Has the U.S. government overreacted because the 2001 terrorist attacks, developing a police state where regional law enforcement agencies are armed along with weapons to make them look love military units?
This week Senator Claire McCaskill begins hearings on the militarization of police departments. The senate subcommittee will certainly grab testimony from police officials, members of the departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security, taking a consider exactly how towns and cities across the United States have actually been equipped along with military hardware through various Homeland Security programs.
The Financial & Contracting Oversight Subcommittee is a response to calls demilitarization in Ferguson, Missouri, the St. Louis suburb Has actually witnessed unrest after the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
According to the Defense Logistics Agency, a federal regimen called 1033 delivers surplus military equipment to civilian police forces across the United States: pistols, automatic rifles, armored vehicles, some capable of surviving blasts from land mines. While MRAPs might have actually utility in Afghanistan and Iraq, if land mines become a problem in the U.S., it’s unlikely, in the social disorder, that civilian police departments will certainly do considerably to protect anyone. Yet hey, they are excellent toys, right? Just what can easily be much more “peace officer” compared to an urban assault automobile crashing through your porch and in to your living room?
“You have, after the Iraq war, a militarization of the police along with weapons that were made for warfare,” Luis Fernandez of Northern Arizona University’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice told the Arizona Day-to-day Sun recently.
For example, the Flagstaff poice department Has actually received such military gear as rifles, night vision goggles, ballistic helmets and a Humvee. In one more progress this week, it was reported that Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department’s military surplus from the 1033 regimen had to be sent back due to the fact that it lost monitor of arms offered to the Arizona law enforcement agency.
The cumulative effect for Americans, on either the right or the left, once images of military equipment march in to your Residence on the television screen, makes people feel love they are being invaded. They are in bullet-proof vests. Wearing khaki. Not considerably usage in an urban landscape, Yet surely intimidating. They point a Taser gun at your chest. Maybe they are in a line, dressed in riot gear for a peaceful protest: The much more you get, the much more most likely something inadequate is going to happen. Call it group behavior. And now they are armed love the military, every one of dressed up in hand me downs from various Gulf wars, Middle-Eastern interventions, and the overall look is that of an occupying force. This Has actually been the kick-ass first, ask questions later policy of law enforcement because 9/11.
But, in the social media environment, along with tactics and agent overkill exposed prior to a national audience of people outraged by the war zone presentation in Ferguson, Missouri, maybe something good can easily come of it? Maybe in the shrill mechanical noise of the very first Amendment being cancelled by the St. Louis County army bullhorn telling protestors to go home, maybe in the pyrotechnics of anti-crowd devices, in the ghostly images of shadows operating through smoke, of television camera crews operating from tear gas canisters, maybe in every one of that dystopian detail, maybe from every one of that the media-military-industrial complex may begin asking much more questions. Maybe, after lots of dozens of them are spread about in a viral revelation of what’s truly going on, these videoed instances of police brutality and anti-protest overreach will certainly grab the focus of the silent majorities of citizens tired of watching the U.S. Constitution going down the drain. Maybe a person will certainly attempt to restrict the hand-me-down policy. This is being called for by U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), that is seeking to restrict the Pentagon’s “1033 program”
Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Well, actually, it’s very unlikely. As long as the culture of violence is the unchecked feature of law enforcement, riots in the wake of police shootings will certainly keep on to be a symptom.