Police Militarization, Advantages and Pitfalls
Police Militarization or Federal Government Meddling?
It has been a controversial political issue in this election cycle, and with recent happenings in the likes of Ferguson, MO, Baltimore MD, civil unrest has become a very real issue for local law enforcement. Preparation for such events, in the form of weapons, equipment, manpower, and overall crisis management, has been on the minds of local police and city officials, due to the awareness, that every town is vulnerable to such events, and the only thing separating their town, and chaos, is one national media event. I make reference to a “media event”, rather than an event related to law enforcement, or crime, because the stories that tend to spark these types of events in cities, are cherry picked by the media, to further the current racial narrative that has been shoved down our throats by the mainstream media. Where are the news stories on the handful of black Americans, that are killed as a result of gang violence, in Chicago, every weekend? Black Americans are killing each other, at an alarming rate, and not a peep from the media. Why the silence? Maybe because black on black crime doesn’t support accusations of racism. How does law enforcement plan to deal with this civil unrest, if it makes its way to their doorstep? The DOD implemented a program referred to as 1033, that was aimed at transferring excess military equipment such as MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles to local law enforcement along with upgrades to firepower, in the form of military grade firearms, ammunition, and robots used for finding explosives. This may sound like an economical use of used military resources, but with what unintended consequences?
There are pros and cons to this accumulation of lethal force, at the local level. The advantages of having such capabilities, might be attractive to those that want to limit Federal Government’s involvement in local issues. The disadvantages, or pitfalls of such local power, relates to human nature, the desire for control, and the tendency to abuse that control, when it has been seized, or given, in the case of our voting system, where the election of officials has been turned into a high school student council election. In other words, it has been reduced to a popularity contest. Policy rarely comes into the picture. Here’s one word for an example; Trump. These popularity contests, or elections, as we like to call them, allow the oligarchs, usually in the form, of a criminal with a law degree(Irony?) to receive and maintain the power that they have over the direction of this country. Giving local police, military weapons, and vehicles, is going to be like letting a kid loose in a candy store, or a china shop, depending on how you look at it.
Human Nature: The Greatest Threat to Liberty
In Federalist paper # 51, James Madison wrote; “If men were angels, no government would be necessary”. Abuse of power is expected, even from the most righteous of men, and that is why we have our checks and balances in place. Let’s look for a positive side to police militarization. We want police departments to have the resources that they need to respond to a number of different scenarios. For those that are against the Federal Government dipping their fingers into local and state issues, these may seem like a good way to keep the Feds out of such a situation. The Federal Government has no legal option, by which to give aid to police, for the purpose of law enforcement, due to the Posse Comitatus Act, that was passed by Congress in 1878 and signed into law by President Rutherford B. Hayes. That is why states have the National Guard. At first glance, this recent militarization of police, seems like a good idea, because you are giving police the tools to solve larger problems, on their own, without outside help. But, let’s look at this from a different perspective. Tyranny, and abuse of power, are not only possible at the national level, by the Federal Government, but also local government, by city or county officials. I am not trying to demonize law enforcement here. They have a difficult job and many of their people have to make split second decisions, that decide whether or not they go home to their family. The issue of local police militarization, must be met with these kinds of questions, and we have to always respect the authority of local communities to govern themselves, and not be subject to Federal involvement, when it is not warranted. Human nature, and ones tendency to give in to selfish and narcissistic words or actions, is at the heart of our country’s founding, in the form of safeguards against this kind of human emotion and behavior. Checks and balances, that create the separation of power in Washington DC, are an integral part of our Federal Government and the role that it plays in Americans’ lives. When we see problems with the operation of government, we need to respond with solutions to said problem, and realize that sometimes the solution, can result in a more complicated scenario, if you do not take into account cause and effect, and unintended consequences. In other words, we should not act, for the sake of acting. How many times have we heard, “We need to do something”? How many times have we, as a nation, made that mistake? Too many times.