Consequences of an over-militarized police force

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Anaheim police have blood on their hands. After a man was shot dead in the back of the head as he fled police, residents of the neighborhood in which he lived took to the streets to protest the violence. There, they were met with even more violence from the police.

According to reports from the local news affiliate, police fired bean bags and rubber bullets into the crowd filled with women and children – and then let loose a police canine that attacked a mother and her child. Following the incident, police reportedly tried to purchase cell phone video taken by eyewitnesses. Once again, we’re seeing the consequences of an over-militarized police force.

Thom Hartmann Administrator's picture
Thom Hartmann A...
Dec. 29, 2009 10:59 am


The history of "the cops" began with the protection of property. It has not progressed. We have just been sold the "thin blue line" dogma.

I think there are many police professionals with a much higher standard and vision of "protect and serve," but like social workers trying to humanize a bureaucracy lacking any real desire to correct a problem, these cops struggle against a funding structure that loves to buy stuff more than to engage in "community policing." Having all this neat weaponry and "crowd control devices" means using it.

There was a theory that because the militaries in Latin America offered careers to peasant kids that they would transform the military into a democratic institution. It did well as a theoretical cover for the development of authoritarian military dictatorships and "death squads." Turns out that a lot of the poor do not "love" their 'hood' or their "homeboys." They will associate themselves with their superiors and gun down their former neighbors.

America is losing or has lost that human metric that binds us as a human family. Utilitarianism has commodified and commercialized our souls, and we measure 'morality' in money rather than in what it takes to make and keep human life human in this world. (I use this latter question often in tribute to its author, the late Paul Lehmann, in his major work, Ethics in a Christian Context). The word "human" is ultimately a moral term. How we regard others is about who we are. Our moral intuitions are not easy to verbalize and are real before we put words to them. Learning not to believe in love and compassion because of "realism" is learning to live without your soul.

Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

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