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Police Are Not Soldiers; Our Communities Are Not War Zones

swat-team-leon-county-florida

 Mark Steyn, who was writing about the militarization of police long before the Ferguson tragedy, makes a key point:

A soldier wears green camo in Vietnam to blend in. A policeman wears green camo in Ferguson to stand out – to let you guys know: We’re here, we’re severe, get used to it.

This is not a small thing. The point about “the thin blue line” is that it’s blue for a reason. As I wrote a couple of months ago:

“The police” is a phenomenon of the modern world. It would be wholly alien, for example, to America’s Founders. In the sense we use the term today, it dates back no further than Sir Robert Peel’s founding of the Metropolitan Police in 1829. Because Londoners associated the concept with French-style political policing and state control, they were very resistant to the idea of a domestic soldiery keeping them in line. So Peel dressed his policemen in blue instead of infantry red, and instead of guns they had wooden truncheons.

So, when the police are dressed like combat troops, it’s not a fashion faux pas, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of who they are. Forget the armored vehicles with the gun turrets, forget the faceless, helmeted, anonymous Robocops, and just listen to how these “policemen” talk. Look at the video as they’re arresting the New York Times and Huffington Post reporters. Watch the St Louis County deputy ordering everyone to leave, and then adding: “This is not up for discussion.”

Really? You’re a constable. You may be carrying on like the military commander of an occupying army faced with a rabble of revolting natives, but in the end you’re a constable. And the fact that you and your colleagues in that McDonald’s are comfortable speaking to your fellow citizens like this is part of the problem. The most important of the “nine principles of good policing” (formulated by the first two commissioners of the Metropolitan Police in 1829 and thereafter issued to every officer joining the force) is a very simple one: The police are the public and the public are the police. Not in Ferguson. Long before the teargassing begins and the bullets start flying, the way these guys talk is the first indication of how the remorseless militarization has corroded the soul of American policing.

Which brings us back to the death of Michael Brown. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that everything the police say about this incident is correct. In that case, whether or not the fatal shooting of Mr Brown is a crime, it’s certainly a mistake. When an unarmed shoplifter* in T-shirt and shorts with a five-buck cigar box in one hand has to be shot dead, you’re doing it wrong.

After going into some detail into comparative statistics between police shootings in Western Europe and the United States—the short version is that theirs shoot their weapons a tiny fraction as frequently as ours do and that, even on a per shooting incident basis, they fire far less ammunition—Steyn responds to the most obvious rejoinder:

A startling number of American readers wrote to say, with remarkable insouciance, that the US could not afford the luxury of First World policing. Large tracts of America had too many illegal immigrants, drug gangs, racial grievances, etc. Maybe. But the problem is that, increasingly, this is the only style of law enforcement America’s police culture teaches – not only for the teeming favelas, but for the leafy suburbs and the rural backwaters and the college-town keg party, too.

That’s quite right.

My dad was a military policeman and, for a time, a plainclothes officer in the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division and quite far from a bleeding heart liberal.  He was appalled thirty years ago by the militarization of civilian policemen and could not believe the lack of professionalism that had pervaded police dealing with ordinary citizens. My own experience with police, which is almost exclusively in traffic situations and the like, is that Steyn’s vision of cops acting like occupying forces even in posh suburbs has already reached fruition. Police officers treating “civilians” with friendly respect is the exception, not the rule, these days.

As I’ve noted in previous posts over the years, the fact that policemen affect military-style uniforms and behavior patterns, including adopting the conceit that the ordinary citizens are “civilians” and they themselves are not, is highly problematic.

Stephen Green reminds us that,

Twenty years ago almost in the wake of Ruby Ridge, NRA President Wayne LaPierre called federal agents “jack-booted thugs” in their enforcement of gun laws. The left reacted in its typical mock horror. But that thug attitude has trickled down from the BATF, along with billions in military equipment, to local police forces across the nation.

The horror we feel now should be real, and it should be felt by everybody.

This should be an issue that unites liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. Alas, it’s mostly conservatives these days who act as if the police can do no wrong.

Just as the citizenry has gone too far in worshiping those who volunteer for service in our armed forces, we’ve bent over backwards in justifying almost any action taken by police officers. They have a difficult and sometimes dangerous job. They are not, however, soldiers. Our communities are not war zones.  We should not tolerate them acting otherwise.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. beth says:

    A policeman wears green camo in Ferguson to stand out – to let you guys know: We’re here, we’re severe, get used to it.

    As does the idiot in camo at Target carrying a weapon. It’s all about intimidation.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

  2. al-Ameda says:

    James:

    My dad was a military policeman and, for a time, a plainclothes officer in the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division and quite far from a bleeding heart liberal. He was appalled thirty years ago by the militarization of civilian policemen and could not believe the lack of professionalism that had pervaded police dealing with ordinary citizens. My own experience with police, which is almost exclusively in traffic situations and the like, is that Steyn’s vision of cops acting like occupying forces even in posh suburbs has already reached fruition. Police officers treating “civilians” with friendly respect is the exception, not the rule, these days.

    As I’ve noted too, my father as an urban policeman for 30 years, and he did not fire his revolver in service once in 30 years. And, although circumstances are in some ways more difficult now than they were 40 years ago, it’s important to note that my father was a cop when many American cities – including the one he worked in – experienced a lot of civil unrest and race riots took place. Perhaps it’s generational – my father was a WW2 vet, not a frontline soldier but an expert Army Air Force plane mechanic. He was comfortable in his position and was not prone to take rash actions.
    So much of what we see today is out of proportion to the simple mission that that most police departments have – to serve and protect – and I would add ‘with respect’ for the community that is being served.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  3. Anonne says:

    Police can do no wrong unless it’s a federal force against gun-toting white people because they’re coming to take your guns! Stark difference between how Cliven Bundy was handled and this morass in Ferguson.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 1

  4. KM says:

    The police are the public and the public are the police.

    Yes, they are. When you see the person across that police barrier as John, father of 2 and avid fisher or Mary, doctor and occasional jogger, it becomes harder to justify pulling the teargas trigger. It becomes easier to see and understand their frustrations, to want to do something about it. You become invested – a part of you is now linked to them, their world. You won’t know all the details but the sense that they’re REAL (not statistics, not blank slates) gets ingrained in you.

    When they’re faceless in a crowd, dehumanized to “the citizenry”, cogs in the machine…. it’s a small jump from “citizen”=”thug”, “person”=”target”. After all, what do you care? You don’t know these people, why should you give a @#^@#$? Might as well be blank NPCs in a FPS, one you play in real-time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  5. PD Shaw says:

    Worrying about what police look like is a concern of affluence.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 32

  6. Matt Bernius says:

    I find Steyn problematic because he wants things both ways. Yes, he begins to put forward a solid argument on militarization of the police. However, he doesn’t want to ask difficult underlying questions because they’ll start to shake his other beliefs, in particular his knee jerk reactions against gun control.

    The reason the two need to be linked is that the underlying argument is that as “criminals” become more armed, the police need to be able to respond in kind.

    In the article James and Steven both cite, Steyn lists countless countries where there are fewer police confrontations without noting that *all* of those countries have stricter gun control regulations and fewer handguns in circulation than the US.

    If you go back to his previous writings on the subject, he dismissed the gun control argument thusly:

    In Iceland, police have fatally shot just one suspect. That’s one guy in the entire history of the country. He was killed by police last December:

    [Article Steyn is excerpting...]Iceland, a country where gun ownership is widespread, has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world.

    So, whether you’re talking about gun-controlled England or heat-packing Iceland, comparisons between American “justifiable homicides” and police shooting rates of other western nations are hardly worth bothering with. [...] This strikes me as on the high side, no matter what “cultural factors” are considered – high rates of gun ownership, millions of illegal aliens, violent drug gangs, etc.
    [source: http://www.steynonline.com/6329/the-warning-shot-heard-round-the-world-but-not

    Here’s what’s intellectually dishonest as using Iceland as “proof” that gun ownership (or gun control legislation) has nothing to do with policing issues.

    1. In Iceland the vast majority of the privately owned guns are *long guns* not hand guns.
    2. Iceland has strict gun laws, including a national registry, ammo restrictions, and the requirements of licensing for all guns.*

    Apparently Steyn cannot wrap his head around the idea that a country can have *both* high gun ownership AND gun-control (that the two are *not* mutually exclusive). Simply put, gun control legislation is present in every “good” policing country that Steyn notes. And yet, Steyn himself is against gun control: http://spectator.org/articles/34133/absence-guns

    Anyone see an issue here?

    [*] – Again, note that a country can have strict gun control legislation AND still have 1/3 of it’s population own a gun. Go figure!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 2

  7. steve says:

    PD- There is an attitude that goes with it. We are not talking about just changing the color of the uniform or the length of the sleeves. With the change to a more militarized presentation has come a more militarized, authoritarian attitude. No knock raids are more acceptable and with minimal precautions against accidents. It lets the, now anonymous, officer casually rough up the perp a bit to reinforce his superiority.

    Now, if your point is that the garb alone is not the problem I will agree, but it seems pretty clear that at the very least the attire is a symptom of what has gone wrong.

    Steve

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  8. anjin-san says:

    The war on drugs has been a huge driver of police militarization. Legalize pot, and we will have put a dent in the problem.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 4

  9. dmhlt says:

    If police departments insist on dressing up their forces in full military regalia, thereby sending the clear message to the citizens they have sworn to “Protect and Serve” that they view them as the enemy – they shouldn’t be surprised when the citizenry returns the sentiment in kind.

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  10. Jack says:

    1. Stand down on the “war on Drugs

    2. Eliminate no knock warrants except in the most dangerous of situation (parking tickets, arrest warrants, and an ounce of maryj are not dangerous situations)

    3. Mandate that all police wear body audio/video cameras and they must be on at all times (no ability for the officer to turn them off)

    4. All police cars must be equipped with dash cameras and audio

    5. SWAT should be used for hostage and high-risk operations that fall outside of the capabilities of regular, uniformed police

    6. Eliminate policing for profit industry (civil asset forfeiture)

    Until we the people demand these changes, the militarization of police will continue. The police must be made to understand that they serve the people, not the other way around.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 56 Thumb down 0

  11. stonetools says:

    Yeah, but these police look so supercool and tactical.

    @Matt Bernius:

    Simply put, gun control legislation is present in every “good” policing country that Steyn notes

    Poor Steyn. He shows the two sideness of most American conservatives. Their authoritarian side wants to worship everything the police do as holy and just and good: OTOH, their libertarian side buys into the whole “Second Amendment is a guard against tyrannical Big Gumint” myth.
    His problem is compounded by the fact that he is from the UK, where he knows that a virtually unarmed police force keeps order effectively and well over a modern nation of 60 million. The British police aren’t perfect: they have a minority community policing problem too and there are occasional urban riots and soccer hooliganism. But for the most part the UK is a low crime, gun free, orderly society with a lightly armed, non militarized police force-which contradicts all sorts of conservative myths.
    Here’s another Brit , John Oliver, who is amazed at the conduct and demeanor of the Ferguson Police Department and demands that the Ferguson police give up its “toys.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  12. Matt Bernius says:

    @stonetools:
    Steyn is a Canadian educated in the UK. That said, he cut his teeth in the UK, so he’s as much British as he is anything else.

    Yeah, but these police look so supercool and tactical.

    The going phrase in LEO and defense circles is “tacti-cool.” Seriously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. Eric Florack says:

    If you dislike the militarization of police, and I agree, BTW… then …

    *Let’s stop calling Terrorism and the proper response to it a “law enforcement” issue.
    * Let’s stop calling wars “police actions”

    I mean, welcome to “words mean things”, and ignoring those meanings has consequences.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 18

  14. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    @PD Shaw: That’s about as reasonable as stating that people worrying about measles spots suffer from unseemly vanity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  15. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:

    3. Mandate that all police wear body audio/video cameras and they must be on at all times (no ability for the officer to turn them off)

    This is an interesting one that keeps coming up. I see value in it. That said, would this take us a step closer to implementing a English style of constant video surveillance of everyone? After all, if constant recording is going to make the Police behave…

    5. SWAT should be used for hostage and high-risk operations that fall outside of the capabilities of regular, uniformed police

    Here’s the issue — and why I think increased gun regulation needs to be part of this discussion — we’ve come to the conclusion that, due to the proliferation of guns, any police activity involving a potential criminal has come to be seen as *high risk.* Clearly the officers involved thought that Brown was armed and acted accordingly despite Brown not holding a weapon.

