If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then what is it? If civilian police dress like soldiers and behave like soldiers then what are they?
How might these public servants view those around them when equipped with Marine-issue camouflage, military-grade body armor, short-barreled assault rifles, and armored vehicles? What psychological impacts are there on the person that has to put carry such burden.
Does it change them from a public servant dedicated to protect and serve into a para military asset sent to seek and destroy?
Even if you stencil “POLICE” in big friendly letters on the tactical grade body armor, the perception of someone coming at you in combat attire is threatening and intimidating. That’s what done in war because the enemy has acknowledged we don’t like each other and murder is the only option we are going to pursue at this time.
Law enforcement is not war as police officers should not view citizens as the enemy they have to gear up and strap on for. When they begin doing that on a regular basis I think we can use the term “police state” to describe the situation.
Are we really “multitasking to create new synergies” of law enforcement and civil protection here or blurring lines that should not be crossed for a reason. Is it an indication of poorly managed military spending manipulated by government contractors to create surplus tools of war for investor profits.
Is it secret plans of an elite to put a domestic army in place or simply the unavoidable conclusions of decisions made through bias and without forethought? Do we find cause if we consider the inequities at the core of our culture we choose not to reconcile?
Recently the conflicts over the Mike Brown incident in Ferguson, Missouri demonstrates what happens when a subculture dedicated to alpha male stereotypes begin seeing those they are entrusted to protect as targets of intimidation.
When the mentality is reached so even journalists become targets of harassment by the police it borders on denial of free press. Sometimes it’s hard to judge when the line is crossed into becoming a “facist thug”, sometimes it isn’t.
Should we be surprised, after all our cultural rhetoric of declaring war on social adversaries like poverty, HIV, and Drugs.
A “War on” was a euphemism for dedication to a cause but instead it seems that metaphor has been taken literally by a populace programmed by heroic archetypes and two dimensional enemies, (weak or evil).
It doesn’t seem far to go into seeing each other the same way like the “War on That Idiot Driver” or the “War on the Guy Whose Playing His Music Too Loud”. So we must ask ourselves are we a nation of warriors or a nation of citizens.
Do we idly sit by and watch it happen or should we not seek to assure this escalation in law combat mode doesn’t happen again. In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that police do not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm. The motto of “protect and serve” has been altered to just “serve” which begs the question of just who do they serve? Is it the people or the principle?
But we know the argument, that the police are human too and they must protect themselves from deathly assaults. Not only themselves but also their families from a enraged citizenry driven by desperation and anger. That’s how the mindset of being at war works. Escalation of hostilities continues without end until both sides are diminished enough to no longer threaten each other. That is the fallacy of the nobility of war.
Since the 1980’s there is a faction of America let’s call it “The Establishment” that began turning our national narrative back into the issues of the 1950’s with the sense that the revolution of the 60’s was a mistake. Reagan crushed the Soviets, Falwell created a Moral Majority and Huey Lewis told us it was hip be square. The idea being somehow back during Eisenhower years America had this golden age of society where everyone could share in the American Dream.
Everyone except for the blacks (sorry…the coloreds), Mexicans, Japanese, Chinese, Indians (foreign and domestic)…OK, so the shorter list is it was for the white people but only certain whites that lived on the right side of town.
What seems to be forgotten is our prosperity then came from the fact we were the only nation to escape the desolation of World War 2. We didn’t have world leadership by right, we had it by default. Those among us who forget that are trying to rewrite our history as a christian nation with the mission to protect liberty from the godless socialist liberals who are going to take away our bible, guns, and money.
A danger with this paranoia is it could be self fulfilling. If there are groups who are heavily arming themselves in preparation for a suspected civil enslavement, might not this in turn provide the catalyst to create the need for such a totalitarian police state? As this mindset is manipulated either intentionally or not into an escalation of preparedness that borders on civil disobedience such excuses can be used to create exactly what is feared.
But these are symptoms of deeper psychological issues of entitlement and equity, of race and class, of the future and the past. Issues brought about by world catching up with our level of influence and still reminded of U.S. foreign policies that were mostly in place for our advantage, now the advantage for the few. Those same ethics have translated to our domestic policies as well with gerrymandering of districts for political advantage to keep the elite in power under guise of a necessary process of a democratic system.
Our real freedom has been bought and sold by capitalism and our political system is corrupted by special interests with no allegiance except to the money they use to tighten their grip. Our freedoms are limited now by the choices that only the market can determine. Now we encourage entrepreneurship for the purpose of wealth instead of gaining knowledge for societal harmony. We contribute to it through the participation in a system that enslaves through a concept of ownership.
We allow issues of questionable importance like gay marriage rights and the pledge of allegiance to dominate our national discussions instead of building a truly sustainable and equitable future. The American ideal changed from the compassionate intelligent scientist like Oppenheimer and Einstein to the emotionally conflicted outsiders like Rambo and Conan the Barbarian.
By allowing this American Warrior mentality to continue we condemn our children to become worshipers of a prepackaged version of liberty whose only purpose is enable an elite class of nation-less robber barons to amass enormous wealth on the backs of clueless consumers while sheltering that wealth from fair taxation.
If you ever wondered what happened to the American dream?…it’s come true and we are living it now.
But we can wake up and we can dream again.