Police Militarization Escalates Even As Violence Declines -- And There's A Good Chance It's Going To Get Worse

from the a-mess dept

We've been writing about the militarization of police, and why it's problematic, for years -- but the events of the last week in Ferguson, Missouri, have really shone a (rather bright) light on what happens when you militarize the police. Annie Lowrey, over at New York Magazine, highlights what may be most disturbing about all of it: all of this has happened while violence has been on a rapid decline, and, no it's not because your local suburban police force now has a SWAT team and decommissioned military equipment from the Defense Department:
Since 1990, according to Department of Justice statistics, the United States has become a vastly safer place, at least in terms of violent crime. (Drug crime follows somewhat different trends, though drug use has been dropping over the same time period.) The number of murders dropped to 14,827 in 2012 from 23,438 in 1990. The number of rapes has plummeted to 84,376 from 102,555. The number of robberies, motor-vehicle thefts, assaults — all have seen similarly large declines. And the number of incidents has dropped even though the country has grown.

[....]

And there’s no evidence that giving police officers the weapons of war has had anything to do with that decline in crime, either, with researchers pegging it to a combination of factors, among them the removal of lead from paint and gasoline, an increase in abortion rates, and improved policing methods.
So, instead, we get a very militarized police -- and tons of cases where it is being used in cases that absolutely don't warrant it. At all.

And here's the really disturbing thing. It may get a lot worse. As Vanity Fair notes, on June 19th, Rep. Alan Grayson had offered up an amendment on the Defense Appropriations bill, which would have limited the militarization of police. And it failed by a wide margin. Included in those voting against it? The guy who represents Ferguson.
The amendment attracted the support of only 62 members, while 355 voted against it (14 didn’t vote). Included among those voting against it was Rep. William Lacy Clay (D), who represents Ferguson. Clay was joined by every senior member of the Democratic Party leadership team, including Reps. Nancy Pelosi (CA), Steny Hoyer (MD), and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (SC). Democrats did form the bulk of support for the amendment (with 43 votes in favor), with 19 Republicans supporting as well—led by libertarian-conservative Rep. Justin Amash (MI), who lamented that “military-grade equipment . . . shouldn’t be used on the street by state and local police” on his Facebook page.
Apparently, arming the police with military equipment has powerful lobbying support. Because why expect people to think about what actually makes sense when there's money and FUD on the line:

Why was there such tremendous opposition to the Grayson-Amash effort? Two very powerful constituencies in Congress may be to blame: the defense industry, and the police lobby.

Take Rep. Clay. He has been all over the news media calling for justice in his district, and demanding an investigation of Brown’s death. Yet like every House member, he is up for re-election every two years, and his fourth-largest donor is the political action committee of the weapons maker Boeing.

So there's that. And then, let's take things up a notch. Scott Greenfield alerts us to the news that a judge over in Colorado has determined that the Cinemark Theater where James Holmes opened fired on the opening night of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" may have some responsibility because it should have known that such an attack might happen. Despite the fact that there has never been such a shooting in a theater, the judge says that the theater should have been prepared for such a possibility:

Noting "the grim history of mass shootings and mass killings that have occurred in more recent times," U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled that Cinemark — owner of the Century Aurora 16 theater — could have predicted that movie patrons might be targeted for an attack. Jackson's ruling allows 20 lawsuits filed by survivors of the attack or relatives of those killed to proceed toward trial.

"Although theaters had theretofore been spared a mass shooting incident, the patrons of a movie theater are, perhaps even more than students in a school or shoppers in a mall, 'sitting ducks,' " Jackson wrote.

That makes absolutely no sense. But the inevitable result, as Greenfield notes, seems to be a lot more militarized police -- and now, private security guards... everywhere. Just in case.
Consider, if what happened in Aurora, the duty of businesses to be prepared for the act of a one-in-a-million crazy. The biggest growth job in America will be armed guard. Every theater will require its own SWAT team, perhaps a MRAP or Bearcat. Office buildings, parks, skating rinks, pretty much anywhere more than three people gather, could be the next target of a madman. They will all need security, armed with the weapons needed to take out any crazy.