    Likewise, the assumption was that the crowds in these cases were always already going to be violent. And that assumption creates the *high risk* situation that immediately demanded an increased force response from the police.

    Yes, I realize that if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. But when you immediately assume that every outlaw has a gun, it’s a natural response for police to shift into a shoot first and ask questions later mentality.

    And to Steyn’s point (though he isn’t intellectually honest enough to make it), cops in Germany, Iceland, Canada and England don’t assume from the get go that the average villain will open fire at them at a moments notice. From the average cop’s position, the militarization is completely rational and an important component of getting them home safely each and every day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  16. Matt Bernius says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Let’s stop calling Terrorism and the proper response to it a “law enforcement” issue.

    The issue with this is that historically — in the United States and other western countries — domestic terrorism has been and continues to be a law enforcement issue. It’s only been since 9/11 that we have seen the shift you are suggesting. It’s also only been since 9/11 that we have come to see “terrorists” as a military enemy.

    I’d argue instead that the real problem is the adoption of the phrase “The *WAR* on Terrorism.” Like “The *WAR* on Drugs” before it, that phrase shifts something that has historically been a policing concern and transforms it into a military framework.

    I completely agree that wars actions should not be called “police actions.” Especially since it is *not* our role to be the world’s police (contra Team America).

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  17. Gustopher says:

    I’m not even sure why police in the US need to routinely carry guns — I think they should be locked up in gun safes in the police cars, taken out only when responding to a call where someone is known to have a deadly weapon.

    Tasers incapacitate with a lower risk, and might be the more appropriate weapon when on casual patrol, responding to a call about a disruptive homeless person, confronting jaywalkers, etc. Still more force than is required the vast majority of the time, and still capable of killing, but a few steps towards a less lethal police force.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  18. President Camacho says:

    Just a small thing but telling but when I was stationed at Fort Huachuca I lived in sleepy Sierra Vista. No crime to speak of. Probably every other person was a federal employee in one form or another. And the police would often be out in camo. When the power went out after a bad storm and a lot of damage and debris, police are out in camo. I thought they were MPs. Why. I have no idea. There needs to be a clear separation. I’ve been to countries where the police force acts like an occupying army, I don’t want that here. If the police don’t like it, career change. Supply and demand will eventually balance things out

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  19. michael reynolds says:

    The purpose of the 2d amendment was to enable slave owners to form militias to hunt down fugitive slaves and to deal with slave uprisings.

    That’s why we have a society saturated with guns. Conservatives have extended and revised their remarks, so to speak, to add a lot of prattle about keeping the government under control. But the essential reality has not changed: white folks buy guns ’cause they’re scared of the negroes.

    The drug war also grows from white fear. Prohibition that limited the preferred drug of whites was quickly set aside and the bootleggers mythologized. Prohibition against marijuana was very directly linked in the propaganda to blacks, as was heroin and crack. Life in prison for black crack, and rehab for white meth.

    The Right is all-in with the gun cult. The Right has enthusiastically supported the drug war with particular love for disproportionate sentencing laws that result in wildly different penalties for whites and blacks.

    The Right has ridiculed and attacked the ACLU and civil rights organizations that have been calling attention to police abuse for decades. The Right has packed courts with “tough on negroes crime” judges.

    So we have a militarized, paranoid police force, with no regard for civil liberties and suddenly the Right wakes up, shakes its idiot little head, and discovers that we have an overly militarized police.

    No kidding. If only we’d known, like, forever.

    This equals the Right’s imbecility on economics and foreign policy. It’s as if the Right has taken as its purpose the promotion of asinine policies and laws, but absolutely refused any responsibility for the inevitable results. The GOP’s motto should be, “We eff it up, you fix it!”

    If you arm criminals with assault rifles, cop killer bullets and extended magazines, you’re going to get cops in tanks. If you despise defenders of human rights, you’re going to get thuggish police. If you target the preferred intoxicants of one race, and ignore due process wherever black skin appears, you’re going to get racial resentments against the police.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 14

  20. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    Unholy lawsuits will now fall upon Ferguson, which is not alone by far in its receipt of war weapons for civil policing:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/new-york-times-map-military-surplus-gear-county

    What instead needs to happen is resounding consequences for police misconduct. We instead witness the reverse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  21. Another Mike says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Simply put, gun control legislation is present in every “good” policing country that Steyn notes. And yet, Steyn himself is against gun control

    So your point is that these countries have gun control, thus they have good policing? That’s it pure and simple? There is nothing else different about European countries than us that could account for this good policing? If we had gun control like, say in Chicago, we would have good policing too? It is just so obvious, isn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @Another Mike:

    Thanks to the gun cult, carefully maintained by the gun manufacturers and their kept whores in government, this country is saturated by guns. City gun control is helpless.

    How dare you ridicule the efforts of a given city to attempt whoever futilely to hold back the disease that you and your ilk spread like Ebola in this country? You pile guns all around Chicago, all around the country, and then have the effrontery to say, “See? Gun control doesn’t work!”

    Astounding, really. Set the house on fire and criticize the fire department.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 8

  23. Tyrell says:

    The key word in the article is “professional”. As far as police leaving their guns in the car, that might work, but it would have to be secured so a passerby or some criminal can not just open the car door and pull out a gun. And that type of security (locks) could cost an officer valuable seconds in some dangerous situation. The worst calls are the domestic problems where you usually be having to deal with emotional, out of control people who will pick up any weapon and start using it, even blasting through the front door.Often police are not able to defuse these situations. The job of being a policeman should not cost them their life.
    As far as serial killers, this would usually take a team of people well armed and trained. Many serial killers are determined not to be taken alive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  24. LaMont says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    You’ve just addressed the “gorilla in the room” issue with me. The militarization of police is a non-partisan issue. Everyone is appalled by it. However, if I were a police officer, I’d prefer to be perhaps overly armored and ready with in-kind weaponry because you just don’t know what you are getting into these days with the easy access of not only hand-guns but also all kinds of machine guns/assault rifles. This does not speak to the lowered level of respect the police officers appear to give to the people they serve – that’s another issue. However, having a brother that is a police officer in Detroit, I am conflicted. It is another reason I am all for stricter and smarter gun control laws. It is sad that anyone should feel that it may be necessary to travel down any domestic street in a tank. Had gun control never been an issue, the first request for any military style equipment would have been laughed at (who knows, the first request could have been laughed at during an earlier time). If there is no compromise on gun control, what does everyone expect from our police departments after a while?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    The worst calls are the domestic problems where you usually be having to deal with emotional, out of control people who will pick up any weapon and start using it, even blasting through the front door.

    Which is why you think everyone should have guns in their homes. Because when people get emotional and out of control it’s so much better if they have a high-powered rifle or a 9 mil handy.

    Do you people even listen to yourselves?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 5

  26. Jack says:

    @Matt Bernius: This goes back to Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and/or Rules of Engagement (ROE). In both Iraq and Afghanistan our military members must a) be fired upon first, and b) know their target (and any innocents in the same vicinity) before they are authorized to return fire. The police mindset is that everyone is a threat to them and they will treat them that way. I don’t know how many videos I have seen where police tell a person wielding the camera to “take your hands out of your pockets”. The police walked up to the cameraman, engaged him, then demanded hey keep their hands out of their pockets. Who the heck died and made police kings that could demand anything from any given citizen? This is the problem, not the proliferation of weapons. in the hands of average citizens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  27. Matt Bernius says:

    @Another Mike:

    So your point is that these countries have gun control, thus they have good policing?

    My point is that gun control (or rather regulation) creates an environment that is easier to police. And that the evidence that Mr Steyn is mustering clearly indicates this.

    There is nothing else different about European countries than us that could account for this good policing? If we had gun control like, say in Chicago, we would have good policing too? It is just so obvious, isn’t it?

    Taking your critique in the best possible light, here’s my response:

    Of course there are differences between us and European countries.* One key one is that the implemented gun restriction (including restrictions on manufacture of guns) *years ago* that prevented the proliferation of illegal handguns. We didn’t. So we have a big problem to deal with and it isn’t going to be solved overnight. But it also isn’t going to be solved by making guns more available.

    All that does is make it more and more rational for the police to further militarize.

    Or, to put it a different way, I’ve pointed out that in every one of Steyn’s examples there are far stricter gun control laws (that’s a definite correlation). What *factors* do you see that unite all of those other examples that you think explain the extremely marked difference?

    * – I’d also note that many of those “better policing” countries have far stronger social safety nets than the US. And also have far more progressive criminal justice systems that are far more focused on rehabilitation rather than punishment. All of these are critical factors.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  28. LaMont says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Couldn’t have sad it any better, You basically described Detroit and many other urban communities in a nut-shell. I agree, conservatives really should not act like they are so appalled by the militarization of police when they have pushed policies over the last 30 years that made it inevitable…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  29. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The purpose of the 2d amendment was to enable slave owners to form militias to hunt down fugitive slaves and to deal with slave uprisings

    B.S Flag Raised.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 10

  30. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:
    God, I was with you up until this:

    Who the heck died and made police kings that could demand anything from any given citizen? This is the problem, not the proliferation of weapons. in the hands of average citizens.

    The problem is the police, by the nature of what they do, rarely see “average citizens.” Seriously, talk to police people*. They are conditioned to always be on the lookout for someone acting shady.

    And us “average citizens” don’t completely realize this until the first time a police officer treats us as a criminal. BTW, I think its important to note that Mr. Steyn didn’t really care about the topic of militarization until he himself, and separately one of his staffers, became victims of overzealous policing.

    And if you talk with police*, the weapons issue comes up over and over again. Hell, we’ve had posters here — perhaps even you — who suggest weapons are critical *to protect us from the police (or government power in general).*

    If you see the police as the enemy are you surprised that they see you as the enemy too? And when there is *wide* availability of cheap weaponry among citizens, is it any surprise that standard police procedure — especially in “bad” areas — is to assumed everyone is armed?

    Yes, I agree that training is critical. But if people can’t wrap their heads around the fact that the position police are taking is fundamentally *rational* given the present proliferation of weapons, then they are just sticking their heads in the sand.

    BTW, while I know what the rules of engagement say, I also suggest talking to Soldiers who have been in active war zones. The fact is that in numerous cases, they (understandably) shot first. Or rather, the notion of what constitutes a “first shot” is rather flexible.

    [*] – I have done self defense and edged weapons training alongside a number of active police officers and military folks. I’m currently training to assist in tactical weapons training for the military and LEO, so I’m lucky enough to get the chance to have these conversations (and talk with others who’ve had these conversations). While I am completely against the militarization of the police, I also recognize the rational reasons currently underlying it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  31. Another Mike says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    All that does is make it more and more rational for the police to further militarize.

    My point is that it isn’t guns that make a country hard to police, it is the people in the country. Countries that are easy to police have a citizenry that is law abiding, respect the law, and, in particular, respect the policeman and his authority. The people in general have a great deal of respect for authority in these countries.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 16

  32. Matt Bernius says:

    @Another Mike:

    My point is that it isn’t guns that make a country hard to police, it is the people in the country.

    Have you ever talked with a law enforcement officer? This is an absurd statement.

    Countries that are easy to police have a citizenry that is law abiding, respect the law, and, in particular, respect the policeman and his authority. The people in general have a great deal of respect for authority in these countries.

    No offense, but having spent time in the UK, you have no idea what you are talking about. Same with what I know of Australia. Hell, even go to a major city in Canada (such as Toronto) and I don’t think you’ll see a huge difference in the populace between Canadians and Americans. Or in their attitudes towards police.

    You will see a marked difference in the availability of firearms.

    And I get a real uncomfortable vibe from the idea that we have certain “people” who don’t respect the police’s authority.

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  33. PJ says:

    County Leaderboard:

    Brevard County in Florida has 79 helicopters.
    Rowan County in North Carolina has 12 grenade launchers.
    El Paso County in Texas has 4037 bayonet knifes.
    Franklin County in Ohio has 3572 machine guns.
    San Juan County in New Mexico has 6 MRAPs.
    Burleigh County in North Dakota has 140 silencers.
    Maricopa County in Arizona has 5 Casspir armored vehicles.
    El Paso County in Texas has 46720 magazines.
    Los Angeles County in California has 1696 personal armors.
    Howard County in Maryland has 524 pistols.
    DC has 17 planes.
    Dallas County in Texas has 100 robots.
    Baltimore City County in Maryland has 71 shotguns.
    El Palso County in Texas has 1589 camos.
    Clark County in Indiana has 9 armored vehicles.
    Clark County in Indiana has 5 other armored vehicles.

    and the best one:

    Carrol County in Georgia has 67 mine detectors.

