I’d rather not live in a police state

It looks like that’s what I’m going to get, though. Mother Jones sent a reporter to the Urban Shield conference, a gathering of cops and their new toys. It’s chilling.

This summer, images of armored vehicles and police pointing semi-automatic rifles at demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, set off a debate over what journalist Radley Balko has termed the “rise of the warrior cop.” A National Public Radio analysis found that since 2006, the Pentagon has given local cops some $1.9 billion worth of equipment—including 600 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs), 80,000 assault rifles, 200 grenade launchers, and 12,000 bayonets (yes, bayonets). But those totals pale in comparison to the amount of gear purchased from private companies. The Ferguson Police Department, for example, received some computers, utility trucks, and blankets from the military—but all that battle gear you saw on TV was bought from corporations like the ones pitching their wares at Urban Shield. Outfitting America’s warrior cops, it turns out, is a major business, and one fueled in large part by the federal Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Defense has given $5.1 billion worth of equipment to state and local police departments since 1997, with even rural counties acquiring things like grenade launchers and armored personnel carriers. But Homeland Security has handed out grants worth eight times as much—$41 billion since 2002. The money is earmarked for counterterrorism, but DHS specifies that once acquired, the equipment can be used for any other law-enforcement purpose, from shutting down protests to serving warrants and executing home searches.

These over-equipped paramilitary police squads are taking over — not only are they hauling around enough firepower to take down a small nation, it’s almost entirely superfluous…so they’re using excessive force for mundane tasks. You better pay your traffic tickets, or a tank will roll up to your door and armored thugs with AR-15s and grenade launchers will leap out to get your compliance.

Today, 85 percent of SWAT operations are for “choice-driven raids on people’s private residences,” Peter Kraska, an Eastern Kentucky University researcher who studies tactical policing, said in a recent Senate hearing. According to a study released by the American Civil Liberties Union earlier this year, 62 percent of SWAT deployments were for drug raids. The study found that in these raids, drugs were found only half of the time. When weapons were “believed to be present,” they were not found in half of the cases for which the outcome was known.

Oh, wait, no, I can relax. I’m white. They’re only going to bully black people with these tactics.

The study also found that while white people were more likely to be involved in the types of scenarios SWAT teams were intended for—like hostage or active-shooter situations—71 percent of today’s SWAT raids (when race was known) target people of color. The racial disparity can be much higher in some places: In Burlington, North Carolina, the study notes, African Americans are 47 times more likely to be affected by SWAT raids than whites.

It’s interesting that while universities are being starved for revenue by the state, the state is pouring cash into beefing up police forces into utterly useless and damaging urban assault teams.


  1. Athywren; Kitty Wrangler says

    12,000 bayonets (yes, bayonets).

    I’m sorry, I must be missing something incredibly important here. Bayonet means something totally different in American. Bayonets have a massively important secondary function that police officers simply cannot operate without. Bayonets are actually made of cheese, to provide a delicious snack while on duty.
    Why the fuck are they giving fucking gun swords to officers sworn to uphold the peace?

  2. Dunc says

    You’d almost think somebody was expecting to have to fight a war, or put down a full-blown civil insurrection…

  3. odin says

    I’m tempted to say this is what you get when you mix fascism and Posse Comitatus. Except that law was created in response to the federal government using military personnel to enforce the rights of freed blacks in the south, so I guess you could quite easily say that’s kinda fascist in intent, if not in its direct impact.

  4. Jackie the social justice WIZZARD!!! says

    Universities create the revolutionaries. Police put them down.
    We’re in trouble.

  5. saganite says

    Well, I’ve often said how important I think education is, not just in improving an individual’s chances of success but also as an overall measure for an advanced, peaceful and productive society. I guess that in the reverse, if you defund education, pouring money into authoritarian, militarized police enforcement makes a kind of twisted sense then?

  6. says

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the idiocy that seems to be infesting all levels of American society. It is difficult for someone like me on the other side of the pond to grasp what drives this internal armaments industry. I can understand highly trained specialist teams like the SAS having this sort of kit level, looking at external threats and terrorism, but the average bozo policeman, with a penchant for guns, having all the toys he could wish for and multiple unchallengeable opportunities to terminate with extreme prejudice seems more that a step too far. It is not even the constitutional “well trained militia” bit, but a pack of yahoos on the rampage. Or am I being unfair? Is there something here that I have missed?

  7. observer says

    Holy shit! One of their training scenarios was a grough of “militant atheists” holding hostages in a church.

