Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/21/rethinking-public-safety-trust-vs-force
Cop culture, replete with military surplus weapons, will not easily be reformed as it has been ensconced for over a generation now. Tactics largely derived from apartheid Israel are employed throughout the nation. Along with deep-seated racist traditions in the US, people of color have every reason to fear an encounter with authority in this country and the statistics bear this out from grade school on up through adulthood. Add in batons, tasers, choke holds, guns, and what have you and yes, there are plenty of reasons to want to flee from an encounter with the law. Even the most respectful law enforcement officer bears the burden of the sins of those that oppressed people of color before him. Progressive policing can only take place when regressive policies such as the war on drugs are expunged. Only when the People truly resist the divide-and-conquer tactics of class warfare can a foundation for Progress be laid. That is why TPTB feared Bernie so very much.
Part of the reason the cops allegedly need so much weaponry is the result of their failure to act when Cheney, his puppet Dubya and the GOP Congress failed to renew the assault weapons ban in 2004.
Police across America held the only cards that could have forced the renewal of the ban. All they had to do is declare a nationwide police strike and Congress would have renewed the ban in a New York minute, making the police strike the shortest strike in US history, if not world history.
Although most first responders’ union contracts prohibit strikes, going on strike for the highest of all public safety concerns combined with the shortest strike in history would have trumped a minor, brief union contract breach.
IMO a “SWAT” mentality that has infected almost every police dept. across the country is one of the major factors driving the deranged police response to the citizens they’re supposed to protect. A fellow Marine in my unit years ago was tasked with teaching special tactics to members of the PD of a small town that was trying to start a local SWAT Team. I asked him how the instruction was going one day, all he could say was “you don’t want to know”, while shaking his head. The “warrior” mentality and tactics should never be taught to people entrusted to protect the peace. Case in point, I had a local sheriffs Deputy I knew (and knew my military background) who had been sent to MC sniper school, complaining to me about a lost opportunity to assassinate a potential criminal as he drove by the deputy’s position (the only crime at that point was failure to yield to blue lights). He was floored when I asked him who in the hell made him Judge, Jury, and executioner, and highly encouraged him to study the Constitution.
“What’s the scariest thing in America?”
“Small town SWAT Teams”
I would add, SWAT in large cities isn’t much better, too many disturbing cases prove this.