In the military mind set, the “drug war” has moved from metaphor to real life, with American streets as the “front,” American citizens as the “enemy,” and law enforcement officers as the warriors.
At the direction of Congress, the Pentagon has spent the past 20 years providing military hardware free of charge to police departments throughout the nation, all for the stated purpose of fighting the War on Drugs. Billions of dollars worth of “surplus” military grade equipment has been transferred, literally enabling law enforcement in towns both large and small to serve warrants, control crowds and “keep the peace” with ordnance originally purposed for the annihilation of a foreign enemy. In the first three years of this federal collaboration between the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice (1994-1997), “…the Pentagon distributed 3,800 M-16s, 2,185 M-14s, 73 grenade launchers, and 112 armored personnel carriers to civilian police agencies across America.” “Domestic police agencies also got…tanks, helicopters and even airplanes.”
State and federal officials alike claim that sophisticated equipment is needed to wage America’s endless offensive against the pedlars of pot. Of course, after 9/11, that need was broadened–significantly broadened–to include the War on Terror. But can these increasingly suspect excuses justify a militarization of law enforcement responsible for the existence of at least 1 SWAT team in more than 90% of American towns with a population of 50,000 or more? At LEAST one! (By 1997, 75% of towns with populations under 50,000 also had a paramilitary unit.) Can they rationalize the presence in High Springs, Florida (population 5,350) of an 18 ton, $600,000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP)”…designed to protect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan from insurgents’ homemade bombs”?
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Claims that the DC ruling class are preparing the nation’s police to implement a coming Marxist dictatorship are nonsense on so many levels they don’t warrant serious attention. Equipment advantages notwithstanding, the current ratio of 2.4 sworn officers for every 1000 US residents would make for a very short war, even if only 5% of private citizens chose to fight for their liberty.
But what if the federal government was militarizing law enforcement, not to install a tyrant, but to beget a mind set? According to Salt Lake City Chief of Police Chris Burbank, “a law enforcement officer openly carries a weapon for its intimidation factor. In law enforcement, that’s the message you send.” And today’s “warrior cop—armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers and a growing threat to familiar American liberties” is sending the message–wrapped in armored vehicles and M-16s–that an intimidated public is a cooperative, non-threatening public. It is this intimidation of the American people by the display and utilization of superior arms that the power hungry among our political ruling class hope will convince even the most passionate of freedom lovers that resistance must be futile–that any refusal to submit to the will of government cannot stand.
DC power brokers know full well that any attempt to repeal the Constitution or disarm the American people would result in disaster for the nation’s would-be rulers. But if year after year of intimidation can be brought to bear as constitutional rights are inexorably lost, a mindset of inevitable defeat might just be brought about. Such are the hopes of the aristocracy. For the only way our government masters can win is if there is no fight.
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Photo credit: WEBN-TV (Creative Commons)
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