  8. Moggie says


    There is simply nothing else that expresses excessive bloody in-your-face violence quite as eloquently as stabbing a person with a bayonet.

    Yep. You’re essentially stabbing a person with a gun. It could only get more hardcore if Taser International develops the electrified bayonet.

    Good grief, that article was scary and depressing.

  9. madtom1999 says

    I’ve got a motorised garden tool with a set of attachments including a small chainsaw which could easily be attached to a rifle if necessary. With a body camera the whole peace keeping thing can be turned into a money spinning enterprise for the state!
    No demonstrators – no taxes!
    The US is turning into a hybrid of the Hunger Games and the Handmaid’s Tail!

  10. says

    >> christopherphillips: It is difficult for someone like me on the other side of the pond to grasp what drives this internal armaments industry.

    It’s simple: money.

  11. plainenglish says

    @9 Moggie, your idea for tasering is quite humane and should not be difficult to design, the power pack attached for ergonomic utility as part of the bayonet handgrip so that peace officers are able to quickly release the bayonet and deploy a hand-held bayonet equipped to administer up to 50,000 volts of freedom protection against atheist militants holding hostages in churches.

    Your caring neighbors at Taser International will have a prototype ready next week, in the interest of saving American lives and defending God’s country. Perhaps cover could be offered for peace officers who find themselves among the Godless, by deploying taser drones over every town that tolerates Atheists. This model is recommended:
    These drones could be remotely controlled from larger drones, which could in turn be controlled by biped bone-drones who have been carefully screened to confirm their belief in the one true Christian God, preferably Baptist but inclusive of Muslims and other more wayward believers.
    Let us protect what freedom remains in these dark times.
    Remember, when the shit hits the fan and you are facing multiple threats against God, Stab AND Stun for best results.
    Shite, I feel sick.

  12. plainenglish says

    @madtom: Atwood wrote a Tale, methinks, but it has been rumored in Christian circles that she might have a tail. The Handmaid did not.

  13. rq says

    Scary. And why Ferguson needs an eye on it, since it just might be the grounds of some experimental exercises against those *ahem* violent protesters.

  14. gussnarp says

    I know the focus is usually on the very visible paramilitary equipment, and rightly so, but in the opening paragraph the mention of “boot knives” kind of stuck out to me. Cops need knives to do things like cut seat belts, or whatever. Knives are very useful tools. Boot knives calls to mind a small dagger to be pulled out as a last resort. And I’m thinking, what situation is a cop going to be in where he needs any kind of combat knife, let a lone a small concealed dagger? This is something you use close in to kill someone. Someone who, hopefully, you could just as well taser, stun gun, or physically overpower. It’s just packing on an extra, unnecessarily lethal layer to make the cop feel tougher. Maybe cops shouldn’t carry combat knives or daggers at all? Sure, they probably never use them, but do we even want to have them thinking in those terms: “Well, if the shit really hits the fan, I can always stab somebody”.

    Can anyone think of a convincing reason a cop needs a boot knife?

  15. Thomathy, Such A 'Mo says

    So, I thought to myself, ‘Surely bayonets are mentioned in some international treaty, like the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and are considered, well, illegal?’

    And I was wrong. So, yeah, bayonets. Because that’s the kind of aggression you need for controlling civilians.

    You’re country is scary.

  16. Thomathy, Such A 'Mo says

    No, gussnarp, because other than the rare situation wherein they might be saving someone, the only possible use of a knife would be to kill someone in close range. What else would they need bayonets for, for instance?

  17. gussnarp says

    Bayonets. I got so distracted by the boot knives. Definitely the same thing: stabby stab the bad people before they do….something to you. The massive militarization is a huge problem, but the stabby stuff is so symbolic to me of everything wrong with the mentality of police militarization. I’ve long said the problem with NRA types, and apparently with police as well, is that they all think ’24’ is true, or at least, realistic, along with all those bad eighties action movies.

  18. robertfoster says

    Bayonets. Ah, that word conjures up such sweet, sweet memories. Back when I was a lad protesting the Vietnam war I recall being confronted by a phalanx of bayoneted National Guardsmen in DC. I wondered then, as I do now, if the men wielding them were prepared to use them? Sticking a blade into a writhing screaming, cursing, kicking and fighting human being is far different from shooting him dead from a distance. It’s a very personal way to kill. If it were ever to happen at a protest here I hope the bloody deed gets captured on film. Imagine flipping on CNN first thing in the morning and seeing protesters being gutted in the streets by our brave men in blue (or is it camo these days?) Nothing would ever be the same afterwards. You can bet on it.

