Monday, September 17, 2012

Is militarizing our state and local police forces a good thing?

Reality is always uglier than the virtual reality we all spend hours watching on cop TV.Over the last decade shows featuring the police have flourished, and police agencies of all descriptions have been glorified. Since no one dares question the "hero" status our men in blue achieved during the 9/11/2001 crisis, the light shining upon these public servants is positively glowing at all times.

Let's get back to reality. Deaths due to officer involved shootings are at an all-time high countrywide. In fact, a new method of suicide, coined suicide by cop, has become a legitimate reason for police officers to gun down unarmed citizens. For a few horrifying incidents visit this site:

Incidents like those on many college campuses of police abuse of pepper spray, and tazer abuse by law enforcement officers all over the country are spiraling out of control. Tactics employed by the Mayor of New York City to disband the Occupy Wall Street movement were absolutely draconian. Consider this. New York City has the third largest standing army on the planet. The city is under police control and the police are controlled by just one man, the mayor.

Although we would like to believe we are in control of our country’s private armies nothing could be further from the truth. That delusion is similar to the delusion that “we the people” control our own military forces. Somehow the right to wage war has been usurped from Congress, which was given the right under the constitution, and has been revested in the office of the President. We avoid a conflict between our government’s branches by no longer declaring war; We just start bombing whoever our President decides is the “enemy”. One man now controls the largest military force in the history of the planet. The last decade of Presidential warfare gives ample proof of concept; and ample proof of abuse of power.

As police departments everywhere gain more power and influence, the abuse of that power by individual people becomes irresistible. We all have causes, and what is the point of accumulating power if you can't use it to further your own causes? Right? If a police officer should have a racial, sex, or religious bias instilled from birth it will be impossible to control. Racial profiling, so rampant in the South, is already an accepted practice and written into law in Arizona. The tendency for geographical regions to propose their own brand of law and social justice recently surfaced when Texas politicians started making succession type noises over immigration policy.

The possibility of a local style civil war occurring over immigration or racial issues is never far from the surface. As local police departments accumulate more and more power regional tensions will increase. The probability of armed conflict or organized military style activity breaking out along our Southern border increases daily.

As we bring home our brainwashed and battle hardened trained soldiers we find it difficult to assimilate these “heros” back into society. They become employed in paramilitary style organizations; the police, the private security industry, bounty hunting organizations, and investigation agencies are a few choices. What is it we expect to happen when millions of people seasoned by war are turned loose in our society? Can more "Rambo" style mass murder situations fail to happen? The suicide rate among returning veterans has never been higher. Is this a good thing?

The truth is war is hell on earth. We have a barbarian practice of subjecting millions of our most highly impressionable youths to military style brainwashing. This is required training to survive a tour of duty ending in incredibly hostile territory, and renders those soldiers unable to cope in a normal society. Life's millions of decisions can overwhelm soldiers not used to having choices. These people have been programmed to follow orders and in the absence of such a controlled environment they are like pool balls caroming around the country without borders to restrict their behavior or to give them direction.

Killing people, even if you are following the direct order of a government, does not make actions of that nature sane, honorable, or even legal. We discovered after World War II that "just following orders" was no excuse for those involved. Everyone captured for war crimes was convicted and hanged. Just how faulty an excuse “murder by following orders” became should have been burned into our psyche forever. Alas, the lesson barely lasted a single generation.

So here in this country our future is certain. We will become an increasingly more violent nation. Civil unrest will rise to levels not seen since the Vietnam era. Budgets will be strained by paranoid state and local governments attempting to protect themselves from civilian unrest by adding ever more people to the government side of the equation. All that additional manpower and waste of money will accomplish will be to increase tensions.

So as our upper crust achieves the excesses of the Roman Empire at its height and glory, our empire, as did the Roman Empire, will continue to crumble. Either we become a peaceful nation without the need for an excessive military and police force, or we will explode under the weight of those forces as all empires before ours have done.

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