Friday, 15 August 2014

Rand Might Be Right On This

Rand Paul, about every six months....says something I agree with.  Yeah, it's rare.

Yesterday, Rand came out with a comment leading back to the Ferguson riot situation....that we need to demilitarize our police force.  I have to admit....I do agree totally with Rand on this episode.

At some point in the early 1960s (Philly in 1964)....SWAT was created.  Historians and journalists don't chat much over what drive Philly to start a SWAT.  Some people will talk about radical movements which really start to take root in the mid-1970s....but few if any of those existed in 1962/1963 on the streets of Philly.

What the historians do chat the Los Angeles dealings with radical crime elements and revolutionary warfare in 1967.  The radicals of the late 60's had arrived and were turning L A into a very dangerous place for the regular cop with a 38-pistol or shotgun.

What most of us can say is that it was barely noticed in the 1970s....but all of the top forty cities in America saw SWAT as public relations gimmick to make the public happy.  By the 1980s....they were acquiring armored vehicles from Army surplus.  Bigger name cities like Atlanta or Denver were putting up an ample budget for larger caliber automatic rifles, more ammo, and fancy gear that you'd typically see on some TV show or movie.

By the 1990s.....most smaller towns with seventy cops.....had some group of guys that they sponsored and gave them SWAT gear.  They wanted it used for house searches and incorporated the SWAT tactics into everyday cop "warfare".

People got around to accepting cop "warfare".  Guys came off Iraq/Afghanistan out....moved into law enforcement.....and talked their bosses into acquiring military-related gear.

So, now we have towns of 100,000 residents, with 150 cops, who carry an awful lot of military gear....dress like military "thugs"....and mostly pretend to be cops but are something radically different.

As for the Ferguson episode?  I'm not sure what happened (in terms of facts) that caused this kid to be killed by the one cop there.  It seems like the kid felt he needed to escape....if you go by the story told by the media, but you'd ask if there was something left out of the story, or if the kid was charged up on some kinda drug and didn't grasp that.

As for the days of riots since then?  None of the local business fronts want their operation broken into or burnt to the ground.  Cops are trying to make sure things get defused.  Locals see the military-style in operation and don't like it......with hundreds of non-locals arriving and just making the mess worse.

All of this ought to make people ask questions about their police Rand says.  But I doubt if the cops want to go to a kinder or gentler mentality.     They've bought their toys and don't intend to lose them.