Don’t blame the businesses. They’re just trying to cover their foreseeable obligations. Sure, there is almost no chance, almost no possibility whatsoever, that they will be the target of the next insane shooter, but Judge Jackson says it’s still foreseeable. In fact, that no one has ever shot up a skating rink makes it even more foreseeable, by his rationale.
It is difficult to comprehend how profoundly screwed up all of this is.

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  1.  
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    Michael, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 11:23am

    "Although theaters had theretofore been spared a mass shooting incident, the patrons of a movie theater are, perhaps even more than students in a school or shoppers in a mall, 'sitting ducks,'"

    I really hope Disney and 6 Flags are taking note, because the only people that are more like "sitting ducks" than people in a movie theater seat are people actually strapped in by a contraption that needs to be released by the operator.

    Oh, wait, how about people stuck in traffic? The state is going to have quite the lawsuit when someone opens fire on a group of motorists that are stuck on the highway because of construction.

     

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  2.  
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    Adrian Lopez, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 11:24am

    The problem with giving cops military weapons and equipment is that they start looking for reasons to use them.

     

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  3.  
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    Michael, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 11:29am

    Re:

    We should be giving them humanitarian equipment.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 11:34am

    I think the rich are afraid and have had their congress critters do something. I'll tell you why.

    We've had this extended depression which has over and over again been called a recession that is going to end any day now. Yet it is still going on with tons of people giving up any hope of finding any meaningful work at a living wage pay. It's not going to get better. The boomer age was blessed with lots of jobs for lots of people. The job part is disappearing through automation and foreign labor and jobs aren't coming back.

    Everything around us is going up due to inflation and corporate gouging for that next profit quarter. Wages are not following. At some point we will reach the choice of food or roof, many are already there. Minimum wage will not get you a 2 bedroom apt if you have a child.

    I suspect that the think tanks have come up with the idea we are facing rioting/arab spring/uprising in our future as all this makes the perfect storm.

    That's why the military grade hardware is doing at your local cop shop.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 11:43am

    "Take Rep. Clay. He has been all over the news media calling for justice in his district, and demanding an investigation of Brown’s death. Yet like every House member, he is up for re-election every two years, and his fourth-largest donor is the political action committee of the weapons maker Boeing."

    Where's a crowdfunding Congressman when you need one? Maybe even use online polls to essentially sell the seat (vote) to constituants. Talk about your potential to have a more democratic system than ever before.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 11:44am

    Every issue I dig deeper into there is always the problem of the influence of large, monied interests. Hate to say it but we need to address this root issue first

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 11:47am

    Money in politics is like booze: it has a few bad side-effects, some REALLY bad side-effects if you get too into it, and if they made it illegal it'd just go underground.

    What I don't understand is why there's no massive social stigma against it. I mean, look right there: "Ferguson's congressman funded by military-industrial complex, voted against demilitarizing police". Nothing's going to happen to that guy, or Boeing, no matter how self-evident it gets that militarized police in Ferguson is a bad thing. Why is that? People care about the effect, but not about the cause? I don't get it. If you don't get the roots, the weeds grow back...

     

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  8.  
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    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 11:54am

    Okay, wait, let me follow this logic...

    We need to have police officers with big guns anywhere and everywhere that someone might be able to go on a rampage killing?

    That's a lot of cops with a lot of guns. We're going to look like...no, even the Soviet Union didn't look like that.

     

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  9.  
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    Michael, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Okay, wait, let me follow this logic...

    We need to have police officers with big guns anywhere and everywhere that someone might be able to go on a rampage killing?

    We have that - and the police officers with big guns that we put everywhere and anywhere seem to be on a killing rampage.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:01pm

    I would not rule out the possibility that Boeing may provide contributions to Rep. Clay because he is the representative for the congressional district in which a major Boeing business unit is located, i.e., Boeing Defense, Space & Security (formerly, McDonnell Douglas).