    Again. Mine detectors….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  34. LaMont says:

    @Another Mike:

    My point is that it isn’t guns that make a country hard to police, it is the people in the country.

    Fact of the matter is, if everyone had knives instead, there would still be no need for tanks. There is an almost direct correlation between the use of guns and the militarization of police in this country. I reject the notion that the average US citizen is inherently less respectful or more volatile towards authority.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  35. Jack says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    be on the lookout for someone acting shady

    Name any activity that a police officer could not say is “acting shady”. And if you are the person performing that activity, forbid the police decide to put you on their radar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  36. gVOR08 says:

    @Another Mike: Why do you suppose that is? Think it’s just a national characteristic? Think our national character is all that different from Britain and Canada?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  37. Jack says:

    @Jack: I forgot one.

    7. Eliminate qualified immunity for police officers (and prosecutors)

    If the police and to an extent prosecutors) actually have to answer for their actions while on duty, then maybe they won’t have a blanket disregard for a citizen’s civil liberties simply because they have a tin badge.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  38. Rob in CT says:

    One event that seems to have reinforced the (already underway) militarization trend was the N. Hollywood shootout in 1997, when the cops actually were out-gunned (at least until SWAT arrived). But that was one incident, and East Bumblef*ck, wherever isn’t likely to ever see anything like it. Of course, 9/11 contributed too. Again, if you’re in DC, NYC, Boston, Chicago, LA… a handful of cities, ok, I get it: your city might be targetted. But, say, Hartford, CT? Come the hell on.

    I think Matt has a good point about the weaponry available to the citizenry & the police. Since we’re such a heavily armed society (which should be a polite society, amirite?), the police can say – with at least some justification – that they need to be able to match the firepower that can be brought to bear against them.

    This doesn’t let the police departments, the Feds (1033 program), or anybody else off the hook. It all fits together.

    Likewise, calling everything a war. War on this, war on that. Simmer down, Beavis. That’s a minor complaint, but it speaks to mindset. As does the “tacti-cool” dressup issue. The mindset is clearly “warrior going into battle” not “peace maker seeking to establish order.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  39. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:

    Name any activity that a police officer could not say is “acting shady”. And if you are the person performing that activity, forbid the police decide to put you on their radar.

    That’s my point.

    Now obviously, context does apply. There’s a heighten sense of this in some neighborhoods. Lesser in others. But the fact is that this is what police have been conditioned to do.

    And then couple that with the fear of weapons everywhere and it’s a volatile combination.

    Look, I speak from experience. I didn’t know that my license had expired. I was late to a meeting, lost, and a little agitated. I got pulled over. The next thing I knew I was roughly hand-cuffed and in the back of a police car while my car was thoroughly searched from top to bottom (after being repeatedly asked if there were any weapons in my car). At the end of it, I was released on the scene and given a ticket. This happened in an solidly white, middle class neighborhood with a low level of crime. I can’t imagine what would have happened to me if I had been African American and in a bad part of our fair city.

    BTW, for the record, it’s not *just the police* who do this. There are more than enough studies that demonstrate that most Americans believe that violent crime is on the rise *despite* piles of evidence that it was falling for years and currently remains at historic lows.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  40. Rob in CT says:

    Odd, I have a comment in moderation. No links. And it’s not a reply to Juxeboxgrad (or anyone else), either. I have no idea what set it off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. JohnMcC says:

    The headline holds my attention. “Police are not soldiers; our communities are not war zones.”

    Well, not to be (too much of) a smarta$$, obviously SOME police have the opinion that they are soldiers. They probably don’t hold that belief AGAINST every bit of their training and AGAINST the shared convictions of their peers. And at least SOME of our communities are (or can instantly become) war zones.

    So if the ‘militarization of the police’ is a problem, that problem existed well before M-4s and MRAPs became common police tools. And taking away the ‘toys’ will scarcely dent the problem as long as the mindset of an occupying force is virtually universal in police agencies.

    Oh — and about that headline? — congratulations on the proper use of the semi-colon. (The inner pedant bows his head and slinks away.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  42. Barry says:

    @PD Shaw: “Worrying about what police look like is a concern of affluence. ”

    Have a friend who knows how to read read the article to you, and explain it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  43. Matt Bernius says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Odd, I have a comment in moderation.

    We’re having a problem with Askimet and currently have to hand approve many comments. This is related to the clean-up work after the server crash.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. Jack says:

    @Matt Bernius: What I am trying to say, is in today’s policing for profit world, police are actively seeking anything and everything for which to issue a fine. As a result of that, the people are pushing back (verbally, not usually physically) and police then deem it necessary to put us in our place. As if we are their servants. They treat everyone that way, not just those that may carry a weapon, because that is their training.

    They will talk about having to go home to their families at night, but they volunteered. No military member talks about treating everyone they come across as a potential adversary because they have to get home to their family. Police are put on pedestals for being military wanna bees, unionized, given qualified immunity, they get their “garrity rights”, they get union appointed lawyers, and they have very little accountability.

    Until that changes, until we as a people demand that these changes take place, there will be no decline in police militarization.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  45. Barry says:

    @Matt Bernius: “While I am completely against the militarization of the police, I also recognize the rational reasons currently underlying it. ”

    BTW, the ‘rational reasons’ are not justifications.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  46. Matt Bernius says:

    @Barry:

    BTW, the ‘rational reasons’ are not justifications.

    To be clear, I never said they were. I do however think that it’s important to understand what underlies a trend if one wants to start to develop pragmatic approaches to stopping it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  47. Barry says:

    @Another Mike: “My point is that it isn’t guns that make a country hard to police, it is the people in the country. Countries that are easy to police have a citizenry that is law abiding, respect the law, and, in particular, respect the policeman and his authority. The people in general have a great deal of respect for authority in these countries. ”

    Some of the things which videos have established is that:

    1) There are a large number of police officers who don’t care if the target in front of them is ‘law abiding, respect the law, and, in particular, respect the policeman and his authority'; they’ll do as they please.

    2) Almost all other officers and supervisors will back them to the hilt, no matter what.

    In addition, note things like the Bundy ranch situation – not law-abiding, criminal and contemptuous of police. Not a shot fired, not an arrest made.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  48. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:

    What I am trying to say, is in today’s policing for profit world, police are actively seeking anything and everything for which to issue a fine.

    I think that this is an important point and one I agree with. However, I don’t think it makes sense that this is the fundamental reason for the rise in militarization.

    As a result of that, the people are pushing back (verbally, not usually physically) and police then deem it necessary to put us in our place. As if we are their servants. They treat everyone that way, not just those that may carry a weapon, because that is their training.

    I agree in principle with this as well — in particular the critical final piece that “that is their training.”

    But the jump from this point to militarization makes no sense, unless we add the issue of the proliferation of weaponry. Otherwise we’re missing a lot of steps. I also realize that you’re not someone who is prepared to make that necessary jump because of your feelings on gun control.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  49. Jack says:

    @Matt Bernius: The police are using guns as an excuse. That is all. I have also seen cops tell people that are filming that they feel they are in danger because the camera/phone might be a weapon…this is evidence that police claim it’s all about guns, when in actuality, it’s all about control of the citizenry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  50. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnMcC: OK, if we’re going to go pedantic a couple of commenters have suggested we “reign in” the police. “Rein” as in horse, not “reign” as in king.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  51. Check out Patrick Lang’s posting on how the police are being trained in tactics used by the Israelis in crowd control. Is this what we want – the police thinking of citizens as though they are a hostile Palestinian crowd?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  52. stonetools says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    And to Steyn’s point (though he isn’t intellectually honest enough to make it), cops in Germany, Iceland, Canada and England don’t assume from the get go that the average villain will open fire at them at a moments notice. From the average cop’s position, the militarization is completely rational and an important component of getting them home safely each and every day.

    Indeed, the average British bobby feels safe going around without a gun because he knows that the average criminal (and indeed even the organized crime tough) is not likely to be armed with a gun. The only people armed with guns in the British police force are the members of the Special Branch( their version of SWAT) who are called in only in rare situations (police raids, hostage situations, etc). Even the average homicide detective in the UK goes around gunless.
    Contrast that with the US, where due to society being inundated with guns, the average police officer feels himself in an armed race with criminals. In Baltimore City till the 1980s the average police officer was armed with a six shot .380 caliber revolver. The police, however, felt themselves outgunned by “drug dealers” armed with what were called “assault weapons” and they upgraded to the 9mm Baretta semi-automatic with a 15 round magazine. For many officers that wasn’t enough and they bought at their own expense Glock semi-automatics-pistols originally made for the Austrian military .
    To paraphrase a Heinlein quote beloved of gun enthusiasts, an armed society necessarily becomes a society with a militarized police police force, which is not what 2Amendment apologists envisaged would happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  53. Barry says:

    @Matt Bernius: “And I get a real uncomfortable vibe from the idea that we have certain “people” who don’t respect the police’s authority. ”

    We do. For example, the Bundy’s, and the criminal gangs who gathered there to aid and abet criminals in their crimes. However, we *don’t* see the law-and-order crowd having a problem with that, and we *didn’t* see the police taking lethal action, despite extreme justification.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  54. LaMont says:

    @Jack:

    So what you are trying to tell me is that if most of the American populace did not have guns, police would still ask for tanks because of their ego? Do you not see the stretch here?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  55. Eric Florack says:

    @Matt Bernius: when one is the most powerful, there is a responsibility that goes with the position. We now have a President bent on abdicating that responsibility, and we see the multiple disasters stemming from it.@the unoriginal Herb: The Ferguson mob certainly qualifies as such.

    Oh, by the way…. the tax reports are in.
    He was high.
    I see also Holder has ordered a second autopsy. Clearly the first didn’t go the right way.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 21

  56. rudderpedals says:

    @Barry: I agree with you. Some 20 years on the feds are awfully demure to RWNJs and sensitive to avoiding another Waco. Misery local yokels don’t have these qualms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  57. Another Mike says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    And I get a real uncomfortable vibe from the idea that we have certain “people” who don’t respect the police’s authority.

    Get over the vibe thing. Your personal hang-ups and trigger words, or whatever it is that gives you your vibes, is not helpful to the discussion.

    I lived five years in Germany when I was in the army. That was more than 25 years ago, so my experience may well be dated now. When I was there though, people respected authority. Insulting a policeman and calling a policeman a name could get you a fine, if I remember correctly. That may have applied to any official. That was in sharp contrast to here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  58. anjin-san says:

    @ Eric Florack

    Ah yes. Yesterday, Obama was an iron fisted dictator who has shredded the Constitution. Today he is detached, abdicating authority, and on permanent vacation.

    You’ve created an Obama toy you can play with modeled on G.I. Joe. You can dress him up and equip him for any mission you want!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 2

  59. Another Mike says:

    @Barry:

    we *didn’t* see the police taking lethal action, despite extreme justification.

    What justification?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  60. Matt Bernius says:

    @Another Mike:

    I lived five years in Germany when I was in the army. That was more than 25 years ago, so my experience may well be dated now.

    It is dated. In the same way that someone living in NYC during the 70’s can talk about what Times Square was like before the mid-90’s. It tells us a lot about that time period, but very little about today.

    To that point, during the late 70’s and early 80’s, there was no where near the same level of militarization of police in the US. So clearly that demonstrates how social changes can occur.

    Beyond that, the issue is that you are taking your anecdotal experience in a single country (Germany) and projecting it across all of the countries that Steyn mentions (including Iceland, Canada, the UK, Germany, and Australia). Your also flattening everything down to a single vector (respect) without addressing all the other vectors (fundamentally different social safety net, different proliferations of guns, different types of guns, gun regulation, different prison systems, etc).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  61. President Camacho says:

    @michael reynolds: @Jack: where did u find that ROE card? That has never been the US ROE in those countries

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  62. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    Here we are, having one of the better non-partisan discussion I have seen on OTB – talking about how to deal with a serious issue that affects us all.