  19. gussnarp says

    Also, I’m pretty sure the real reason we have unrestricted gun access and extreme militarization of police is that the military basically needs companies making this stuff, and they can’t economically stay in business just selling to our military, or even the rest of the world’s militaries. So to keep their suppliers in business, they help to ensure a large and profitable market for them by maintaining entirely nonsensical unfettered gun access and promoting sales of entirely unnecessary military weapons to police departments.

    Yes, the rest of the world can thank us. When your judiciously used military is able to buy new rifles at affordable prices it’s entirely because we sacrifice our own children to ensure a profitable gun market. We’re doing this for you!

  20. Moggie says

    Two quotes from that article. From a vendor:

    He told me to make sure I remembered one thing: We are sheep and police are the sheepdogs. They protect us, and they kill the wolves.

    Are you happy being a sheep? And this, from a SWAT cop:

    One SWAT commander told Kraska, “The key to our success is that we’re an elite crime fighting team that’s not bogged down in the regular bureaucracy. We focus on quality of life issues like illegal parking, loud music, bums, troubles.”

    Don’t you feel reassured that heavily-armed “warriors” are dealing with low-level policing issues like parking, free of the restraints of “bureaucracy”?

  21. hoku says

    “62 percent of SWAT deployments were for drug raids”

    This actually is really badly framed, and undersells the problem. These are searches for drugs, not raids on drug dealers. A full 80 of SWAT use is for search warrants. I would be curious to know how much of that is for pot, and how often forfeiture was invoked in these cases.

  22. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Yes, they want us to be SCARED. That is the purpose of over-militarizing the peace officers. [this triggered by the bayonets question] They are assuming that the weapons are SCARY enough to keep people from ever confronting them. A gun just looks like a stick until you put a shiny blade on the end to give it that ‘spear’ allusion. And those big armored trucks are just to keep us scared and huddling on the edge of the road and not blocking traffic.
    [I’m sure the “frighten them” tactic is just the boardroom managers’ thinking, they neglect to consider the effect it will have on the people so over-equipped…]

  23. Brony, Social Justice Cenobite says

    It’s interesting that while universities are being starved for revenue by the state, the state is pouring cash into beefing up police forces into utterly useless and damaging urban assault teams.

    The powerful and paranoid have other priorities. They are very worried about social upheaval, but in ways more general and indiscriminate than many want to believe.

  24. gussnarp says

    I’m curious about the charts that accompany the article. The charts for rates of officers assaulted and violent crime show steep decreases beginning between 1990 and 1995. The huge drops they both show at the same time suggest that something happened around 1992(?) that precipitated the recent downward trend. Now, I expect the advocates for militarizing the police and for jailing everyone and cracking down on drugs would say this decrease is all because of these things. But the drug war and harsh sentencing began a full ten years before any decline in violent crime rates. Does anyone know what happened in 1992? Other than Bill Clinton being elected?

  25. komarov says

    [Please note, the following post is heavily sarcastic. And since they don’t appear to show up in the preview, I really hope I didn’t botch the quotes.]

    Nifty. So should the Stalwart Copper run out of ammo whilst maintaining Law and Order he can mount bayonets and carry on without interruption. No need to head home to base to resupply. Clearly, these instruments are only being issued with the efficiency of the police force in mind.

    This should ultimately save the tax payer many a dollar, which the budget-concious American will surely appreciate. In addition the government has found a fine way of re-routing defense money to civilian uses and has done so without risking to starve vital industries of their revenue. That’s quite a trick, well done.

    The article is fascinating. Right in the opening passage you get to see the attitude of people very concerned with public safety:

    “Want to see the new toy?” a vendor asked a police officer in camo. He handed him a pamphlet for his company, Shield Defense Systems. “This will blind anyone for 10 minutes. Imagine, walk into a bar fight, blind everyone, then figure out what’s going on. Some guys on drugs, you can put three slugs in their chest and it won’t stop them. But blind him, and I guarantee you he’ll calm down.”

    Yes, let’s blind everyone and then sort things out. What the hell, if it lasts 10 minutes you can have drink while you’re there. Blind everyone, have a cold beer and then sort everyone out. It’s a stressful job after all. Plus, you can just keep blinding everyone because there is no permanent damage apparently. No need to rush.
    Perhaps you can also install these things on traffic lights. Run a red light, *flash*, you’re not going anywhere. Keeping our roads safe. Except for that brief interval until your car comes to rest in whatever obstacle you may find.
    Amazing how coppers managed without one of these devices so far.

