Police at war? Who is the enemy?
In keeping with my theme of the day– disproportionate law enforcement responses—below is a link to a story from the July, 2013, ABA journal, titled “Rise of the Warrior Cop.” While there has been a move in law enforcement of late toward community policing, there’s been a simultaneous increase in the establishment of paramilitary SWAT units. Why? Statistics clearly show that we are not experiencing an increase in violent crime in this country, and I’m certain that the presence of a SWAT team in every hamlet isn’t what’s responsible for keeping the crime rate down. It isn’t good for anyone– civilian or police– to have thousands of officers deployed in this country as if on permanent war footing against members of the civilian population.
Interesting facts in the linked article include “[u]nlikely federal agencies with SWAT teams: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. National Park Services, [and the] Food and Drug Administration.” The article also highlights the abundant equipment received by the town of Johnston, Rhode Island, population 28,769, for its paramilitary unit, including 30 M-16’s with 18,000 rounds of ammunition, 44 bayonets to fix to those M-16’s, and 12 Humvees. I guess the SWAT team members of Johnston, RI, are prepared to run ’em through with bayonets once the guns are out of ammo.
And then there’s the college kid who went to the store with her friends to buy ice cream, cookie dough and bottled water, only to find herself besieged by a half-dozen armed undercover liquor enforcement agents, who scared her half to death by pulling a gun, flashing what she thought were bogus badges and trying to smash their way through the windows of her vehicle. http://www.inquisitr.com/823163/virginia-college-student-arrested-after-buying-bottled-water/ Of course, she should have just gone face down on the pavement at the first command to stop, right? Isn’t that what all of us should be prepared to do on our next trip to the grocery store?
Addendum to the origin post: Here’s a link to an article that deals with the same topic, adding examples of arrests of those engaged in the non-criminal exercise of their right of free speech. This article also brings up the topic of people killed in drug raids carried out on the wrong houses. When the innocent are shot dead in their own houses, for reacting poorly to an armed home invasion by government officials carrying out their mandate in the war on drugs, their loved ones will at least know they died for a noble cause, right? http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/our-opinion/columnists-blogs/bart-hinkle/hinkle-commit-any-felonies-lately/article_58344fc1-7d4f-584a-8d16-36a1b1f2cdc0.html
And here’s a link to a map of “isolated incidents” of paramilitary overkill, raids on the wrong houses, innocent people killed, etc. Thankfully, Maine is clean. http://www.cato.org/raidmap
The hits just keep on coming. Here’s a story about a guy who was arrested for obstruction of justice, for not complying with a police order to let them take over his home as a position to gain a tactical advantage against his neighbor. What a scumbag, punk, huh? I bet he had it coming.
Another bad situation created by over-the-topness: http://www.infowars.com/florida-nurse-terrorized-by-us-marshals/
And the Wall Street Journal weighs in, providing a few more examples: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323848804578608040780519904.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories
Quite random, I realize, but here’s a clip of a guy who got arrested for taking video in the street while a SWAT raid took place. Would documenting events have interfered with creative report writing? http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2013/08/11/washington-man-arrested-for-video-recording-swat-team-from-public-sidewalk/
And additional examples as of 4/6/14: http://watchdog.org/136244/federal-law-enforcement/
The U.S. Postal Service buys up a load of ammo: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/USPS-ammo-purchase-federal/2014/04/14/id/565541/
USDA soliciting bids for body armor and sub-machine guns with 30-round magazines. http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/05/15/Dept-of-Agriculture-Orders-Ballistic-Body-Armor
Then, of course, there’s the chaos in Ferguson, MO. There, police had every reason to be fearful for their own safety, but then again, how much did they ratchet up the atmosphere by deploying as a paramilitary force? Again, police acted as if they were at war with the civilian populace. The more police act as if they are at war with the civilian populace, the more they will be at war with the civilian populace. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/militarized-police-in-ferguson-unsettles-some-pentagon-gives-cities-equipment/2014/08/14/4651f670-2401-11e4-86ca-6f03cbd15c1a_story.html
But the L.A. Unified School District is giving up 3 grenade launchers, although it is keeping its MRAP and 61 M-16’s. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-schools-weapons-20140917-story.html