I don’t know about you, but this seems a little counter-intuitive to me.
At a time when we are being told that we should allow our personal weapons to be taken away, police forces all around the country are becoming more aggressive and militarized:
…Since the 1960s, in response to a range of perceived threats, law-enforcement agencies across the U.S., at every level of government, have been blurring the line between police officer and soldier. Driven by martial rhetoric and the availability of military-style equipment—from bayonets and M-16 rifles to armored personnel carriers—American police forces have often adopted a mind-set previously reserved for the battlefield. The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the U.S. scene: the warrior cop—armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties…
The country’s first official SWAT team started in the late 1960s in Los Angeles. By 1975, there were approximately 500 such units. Today, there are thousands. According to surveys conducted by the criminologist Peter Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University, just 13% of towns between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team in 1983. By 2005, the figure was up to 80%.
The number of raids conducted by SWAT-like police units has grown accordingly. In the 1970s, there were just a few hundred a year; by the early 1980s, there were some 3,000 a year. In 2005 (the last year for which Dr. Kraska collected data), there were approximately 50,000 raids.
A number of federal agencies also now have their own SWAT teams, including the Fish & Wildlife Service, NASA and the Department of the Interior. In 2011, the Department of Education’s SWAT team bungled a raid on a woman who was initially reported to be under investigation for not paying her student loans, though the agency later said she was suspected of defrauding the federal student loan program.
…And are making mistakes – like this one:
In the confusion of detonating flashbang grenades that emit bright, blinding light and a loud explosion that disorients those in earshot, one of the officers became confused. He thought he’d been hit. And he shot Terebesi’s friend, Gonzalo Guizan, six times, killing him. Guizan was unarmed; no gun was found.
…And this one:
A 61-year-old man was shot to death by police while his wife was handcuffed in another room during a drug raid on the wrong house.
Police admitted their mistake, saying faulty information from a drug informant contributed to the death of John Adams Wednesday night. They intended to raid the home next door.
The two officers, 25-year-old Kyle Shedran and 24-year-old Greg Day, were placed on administrative leave with pay.
“They need to get rid of those men, boys with toys,” said Adams’ 70-year-old widow, Loraine.
John Adams was watching television when his wife heard pounding on the door. Police claim they identified themselves and wore police jackets. Loraine Adams said she had no indication the men were police. “I thought it was a home invasion. I said ‘Baby, get your gun!,” she said, sitting amid friends and relatives gathered at her home to cook and prepare for Sunday’s funeral.
I’m not anti-police by any stretch of the imagination but when I am told that the average citizen is too stupid to own a gun and I can google “raid wrong house” and get 19.2 million hits, one has to wonder who is really too stupid to have a gun. They are also working to weaken the individuals right to self defense through attack of state laws like Florida’s “stand your ground” laws.
It seems inconsistent to me that:
- We are told to “shelter in place” and wait for the police to come – when seconds matter and they are ten minutes away.
- We are told that disarmament is safer and yet they are arming themselves to the teeth.
- When the American public is being stripped of personal protection, government employees are spending billions gearing up to protect themselves.
Maybe it is just me but if police forces need this gear, would that not mean that criminals are getting more violent, not less? Would that not mean that there is a greater need for individual gun ownership?