Militarizing local police is a good thing
By Andrew Malcolm
Posted 09:24 AM ET
One of the more useless fall-outs of the Obama Era -- in addition to him fomenting the cancerous distrust of vital national institutions and offices -- is the trumped-up call for national debates and discussions about virtually anything controversial.
Part of this phony need can be blamed on the current generation's historical illiteracy. The United States has, in fact, been having national discussions about thousands of subjects since the day Thomas Jefferson delivered his final draft of the Declaration of Independence. Even before.
In fact, one could make a strong argument that the United States itself is one long national discussion. And social media such as Twitter have quickened the pace, if not improved the quality.
The latest national debate concerns the so-called militarization of local police forces, growing out of the intense media scrutiny of one local department in Ferguson, Missouri.
Since late last century the Pentagon has distributed many millions of dollars in gear to local police departments -- night-vision goggles, rifles, grenade launchers, body armor, some armored vehicles. Here's where much of the gear went.
Actually, it's not much of a debate. Public figures from Rand Paul to Barack Obama and his side-kick Eric, the fellow who helped arm Mexican drug gangs, question the need for police departments to be better-armed. Ironic, since Obama has presided over the giveaway program's expansion.
And how typically expedient that he now wants a review. Reviews don't actually do anything, you understand. But they provide rhetorical cover that substitutes for decisive action -- "I've ordered a full review." Obama's strong suit.
Well, we're here to make it a debate. It's a great idea to have state and local police departments armed way beyond the firepower of any conceivable opponent. Remember the North Hollywood bank hold-up some years back that turned into a 45-minute shootout because both robbers were better armed and protected than cops hiding behind patrol cars?
We're in a new era now. The first 9/11 when jumbo jets became weapons should have taught us to think outside the box when imagining attacks on the homeland. Dirty bombs, Ebola. Sarin. Breast bombs. Gone is the age of a whistling Officer O'Riley walking his beat, checking that shop doors are locked.
The FBI has already arrested five ISIS supporters. Obama says these barbarians do not belong in the 21st century. But golly, sir, here they are anyway, time-traveling grim reapers from the intolerant middle ages. Because we don't want them here doesn't mean we can pretend they're not. And prepare.
Our local and state police should be fully-armed and ready for virtually anything. How inviting, say, is an elementary school chockful of potential hostages if that community's first responders can't effectively interrupt such an assault?
Obama has been strangely persistent about lowering the nation's defenses. In his unrequited pursuit of Putin-love, Obama unilaterally gave up the missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Now, he is dismantling the military to mid-20th century levels. And, of course, blaming others; it's Congress' fault for the sequester, he says, omitting the draconian budget cuts were his idea.
By the way, the improved arming of police by the Pentagon has been going on since 1992. Police can always improve local interactions. Yet all we've heard until now are worries.
Still, critics say some police use military gear to intimidate peacefully demonstrating citizens. Key word there: peacefully. Freedom of speech is always important in America. So is law and order for the majority not demonstrating. With a few armed instigators firing and others lobbing Molotov cocktails, which protective gear should our police forsake to make demonstrators feel more comfortable?
Anyway, there are civil recourses available to protect against police over-reach.
Here's a radical thought: What about peaceful protesters turning in or pointing out the violent ones? And we could also use a little more community push-back on big-mouthed carpetbaggers like Alfred Sharpton, who insert themselves to incite, not solve or salve local tensions?
Maybe, finally, it's time to have a national debate about having so many national debates.