    Urban Shield was started in 2007 by an Alameda County assistant sheriff named James Baker. […] Baker’s firm has also received $500,000 in state funds to write guidelines for SWAT teams, on things like how much gear each team is required to have

    Most excellent. If I ever start a company, first thing I’ll do is have government pay me to tell them how much stuff they need to buy.

    When weapons were “believed to be present,” they were not found in half of the cases for which the outcome was known.

    “the cases for which the outcome was known.” Is this another case of shoddy (or secretive) record-keeping or is it just that SWAT teams are so eager with their smoke grenades and the likes that it takes a while to figure out how the raid went?

    Robots were popular in the convention hall. QinetiQ’s 20-pound Dragon Runner looked a bit like WALL-E, with treads like a tank and an arm that could be maneuvered like a miniature crane. Its pamphlet said it was meant for “some of the most hazardous conditions and terrains found on earth, from desert and mountain combat situations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to the streets of Europe and the United States.”

    Yes, even here in peaceful old Europe I often wish I had a drone handy to check my bicycles for bombs and terrorists. You never know and no expense is too great for Safety And Security.

    Johnson didn’t think “militarization” was an accurate term for what was happening with police. “They’re not buying a lot of things that would be considered military, in my opinion. Do they wear fatigues? Some of them do. Why is that? Well, a lot of that stuff’s proven by the military that it works. [But] it’s totally different training, it’s totally different scenarios.”

    Well, desert camo worked fine in the desert, and so did the M1 Abrams with fighter support so they’ll do wonders for your one-horse town. Shall I sign you up for the package? How many would you like?

    A 2007 study found that 49 percent of police departments surveyed used active-duty military personnel, including special-forces troops, to train their SWAT teams. One of the teams competing in Urban Shield was from the US Marine Corps. When the training event kicked off Saturday morning, I sat in an Amtrak train in Oakland as they came through in combat gear shouting at the pretend civilians to “put your fucking hands up! Anyone who puts their hands down will get fucking shot! Don’t fucking move!” Even though they were just shooting little plastic bullets, my heart was pounding. Afterward, I asked a Marine why they trained in exercises designed for police. “To learn different tactics,” he said. “You have some of the best guys out there, and they give their input and we take that back with us and teach our Marines.”

    Never underestimate the effect of a firm hand on the Criminal Element. And anyone else, although the suggestion that bystanders might not be part of said Element is a very generous assumption not supported by current studies.

    <citeNearby, a vendor sold shirts with slogans of his own. One bore the image of a Spartan helmet and the phrase "Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none." His most popular shirt read "This Is My Peace Sign"; it showed crosshairs centered on what I briefly took to be a person with his hands up, though it was actually an AR-15 sight.

    Merchandising, nothing wrong with, it all being done tastefully.

    The article just goes on and on with gems like that. Deep Insight into the world of Civil Protection, where no effort is spared to protect the good people of Dystopia.

    Regarding the discussion of an electric bayonet, your blatant futurism misses a far more obvious solution: the flamethrower. I believe Ms. Ellen Ripley has already demonstrated a highly successful combination of flamethrower and regular firearm, one which should be easy to implement with existing stocks and minimal (if any) training for the user. Much like the bayonet, the flamethrower offers a highly effective short-range pacification method which avoids direct contact with the Good Citizen being pacified. This ensures maximum safety

  26. komarov says

    Bah, curse thee, ye thrice-damned quotes. Neither the extra spacing nor the quotes survived so you might as well just skip my post for all the sense it makes now. :I

  27. gussnarp says

    BTW, I’ve known there was this decrease in crime since the 90s, for a while, but it never looked so stark to me as in these graphs. I did a bit of grad work on a research project that was cross discipline with criminology, but I’m far from well versed in the literature. What I did see in the literature, and what the actual criminologists seemed to indicate, is that nobody really knows what it is about the early nineties that cause the decline. Most of what I saw seemed to suggest it was the Clinton era economic boom. But man, it really seems like it’s so clear, like flipping a switch. Sociological data rarely shows anything this clear. It’s like when you look at voting trends in the U.S. and you see in 1968 an enormous change in voting patterns. It’s like flipping a switch, and it’s easy to figure out the cause in that case: The civil rights act and the Southern Strategy of the Republicans. But with crime, we don’t have such a clear answer.