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:03pm

    2nd Amendment

    Was put there for this reason.

    No only are we intended to defend ourselves per the founding fathers, we are intended to defend the nation.

    When a country goes corrupt, they try to take the weapons away. Whether they succeed or not depends upon the number of Patriots that remain.

     

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  12.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re:

    MREs for the homeless?

     

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  13.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:10pm

    Re: 2nd Amendment

    The Second Ammendement has been meaningless since the thirties, latest.

    You want to fight the Government? Protect the First and Fourth.

     

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  14.  
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    Michael, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Apparently, we can't do that:

    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:14pm

    and if examined properly, i'll bet that those who want this militarization of the police and who expect certain places to have cognitive abilities are either/both involved in some sort of financial arrangement, have an agreement with the police never to be disturbed or are so naive as to think whatever bad things happen, they happen elsewhere, never interfering with their life

     

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  16.  
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    Roger Strong (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    I really hope Disney and 6 Flags are taking note

    Given Sea World's problems with protestors, I hesitate to ask which weapons systems they and the local police have received from the Navy.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Okay, wait, let me follow this logic...

    If they want guns everywhere to respond to bag guys, thats easy!

    Embrace Concealed Carry ( Citizens purchase their own guns, cost tax payers nothing!)

    Get rid of these stupid "Gun Free Zones" Many of these mass shootings take place in gun free zones. The reason is that even criminals are not dumb, they pick the places where they can do the most damage.

    Criminals list of easy targets where return fire is unlikely:
    Schools
    Parks
    Stores/theaters/other public places that ban weapons
    Military bases were personnel are not allowed to carry weapons
    Insert other gun free zone

     

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  18.  
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    ECA (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:41pm

    Paranoia

    Paranoia,
    Its not just something at home.
    They spread it Everywhere..
    I know my numbers are off..
    4000 killed in building collapse, 50,000 military killed.
    Millions of civilians killed.

     

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  19.  
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    zip, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:47pm

    roll over Eisenhower

    I blame Eisenhower for not seeing far enough into the future. He neglected to mention in his famous farewell address that the military–industrial complex he gravely warned us about would target not just national defense, but 'civilian' law enforcement as well.

     

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  20.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Re:

    This. Gave you last word for it.

     

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  21.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Re:

    This. Gave you last word for it.

     

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  22.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re: Okay, wait, let me follow this logic...

    "even criminals are not dumb"

    Since when?

     

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  23.  
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    James T, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 1:02pm

    Comic relief

     

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  24.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 1:04pm

    Re: roll over Eisenhower

    He pulled his punches a bit with that speech. Originally, his "industrial-military complex" was the more correct "congressional-industrial-military complex". But he was talked into dropping the "congressional" part.

     

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  25.  
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    rapnel, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: 2nd Amendment

    Sorry, wrong answer, I think so anyway.

    Who, ruling the land of anywhere, is going to give a fuck about any amendments with you wielding the rock that's in your hand?

    It's all or nothing and in no particular order should deference be given.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: 2nd Amendment

    how do you plan to protect either without the 2nd?

    Go back to your fairy tail world where stuff does not make sense... come back to the real world when you understand the meaning of this saying...

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants from time to time.

    Right now the tyrant IS the central government and the rest of the thugosphere known as "johnny law" is not hesitating to take every advantage they can!

     

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  27.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: 2nd Amendment

    In all fairness, the second amendment doesn't help much at all when it comes to defending against the government itself. When it comes to opposing the US military, you may as well be using rocks.

    If you're itching for a fight against the US military, the only method that has any hope of success is what used to be called "guerrilla warfare" but is now called "terrorism."

    But if things really reach that point, then everyone has already lost anyway.

