When I was a youngster, it was not uncommon to receive a holster and toy gun for a present; my friends would also receive such gifts and we would endlessly practice quick-draws and make as if we were waging war on the enemy- in those days, “Indians”. If we only got one gun, we let it be known that we wanted two with a double-holster. These days if the feds ask a police chief if he wants rubber bullets or some other lesser “crime-fighting” tool , such as tear gas he/she will say yes and then ask for military-grade armored trucks , a quarter- million ammunition magazines, aircraft, and tons of machine guns to boot. They will seek huge amounts of funding for SWAT operations some which focus on trivial tasks like liquor inspections, minor drug raids and the like. Many politicians, with their fingers in the political wind, are OK with such funding because after-all it is all being done for the sake of our war against global terrorism or drugs (the latter war cannot be won). The problem is, there aren’t any terrorists in these remote areas. Our country is being turned into a Third-World Country battle-ground. The movement started during our war against drugs and has continued since. Nearly 400 local police departments and 100 state agencies have stretched out their hands asking for the equipment; the greatest grabbing appears to be coming from the central and southern part of the country although most states have taken advantage of the virtually free Pentagon-to-police transfers coming in the form of Justice Department grants.
These policies have been high-lighted by the show of military-style force in Ferguson, Missouri these past few weeks; the police are not fighting Indians but it strongly seems like they are fighting blacks. The loosely organized plan of attack woefully failed at the street level and has caught the attention of politicians; Senator Claire McCaskill (Democrat) will head a hearing in September to review the wisdom of demilitarizing the police departments. She appears to be joined in this effort by Senator Paul (Republican) and President Obama. We hope these sessions lead quickly to resolve this crazy notion that arming the police in this fashion is even remotely prudent. For me, I sometimes think about how sad our thoughts were when we roamed the scarce and rural countryside of my childhood shooting cap guns at imaginary Indians.
UPDATE: 5/18/15: President Obama is taking action to ban the distribution of military-style weapons, and substantially restrict the transfer of other types of weapons, to police departments. The action is being taken to ease the tensions between minorities and others across the nation and intended to coincide with the mind-set that police should be “guardians”, not “Warriors”.