  28. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    Didn’t I read something about the reduction in violence being linked (in a fairly strong worldwide study) to the phasing out of leaded petroleum/gasoline? It was fully phased out in the USA in 1996, but the phasing out would have been going for a few years before that.

  29. gussnarp says

    @Ariaflame (#33): There is a rather stunning time-shifted correlation with that. I’d forgotten about that. But I’m also not entirely convinced of causality on that. But I do recall the data converging on lead from a few different directions, which is pretty compelling.

  30. scourge99 says

    It’s not the toys and gadgets that is the problem, its the policies on when to use them and how they are trained to use them.

    For example, teasers are revolutionary and allow law enforcement to incapacitate individuals in a very safe manner. Perhaps if you live in a vacuum and don’t consider that before tasers the tool used was a bludgeoning by baton or being shot, then you’d think tasers are evil.

    But, yes, tasers can be over used or used when unnecessary. Once again that goes back to training, not that tasers or other police equipment is inherently evil.

  31. EigenSprocketUK says

    Wow – so the approach from the university’s private army in the video went like this:

    Put your hands in the air;
    put your hands on your face;
    come towards me;
    put your hands ON YOUR FACE;
    turn AROUND!!
    come towards me;
    come TOWARDS me!

    Are they administering the admissions test for the university security team?

  32. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    Why the unholy fucking fuck is the U.S. government so intent on conflating policing with soldiering? JESUS.

    The police are peace officers, individuals trained and empowered to preserve the peace within society. Their number one tool of the trade is talking. They talk to people. Mace, batons, tasers and sidearms are only used to counter violence, and the police sure as hell should never be initiating said violence. My god. This is horrifying.

  33. carlie says

    Can anyone think of a convincing reason a cop needs a boot knife?

    Boot knives are illegal in many states. Handing them to police ensures a steady supply of orders.

  34. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    I have been avoiding entering the US for a while now. My wife and I paid extra on our honeymoon to not have to stop in the US (Canada->Mexico). That was almost 10 years ago and the reasons keep piling up. And I’m white, middle-aged, hetero-cis-male! The only privileges I’m missing are from not being rich or religious. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like if I was in a profiled group.

    It’s sad because the States has a lot of great people, science, education (if you can afford it), medicine (if you can afford it), and freedoms (if you can afford them). Unfortunately it’s also a big bag of heavily-armed crazy. I really wanted to take my daughter to Disney World some time but, at this point, I really can’t see that happening.

    The US used to be a beacon of hope. Your huddled masses are now huddling to avoid the tear gas.


  35. anteprepro says

    They are only arming the cops with more and more ridiculous weaponry so that the gun lobby can say “see, look at what the cops are carrying around these days! If a civilian is going to be safe from police tyranny, then they must have unfettered access to tactical nukes!”

  36. toska says

    Yes, and the police can justify the ridiculous weaponry because they need it to combat the overly-armed citizenry. Vicious circle, indeed.

  37. Radium Coyote says

    I’ve been called a wacky conspiracy theorist for saying this, but it seems obvious to me that they’re putting military gear in the hands of the police in preparation for some sort of societal collapse. There’s really no other reason for it; it’s historically unprecedented to arm civilian police with military weapons and armor… situations that call for that used to involve calling up the National Guard. Since that option hasn’t been taken off the table, I can only think of one other obvious conclusion.

  38. twas brillig (stevem) says

    jrfdeux, mode d’emploi @38 said:

    Why the unholy fucking fuck is the U.S. government so intent on conflating policing with soldiering? JESUS.

    Good Question!!!! Seems they never heard of “unintended consequences”. I once heard that having one’s military act as policemen is wrong wrong wrong. Police are supposed to “protect and serve” the citizens, while the military is trained to see everyone as “the enemy”, and “subjugate them”. I assume that’s why the Brits would not arm the bobbys, only give them nightsticks to protect them from violent offenders. How many fatalities, from police actions, is necessary to rethink our strategy?
    We’re going too far, in the wrong direction. Doom, doom, doom. ;-(

  39. sumdum says

    The military is heavily armed to fight an enemy abroad. The police is now being heavily armed to fight an enemy domestically. The citizen.

  40. says

    “rise of the warrior cop.”

    In one of the many talks by Noam Chomsky that I’ve watched, he once said that, as inequality continued to pile up, the powerful would militarize the police in order to suppress the inevitable unrest. Ouch.

  41. says

    “Your majesty, the people are starving, the roads collapse, and disease stalks the land! But you spend all your money to hire more mercenaries!”

