Militarization of the Police
The recent events in Boston reminded me of the trend over the last dozen years in the militarization of the police. This was evident as the images played out across the airwaves last week. There has been a massive transformation of the police forces to have a military feel and tactics. This most likely has something to do with the money being funneled to them bu the Department of Homeland Security. There apparently is no shortage of funds.
I remember seeing something similar and writing about it after witnessing several college lockdowns. They can not be all as simple as the Gunbrella case, but at what is the real price. Obviously one can ascertain the physical monies spent but the real opportunity cost is the loss of freedom. The reality is that we now have paramilitary organizations in almost every community and the line gets blurred when a threat appears.
Personally I admire law enforcement individuals and feel that they have a very rough tightrope they have to walk. That rope seems to get stretched when a crisis occurs. That is precisely the time when the militarization of the police seems to have a negative effect. There are protections for US citizens against abuses that are not necessarily in place for the indignant personnel in an active combat zone.
The blurring of the lines between law enforcement and the military are not often good for the rights of citizens in an active zone. There is a cost that is not easily tabulated. The other cost that can not have a price tag attached is the emotional cost from the shear site of military activity in your local environment.
One thing that United States citizens are not used too is any military engaged in active activities. It can have a traumatic event for those people. The fact that we have always been a nation of riflemen has afforded us the luxury of not being numb to military operations. Now is not the time to become numb and the further militarization of police needs to be put to a stop.