    Are you able to put aside your partisan ODS for a few minutes and join us? Do you have any interest in solving our nations problems, or are you strictly about team sports?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  63. PJ says:

    Wheeler County in Oregon had a population of 1,441 in 2010, yet it has 22 machine guns.
    Alpine County in California had a population of 1,175 in 2010, yet it somehow needed a grenade launcher.
    Buena Vista County in Iowa had a population of 20,260 in 2010, yet it has 6 grenade launchers.
    Allendale County in South Carolina had a population of 10,419 in 2010, yet it has 2 MRAPs.
    Boundary County in Idaho had a population of 10,972 in 2010, yet it has 203 night vision items.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  64. anjin-san says:

    @PJ

    The Marin County Sheriff’s Dept. has an armored assault vehicle. Marin is about as close to Disneyland as the real world gets – why do they need military weapons? I don’t like any of the answers I come up with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  65. Jack says:

    @LaMont: Yes. Because there would always be a criminal element that did have access to guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  66. PJ says:

    @anjin-san:

    The Marin County Sheriff’s Dept. has an armored assault vehicle. Marin is about as close to Disneyland as the real world gets – why do they need military weapons?

    Jafar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  67. Jack says:
  68. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:

    Because there would always be a criminal element that did have access to guns.

    But this is the case *everywhere* and yet, the fact is that American criminals (and citizens) continue to have greater/easier access to a more advanced form of weaponry than citizens in the UK, Japan, Canada, Australia, Iceland, etc because of the regulations that those other countries place on the manufacture and sale of guns.

    Obviously, they appear to be doing something right as *gun* crime is far lower in all of those countries (including one that shares a geographic border with us).

    Further, the entire argument against citizen gun control *IS THE SAME AS THE MILITARIZATION OF POLICE* — that the bad guys have access to powerful weapons and so we should not limit ammo capacity and gun types because to do so would threaten the safety of our population. And as the police get more firepower, the criminals upgrade. And as criminals upgrade so to must the police and citizenry in this argument.

    This is the epitome of the ouroboros.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  69. stonetools says:

    @anjin-san:

    Hey, if you can get a free armored assault vehicle-why not? I think that’s what’s driving a lot of this. Police departments are militarizing , because they can and its free. Think of it as the peace dividend.
    I think what’s really more harmful is the differential attitude toward policing different communities. I seriously doubt that the Marin County Sheriff’s Department are going to use that vehicle against Marin County residents.
    However, some urban or suburban PD will have no issues using it to police “those people”- the black and brown skinned folks who are acting like “animals” and who need to be controlled. I have a feeling it will be a lot easier to take away the equipment and not the attitude.
    Let’s remember that this started because a cop wearing the standard uniform shot to death for no reason a black teenager with standard weaponry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  70. rudderpedals says:

    @PJ:
    Brevard County in Florida has 79 helicopters.

    One for every I-95 mile marker. Talk about overkill

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  71. Jack says:

    @anjin-san: I agree. This militarization has not come about under Obama, or even Bush before him. This has been decades in the making. This was likely the result of the North Hollywood shootout involving perpetrators using automatic weapons and wearing body armor. Police were outgunned and determined that it would never happen again.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Hollywood_shootout

    Years ago only big cities had SWAT teams, now you can’t throw a rock in even small cities without hitting a SWAT officer–exaggeration…but true. The 1033 program that allows police to buy battlefield equipment needs to stop and all of that equipment should be junked.

    When a officer believes his life is more important than my or your life, then it begets the “us verses them” attitude.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  72. KM says:

    Amnesty International has come to Ferguson

    For the first time, the USA is getting a human rights delegation. For observation and documentation of police actions.

    Amnesty International, said it would be observing police and protester activity and gathering testimonies as well as training local activists “on methods of non-violent protest” in an “unprecedented” move by the campaigners.

    My ancestors are rolling over in their graves, the military men and women who gave their service and their lives for this country are weeping from beyond. America, WTF did we let happen?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  73. gVOR08 says:

    @Matt Bernius: The gun strokers vehemently deny there is such a thing as a “gun culture” although clearly there is. A culture that says not only that people should be able to have guns, but that they should have guns. They also can’t see that making it easy for them to get guns makes it easy for the criminals to get guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  74. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack, @Rob in CT, & @anjin-san:
    In addition to the North Hollywood Shootout (and the perception that it and events like Columbine were becoming more common events) there are two other key vectors to consider:

    1. The increase in funding that came post 9/11 and the creation of the department of Homeland security. I don’t have time to find the articles, but in the 2002-5 (at least) time frame, the amount of federal support money going to local police departments to upgrade equipment greatly increased.

    2. The defense industry realizing that it can “expand” into the domestic law enforcement sector and capture some of that money.

    Both of these trends, along with others discussed above, are critical.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  75. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/dec/5/increase-in-battlefield-deaths-linked-to-new-rules/?page=all

    As active/ex military, what are your thoughts on the current ROE?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  76. Jack says:

    @Matt Bernius: Yes. Gun crime is lower but violent crime in general is way up…4 times that in the US.

    Further, the entire argument against citizen gun control *IS THE SAME AS THE MILITARIZATION OF POLICE* — that the bad guys have access to powerful weapons and so we should not limit ammo capacity and gun types because to do so would threaten the safety of our population. And as the police get more firepower, the criminals upgrade. And as criminals upgrade so to must the police and citizenry in this argument.

    I disagree. If you notice all the recent gun and magazine capicity laws that have been passed, they don’t apply to police…on or off duty. Politicians claim that these guns and standard magazines are only used to “mow down” innocents, yet insist police must have them. I don’t carry a gun because someone who wishes to do me harm might be carrying a gun. I do it because it’s the great equalizer. I’m worried about multiple assailants, or someone who is bigger, stronger, faster than I am wishing to do me harm–it puts a 260 pound linebacker and a senior citizen/young woman/average guy on equal footing.

    https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2009/10/25/armed-senior-citizen-defend-himself-against-a-home-invader/

    https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2010/01/23/disabled-senior-citizen-shoots-home-invader-in-self-defense/

    http://forum.saiga-12.com/index.php?/topic/72895-california-senior-citizen-defends-self-kills-intruder/

    http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/7589-guns-used-in-self-defense

    http://www.thenewsherald.com/articles/2012/03/30/news/doc4f75ebfc65929612697319.txt

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  77. Jack says:

    @gVOR08: I jump through a myriad of hoops to get a gun…criminals do not. Changing the way I go about getting a gun by making it more difficult has zero effect on criminals getting guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  78. Jack says:

    @Matt Bernius: Agreed. After 9/11 “every city” became a possible target for terrorism, thus the flow from government coffers opened wide to assuage people’s fears.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  79. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:

    Yes. Gun crime is lower but violent crime in general is way up…4 times that in the US.

    Call! Source please.

    Here are my sources to demonstrates that we remain at historically low levels:
    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/violent-crime/violent-crime
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States

    This is a pretty good summation of the current situation from a USA Today article on the subject:

    The 2012 National Crime Victimization Survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 26 of every 1,000 people experienced violent crime, a 15% increase in how many people reported being victims of rape, robbery or assault. Property crime — burglary, theft and car theft — rose 12%.

    “We’ve plateaued. At this point, I don’t think we’re going to see any more decreases in crime,” said criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University in Boston. “The challenge will be making sure crime rates don’t go back up.”

    Even so, after two decades of falling crime rates, violent crime remains at historically low levels. Crime rates have dropped steadily since 1993, when 80 of every 1,000 people reported being victims of violent crime. The homicide rate declined 48% from 1993 to 2011.
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/24/violent-crime-rising-in-united-states/3180309/

    So yes, there has been an uptick, but again, *historic lows.* Claiming that we are a more violent nation now than at the peak in 1993 is just factually inaccurate.

    Here’s another indepth historical analysis of the question:
    http://prospect.org/article/violent-crime-increasing

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  80. Jack says:

    @Matt Bernius: The current ROE is too strict. If I have identified a shooter I should be able to return fire. The fact that he is in the vicinity of non combatants should not be a deterrent. The enemy knows that if they fire from a mosque, a hospital, even from the middle of the street surrounded by children, that we will not fire back. It simply emboldens them and ties our hands. War is hell…and it is supposed to be so we don’t engage in it too often. If you look back at our media coverage of the Iraq/Afghan wars and the BBC coverage, they are completely different. The BBC tells it like it is while US media softens it and does not show the gore that war is. If people really knew the effects of war on the battlefield…bodies, blood, limbs, brains, maybe they would be a lot less supportive of politicians efforts to enter into every fray that comes along as if it really has an effect on US national security interests.

    However, military combat ROE and policing ROE should never be mentioned in the same breath, much less allowed to comingle…to include military/shared training opportunities for police officers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  81. Anjin-San says:

    @ stonetools

    Except its not free. All of this equipment has to be maintained, and they have to train for it. Taxpayers should be asking their city governments about TCO and cost/benefit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  82. Jack says:
  83. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:
    No problem — I thought you were talking about US violent crime rates which are down overall and continue to be down. I didn’t realize you meant the UK.

    BTW, here’s the best US Statistics that I can find which continue to demonstrate we are at historically low crime rates despite being viewed as being an increasingly violent society:
    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  84. Anjin-San says:

    @ jack

    The DOD has been very effective muzzling US media in war zones. In Vietnam they learned that honest war reporting is not in their interests.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  85. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jun/24/blog-posting/social-media-post-says-uk-has-far-higher-violent-c/

    BTW, your first source doesn’t say what I think you think it says. As far as I can tell it concludes that your argument that the UK has a significantly higher rate of non-gun violent crime is false (or unprovable due to a number of differences in accounting and availability of statistics):

    The meme said “there are over 2,000 crimes recorded per 100,000 population in the U.K.,” compared to “466 violent crimes per 100,000″ in the United States. Our preliminary attempt to make an apples-to-apples comparison shows a much smaller difference in violent crime rates between the two countries, but criminologists say differences in how the statistics are collected make it impossible to produce a truly valid comparison. We rate the claim False.

    From the body of the article:

    Bier’s primary concern about comparing crime rates in the United Kingdom and the United States is that the definitions of crimes in each country are significantly different. This was not reflected in news coverage in British newspapers that appear to have been the source of the meme. This oversight produced a misleading comparison.

    As Bier put it, “The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports defines a ‘violent crime’ as one of four specific offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.” By contrast, “the British definition includes all ‘crimes against the person,’ including simple assaults, all robberies, and all ‘sexual offenses,’ as opposed to the FBI, which only counts aggravated assaults and ‘forcible rapes.’ “

    Once you know this, Bier wrote, “it becomes clear how misleading it is to compare rates of violent crime in the U.S. and the U.K. You’re simply comparing two different sets of crimes.

    [...]

    For England and Wales, we added together three crime categories: “violence against the person, with injury,” “most serious sexual crime,” and “robbery.” This produced a rate of 775 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

    For the United States, we used the FBI’s four standard categories for violent crime that Bier cited. We came up with a rate of 383 violent crimes per 100,000 people.
    [Emphasis mine]

    If we hang with Politifact’s numbers, it would be at most a 2x different. Still significant, but a lot lower than 4x.

    Likewise we get this from the second link:

    According to the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace, the U.K. had 933 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2012, down from 1,255 in 2003. In the U.S., the figure for 2010 was 399 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Still, while the U.S. violent-crime rate is less than half Britain’s, its homicide rate between 2003 and 2011 was almost four times as high.
    source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-24/u-k-gun-curbs-mean-more-violence-yet-fewer-deaths-than-in-u-s-.html

    I’m not sure how we come up the better for this. They might have double the violent crime rate (again they also report violent crimes differently — including more crimes in that category), but we have 4x the murder rate. That’s not screaming “we’re so much safer” to me.

    BTW, here’s an article that explores in-depth the problem with the claim you are making (working with the data the author suggests a probable range of violent crime in the UK between 271 per 100,000 and 776 per 100,000):
    http://blog.skepticallibertarian.com/2013/01/12/fact-checking-ben-swann-is-the-uk-really-5-times-more-violent-than-the-us/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  86. Another Mike says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Your also flattening everything down to a single vector (respect) without addressing all the other vectors

    Ok, that is a valid point. Still, if people respect the law and respect lawful authority, policing is easy. The cops would not even need to carry guns, which I believe used to be the case in Great Britain.

    As the preacher said in his YouTube rant about the incident in Ferguson, if the young men had just moved out of the middle of the street to the sidewalk as the cop requested, we would not be talking about Ferguson.

    There is a general lack of respect for authority at many levels nowadays. It is not just with the police. Teachers are assaulted in schools. Employees are insubordinate to their supervisors. It seems that too many people have a chip on their shoulder about people disrespecting them. Many younger people seem to believe that no one has a right to tell them what to do, whether at home, at school, at work, or in the street.