     

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  28.  
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    tomczerniawski, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 1:44pm

    Well, it's obvious. If reduced violence leads to increased police militarization, then *ultra-violence* will do away with it.

    Right?

     

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  29.  
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    rapnel, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 2nd Amendment

    When it comes to opposing the US military, or, more importantly if it comes, you would prefer that your arms be taken well beforehand then? So that you really do only have rocks?

    I'm afraid I'd never subscribe to that line of thought, like, ever.

    In all fairness, we have absolutely zero idea what's going to "help" and that is inclusive of any value, realized or not, from the 2nd.

    If you believe the 2nd to be useless then I'd much prefer that you hedge that bet and keep it intact as opposed to merely thinking it's "not helpful" before any patriotic calls to arms have even rung out.

     

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  30.  
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    Antsan (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: Okay, wait, let me follow this logic...

    Germany is a mostly gun free zone. Seems there are less mass shootings here then over where you are.

     

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  31.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2nd Amendment

    " you would prefer that your arms be taken well beforehand then?"

    Nope, but that's a total red herring. Literally nobody outside of a handful of fringe types who have no power is talking about taking anyone's arms away. let alone planning for it.

    "If you believe the 2nd to be useless"

    I don't believe any such thing, and have never said that I do. I'm just saying that the idea that the 2nd amendment is critical so that we can defend against an out-of-control government is bogus and has always been bogus, for purely practical reasons. There are other things that the 2nd amendment is very useful for.

    "you hedge that bet and keep it intact"

    I am not (and as far as I know, nobody is) proposing to do away with the amendment.

    This sort of response is why it's essentially impossible to have any sort of discussion about guns at all. The pro-gun folks insist on arguing against positions that nobody is taking. As long as that happens, a productive conversation is impossible.

     

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  32.  
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    Avantare, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 4:12pm

    Re:

    How about this for a great example. I think anyway.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIcqb9hHQ3E

     

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  33.  
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    Avantare, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Okay, wait, let me follow this logic...

    Citation please. :-P

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 4:24pm

    United Fascists of America at work.

     

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    Padpaw (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 4:28pm

    Yet those in charge are doing their utmost to remove the 2nd amendment from existence. That should be setting off alarm bells considering how heavily militarized the police have become. Do we really need another massacre that follows disarming populace controlled by a heavily armed military force that pretends to police

     

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  36.  
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    Padpaw (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2nd Amendment

    I take it you did not hear about California requiring gun owners to register their firearms then deciding that some guns were now illegal. Oh look they all these people that trusted them enough to register with them. Want to guess what they did? They sent out police to seize the now illegal guns, guns that were not illegal when they were registered, but are illegal now that they know who has them.

    They are not the only state to start gun registration, save the other states didn't have as many trusting fools that believed the info would never be used to seize their guns. Most citizens boycotted the registration.

     

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  37.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 5:14pm

    If one gallon of gasoline doesn't stop the fire, just add more!

    The really funny/worrying part to this push of 'more armed cops/security everywhere!' is that the idea that maybe, perhaps those armed 'guards' might be the ones who snap and go on a shooting spree never seems to even be considered. Also never considered, the fact that having a bunch of armed 'security' wandering around is likely to make people feel less safe, like they're always in danger, increasing, not decreasing, the odds that one of them might snap or take it into their hands to 'protect' themselves pre-emptively.

    Of course should something like that occur(and it will), I'm sure they'll just push for more security, more guards, because obviously the best way to decrease violence and the chance for a one-in-a-million shooting spree is giving more people guns and the authority to use them as they see fit to 'protect' people.

     

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  38.  
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    JMT (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: 2nd Amendment

    "Go back to your fairy tail world where stuff does not make sense..."

    You mean the one where a bunch of armed citizens take on the government and win by killing a bunch of them? That makes sense to you?

    And fairies don't have tails...

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    is-actually-saving-the-environment

    Naw, they'd never use that.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 2nd Amendment

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 5:50pm

    The biggest danger is from the protectors themselves.

