Militarized Cops Are In Fashion! (Park Your Tank and We’ll Talk)

Swat Team RaidThe Militarization  of police is attracting attention in the U.S, most of it disapproving. On a larger scale, Japan is moving away from its post World War II abjurement of military force outside of defending its archipelago. Both instances involve a move away from a more pacifist attitude in response to an increase in the danger level. Both are unfortunate; both are arguably necessary.

Some forty years ago, a bank robbery in Van Nuys, CA by a small group of robbers using AK 47 automatic rifles gave rise to the observation by the local paper, the Los Angeles Times, that the cops standing behind opened squad car doors firing pistols at the robbers looked a littel, well, silly. Like kids with popguns, really. While the military-armed robbers spraying rifle bullets commanded the scene.

Since then, the profusion of wars and terrorism has filled the world with available military weapons for bad guys at low prices. It also has provided governments with surplus weapons that may be given to domestic police who have been outgunned. A purely logical progression that has provided us today’s well known “SWAT: teams everywhere.

But little boys like their toy guns in spite of the horror of public school teachers and big boys envy big guns in the hands of others. The military stuff has spread from SWAT folks to almost every police car these days, It’s starting to scare people when they see a group of cops resembling a Special Forces attack group arresting some old lady or smashing in a residential door to serve a warrant for some minor infraction. A Federal inspection in the back-of-nowhere town of  Chicken, Alaska drew queries for its resemblance to an military invasion. We seem to have reached a point where sending one policemen when ten are available is not to be considered. Might end by reducing the manpower budget for next year, perhaps?

It is not only police, either. Numbers of Federal departments have armed police and even SWAT forces, some 21 of them at last count. Maybe it helps the bureaucrats feel powerful or something. But it’s expensive, and the taxpayers have to pay for it. And if our governors worry about guns in the hands of citizens as much as some of them seem to, maybe the citizens need to consider the proliferation of guns in the hands of our governors..?

Now seems a good time to take stock of what seems an out-of-control, progressing trend; some police are now acquiring tanks. We don’t want our cops up against AK-47’s with popguns but neither do we want remote Alaskan mining towns subject to armed invasion, let alone suburban homes. While government may be necessary for civilization, there is no good in too much of it.


About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much)
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