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  87. michael reynolds says:

    It is pointless arguing with someone like @Jack. It’s like arguing with a Scientologist or any other cult member: facts are irrelevant. Jack needs guns. He feels weak and apparently “not equal” without them. It’s an emotional crutch, and the only cure is emotional maturity, something unlikely to be achieved by a man weak enough to feel the need to begin with.

    The answer is not laws. The answer is a hearts and minds campaign. That’s what the NRA fears – that’s why they push for gag orders on free speech. These are people who believe something which is manifestly insane. But the brainwashing is too ingrained with the older generations. The cure is to change the minds of younger people coming up. It’s already happening, fortunately, and in 20 or 30 years guys like Jack will be where gay-bashers or cigarette smokers are today: they will be worse than wrong, they will be seen as pathological, as suffering from a regrettable mental problem. They’ll be embarrassing. They’ll be pitied.

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  88. Guarneri says:

    @anjin-san:

    Spare me. Did you read Reynolds juvenile and wholly partisan crap?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 9

  89. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:

    To which, as always, you find yourself incapable of responding intelligently.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5

  90. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:

    [Guns are] the great equalizer. I’m worried about multiple assailants, or someone who is bigger, stronger, faster than I am wishing to do me harm–it puts a 260 pound linebacker and a senior citizen/young woman/average guy on equal footing.

    I am not against the use of weapons.

    However, I have yet to see how regulated ownership of weapons — unified licensing laws and a national registry that tracks who owns what gun — infringes on the ability of that senior citizen/young woman/average guy to defend themselves. Again, Iceland manages to implement these rules and 1/3 of the population still has *legal* guns.

    Further, based on crime statistics, I’m having a hard time with the “multiple assailants” line of argument. Without a doubt multiple assailants happen from time to time (though looking at context is important – i.e. where did the attack occur, what were the mitigating factors, etc). But frankly, how many bullets do you need in the *average* case of two to three assailants? Especially if you successfully shoot one of them.

    I can craft tons of hypotheticals that require extended magazines and fully automatic capabilities to defend myself. But the actual statistics say that these are the exception not the rule. In the meantime by still enabling the manufacture of extended magazines you ensure that at least some of the will slip into the black market, make their way to the wrong people, and therefore fuel the argument that good people need even more extended magazines to defend themselves. Hence the self fulfilling prophecy.

    And yet, we have all of these other cases of countries that *have tightened* their gun laws and manage to see decreases in crime over time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  91. President Camacho says:

    @Jack: if they are telling u the ROE say they have to be fired upon they are full of sh$? Hostile act or hostile intent or declared hostile. Those articles aren’t helpful. Should we go back to the fool old days of free fire zones?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  92. Matt Bernius says:

    @Another Mike:

    Still, if people respect the law and respect lawful authority, policing is easy. The cops would not even need to carry guns, which I believe used to be the case in Great Britain.

    Mike, the fact that your view of crime in the UK seems to be that of the “honest villain” who happily goes with the bobbie while saying in cockney “it’s ok guv, that’s a fair nick” says far more about your connection with reality than anything else.

    Again, the reason that cops in the UK don’t carry guns is that it isn’t a gun culture like the US (due in large part to heavy restrictions put on gun ownership). Further, its worth nothing that the UK government also disarmed a lot of their police force after a string of accidently pedestrian shootings in the early 80’s. More recently, during an uptick in violence related to the drug trade, more officers are being armed.

    But, just because the police don’t carry guns it doesn’t means that criminals respect them or policing is easy. Seriously read up on the 60’s and the rise of “new” crime in the UK.

    Again, police having guns is completely related to criminals having guns. And criminal’s access to guns is fundamentally tied to the overall access to guns in a given locale.

    Pretending guns don’t have anything to do with this and that manners are what causes the militarization of police is … god, just responding to this is making me stupider.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  93. wr says:

    @Another Mike: “As the preacher said in his YouTube rant about the incident in Ferguson, if the young men had just moved out of the middle of the street to the sidewalk as the cop requested, we would not be talking about Ferguson.”

    Exactly. If the uppity negroes did exactly what their white superiors told them to do, then they wouldn’t have to be beaten or shot.

    Imagine the nerve of the black people in this town objecting to that. Do they actually think they’re the equal of white people?

    Thanks for making the problem so clear, AM.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  94. President Camacho says:

    I shouldn’t simplify the roe like that bc they aren’t simple but those articles are crap and piss me off but that is another issue

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  95. Another Mike says:

    @wr:

    Thanks for making the problem so clear.

    Wow! I hardly expected someone to respond and validate so plainly the point in my previous post.

    The comment about moving to the sidewalk was made by this fellow:

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/15/minister-who-called-out-black-community-following-ferguson-riots-has-a-message-for-al-sharpton/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  96. Another Mike says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Again, police having guns is completely related to criminals having guns.

    There are many ways to attack and kill or badly injure cops without the use of a gun, especially when we are talking about cops unarmed with anything other than a billy club.. It might be that that didn’t happen very often, and it might be attributable to something other than fear of the police. There must have been a culture of non-violence against cops, or at least violence without weapons. If so, there may have been some semblance of virtue even among the criminals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  97. Thomas says:

    In the early morning hours of December 17, 1979, police officers pursued 33-year-old McDuffie, who was riding his 1973 black-and-orange Kawasaki motorcycle. McDuffie had accumulated traffic citations and was driving with a suspended license. He led police on an 8-minute high speed chase through residential streets at speeds of 80+ MPH.

    The officers involved in the chase (Ira Diggs, William Hanlon, Michael Watts and Alex Marrero) later filed a report claiming McDuffie had run a red light and led police on an eight-minute chase. They said that, after McDuffie had lost control of his vehicle while making a left turn, he attempted to flee on foot but was subdued by the officers. McDuffie was accused of kicking Diggs during the scuffle. By the end of the struggle, the officers had cracked his skull “like an egg”, in the words of the prosecutor at the trial.

    McDuffie was transported to a nearby hospital, where he died four days later of his wounds. The coroner’s report concluded that he had suffered multiple skull fractures after being struck by a blunt object.

    The verdict resulted in protests in the Miami streets; approximately 5,000 people attended a protest at the Downtown Miami Metro Justice Building. By 6:00 p.m., the protest had turned into a riot; three people were killed and at least 23 injured, with several of those in critical condition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  98. Another Mike says:

    @Guarneri: Did you read Reynolds juvenile and wholly partisan crap?

    It was a striking example of a very rigid and intolerant dogmatic liberalism. The idea is that he is right and everyone who does not agree with him is wrong and deficient in any number of ways, especially morally.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  99. Eric Florack says:

    anjin… reply link not working for some reason.
    Your OBS complaint is amusing (well, amusing to you, at least) but as usual, off target. I suppose you never noticed… Matt wasnt 5alking about a man, but a policy. still we can hardly hide from the fact that the policy Matt spoke of is being implimented to disasterous effect. Still, its not the man but the policy thats the largest problem. Its just that as it happens, we have a working example of WHY it is a bad policy.

    wherein lies your real objection.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  100. wr says:

    @Another Mike: Yes, what a shock you found a quote endorsing the idea that all blacks have to do to get along is to make sure they never get uppity with white at Glenn Beck’s site.

    Quick, what does the Klan think? Because until we know their opinion, how can we make an informed judgment?

    Okay, so enough snark. Let me attempt to answer you seriously — because this is exactly what I’ve seen citizens of this town complaining about. For African-Americans there, the only way not to get pulled over, cited or arrested is to be absolutely perfect in every way — dress the way the power structure wants, walk the way the power structure wants, talk the way the power structure wants.

    This is not the way you have to act in your home town, I suspect. You’re free to go out dressed like a slob if you like without the fear that you’ll end up in jail — or beaten by the cops.

    And if you do get high and walk in the middle of a street instead of on the sidewalk, the cops will shoo you away and maybe even give you a warning — but they’re not going to shoot you six times.

    So yeah, in attempting to dismiss the problem, you’re actually embodying it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  101. wr says:

    @Eric Florack: Could you translate that into English and repost it? Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  102. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    Seriously dude, posting when you have been drinking is a bad idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  103. Hal_10000 says:

    The purpose of the 2d amendment was to enable slave owners to form militias to hunt down fugitive slaves and to deal with slave uprisings.

    I’m assuming you have something to support that assertion (aside from Hartman’s old factually-challenged article).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  104. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Keep pushing your nonsense. And you compare me to Scientology. eyeroll.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  105. Jack says:

    The most basic problem is that we will never know for certain what happened. Why? Because the Ferguson cruiser did not have a camera recording the incident. That’s simply not credible. “Law” “enforcement” in Ferguson apparently has at its disposal tear gas, riot gear, armored vehicles and machine guns …but not a dashcam. That’s ridiculous. I remember a few years ago when my one-man police department in New Hampshire purchased a camera for its cruiser. It’s about as cheap and basic a police expense as there is…

    … In 2014, when a police cruiser doesn’t have a camera, it’s a conscious choice. And it should be regarded as such. And, if we have to have federal subsidy programs for municipal police departments, we should scrap the one that gives them the second-hand military hardware from Tikrit and Kandahar and replace it with one that ensures every patrol car has a camera. – Mark Steyn

    On a side note, it’s a good thin some business owners did have legal firearms to protect their businesses this weekend when the police decided to stand down and allow the “protesters” looted and destroyed a number of businesses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  106. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Yeah, because it’s totally worth killing someone to protect your insured merchandise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  107. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    The essential difference between us is that I don’t need a gun as an “equalizer”, to quote you. I’ve never felt unequal. I’ve never felt inadequate. It must be tough.

    I did feel threatened once, sufficiently threatened that I bought a gun for self defense. Colt 45 auto. I carried it with me for a couple weeks, maybe a month. Then I traded it to a guy for a 35 mil Cannon camera. The threat – which was fairly real – had not disappeared, but, 1) I realized the gun was a threat to people I actually liked. And 2) I just felt like a pussy relying on a gun. I didn’t like feeling like I needed a crutch, so I got rid of it.

    That would be about 40 years ago. Have never felt the need of a gun since.

    It possible, you know to break, the addiction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  108. JKB says:

    @Jack:

    The dashcam is a red herring. There have been no statements or pictures showing that Brown ran in the direction the car was pointing. Of the 180 degrees someone can run away from the side of a police car, only 2 of them would take him into view of a dashcam. And those 2 would require going around the door after breaking contact with the officer. Plus, there is no statement that the officer activated his blue lights. Most dashcams only record when the lights are on. This event took less than 3 minutes to occur from the time Wilson first told them to get out of the middle of the road till a second officer arrived after the shooting.

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  109. Grewgills says:

    It all boils down to this

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  110. bill says:

    @anjin-san: maybe just a bit, the real money is in coke, meth, heroin…it’s gonna get here as long as there’s demand. our cops have adapted to this type of defense as we kinda made them after seeing them get out gunned by gangs. the drug money they get to keep is also a player.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  111. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Yeah, because it’s totally worth killing someone to protect your insured merchandise.

    Yeah, because a little free loot is totally worth dying over.

    Stop placing the blame on the law abiding and put it where it belongs…on the thugs and looters.

    Douchebag.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  112. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Who are the law-abiding? The police? The police who shot an unarmed man six times for nothing? Or the police-army hybrid in MRAPs on the streets of an American city?

    The fact that you think killing a human being over the contents of a Dollar Store makes sense reveals just how far into the gun cult mentality you’ve sunk. A human life in exchange for a geegaw.

    But that’s exactly the way you people think. Because when you buy a gun you picture over and over that magical moment when you’ll get to play hero by blowing a hole in another human being. That’s the fantasy. And you’ll wrap it up in heroic nonsense, but in the end you’re just wanna-be killers looking for an excuse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  113. Paul L. says:

    Time to get behind the union and Support the Police officer’s bill of rights.
    1) Sealing of all law enforcement records from the public.
    2) Automatic search warrant/SWAT raid for anyone in possession of video and/or audio of wiretapping Police Officers in public.
    3) Citizens must provide ID and must allow themselves to being searched by Law Enforcement when requested.
    4) Repeal Anti Police excessive force, false arrest and civil rights violations laws that jeopardize Officer safely.
    5) Police officers accused of misconduct should notified of all incriminating evidence or witness statements, be able to review it and remain silent for a 72 hours cooling off period afterwards.
    6) Police officer statements override any video evidence.
    7) Police officer should be exempt any making false statements laws
    8) Police officers should only be tried by a special court composed only of Law Enforcement officers.
    9) Qualified immunity should only be denied if the individual officer was sued previously for the same “unlawful actions or actions violating clearly established law.”
    10) “Brady cops” do not exist. Perjury in previous cases should not be a factor in judging a officer’s truthfulness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  114. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: The law abiding, in this case, are those business owners protecting their businesses from looters. Period.

