Why America's police look like soldiers

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/25/why-americas-police-look-lik.html

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Definitely a case when a picture is worth a thousand words!

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image

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My little city of ~50K people saw fit to spend over $400K on a lightly-used Light Armoured Vehicle brought back from Afghanistan. That is $400K that wasn’t spent on improving public spaces, affordable housing, increasing the diversity of local government (City council is all white and has just one woman)… any number of ways that money could have been better spent.

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Make all riot gear bright pink.

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Big city police budgets are like the military budgets of fair-size nation states, so they deserve some toys!

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Regan did so many terrible things that have had a long lasting impact.

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My stepfather is a retired cop. He used to have a nice head of hair in the early 80s. Makes me jealous to think about these days. Then he got a flat top and hasn’t let it grow out since. He’s got the GI look without the GI discipline.

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Perhaps some of your city leaders saw the purchase as a way to garner approval (read: votes) from the police and “law and order” citizens?

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I guess I’m not very American, because I don’t accept goddamn stormtroopers marching the streets as part of the American identity.

I never feel so much impotent rage as when I see videos of those jackbooted thugs advancing while pounding their shields with their clubs, or when they chant: “Whose streets – our streets!” I would never commit nor advocate violence against anyone, but I viscerally recognize this as the sort of behavior that kindles bloody revolutions.

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If you do have to call the cops, do hide your dog.

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It’s worse than that. Now your city has to maintain a 400k vehicle with marked up military industrial complex parts and labor. It just keeps on vacuuming up tax dollars.

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I’ve been watching Dark, a German series (great show, btw), and I am struck at how the police in the show are so very different from cops in America. Mostly unarmed, no gung-ho military hardware, not using intimidation as a go-to tactic in every encounter, not acting like a brutal gang that owns the streets.

Things here ain’t right, man.

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I think it’s such a weird coincidence that today when I woke up they were talking on the radio about the police in Mexico City, where I live, and specifically talking about what causes corruption among the police officers. Here the officers have to pay for their own equipment, like bullets, guns, bulletproof vests, even gas for their squad cars, but have a really low salary, causing most of them to start demanding money from citizens in exchange for not giving out tickets, etc.

And here I am later that day finding out that police north of the border get their stuff for free. From the army, nonetheless.

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One of the big problems here is even after people started to take notice that various podunk towns were getting APCs they didn’t really need, those municipalities tried to return them, only to have the military give them the runaround. It’s more cost effective for the damn things to be shipped out of military hands for your small town to foot the maintenance and storage bill than to keep them mothballed elsewhere.

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Oddly enough it’s not a particularly conservative jurisdiction and nobody runs on a “law and order” platform, at least at the municipal level. It’s university/government town. I think it has more to do with how white the area is; white people, even left-leaning white people, have different fears and priorities due to their privilege. Although the purchase warranted a few raised eyebrows and letters to the editor, opposition to the decision didn’t coalesce and people quickly moved on to other things.

That’s not to say that the area lacks minorities, but their perspectives and concerns definitely aren’t taken into account.

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Solution: they get to keep all the guns and tanks (since they ain’t gonna give them up anyway) . . .

. . . but they have to dress as clowns when on duty.

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That’s about the gist of it, isn’t it?

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With polka-dot ‘camouflage’. :wink:

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