300 -> 3,000 -> 50,000 – > ???

Even the Wall Street Journal is noticing the trend of militarization of our police. It is interesting to note that when the concept of a SWAT team was first put forth, it was questioned as to whether it was even legal and Constitutional.  Since that time, they have become common place.  But are they being abused?

The utilization of SWAT teams has sky-rocketed:

1970’s = a few hundred
1980’s = 3,000/year
2005 = 50,000
& I’d wager 2012 was significantly higher.

SWAT teams were originally envisioned for reacting to high level crises that required greater training and co-ordinated tactics. Now they’re used everyday for routine policing. And there tactics are used more and more by non-SWAT personnel. Furthermore, we’ve seen a lot of “plain clothes SWAT teams”.

How ubiquitous have SWAT teams become? In 1983, most small towns and cities did not have SWAT teams.  About 1/10th had such units. And I’d wager most of those were suburbs of large metros like Los Angeles. By 2005, 80% of towns had such units. And in 2012 after nearly $35 billion in grants for DHS, I wager that is now somewhere in the 90%+. 

Many feel that SWAT teams are justified because of the “War on Drugs”, and the fact that drug cartels and gangs are heavily armed. Interestingly enough, per the article a study done in 1991 (which was a fairly high crime peak period) found “one-eighth of 1% of homicides in the U.S. were committed with a military-grade weapon.”  Later studies essentially confirmed these conclusions.

These no knock, militarized SWAT raids often result in needless deaths of innocents.   Even many in law enforcement have started to express concern that something is very wrong today.

Personally, I put a lot of the blame on the prohibition. The failed War on Drugs, which has cost us more civil liberties than anything in recent times.  But is that really the fundamental reason for the increased build-up?  The past few years has seen the militarization of our police sky-rocket, every little podunk town is being giving a light armored tank (APCs), surplus M16/M4 assault rifles (that’s the fully automatic military model, not the news media pseudo fear assault weapon).

I’ve argued recently with friends that we’re headed toward a police state, but I think I’m changing my argument. We are IN a police state. If you disagree, than you are merely a fool who is afraid to deal honestly with the truth.  I think the issue is, that we have conjured up in our head an image of a police state being one which hauls away it’s citizens, imprisons them, and kills them. When one says police state, we think of Hitler and Stalin’s regimes.  But that is not the necessary definition of a police state. Nazi Germany was a deranged state, it had a madman who was on many levels insane. While it was a police state, it went beyond into deranged mass murder and genocide.  That is actually a separate aspect of Nazi Germany.  A police state, does not by necessity, have to kill its citizens….just control them.

So ask yourself, and ask honestly, how we are NOT a police state? 

  • Militarized police are equipped in every town with military weaponry, light tanks, and trained in military tactics.
  • All of our phone calls, emails and digital communications are monitored and recorded.
  • All of our travel is being recorded via traffic control cameras and mobile cameras mounted on law enforcement vehicles which scan millions of license plates.
  • Our bodies are subject to search, violation, and abuse when traveling.

 We absolutely are a police state, everything exists to define us as a police state. The sole reason many do not believe we are a police state is because nearly all Americans are good, decent law abiding sheep. In other words, we seldom ever rock the boat so as to bring that police state down upon ourselves. That does not negate the existence of a police state.  

 But I digress, there is actually in fact ONE SINGLE LONE ITEM that prevents America from being a true police state. A single counter-balance, and that is the “{Right to Keep and Bear Arms”. Without that one caveat, we are living in the most empowered police state in the history of humanity.

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Published in: on July 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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