     

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  42.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 5:58pm

    Re:

    ...go fight club on the bankster headquarters ? ? ?

     

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  43.  
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    lucidrenegade (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Okay, wait, let me follow this logic...

    Same thing with China, though they tend to go stabby over there instead.

     

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    Whatever, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 6:10pm

    If you peons didn't get so trigger happy with your cell phones and torrents then maybe this wouldn't happen.

     

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  45.  
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    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 6:13pm

    What Have You Got Against The Cops’ Right To Bear Arms?

    As you point out yourself, the correlation is clear: more cops bearing weapons ⇔ less violent crime.

    Because guns are good, right?

     

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  46.  
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    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 6:19pm

    How a revolution classically works

    You mean the one where a bunch of armed citizens take on the government and win by killing a bunch of them? That makes sense to you?

    I think the way that works is it devolves into an asymmetric war, in which the insurgents conduct hit-and-run strikes to sabotage the infrastructure, avoiding conflict when at all possible. Guns help in, say, covering a retreat, or in a one-on-one situation, but generally, as a revolutionary, if you are engaged in a firefight with the regime's forces you've already done something wrong.

    Ideally, one does a lot by providing services to those who have been oppressed. The police and the government they represent will provide for all the bad press you want, you just have to make sure their actions get revealed to the public, and the people will eventually start sympathizing you.

    And you'll always get recruits from people whose kids got shot by a trigger-happy cop, or whose family was starved to death when they cancelled services, or whatever. Here in the US, I suspect that the DEA's SWAT raids on wrong addresses will provide you a small army of agents willing to subvert the system for the good of the people.

    But revolutions are seldom fought in stand-up battles. Heck, even the US Revolution wasn't: we hid in the woods behind trees while the english made proud, red battle lines.

    Speaking of hiding in the trees, it's telling that cops now dress in camo, rather than blues. I'm still not sure who thunk that one up.

     

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    Vincent Clement (profile), Aug 18th, 2014 @ 6:48pm

    The By-law Enforcement Officers in my city now wear protective body armor due to a single incident when a property owner pointed a gun (determined to be a BB gun) at an officer. No shot fired but apparently they now have to wear a kevlar vest (that won't stop a speeding bullet)

    Between the dark ball cap, the dark uniform, shoulder patch and body armor, the By-law Enforcement Officers could easily be mistaken for a Police Officer.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 7:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I did hear that modern combat rations have improved sufficiently that British and Australian troops were willing to trade some of their supplies for them.

     

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    Sambo, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 8:42pm

    Gees Mike, you are having difficult comprehending how screwed up it all is?

    Try looking at it all from a different country all together, (that also has a proud hunting tradition however no NRA either).

    It's like watching a Cormac McCarthy book in real life.

     

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    Rekrul, Aug 18th, 2014 @ 9:29pm

    But the police need all this stuff for the "war on terror". Like in Missouri where it's being used against all those domestic terrorists...

     

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    Whatever (profile), Aug 19th, 2014 @ 2:52am

    It's never as easy as you paint it to be

    The decline in serious crime needs to be taken with a bit of a grain of salt, because so many things are going on that just no longer get reported. So many people realize that reporting crime just leads to more problems. It's the old "snitches get stitches" problem. There is also the problem that with so many illegals living in the US these days, much of the crime goes unreported because they don't want issues.

    This dovetails with the issue of street gangs, which are huge and getting bigger all of the time. They are violent, they don't have any respect for the law, and they are armed to the teeth.

    27 police officers have been killed by gunfire this year alone in the US, which is pretty scary, but is down compared to the average for the last 5 years. Where are the huge street protests and looting when that happens?

    So to say that they are militarizing for no reason is to ignore the main reasons why they are doing it. It's no longer possible in many places for an officer to serve a warrant by showing up with his or her partner and knocking on the door. Now they use SWAT. In many places cops won't even do a traffic stop alone. The risks are too high.