    We can debate the actions of this officer WRT Mike Brown all we want, the repercussions and the ramifications of the shooting but until all the facts are in it’s simply masturbation without any payoff. However, there is no doubt that owners not wanting their businesses to be looted and set ablaze have a right to defend their businesses and themselves from these hoodlums.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  115. Jack says:

    @Paul L.: I sincerely hope your missive was meant as sarcasm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  116. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:
    It was sarcasm.

    Interesting side note, Paul is convinced that these Police Bill of Rights (which are in place in a number of States) are the creation of crazed liberals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  117. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: On the other hand, are we simply to allow mobs to take, or destroy, what they will?

    There’s a difference between letting a single robber take off with something–discretion in that scenario being the better part of valor–and letting a mob empty your store and smash the windows or burn it down. There doesn’t have to be any kind of wannabe-hero-complex involved to support the right of a business owner to defend with force against the latter.

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  118. Robin Cohen says:

    A very well reasoned article with several salient points to consider.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  119. Jack says:

    @Matt Bernius: As a conservative, I have for years felt that police have moved away from “peace officer” to “law enforcement”; the latter being for the purposes of raising revenue to fund more law enforcement officers to generate yet more revenue for the city/state. The people have begun to push back and the result is officers leaning that much harder on those they see as “scofflaws”, simply because they can and they are not held accountable. As others have said, I believe this is one area where people of all political stripe can come together to make a change for the better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  120. Jack says:

    @Mikey: Let me answer this for Michael. Yes. These business owners have been stealing from the poor to enrich themselves for years and it’s time for them to give back to the community. If that price means the complete loss of their businesses and maybe their lives, then that’s the price that must be paid to right this injustice.

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  121. stonetools says:

    I think one of the problems here is that the attractiveness of the juicy anecdote versus statistics. If you note, NRA folks love to bring out the story of the brave teenage girl/senior citizen/etc defending their home against the brutal “home intruder.They also like the catchy slogan ( “When seconds count, the police are minutes away”). What the NRA folks tend to dislike are careful statistical studies by objective authorities. These studies consistently show that a gun is far more likely to be used against someone else in the home than the rare “home intruder” .
    A problem with the juicy anecdote, too, is that multiple lessons can be drawn from it.Perhaps a barking dog or a security system is better protection against the “home intruder” than a gun in the hands of the untrained gun owner. In the same way, the conclusion I draw from the present situation is not that we should arm every man jack or even that we should “demilitarize the police.” Rather it is that even trained law enforcement officers can’t be trusted to use their guns properly in pressure situations, much less some untrained Dirty Harry wannabee who can fill out a CCW application.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  122. stonetools says:

    Please free my comment from moderation. Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  123. Mikey says:

    @Jack: I don’t think Michael would answer that way at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  124. Paul L. says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    These Police Bill of Rights (which are in place in a number of States) are the creation of crazed liberals.

    The one in California (that the LAPD used to not comment on the Shawn Nee case) is.

    It was sarcasm but I based it on Police union talking points.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  125. Jack says:

    @Mikey: I believe he would. According to him, there is never a good reason to take another’s life. You should never own or use a weapon. A gun is simply a male enhancement tool…even if you are a woman. Violence is caused by the majority suppressing the minority and until there is some balance, the violence will continue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  126. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:
    As I said above, I think you have a well-argued and credible point about the shift towards “law enforcement” and some of the effects it has had on police/community relationships.

    I still don’t think you’ve made a convincing argument to draw a direct line from that shift to militarization. But we’ll have to agree to disagree on that.

    @Paul L.:

    The one in California (that the LAPD used to not comment on the Shawn Nee case) is [voted in by liberals].

    I’m not arguing that.* However pointing out that *one* Police Bill of Rights is the result of a liberal state government is not the same as proving that *all* or even *most* Police Bill of Rights are the results of libtards run amok (which is more or less what you’ve said on the subject in previous postings). There’s a lot of blame to go around on *both sides* of the aisle on this.

    To @jack’s point, at least in general principle we Liberals, Libertarians, Independents, and Conservatives should agree on these points. However, of those four groups, it’s pretty clear that one in particular continues to have a knee-jerk tendency to, as the “law and order” party, protect the rights of the police in popular media and government.

    [*] – It appears that California’s initial LEO “Bill of Rights” was passed in 1977. A Democrat (Jerry Brown) was the governor. I was unable to see which party controlled the State Senate and Assemblies those years. Either way, both parties have at different times controlled California’s government since then and neither has repealed the provisions.

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  127. Jack says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    I still don’t think you’ve made a convincing argument to draw a direct line from that shift to militarization. But we’ll have to agree to disagree on that. – See more at: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/police-are-not-soldiers-our-communities-are-not-war-zones/?#comment-1964009

    The direct line is this…they can and therefore they do. The Police Department in Johnston, RI. with a population under 29k has experienced 3 murders since 2003, and has a crime rate roughly 1/3 of the average population has, through government grants, obtained 30 M-16 automatic rifles, 599 30-round magazines, 44 bayonets, and 12 Humvees.

    http://www.homefacts.com/crime/Rhode-Island/Providence-County/Johnston.html

    http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/how_did_americas_police_become_a_military_force_on_the_streets

    There is no justification for this equipment other than officer safety which has been put up there with royalty for some reason. Politicians will fund these items for this reason alone. They never want to go before voters or the media having to explain why they did not do everything possible to make officers safe–even if there was no recognized threat to keep officers safe from.

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  128. An Interested Party says:

    Still, if people respect the law and respect lawful authority, policing is easy.

    It’s a little hard to respect the law and respect lawful authority if one is treated like a criminal simply because of the color of his skin or the particular neighborhood that he happens to live in…not that you would know about such things…

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  129. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:

    There is no justification for this equipment other than officer safety which has been put up there with royalty for some reason.

    And here is where — IMHO — you see but do not understand.

    Again — *WHY* has “officer safety” become this issue? Because, I think we both agree that beyond availability, this is a *critical* part of the argument. Especially when the actual statistics don’t necessarily bear this all out.

    Again, this gets back to the notion that people have that America is an increasingly violent nation when all the statistics continue, despite some small rises in recent years, show us to be *categorically* less violent.

    Until people are willing to wrestle with the specific issue of why “officer safety” has become such a critical turning point. And, my argument is, that its not an entirely un-rational concern (for exactly the same reasons you list when it comes to using a gun for self defense).

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  130. Jack says:

    @An Interested Party: It’s a little hard to respect law enforcement when they are the ones breaking the law.

    http://www.policemisconduct.net/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  131. Jack says:

    @Matt Bernius: But there was no violence to justify it in Johnston, RI…yet they still militarized. Which means they don’t need an excuse. If someone gave me free money to soup up my automobile…I would probably accept it, whether I needed it or not. If someone paid me to add an addition on to my house that I rarely used or needed, I would also probably accept. The government grants that support the “War on xxxx” means every department will have their hand out in order to show they are doing their part in preventing xxxx.

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  132. Matt Bernius says:

    @Another Mike:

    There are many ways to attack and kill or badly injure cops without the use of a gun, especially when we are talking about cops unarmed with anything other than a billy club.

    I know this. And I’m happy to explain the very rational reason that cops should be allowed to use deadly force on anyone seriously threatening them a drawn knife at a distance of 30 feet or less.

    That isn’t my argument. And has nothing to do with the topic of why police in the UK didn’t use guns.

    My point is the lack of LEO guns isn’t *proof* that criminals are any less resistant or that policing is “easier” than in the US. That said, the *presence* of guns in the hands of criminals clearly makes policing more difficult. Again, this gets us back to the issue of serious gun control (which all those countries have).

    There must have been a culture of non-violence against cops, or at least violence without weapons. If so, there may have been some semblance of virtue even among the criminals.

    I encourage you to read actual histories about the criminal element in the industrial and postindustrial UK — especially in urban areas — before pulling crap like this out of your ass. You’ve decided on your solution and are making up facts to match your model.

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  133. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:

    But there was no violence to justify it in Johnston, RI…yet they still militarized. Which means they don’t need an excuse.

    You really want this both ways. You want there to be no rational reason and yet, at the same time, admit that this is being done under the blanket of “officer safety.”

    And you fail to want to acknowledge all of the various cultural factors that allow the “office safety” argument to win the day. Again, statistically speaking, (as you are doing with the Johnston, RI police department) THERE IS NO REASON FOR THE AVERAGE CITIZEN TO OWN A GUN IN JOHNSTON FOR SELF DEFENSE EITHER.* Or most places in the US. Again, historically low crime rates, including violent crime. Most people do not live-in/travel-to areas where there is a lot of violent crime. And yet, for reasons of “personal safety” you defend the right of individuals to arm themselves. And many people feel that they should (see all the studies that show people think Violent Crime continues to increase, not decrease).

    Don’t you see the connection? I’m not sure I can connect the dots any better.

    Like I said, we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this. :)

    * – And again, I actually don’t take issue with owning a gun for self defense. Especially if the individual actually does regular training with it. That said, I also don’t see the issue with smart regulation of said gun (including licensing the owner, and require it to be registered and tracked).

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  134. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    It is morally repugnant to shoot a human being who does not threaten your life.

    Have you ever been held up at gunpoint? I have. I was managing a restaurant at the time. Nice big semi-auto, probably a 9 from the size of the barrel on which I can assure you my attention was riveted.

    Had I had a gun in my possession and tried to use it, not only would I have been shot, but my waiters and patrons might as well.

    The man just wanted the money. I gave him the money. He ran away.

    Had I followed him out onto the street and shot him after he had avoided violence, I would have been morally culpable. Not to mention stupid.

    But of course you need to feed the hero-killer fantasy that fuels your gun-love. So you need to believe that it makes sense to shoot a man who is taking stuff from your store. You need to lower the standards of common morality in order to play into the fantasy. You need to dehumanize others and yourself so that you can justify your need for a deadly weapon. You twist and distort the world to fit your obsession. Which is why it’s the gun cult.

    It is pathological. It is irrational. It is immoral.

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  135. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    You’re the owner of a grocery store. You’re up on the roof with a shotgun. Ten looters are below you stealing beer and food.

    How many of them are minors? Is it possible that any of them are under duress, being forced to participate? Is it possible that any of them are mentally ill and not aware of the implications of what they’re doing? Is it possible that some are severely retarded? Do you have some magic way to differentiate on a dark night in a chaotic situation?

    Will you kill a mentally challenged fourteen year-old for stealing a loaf of bread?

    Really? Take aim and squeeze the trigger and blow the brains out of a child for stealing from you? That’s who you are?

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  136. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    How many of them are minors? Is it possible that any of them are under duress, being forced to participate? Is it possible that any of them are mentally ill and not aware of the implications of what they’re doing? Is it possible that some are severely retarded? Do you have some magic way to differentiate on a dark night in a chaotic situation?

    And do you have any way to differentiate those who may, under the influence of the mob, turn their smashing and burning from the contents of the store to the people in the store?

    And of course shooting isn’t the default–indicating force will be used if necessary is. One doesn’t have to pull the trigger to make the point.

    We can play the “what if, what if” game all day. It’s pointless. You would consent to mob rule? Even the most civilized societies have long ago determined it legal not to.

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  137. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    You see the point is that its every easy to raise the officer safety issue when you see on TV one jackass after another walking into Target and onto playgrounds with AR15s. If you are a police officer, it’s logical to think , “Hey, I might need one of those too-plus body armor to give me the edge if I run into someone with an AR15.”
    It’s interesting that you somehow can’t see the link between the NRA insisting, “Everyone should be able to buy any weapon they want” and police officers asking for similar or better weaponry to counteract that.

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  138. Grewgills says:

    @Paul L.:
    There are very similar police bills of rights in pretty much every state, even the liberal havens of Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Mississippi. The police in all of those states use them to shield themselves from both criminals and the public at large. That you choose to only cite California and ignore these very similarly constructed laws in over 40 other states shows you to be a hack.