    “Yes, my loyal vizier. When the revolt comes, I’ll be ready for it!”

  42. Rich Woods says

    @gussnarp #16:

    Can anyone think of a convincing reason a cop needs a boot knife?

    To undo his bootlaces when mommy’s not around.

  43. F.O. says

    Your tax dollars at work… Somtimes I wonder if the libertarian nutcases are right after all…

    Also, the police using *GRENADES*!?
    If I stretch my imagination I can see why you would want an armored vehicle, but what the flying fuck is the rationale for fucking GRENADES!?

    Where are all the stalwart defenders of the Second Amendment, ready to rise against the oppressive state?
    Oh wait, they’re white?

    @Marcus Ranum #48

    In one of the many talks by Noam Chomsky that I’ve watched, he once said that, as inequality continued to pile up, the powerful would militarize the police in order to suppress the inevitable unrest. Ouch.

    I am starting to think that this is real, deliberate and yes, it’s the direct result of the rich planning ahead.

  44. dorght says

    Police accountability is one thing, but what about the judges that sign the warrants. They appear to have even less accountability.

  45. komarov says

    Also, the police using *GRENADES*!?
    If I stretch my imagination I can see why you would want an armored vehicle, but what the flying fuck is the rationale for fucking GRENADES!?

    Well, the cynic inside me points to ‘guilt by association’, which, assuming a somewhat literal interpretation, could mean anyone inside the blast radius along with the Criminal Element targeted in the first place. We can further deduce that the potency of guilt is proportional to that of the explosive and that guilt penetrates walls, lead sheets and most other materials with relative ease.

    Anyhow, look at it from a logistics point of view. How much simpler would life be if everyone – Army, Police, SWAT – could just attend the same urban warfare courses? Organising separate and distinct courses for each group is expensive. And since reasonable police tactics would never work in whatever far off region the US blunders into next you simply have to go with the urban warfare. Harmonising the equipment across all groups is really just the logical first step, and that’s precisely what we’re seeing here.

  46. mnb0 says

    “while universities are being starved for revenue by the state, the state is pouring cash into beefing up police forces.”
    Well, a government has to have its priorities straight.

  47. dianne says

    Maybe I’m strange, but to me one of the scariest things about the article was the way the cops quoted sounded like little kids playing “good guys and bad guys”. They seemed to have no real understanding of what they were actually doing or sense of responsibility for their actions. I mean, their idea of how to deal with civilians in a training exercise was to shout obscenities and threaten to shoot? Couldn’t they at least pretend to be professionals protecting the community, not an occupying force trying to intimidate everyone?

  48. dianne says

    My prediction is that as the militarization of the police continues violent crime will start to increase again. Because victims of crime will be too afraid to call the police and so violent criminals will get away with it and continue to act. If we’re lucky, some of the more responsible gangs will eventually evolve into a de facto police force and start to keep the peace in their territories.

  49. odin says

    dianne @ 58

    My prediction is that as the militarization of the police continues violent crime will start to increase again.

    Except there’s literally no reason whatever to believe that police response had anything to do with the rapid decrease in violent crime in the early nineties. The reason for it seems to have more to do with there being fewer criminals around than anything else.

  50. dianne says

    @Odin: I agree. The only thing that might have contributed is the improvement in forensic science which may have contributed to more actually guilty people getting convicted and so off the streets. This was undoubtedly counterbalanced by the police becoming less trustworthy and so receiving less cooperation from civilians. Although…the crime statistics are for reported crimes. Perhaps fewer people are reporting crimes due to police violence and so the apparent rate is going down? TMI: I did not report an assault on myself because I felt there was no chance that the police could find the person who did it and was worried that they’d arrest an innocent person just to be able to claim it as a “solved” case.

  51. Ichthyic says

    I’ve been called a wacky conspiracy theorist for saying this, but it seems obvious to me that they’re putting military gear in the hands of the police in preparation for some sort of societal collapse.

    have you?

    here, where policing is actually relatively sane, most people I tell that I saw this coming, and bailed out because of it, fully understand.

    if people are calling you a conspiracy nut, they have a poor grasp of history.

  52. Ichthyic says

    “Yes, my loyal vizier. When the revolt comes, I’ll be ready for it!”

    …said every vizier ever, right before they got eaten by the mob.

  53. John Horstman says

    I’d rather not live in a police state

    Me too, but the adoption of the contemporary security state model by so many nation-states doesn’t leave many options. :-/