     

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    Whatever (profile), Aug 19th, 2014 @ 2:55am

    Re: It's never as easy as you paint it to be

    For those who wonder, you can read a story like this one:

    http://www.odmp.org/officer/18115-officer-richard-allen-may-jr

    He is one of the 27 officers who died from gunfire in the line of duty, shot for no other reason than being a cop and expecting someone to stop fighting.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 3:05am

    Re: Re: It's never as easy as you paint it to be

    Yeah, don't you feel safer now that the police have all those filthy citizens wielding walking canes and game console remotes under control? Filthy serfs.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 3:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2nd Amendment

    "..but are illegal now that they know who has them."
    Which law abiding people have them anyway.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 3:21am

    The Pros And Cons Of Militarizing The Police

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 19th, 2014 @ 4:15am

    Re: It's never as easy as you paint it to be

    The decline in serious crime needs to be taken with a bit of a grain of salt, because so many things are going on that just no longer get reported.

    Source? Because it doesn't make sense. The assertion that crime is going down is based on official statistics. If they are so scared of crime going up why would they defeat the reason for acquiring weaponry and gear by concealing the statistics? You know, if crime was actually high people would be more supportive.

    This dovetails with the issue of street gangs, which are huge and getting bigger all of the time. They are violent, they don't have any respect for the law, and they are armed to the teeth.

    Citation please. Sure there are more problematic neighborhoods but they are local issues not the general picture. Sao Paulo is one of the most violent cities in the world and there's a fair level of crime here and yet if you avoid certain places the chance of being targeted by some criminal is quite similar to low crime cities.

    27 police officers have been killed by gunfire this year alone in the US, which is pretty scary, but is down compared to the average for the last 5 years. Where are the huge street protests and looting when that happens?

    Oh wow, that's an insanely huge number for a profession that, you know, involves such risk. This does not justify cops treating every citizen as a criminal pointing guns at will. Care to drop the number of civilians killed by cops? Then we can talk.

    So to say that they are militarizing for no reason is to ignore the main reasons why they are doing it.

    Agreed. That's precisely what is being discussed, the militarization is both uncalled for given the statistics and improper given they should be serving the public and not waging war.

    The risks are too high.

    They know it when they sign up for the job. I'm all for cop safety but the public safety comes first.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    me, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 4:53am

    You're describing a situation

    Where police are declaring war on the civilian population.

    Because they feel they can.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 5:58am

    Re: Re: Okay, wait, let me follow this logic...

    So by the logic of the courts, gun free zones should be seen as easy targets. In fact, that is where most shootings are these days. And who made these gun free zones? Politicians. So we should be suing politicians.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 6:11am

    What about Obama's citizen army?

    If you want to see something scary, go to YouTube and look up the video with Obama on the campaign trail saying he wanted a citizen army as strong as the real army. Then watch the crowd cheer. I bet they don't even know what they are cheering about.

     

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  60.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 19th, 2014 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re:

    The bankers have enough money to replace any buildings brought down. This would be a effective as beating yourself up.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 8:30am

    Despite the fact that there has never been such a shooting in a theater, the judge says that the theater should have been prepared for such a possibility:


    Way late to the party, but you might want to ask mary Todd Lincoln about this one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 19th, 2014 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 2nd Amendment

    "They sent out police to seize the now illegal guns, guns that were not illegal when they were registered, but are illegal now that they know who has them."

    No, I haven't heard about this. I did a quick web search and didn't find anything supporting this assertion either -- it was quick, though so I may have missed it.

    I did find a number of articles about gun confiscations and a new law that allows them under certain circumstances, but nothing about a wholesale sort of thing you're talking about.

     

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  63.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 19th, 2014 @ 8:34am

    Re: It's never as easy as you paint it to be

    "27 police officers have been killed by gunfire this year alone in the US, which is pretty scary"

    27 seems like an incredibly low number. It's a tragedy, of course, but hardly seems like a crisis kind of situation. Particularly when you compare it to other occupations with a higher mortality rate than nobody gets all upset about.

