Hasn't violent crime in the US gone down considerably over the past few decades? But honestly I don't care -- anything that makes things more like a dystopian sci-fi novel or comic or movie is cool in my book.
Life in the modern US is a farce worthy of Kafka. We live in one of the safest societies ever to exist on the face of the planet, yet due to proliferation of 24 hour "news" that is devoted to spreading panic and the ease with which anyone can upload a video of the latest tragedy, people believe they live in under a constant deadly threat. Law enforcement and pols exploit this feeling to enhance their own power, and it morphs in to a self-reinforcing meme.
Sometimes I doubt whether our animal brains are prepared to deal with a world in which everything that happens will be captured on video and put on the net for all to see
McLuhan was keen to note that we basically have lived in a virtual reality since mass media, and mass video media and now viral social media just take that to the nth degree. With actual VR on the threshold of going mainstream IMHO, it will be interesting to see just how zany things get.
Small town sheriff buys tank
Really there is no need to exaggerate the stupidity of these purchases with misleading use of language. They're stupid enough as it is even if you use the correct names for things. That vehicle is not a tank. It doesn't have a gun or a turret. It's an armored car. That doesn't sound quite as obscene, to be sure, but let's not confuse the issue with the wrong terminology. No one is driving an M1 down the highway to pick up donuts, not even an AFV.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure the violent crime rate has been on a downward trend for at least 30 years. Here is a chart that goes back a ways: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-1 Of course, I wouldn't consider this a tank. It's just a military grade armored personnel carrier. Mine and ambush resistant, so small towns can handle your run of the mill everyday "Heat" type scenarios. Like they do.
Citizens that get a thrill seeing these behemoths in parades will find themselves quite upset to discover their local jurisdictions on the receiving end of massive lawsuits for police overkill.
LEO has a vested interest in viewing their toil as that of an occupying force rather than policing a community. Many of them are from military backgrounds with experience and training in occupying foreign areas.
It is easier to occupy than it is police. And apparently cheaper, too.
If the answer to either of these questions is "No", the vehicle in question is not a tank. It may still be piece of armour, but to call it a tank is incorrect and misleading.
Different vehicles possess radically different equipment and armament, and fill radically different roles. You wouldn't call an ambulance a fire truck, even though they are both routinely seen at the scene of a fire.
It is bad enough on its own that police forces are purchasing (non-tank) pieces of armour. You don't have to misinform and confuse people by repeatedly employing the wrong terminology for the vehicles in question - they should be suitably concerned without the scare tactics.
Dude its Cory Doctorow Its like, his whole schtick to intentionally choose the words which grab the reader's attention... he is... an author it'll be ok
Meanwhile, let us continue to desire the disarmament of the general populace...
Oh FFS, no it hasn't.
And of course the criminals are all going to lay down their weapons in fear.
Don't be surprised when the criminals start using rocket launchers and armour piercing sabot rounds in .50cal mahine guns.
And then the cops go for real tanks.
And then the criminals get anti-tank weapons
And then ...
This is precisely the reason why we need to get more law-abiding patrons of Sonic Burger and Target to carry assault weapons. Because otherwise how are the cops supposed to justify their own military gear? Sheesh.
If I ever move back to Las Vegas, I want one for a daily driver. Those people are dangerous.
The LAPD has apparently had those things since at least '87:
Invoking the authorship of novels to justify bad journalism is like defending surgical malpractice by pointing out you're a really good butcher.
Two differing tasks can be accomplished using the same sort of tool, but still require vastly different approaches, techniques, and results.
Can we talk about the much greater injustice occurring here?
Since when does Boing Boing embed autoplay videos?
Cory, that is a truck. Yes, it's a stupidly oversized armored military truck that serves no purpose in a police department except as a penis extension, but it's still a truck. This is not a minor nitpick. It is no more a "tank" than it is an aircraft carrier.
You know this. You are a smart guy, you are a fantastic writer, you know that words mean things and that word choice matters. And you've done this kind of thing many times before on this site*, in clearer circumstances even than this one. That means you're not just mistaken about a point of vocabulary, which would be fine even though my pedantic side would grumble. You are making shit up to try to get a stronger emotional response from your audience.
It's insulting, man. We're supposed to be the rational ones, the evidence-based ones, the ones who can deal with the plain, unadorned truth. Show us the facts and trust us to come to a wise conclusion.
And worse than that, it feeds the perception that progressives are a bunch of shrill, manipulative jerks. It makes people who might be on the fence, who might be amenable to reason, more inclined to say "those stupid liberals don't know what they're talking about, don't trust them."
Please reconsider this approach. I'm asking you as a fan of your writing and of your politics. You're better than this.
*I'm afraid I do not have citations handy, because I am not quite feeling stalker-y enough to start keeping an "Errors Made By Cory Doctorow" journal.
So do they really need such hardware to shoot the family dog?