Is Ferguson MO the leading edge of an era?

Besides an apparent return to racist police policies and judgment, the situation in Ferguson, Missouri is disturbing for another reason.

Since 9/11, we have been shoving military-grade weapons and support gear on every police force in the US. Regular patrol officers now go around armored and armed like early SWAT units. Even small towns and subsidiary forces can call in a breathtaking array of armored vehicles, heavy weapons and other military/combat-grade resources. This stuff is either surplus military, given free to the departments, or massively subsizided. My view of the tactical industry is a bit fuzzy, but it seems like the players have gone from ordinary police gear, even ordinary SWAT gear, to flat-out paramilitary heavy brigade supply, all funded by lavish federal grants and funding.

Because, of course, Al Qaida is going to hold up every bank in Dustbowl, NE simultaneously with the whole Iraqi army. Or something.

Does this massive over-arming of police mean that incidents like Ferguson are going to become more common? That what would be ordinary police abuse, two fat white guys with badges and clubs on one black guy who looked at them funny, is going to turn into these combat-grade-response situations?

I’m pretty much among the last to go all prepper, 2ndAm, police-state panicky, but I think we’re going to pay a terrible price for arming our police, even the small-town and suburban ones, with gear that can inflict mass casualties and destruction at the toss of a coke bottle.

What are the odds we’ll look back at Ferguson not as an anomaly linked to the civil rights era, but as the harbinger of an era of truly egregious police excess?

Leading edge? Hardly. People have been decrying the militarization of the police for like 15-20 years by now. I’d blame the drug war more than the terror war for its conception. People were freaking out when they locked everything down after the Boston bombing too, asking if this was some new thing. Nope.

Has anyone even died in MO yet? Gotten paralyzed? Other than the kid who got shot initially, of course. If not, it doesn’t compare to no knock SWAT raids where they just mow people down, sometimes in the wrong house.

“Return?” When did they ever leave?

The events in Ferguson have drawn criticism from a lot of politicians, so I hope (probably naively) that this will spark some movement to dial back the militarization of local police. Rand Paul wrote a decent piece in Time calling for the demilitarization of the police. And a House Democrat just proposed legislationto curb the transfer of military weapons to local cops. So maybe we’ll see a trend toward reigning in the militarization of the police.

(I’m not terribly optimistic of that, but I can hope.)

the wrong house thing should give us all chills - I know it has happened, but I wonder how many time?

Seems to me strong Second Amendment supporters and small government types should be the most alarmed by this trend.

Agreed. It was the war on drugs that helped create the idea that it is worth maintaining and using SWAT teams, for those dangerous times when a teenager might be smoking pot in his room. If the police just knocked at the door the master criminal could flush the evidence. Apparently, the only possible alternative is stormtrooper tactics. Once we’ve gone to the huge expense of equiping and training the police for war against the citizenry it seems wasteful to not use them.

Here’s an example (note it has videos for you on low bandwidth):
‘Militarized’ SWAT Teams Under Scrutiny as Toddler Recovers From Grenade

Another article:

“. Channel 2 has decided not to share most of the photos because of the graphic nature of the child’s injuries.” “In the raid that injured Bou, officers were trying to find his nephew, who was suspected of making a $50 drug sale, the ACLU said.”

So enforcing the law against blacks is racist now?

This. If you want to talk about “demilitarizing” the police, we need to start by demilitarizing the public.

It has been a staple of conservative and libertarian commentary for years.

Agreed 100%.

Every time I hear about how horrible the police “have become” I nearly piss myself laughing.

Yeah, bring backs the 1960s, or the 1940s, or the 1920s. Cops were pussycats then.

Beyond that, and this isn’t meant as an excuse but cops the world over are assholes.

Talk to some Algerians in France, Turks in Italy or Germany or Koreans in Japan.

None of which obviously excuses the response in Ferguson which thankfully has gotten under control.

Poor, in my opinion. If anything, it will be the reverse - Ferguson is going to be pointed at as the case that showed why ‘militarized’ police was a bad idea.

Since no one in this thread has advocate any such thing, your comment, responding to noting posted, appears to be an effort to derail the thread.

Knock it off.

[ /Moderating ]

there is nothing out of the ordinary about the situation in Ferguson.i know i will be called a racist for saying this,but the same situation would of happened in any other city that has a high population of african americans and this involving a black person and a white person

if anything,this will just give the al sharptons of the world more leverage to push their race crap

but what makes the situation in ferguson any different then the rest of the "militarized"police shooting citizens

trend of what? scumbags getting killed because they are idiots? i dont see why the 2nd ammendment or small goverment would have anything to do with it,the liberals are already pointing the finger at race and not guns

I’ve had some concern for some time about the militarization of the civilian police. I balance that concern with the knowledge that at least we don’t have the army shooting us down. I don’t know quite how to feel about this sort of thing, except that I firmly believe that the police are civilians, just like me, and that if they act like the army shooting us down, they are wrong.

yes, hopefully, but this didn’t happen overnight and it won’t just go away.

Let me clarify and expand.

I don’t mean that Ferguson is the first time a militarized police force has gone to full Rambo mode. I just wonder if this is the incident that will sit at the start of the curve of notable incidents and/or general public concern over them.

I also don’t mean the initial incident - yes, cops have been using excessive force for a long, long time, and much worse-ly and more frequent-ly in many past eras. I mean the massive, military-style response to the community uproar.

It would be nice if this was the start of the voter, population, state and federal backlash, forcing a demilitarization of police forces and limiting them to a 100% civilian/peace officer kind of role, instead of some sort of junior National Guard. But I fear otherwise. Terrorists, y’know.