    "It's no longer possible in many places for an officer to serve a warrant by showing up with his or her partner and knocking on the door. Now they use SWAT."

    Yes, which is a HUGE problem.

    "The risks are too high."

    Can you support this? What is "too high"?

     

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  64.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 19th, 2014 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Okay, wait, let me follow this logic...

    Isn't it Sweden that most of the citizens own guns and yet nothing happens over there ether? I know that those citizens were all in the armed forces, but that kinda proves a point I'm about to make.

    If you want to carry a gun, you should have to prove that you know how to use it. Not just fill out a survey, but actually take classes and such.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 10:18am

    Re:

    That immediately came to my mind as well, but John Wilkes Booth committed a single homicide as opposed to a mass shooting. That said, I'm not entirely certain there was never a theater mass shooting before Aurora either, but I'll have to look into it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    LduN (profile), Aug 19th, 2014 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re:

    they'll be using pocket battleships floating in the pools for defense. Might give a whole new meaning to the Splash zone

     

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  67.  
    icon
    John85851 (profile), Aug 19th, 2014 @ 2:58pm

    Re: 2nd Amendment

    Did you read the article? Have you been keeping up with current events? The police have military-level hardware. What arms do you have that could possibly stop the military? And if you somehow managed to stop the police with your handgun, what about the National Guard or the army?

    In other words, it's a good game to talk about how people can take up arms against the government, but the reality is that you wouldn't get very far.

    The other reality is that the 2nd amendment was written in the 1780's, when it was possible for a band of scrappy militia-men with muskets turn back the redcoats of the British military. Now, not so much.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    GEMont, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 5:25pm

    Americo Inc.

    "It is difficult to comprehend how profoundly screwed up all of this is."

    Only if you do not understand who and what is behind it all and why it is happening.

    Once you understand the who and the why, its incredibly easy to comprehend exactly how screwed up all of this is, because then you'll understand exactly what all of this is intended to accomplish.

    Corporate thinking:

    - Militarily Armed Police means a shitload of new sales of military grade hardware, AND

    - a lowering of the general un-needed workforce through its day to day use on US streets against the "adversary", AND

    - a far superior First Line Of Defense against the inevitable rebellion that will take place when the corporations reach that point where the only way to make more money this year than last year, is to steal the very last possessions of the middle class.

    They have already drained the possessions of the poor.

    Learn what the corporate rulers consider to be a manageable and sustainable workforce size, and you will then understand how many Americans must die to insure the future of the Fascist States of Amerika and America's Billionaires.

    Or you could just go back to sleep.
    ---

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    GEMont, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 5:43pm

    Re: Re: It's never as easy as you paint it to be

    Duh!

    In the Line Of Duty.

    You do understand what that actually means right.

    The officer was NOT forced to don the uniform and weapon and police the streets.

    He offered his service - the line of duty - in return for an income.

    If he was unaware that bad people might take offense to his uniformed, armed presence and try to make him dead, then the psych evaluation should have rejected his offer.

    When posting apparent factoids, it might appear to be a more honest argument if one included other similar statistics to allow comparisons to be made - such as number of civilians killed by police, number of bystanders killed by police and number of laborers killed falling from construction scaffolding, for the same time period.

    I must thank you for the service you provide. I do hope they pay you well for your efforts because they do little more than show everyone with a functioning brain, just how utterly dishonest the "other" side of this and other arguments that you make really are.

    I only wish all other shills were as inept and obvious.
    ---

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 5:45pm

    Re:

    ... or an officer of the SS

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 5:59pm

    Re: Re: 2nd Amendment

    "What arms do you have that could possibly stop the military?"

    How about chlorine and iodine.....

