Politics & Philosophy by Dr. Martin D. Hash, Esq.
Police are not soldiers: they shouldn't look like soldiers, they shouldn't talk like soldiers, and they certainly shouldn't do the jobs of soldiers. Unfortunately, the body armor, video helmets, and automatic weapons police are now utilizing are eerily reminiscent of American soldiers in the Middle East. The militarization of police became visible on television to the public in the late 1960s with the use of tear gas against rioters. Then in the late 1990s, unused military equipment was donated to local law enforcement agencies under the “1033 program.” Studies showed that police forces that received military equipment had more violence regardless of local crime rates, and the new militarization is also associated with intelligence gathering of political activists. This has continually escalated to the ridiculous level it is now; for example, in 2014, the Los Angeles Unified School District agreed to return three grenade launchers but it would keep its armored personnel carrier and 61 assault rifles.
The very presence of military equipment can't help but change the attitude of the police themselves. Take a controlling personality who already has a proclivity towards physicality, and give them a testosterone-inducing ex-military vehicle, and the results are predictable. Even if the most conscientious individuals are recruited, the simple optics of an armored, overwhelming behemoth that drives down city streets along with Priuses and Cadillacs isn't worth it. The implication is that they are at war with their communities rather than keeping the public safe.
Categories | PRay TeLL, Dr. Hash
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