nearly as much fun for the hotshots who now carry badges for the wrong reason.
This post would have been popular during the Bundy Ranch standoff. Now, not so much, I’ll wager. Principles are usually flexible depending on how much one identifies with the parties involved, and not many Freepers will have much sympathy with the Ferguson protestors. Be that as it may, militarization of law enforcement is a trend that should be reversed, for all our sakes.
Cannot be said enough. They delight in the strife and grow in power over the increasing misery and unrest.
It's time to go back to the hue and cry model of policing, with police actually on foot, unarmed, and walking a beat.
History is laced with cultures that became more and more tyrannical as they decayed, in vain attempts to create with the sword that which they'd torn from the soul.
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