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  139. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:
    Now you’re deflecting because the complications of reality conflict with the simplicity and clarity of your hero fantasy. You need to preserve the fantasy.

    You shooting a child over a loaf of bread is not what stands between civilization and mob rule.

    Here’s a true story. My father was career army, 20 year man. About 45 years ago he commanded a small boat – LCU IIRC. One night he’s anchored out in the river and sees a dark shape coming up over the side. Might be a VC Sapper. Then again it might be a kid looking to steal a pair of boots.

    He draws a pistol and fires. The dark figure is hit and falls into the current and is gone.

    He had the justification that he was at war and a Sapper might have killed his men. But he might have killed a harmless kid.

    I can tell you that 45 years later my dad is not over that.

    You’re talking about shooting someone and then facing the bereaved parents, learning that the kid was just swept up in a momentary impulse, and that you killed him for a loaf of bread.

    If you think you’d come out of that being able to justify it to your own kids, you’ve got something going very wrong in your head.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  140. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Another Mike: A sad commentary on the efficacy of a constant barrage of negative imagery of AAs across the media spectrum. Any time member of the community demands justice, these Minstrels will always find a way to blame AAs . Fortunately the young are doing alot better than what people are being led to believe. Its a good thing these people are becoming dinosaurs. Sad

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  141. KM says:

    @michael reynolds and @Mikey:

    Your disagreement, gentlemen, in a nutshell is thus:
    What is more important to me – this material object I have spent time, money and hard effort into obtaining and owning (the loss of which is an economic blow to me) that I place great value on or the life of a stranger I am currently having extremely negative feelings towards who has forcibly taken what is not theirs and possibly threatened me and/or another in the process?

    My money or their life? Can you spare the life of someone who’s just done you wrong, who isn’t trying to actively hurt you? A character test, I think – is your dedication to being a moral person strong enough to stand in the time when society might give you a pass? Almost like being asked to turn the other cheek and give the shirt off your back, isn’t it? A hard directive to follow IRL, to be sure…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  142. Mikey says:

    @KM:

    My money or their life? Can you spare the life of someone who’s just done you wrong, who isn’t trying to actively hurt you?

    Well, I certainly could–as I have quite clearly stated, multiple times, there is a difference between that and a rampaging mob destroying not just a material object but my very livelihood.

    What do we allow, then? Do we step back and tell the mob “do your worst” and clean up the mess later? I don’t dispute that is a viable option. Certainly the risk to life is lower.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  143. Paul L. says:

    @Grewgills:
    Where can I find a list of states with police bills of rights?
    I am only familiar with CA/LAPD citing POBOR as a reason they can’t comment on Internal Affairs Investigations. I have heard other states use the Personnel Matters/Union Rules excuse.

    ignore these very similarly constructed laws in over 40 other states shows you to be a hack

    If this is true why are the FOP and Joe Biden pushing for the Federal POBOR?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  144. michael reynolds says:

    @KM:
    I am not religious, but Jesus Christ was a wise and far-seeing man, way ahead if his time. I can only respect a man who in that dark and violent era saw good and evil so clearly. He set the bar high and I’ve spent most of my life sliding nimbly beneath it. But I would feel pretty good about myself as a man if I came close to that standard and I try, while acknowledging that I am – in the secular sense – a sinner.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  145. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: I appreciate your point, but I don’t think the posing of highly unlikely scenarios supports it very well.

    Let me restate how I see your position, and you tell me if I have it correct: You clearly believe the risk to life from defending property with force is unacceptable. There is risk to innocents. Trading a life for property is also unacceptable. It would be far better to simply back off and restock and rebuild (if necessary) after the mob has cleared out.

    Is that an accurate summary? If so, I can say I see merit in all of that. I’m the last guy with a hero complex or fantasy. Of course bringing force to bear, even against someone who initiated it, can lead to unforeseen and awful consequences.

    So like I asked @KM: what do we allow? Does it improve the situation to simply let the flame burn itself out, or should we allow the owners of businesses to stand up for their livelihoods, armed if necessary?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  146. Jack says:

    @stonetools: Looters, thieves, bad guys in general, typically don’t approach the police to get what they want. You don’t read very many stories about people robbing police stations…because there are people with guns there. They go after home owners and businesses. That’s why these people need to be armed.

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  147. anjin-san says:

    I’m thinking that in the case of a business owner with a rifle vs. a mob, the mob is going to win pretty much every time. If not in round one, than sometime downstream.

    Let’s go back to the root of the problem and address the conditions that are leading to riots starting in the first place. Arguing about what to do once the horse is out of the barn is just an exercise.

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  148. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: So in your mind, we should simply let everyone who wants to steal our things and destroy our property have at it and do nothing. Call the police…according to American Police Beatthey will be there in about 10 minutes, unless you are in Detroit where it takes 58 minutes. Meanwhile the average interaction time between a criminal and his victim is 90 seconds. That translates to you being robbed/injured/maimed/raped/murdered and waiting for an additional 8 and a half minutes for the police to arrive. The truth of the matter is that the police will almost always arrive AFTER the crime has happened and the criminal has gone.

    As more and more criminals decide they don’t want anyone to identify them and kill their victims, your response is “well, better than the alternative of harming the perpetrator.

    You are an apologist for criminals, admit it.

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  149. KM says:

    @Mikey:

    Does it improve the situation to simply let the flame burn itself out, or should we allow the owners of businesses to stand up for their livelihoods, armed if necessary?

    I’ve personally let it burn out and take what I had with it. Homes and businesses can be rebuilt, lives lost can’t come back. I made a decision that I need to be able to sleep at night, look myself in the eye when passing a mirror, and when my time comes, stand before my Judge with my head as high as I could. It’s meant taking some severe hits, losing almost everything I own and starting again from scratch. I don’t regret it one bit – my principles are still intact, even if my bank account isn’t.

    I understand not everyone can make that choice. I understand that for some, it’s not an option to do so. For some, what little they have is all they’ll ever have and will fight tooth and nail for it. However, it’s not wrong to point out that valuing material gain and possessions (a form of greed) over human life is against damn near every religious/philosophical/moral creed out there. Taking a life is a serious thing and many only give dispensation in self-defense while making the point that property is not included in that particular out. It’s not morally justifiable in many cultures – the ones where it is, we tend to revile as backwards if it comes up on CNN or FOX. The shop owner needs to choose and be willing to deal with the consequences of that choice – that includes people going WTF and turning their backs on you when you wash the blood away. A life taken is still gone, no matter justification you give yourself. The shopowner, you, me, Micheal…. we all need to make that choice. Me? I choose life in all its ugly manifestations – I couldn’t be me if I didn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  150. rudderpedals says:

    @Mikey:

    what do we allow? Does it improve the situation to simply let the flame burn itself out, or should we allow the owners of businesses to stand up for their livelihoods, armed if necessary?

    I’m going to go with deploying peace officers from outside the area to suppress violence against persons right now and document the property destruction (let it burn out). That means no one running around armed except for the people with the monopoly on legitimate violence.

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  151. President Camacho says:

    Wilson apparently has an orbital fracture. There goes the gov’ts case against him for the shooting. $50 says he walks free and clear.

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  152. KM says:

    @Jack:

    You are an apologist for criminals, admit it.

    And you seem to think you live in a nightmarish Mad Max rerun. Where the hell do you live, that things are so terrible every second of every day? You do realize most people go their whole lives and the lives of their children combined without running into situations like home invasion or carjackings, right?

    And speaking of carjackings, if a Saudi prince with several armed bodyguards is gonna get hit , what exactly do you expect you are going to do about it?

    The truth of the matter is that the police will almost always arrive AFTER the crime has happened and the criminal has gone.

    And you will always draw after ^%&#*$ already started to go down – every lovely anecdote has the “hero” REACTING, you know, as in AFTER the crime has started. Nature of the beast. They will always have the element of surprise and the advantage for the first strike unless you pull a Mad-Eye Moody and live in paranoid hyper-vigilance…. and even then, no promises. The criminal may still get away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  153. Jack says:

    If the governor put out the word to shoot all looters on site, this nonsense would already be over and would never happen again in Ferguson. Daley did that when the inner city erupted after MLK was assassinated. “Shoot to kill all arsonists and shoot to wound all looters” was the order. The media was horrified that Da Mayor wasn’t ready to leave his city open to the tender mercies of a mob.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  154. Jack says:

    @KM: I live in an average city with an average crime rate. As far as home invasions, the criminal must first get through the door or window…which means I will be prepared by the time that happens. When I’m out and about, there’s situational awareness and avoiding high crime areas. Not every interaction will come down to who draws first. There are numerous stories about criminals who have unloaded guns, bb guns, air soft guns, etc., that when confronted with a real gun crumble like a 10 day old pastry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  155. KM says:

    @Jack:

    “Shoot to kill all arsonists and shoot to wound all looters” was the order. The media was horrified that Da Mayor wasn’t ready to leave his city open to the tender mercies of a mob.

    Did you read what you just wrote? Not exactly helping your case….

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  156. Jack says:

    @KM: I was quoting what Mayor Daley said. Please reread my post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  157. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jack:

    If the governor put out the word to shoot all looters on site, this nonsense would already be over and would never happen again in Ferguson. Daley did that when the inner city erupted after MLK was assassinated. “Shoot to kill all arsonists and shoot to wound all looters” was the order [to Police].

    [Addition Mine]

    Again, I’m having a hard time seeing how you on the one hand are arguing that the police are becoming too militarized and on the other hand supporting a Mayor essentially rewriting the ROE that said police should follow — in particular the idea of shooting to wound (which as a responsible gun owner you know is an oxymoron) looting (versus violent attacks on people).

    Again, it seems to me that you *like* the idea of military force being used by police — provided its against the people *you* think deserve it.

    It’s exactly this sort of mentality that quickly gets us to the very issue of “officer safety” (especially in emergency situations) that is part of the militarization thing. After all, if looting riots broke out in Johnston, RI, aren’t they going to be thankful for all that military grade equipment to better subdue the situation?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  158. Jack says:

    @Matt Bernius: It doesn’t’ take militarization to order the police to protect businesses and homes…you know, the people who pay their salaries and the job they are tasked with performing. Officer Skippy can wear his standard blue uniform with his standard issue 9mm and perform that job.

    One has nothing to do with the other. What I am suggesting is policing and keeping the peace, the other is gestapo tactics to suppress civil rights.

    Yes, I understand that shooting to wound is an oxymoron, I was simply quoting without commentary.

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  159. wr says:

    @Jack: “If the governor put out the word to shoot all looters on site, this nonsense would already be over and would never happen again in Ferguson”

    Or if it did, no one would care, as every city in the country would be in flames.

    Unless, of course, you really believe that turning a local police force into a death squad is going to be warmly embraced by anyone who might someday get into their crosshairs for being insufficiently respectful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  160. Jack says:

    @wr:

    you really believe that turning a local police force into a death squad is going to be warmly embraced by anyone who might someday get into their crosshairs for being insufficiently respectful.

    What you fail to realize or purposely overlook is this would only apply to arsonists and looters. Are you really suggesting ordinary citizens would turn to arson and looting simply because the Mayor orders arsonists and looters to be shot?

    Again, this has happened before and it quelled the violence. History is your friend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  161. anjin-san says:

    If the governor put out the word to shoot all looters on site

    Ah, lets return to those happy days of 1968, when we had open warfare in the streets between citizens and government. Our society is not under enough stress at the moment, lets dump a little napalm on the whole thing. What could go wrong?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  162. Jack says:

    @anjin-san: And the alternative is to just let the looters and arsonists have their way?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  163. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Jack: uhhhh you do realize that such a directive in its zeal would get a few police officers killed as well don’t you? You think Looters couldn’t respond? They’d lose a battle but take a few folks with them. Not sure how that’s worth it. Seems like in your world all that’s needed in for “Good” guys to exude bravado and the “Bad” guys will coward and run in fear. So far nobody has lost their life in this crap sandwich of a situation–why change that for the sake of some stuff that can be replaced….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  164. Mikey says:

    Possibly…no, entirely relevant.

    What Combat Veterans See in Ferguson, Missouri

    To my eyes the police, whose business is peace, have no business strutting through the streets carrying M-4 carbines with reflexive-fire sights on top, surefire tactical flashlights on barrel-mounted rail systems slung from three-point harnesses, or white zip-tie flex cuffs over black-body armor, their eyes and faces obscured by gas masks and their heads covered with Kevlar helmets. A bunch of other combat veterans I stay in touch with online agreed.

