Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Militarization of America's small town police

I've commented before about the militarization of America's local police, despite the lack of any increase in crime or threats to them.

Essentially there is an arms race going on inside America: cops perceive crime to be going up (untrue) and citizens to be better armed (true); meanwhile, citizens perceive cops to be better armed and equipped (partly true), so some of them buy more guns, ammo and armor-piercing bullets to maintain an advantage over "the Man" or Big Government in case it decides to "take over" or come for their guns. Then cops see what ordinary citizens are packing and conclude they need armored vehicles and high-powered rifles, etc. to protect themselves. A highly-armed citizenry also fosters an "us against them," quasi-fascist mentality among police, instead of "serve and protect."

It's hysteria on both sides; it's a vicious circle.  And it all starts with fear stirred up by crazy right-wing rhetoric.

By Radley Balko
June 9, 2014 | Washington Post

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