Monday, December 5, 2011

The Militarization of our Police

I have been very upset with the escalating violence with which our police are using on its citizens. Have any of you noticed that it appears more and more swat teams are being utilized for what used to be routine police business? That there seems to be an inordinate amount of brute force being used against ordinary citizens that are hardly a threat?

The Department of Education has its own swat team! In fact it raided a home in the middle of the night, rousing a man and his three daughters from bed at gun point because his ex-wife defaulted on student loans. The Department of Education said it was because of embezzlement and fraud. Embezzlement and fraud requires a swat team to terrorize a family in the middle of the night? The fact that his ex-wife hadn't lived there for over a year seemed to matter not.

A grandfather being thrown to the ground and knocked out in front of his grandson for allegedly stealing a video game? He denies stealing the game and said he merely stuck it in the band of his pants while grabbing his grandson to get him out of a Black Friday melee. He wasn't even followed to see if he was trying to leave the store with the item. I can't tell you how many times I've stuck something in my purse, or coat pocket while running after a toddler, only to take it out and pay for it at the check stand. Breaking this man's nose?

And then watching Anthony Bologna of NYPD pepper spray women who were defenseless and penned in by police tape. Or watching a peaceful group of college protesters get pepper sprayed for having a sit-in. Isn't that what our country is all about? Peaceful protest? Isn't that what separates us from all of those countries that are not free to do so??

Something is going on here. Something is not right.

Then we have the routinely used taser. Pregnant women have been tasered, children as young as six, the elderly, an out of control ten year old! People have been tasered at routine traffic stops, or for noncompliance with an officer. I guess if you have the audacity to ask any questions, you can be tasered. A 61-year old man was tasered and killed in North Carolina for not stopping on his bicycle. He had done nothing illegal. His wife said he probably didn't hear the command as he was hard of hearing.

Then there is the increasingly militaristic look to the police uniform. You routinely see the domestic cop dressed in camouflage, or a battle dress uniform, or full-on armour, toting an assault weapon for summits and protests. They drive tanks and military command centers. Then we have the law that is now before Congress that would allow the government to hold American citizens indefinitely, without a trial, if the government can accuse them of terrorism.

This is starting to feel very fascist.


Rob-bear said...

Oh, my goodness. You think it's "starting to feel very fascist"?

This has been growing since the time of Ronald Reagan.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." ~ Benito Mussolini

Any of that sound familiar?

Grandmother Mary said...

I've been watching from outside the country for 5 years and the police as portrayed in the news has absolutely become more and more militaristic and freer in using violence against citizens. The photos of the pepper spray incidents were horrifying.

Nancy said...

Rob-bear - You're right. Absolutely.

Grandmother - I think all Americans think that is how all countries treat their citizens. It's not. It is also escalating and alarming.

Brian Miller said...

it definitely seems that the more the power structure is threatened the more militarized the police get...

DJan said...

I agree that it is escalating. I have seen the look of the police change to become more threatening. Brian is right: their power is being threatened.

Cloudia said...

thank you for courageously posting this!

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

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T said...

it IS Fascist. These Occupiers represent a stand against the status quo and, unfortunately, the staus quo is powerful. It's been going on since protesters in the 60s stood up against the military industrial complex.

Frank's Corner said...

As the human condition grows more intense, the power structure is more threatened. I also think that individual's are more reactive with all of that cortisol pumping through their bodies along with caffeine. We are an overstimulated society in multiple ways. As our infrastructure weakens and we all work harder to accomplish less, no one is able to take time to think, to contemplate. Violence erupts. Unfortunately, I think it is going to get worse before it can get better. All of our systems are on overload or down...look at healthcare, education, social services, the job market....on and on. We really need to be part of the solution in a very personal way. Remember, the people you work with, go to school with, live with are all stressed and stretched to the max. Love them.

CathyD. said...

You did see where Mayor Bloomberg referred to the NYPD as his "army"? As a friend of mine said, "the ninety-nine percent of the Ninety-nine percent better wake up before it's too late".
Thanks for having the courage to write your post.

CathyD. said...

Just after I left your page, I went to a news & views site and was confronted with this:

Thought you might appreciate seeing it, although they're not wearing swat uniforms.
As I said in the comments, Stupidity Without Borders".

Nancy said...

Brian - You are absolutely right. But how did they know this might happen? They certainly seem prepared.

DJan - It scares me to see this escalation and to see the laws that are being passed to further restrict our rights.

Cloudia - I felt it was time.

T - It is not just the Occupiers. This type of military action is being used for other police actions - such as the Department of Education???

Frank - Excellent point. Keep in mind everyone is stressed to the max. Be kind.

Cathy D - I think we can only hope that not only will everyone wake up - but that our police will realize they are US. That poor woman..

Gemel said...

Yes, the police are becoming too heavy handed, I blame all these 'cop' programs, they all seem to think that they are super cops!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

One of the things the Occupy movement has done is reveal the current approach to law enforcement. We saw it in St. Paul during the 2008 Republican Convention. Unfortunately, there were just enough instigators who crossed the line that many casual observers decided the police action was justified. In fact, it went way too far.

CrazyCris said...

This is VERY scary. :s

I don't see much on the news here from the US, but what you're describing sounds more like scenes I 've seen of the happenings in Cairo, Tunis... NOT good!