There is a buzz phrase for you, no? “The militarization of the police.” That sounds downright foreboding, especially for Americans who have a healthy distrust of government. The phrase is thrown out often, and the expected response is, “Ooh, that’s bad. I’m not for that!”
I am not trusting of the government. I think tyrannical rule is the trend of government. But let’s pause and actually consider what “police militarization” actually means.
This is from the ACLU: “The images on the news of police wearing helmets and masks, toting assault rifles, and riding in mine-resistant armored vehicles are not isolated incidents—they represent a nationwide trend of police militarization. Federal programs providing surplus military equipment, along with departments’ own purchases, have outfitted officers with firepower that is often far beyond what is necessary for their jobs as protectors of their communities. Sending a heavily armed team of officers to perform normal police work can dangerously escalate situations that need never have involved violence.”
By “police militarization”, the ACLU and other leftist groups are speaking of the equipment used by police departments. They have things like helmets, protective masks, semi-automatic rifles, and armored vehicles. This puts them at a significant resource advantage over their adversaries, according to the ACLU. The ACLU and others then assert that this “can dangerously escalate situations that need never have involved violence.”
To tip my hand, the above quoted paragraph is simply nut-tastic. Let me explain.
- As technology advances, so do weapons. Long gone are the days of Barney Fife and Sheriff Taylor. There are better guns out there, better explosives, etc. As superior products enter a market, they are bound to displace lesser products over time, barring unnatural factors. Police are using better guns, and car mechanics are using better jacks. Bad guys are using better guns and explosives too. It’s called economics.
- Bad guys and good guys have access to much of the same technology. We pay police departments to effectively enforce laws and terrorize evildoers, those who harm others in a community. It is to our benefit for them to be technologically up to date. It is to our benefit if the good guys have as good toys, if not better, to play with as the bad guys.
- If the police arrive at a situation with overwhelming firepower, does this escalate a situation? Well, if you’re a tactical idiot, apparently as are the thinkers at the ACLU, then yes, it does. But if you pause and think, then no, it doesn’t. The naked fact of having overwhelming firepower, far from escalating situations, is a deescalator. Other things have to come into play for there to be escalation. This is an obvious reality obfuscated by leftists and anti-authoritarians. Imagine a criminal named Kevin O’Donnell. He goes to First Union bank with two 9mm semi-automatic Berettas and a shotgun. He has high-capacity magazines, as well as a few incendiary devices. Now, there is a good guy on the scene. His name is Jack Ryan. In scenario one, Jack is unarmed. He tries to stop O’Donnell, but Mr. O’Donnell guns him down with ease before continuing his heist. Scenario two: Jack Ryan has a .45 Springfield with a spare magazine. O’Donnell and Ryan duke it out in the bank lobby, and the winner is…Scenario three: Ryan rolls up to the bank with two .45 Springfields and an AR-15. He is accompanied by fifteen highly trained police officers, armed to the teeth. They all have helmets in order to make their mothers and wives happy. They surround the bank with their armored vehicles. O’Donnell is evil, but knows he is outmatched. After a brief standoff, order is restored as O’Donnell drops his guns and puts his face down on the floor. Disagree with Ronald Reagan’s policies all you want, but the man was in touch with reality far better than the ACLU. He knew that there was peace through strength. And so it mattered to have more nuclear weapons than the Soviets. Today, it matters, for good, that we have eleven carriers in our Navy, compared to the rest of the world’s six. Great Britain once enjoyed such maritime dominance, and faced the bitter escalating consequences of letting that lopsided lead dissipate before the Nazi Navy. Any true man ought to give his all to protect the damsel in distress from the abusive boyfriend. But if the good guy can be 6’5″, 245 lbs., well that just ain’t that bad. We’ll take it. Strength of force deescalates bad situations by making obvious the futility of continued nefarious behavior. This won’t deter the zealot. It will deter the common criminal.
- If the good guys of today ever became bad guys—that is to say, if police departments ever became the enforcers of thug rulers—then American citizens have access, just like criminals do, to much of the same arsenal, with obvious disadvantages, mainly in the money department. But technology has advanced the entire market. Citizens can acquire tactical gear and tactical weapons. We can “militarize” like any other group, if we had the requisite will.
There are plenty of problems in this world. Don’t waste your time blowing a gasket over a fake one.