    You're not paying attention.
    In a rebellion, you NEVER want to run up against the state's military might. You've already lost in that sort of situation.
    Perhaps this might make things a little clearer:
    The critters commonly referred to today as Terrorists by The Most Transparent Administration In American History, were once called Freedom Fighters, Rebels, or Guerillas.
    The way a rebel wages war against the occupying conquerors, is sabotage (blowing shit up), assassination and supply line redirection - or stealing the enemies' stuff.
    You do not need big fancy guns and tanks and body armor for that sort of warfare.

    You just need incentive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2014 @ 6:03pm

    Re: How a revolution classically works

    Actually, Revolutions classically do not work.

    Its called a Revolution because you always end up right back where you started.

    Sure you have a new gang in power, but they'll pretty soon turn out to be worse than the gang that was ousted.

    And then it all goes around again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 19th, 2014 @ 6:55pm

    The terror is what slows the cycle.

    Nations are not a meta-stable event, but a quasi-stable event. Even our constitutional framers knew that the democracy they engineered was going to deteriorate. They believed that human beings are logical and will vote in their self-interests. But we don't, and we've learned how to manipulate voters so that they vote the way that PR directs them. They hoped that by remembering the horror of bloodshed we'd be vigilant. We weren't.

    Revolutions are a bloody, ugly process. After the old boss is defeated you have to go through the Terror, which is aptly named.

    You see, revolutions are not had by choice. They're had when the alternative is worse. We're not going to have a revolution here in the US until those fighting it have nothing else to live for. (Circumstances that our current police forces seem happy to provide.) By the time the revolutionaries fight their way to the capital, they'll be thoroughly outraged and thoroughly bloodthirsty. And they'll massacre everyone they feel might be a problem, and nothing and no-one will stop them until they're sated.

    The new government will be established by whoever is left. And because they don't want to go through the same process again, they'll be very motivated to make things fair for everyone, not based on morality or principle (because we can't trust the human ape to have any of that) but just to prolong the interim before the next revolution, and the next terror.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re: Re:

    When the book as written, it would have been potentially practical to destroy all the replicated data, which, if you remember the explanation in the film, is the point. The buildings are merely symbolic, and largely incidental.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re: 2nd Amendment

    I think it would be reasonable to interpret the 2A as allowing the citizenry to own military equipment - after all the American Revolution began with militiamen trying to stop the government recovering the field guns it had issued them, and Jefferson's talk of the armed population being meant to keep the government in fear of revolution would suggest that he intended the population to be able to win such a revolution.

    (I'm not saying that's necessarily a sensible basis for public policy, just a reasonable interpretation of the framers' intent.)

    The other reality is that the 2nd amendment was written in the 1780's, when it was possible for a band of scrappy militia-men with muskets turn back the redcoats of the British military. Now, not so much.


    A band of scrappy militiamen armed and supplied by the greatest land power in the world, fighting rather badly-led troops. That sounds rather like Afghanistan in the 80s.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I know (I was running with the symbology), but my snark still applies -- even when the book was written, the idea was completely unrealistic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
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    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 21st, 2014 @ 12:05am

    The framers' intent of Second Amendment

    I'm pretty sure they had and would continue to hold that military weapons should be available to the public. Cost and need are what generally keep privately owned weapons reasonable.

    To clarify, those things that we wouldn't want to be in a common household are usually expensive enough to be prohibitive. And as the budget rises, armaments that better suit the intent avail themselves for cheaper...Unless you really want a "> Heckler & Koch PSG1 to hunt vermin and tresspassers for $10K+

    And if someone can afford a large offensive device, say a fuel-air payload and a means to deliver it, then they're playing and paying at a magnitude that isn't bothered by local weapon-restriction ordinances.

    (Recently, on a hypothetical, I looked up the cost it would take to hire some big mercs with guns to solve a local problem that normal vectors of justice wouldn't solve. I learned it would be plenty easier to hire local cops to throw their weight around.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Aug 21st, 2014 @ 12:07am

    Re: The framers' intent of Second Amendment

    Stupid HTML editing failure.

    This is the PSG1

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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