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  165. anjin-san says:

    @ Mikey

    A real warrior can spot a wanna be a mile off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  166. anjin-san says:

    @ Jack

    And the alternative is to just let the looters and arsonists have their way?

    What kind of cartoon world do you live in? I guess it does not surprise me that someone who is too fearful to go to Burger King for fries without a weapon would think that the only alternative to shooting people down in the streets is anarchy.

    Seriously dude, get some help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  167. Mikey says:

    @Jack: I think it’s a question of the least worst alternative. Is it bad to “let the looters have their way?” Undeniably–beyond the immediate effects on business owners, it also costs the municipality in both money and reputation, sometimes multiple millions of dollars.

    But is it less bad, or more bad, if people get killed? Several commenters here believe it’s more bad, and thus are willing to take the bad-but-still-not-as-bad alternative of letting the looters loot and cleaning up the mess after they’re gone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  168. KM says:

    @Jack:

    What you fail to realize or purposely overlook is this would only apply to arsonists and looters.

    Quite frankly, I don’t trust the police to honor that. I don’t trust them to understand who’s who in the heat of the moment. I don’t trust them not to “make a mistake” and take out a troublesome journalist or bothersome protester under the guise of “looting”. I don’t trust frustrations not to boil over, waiting for evidence instead of immediately reacting, mistaken identity to not happen, things in your hands to be “weapons” or any of the other BS that happens when things turn ugly in such a power imbalance. I don’t trust someone willing to follow that order to be willing to stay within the confines of that order.

    And quite frankly, neither did the Founding Fathers. That’s why we have the laws that we have.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  169. anjin-san says:

    I keep coming back to “Brown had cigars that can be used for pot smoking” – really, so the f**k what?

    Then there is “he stole cigars.” Add the two together and you get “dangerous drug thug” – he pretty much asked to get shot.

    The FCC is suing T-Mobile for overcharging its customers hundreds of millions of dollars. In other words, they stole hundreds of millions of dollars. Does anyone here think that those responsible will spend even one night in jail? Why does violence lurk around the corner if a black kid steals a few bucks, when a guy in a $5000 suit gets a slap on the wrist for stealing millions?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  170. wr says:

    @Jack: “What you fail to realize or purposely overlook is this would only apply to arsonists and looters.”

    What you fail to realize is that such a policy will inevitably result in the deaths of some who were mistakenly believed to be looters, and many more who normally live peaceful lives but are swept up in the insanity of the mob. What you fail to realize is that every “looter” killed by the police has family and friends who will not believe that the cops are justified in gunning down anyone they claim to be a looter. It doesn’t matter if every cop has perfect judgment and perfect aim — it will be read as open season on the underclasses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  171. anjin-san says:

    @ wr

    it will be read as open season on the underclasses.

    That seems to be a feature, not a bug in some eyes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  172. KM says:

    @wr:

    it will be read as open season on the underclasses.

    They already made this movie and the sequel’s still out in theaters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  173. Mikey says:

    @KM:

    I understand not everyone can make that choice. I understand that for some, it’s not an option to do so. For some, what little they have is all they’ll ever have and will fight tooth and nail for it

    My late father built a retail business from scratch. In the beginning, we all worked there at some point, because he couldn’t afford to pay non-family employees. It’s been in the same location for 32 years. It’s survived several recessions and the implosion of Michigan’s economy. It is pretty much the “last man standing” of its genre, the rest having succumbed to the big-box stores. My brother owns it now.

    I am pretty sure Dad would have died fighting any mob that tried to take it (and taken a few with him). There was simply too much of him in the business. It was like one of his kids–hell, he treated it better than he treated us, sometimes. It was certainly the priority. In many ways, he was indivisible from it.

    When I think about looters emptying out and smashing up a business, that’s the perspective I’m seeing things from. I see Dad’s store. I’m sure that biases me a great deal.

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  174. President Camacho says:

    @anjin-san: it’s fair to say at this point that the guy didn’t just walk down the middle of the street or steal some cigars to smoke some doobies. He isn’t a kid but he isn’t the devil. If the cop has a broken orbital socket something happened. Did it require 6 shots. Unlikely. But there is a reason this guy isn’t charged by now and I bet he isn’t ever charged based on the latest reports

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  175. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    I believe you should call the police if what’s going on is a simple property crime. Yes. I don’t believe you should take a life over “stuff.”

    No, that will not result in chaos, anarchy or any such dystopian silliness. It may result in slightly more theft and, if it were part of a general disarming, a hell of a lot fewer deaths. If it were not part of a general stand-down from the gun and violence obsession, it might mean you’d lose some stuff but live out your life without killing a human being.

    I keep my doors locked, I know how to dial 911, I have a dog, and if I catch you I might well kick your ass. But I won’t kill you over stuff. Stuff is not worth a life, it’s just stuff.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  176. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    You are of course proving my point which is that the police are not militarized in some sort of vacuum. They are militarized because this country is in love with guns and in love with the sick hero-killer fantasies that go with guns.

    It’s not just the war on drugs. Drug dealers can’t kill cops with baggies of weed or vials of crack. They kill cops with guns. Guns. Guns are the problem.

    You wouldn’t even debate the point if we were talking national defense. If I said, “the reason we need a big army with lots of weapons is that we have enemies with lots of weapons” that would be so blindingly obvious you’d agree.

    But when it comes to cops arming up because they face an armed population you start huffing and puffing and spouting utter nonsense.

    You and your fellow cultists arm the criminals, making police militarization all but inevitable. Just as arming the Russians or the Chinese makes it inevitable that we will also arm. The principle is identical. Your refusal to see it is a consequence of your indoctrination and your lack of capacity to re-examine same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  177. Pharoah Narim says:

    So we’re so supposed to believe Brown let a 3’11” store owner off with a push and a staredown—but did a bonzai charge against a cop holding a gun against him? I smell the same ole okie doak brewing. “The drug fueled,super-human darky was going beat me to death with his bear hands…had ta put em down”…. Its always some variation of the same story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  178. michael reynolds says:

    @Pharoah Narim:

    And you’ll notice he didn’t empty the register or even grab a Twinkie on the way out. And he’d have wanted that Twinkie if he was doing what I imagine he was doing with those Swisher Sweets.

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  179. michael reynolds says:

    Guy with his store looted:

    So that’s on the sad part. The good part is the people who were out here were waiting outside, they wanted to help me. So as soon as I got here, they said ‘Can I help you? Can I do this, can I do that?’ I wanted to take my time and clean as part of my therapy, as part of dealing with the situation. But some of them would not leave unless they did something to help, unless they got a hug or something. So that was very overwhelming, I didn’t think I’d come in there to be so overwhelmed by the community. So that’s very sweet.

    I want to go back to normal. I’ve got to pay bills. I don’t have the luxury to be closed for weeks.

    I don’t have a big insurance on this place. The whole concept of the store is modesty. So our prices are modest, we are alternative, so we’ll sell you a cheaper phone or a phone you would buy somewhere else, we’ll sell it to you a lot cheaper.

    So we don’t have fancy-shamancy insurance because we don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on insurance. … I’ll be covered for my expenses, the damages aren’t that extensive, thousands, maybe $5,000, $6,000. Manageable. We’ll live. It’s not the end of the world.

    Does anyone think this guy would be happier today if he’d killed someone?

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  180. wr says:

    @Jack: “Again, this has happened before and it quelled the violence”

    Yes. For instance, it happened in just about every Nazi occupied town where 100 civillians were executed for any act of resistance. Mass murder is generally an effective solution to a rowdy populace — if you don’t give a damn about human life.

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  181. Eric Florack says:

    @Jack: @Jack: Indeed… total BS.

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  182. anjin-san says:

    @President Camacho:

    it’s fair to say at this point that the guy didn’t just walk down the middle of the street or steal some cigars to smoke some doobies.

    You can say anything you want, and claim that it is “fair” – that does not make it in any way relevant to what actually happened.

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  183. Eric Florack says:

    @michael reynolds: I dunno. Given the size of him, I’d say offhand getting food wasn’t much of an issue.

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  184. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    And given your comments, most of us would say that working brain cells are not an issue.

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  185. An Interested Party says:

    With depressing news like this it is little wonder that Michael Brown is and will be demonized by certain people…

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  186. Bravo! I have been watching this happen since the end of the ’60s. My belief it is the institutional memory of the riots against the government and the social chaos then, and government’s (started by Nixon) developing programs to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. Whether from federal subsidies to local police forces, federal equipment or guidelines – or even the D.A.R.E. program, federally subsidized and ensuring that police officers were the teachers of drug education to our children. (I taught drug education in a public school in ’68-’69, and believe me – it isn’t the same thing.)

    Now, after 40 years, there are no “local police” in their attitude and behaviors. They are all enforcers of “national values” – and do see people as civilians, as you note.

    The point of all this is the single question: How can we reverse this? Frankly, I don’t think it’s possible at this advanced stage. And America has truly become a police state, mainly supported by its citizenry.

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  187. @Another Mike: I believe the answer lies in our culture, not in the details of who can carry guns. The US – especially away from the Northeast – comes from a “cowboy culture”, with guns blazing. Not so the descendants of the European monarchs. And their countries are (or were) more homogeneous in religion and ancestry – also a good indicator of low murder rates.

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  188. Grewgills says:

    @Paul L.:
    I sent you links last go round. You can start with Wiki and follow the links at the bottom of the page and google Law Enforcement Bill of Rights along with state names for more. Most states have them and they are very much the same from state to state.
    If you honestly think that the more liberal states are the ones that put their thumb on the side of law enforcement more than right wing states I have a bridge to sell you. It goes from LA to Honolulu, it’s how we get all our cars here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  189. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: Of course, my reasoning brain understands all this. It agrees with you.

    But the other part–the part that watched my father build a business from the ground up, with literal blood, sweat, and tears, over two decades–wants to stand out in front with a gun and make it known anyone who tries to tear that down will have to go through me first.

    It’s not logical, it doesn’t really make sense, but there it is. It’s my bias, and I acknowledge it. Thankfully, the chances of me actually having to make that choice are zero–and even if I had to, I’m pretty sure I’d just leave, and come back to clean up the mess, as hard as that would be. Much better than having to shoot someone.

    But I can’t say I don’t understand those who would stay and fight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  190. beth says:

    @Mikey:

    am pretty sure Dad would have died fighting any mob that tried to take it

    And that’s how I can easily come to Michael’s way of thinking. I can see your family sitting around grieving and wondering why Dad didn’t just let them take the stuff. I can’t imagine anyone in your family saying “too bad he’s dead but at least he saved the store”. Like you I can see the point of view of people who would stand and fight but once you start thinking about the aftermath, it becomes evident to me which road to take.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  191. Mikey says:

    @beth:

    I can see your family sitting around grieving and wondering why Dad didn’t just let them take the stuff.

    So can I. We’d be pretty wrecked about it. But we’d understand why.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  192. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    I understand it, too. As a guy with some anger issues, and whose anthem is this song, believe me, I understand. I’m trying to mature. I felt my 60th birthday was a good time to start.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  193. Matt Bernius says:

    @Richard Tamir:

    The US – especially away from the Northeast – comes from a “cowboy culture”, with guns blazing.

    Interesting fact about the historic “Cowboy Culture.” Once you got off the range and into proper civilization (i.e. Towns) guns were *highly regulated.* Most Western Towns and Cities, including the celebrated Tombstone, required visitors to check their guns with the Sheriff or another institution. There was no open carry.

    In fact, the immediate cause of the Shootout at the OK Corral was the enforcement of a fine that Ike Clanton was required to pay for violating Tombstone’s ban on carrying guns in town.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  194. Matt Bernius says:

    @Mikey:

    We’d be pretty wrecked about it. But we’d understand why.

    Yeah, frankly — as someone who lost their father at a relatively early age to a freak accident while he was doing something he loved — the solace that “understanding” brings does very little to ease the still to this day pain of the loss.

    That isn’t to invalidate your position. But it’s far easier to be intellectually ok with the imagined untimely death of an immediate family member than to actually have to live with the reality of it.

    (Not to mention the anger that you would feel from time to time that he made a decision that said store was more important to him than getting home safely to all of you).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  195. Mikey says:

    @Matt Bernius: Well, understanding doesn’t mean acceptance–I can see us being pretty pissed off at him.

    It’s moot at this point anyway, he died a couple years ago, after a long fight he had no chance of winning.

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  196. Matt Bernius says:

    @Mikey – Condolences.

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