Militarization of Society

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I recently flew out of state to a resort town for a week's vacation, the first time in 20 years.

In the hotel where I was staying, there were several Air Force personnel also staying. I saw them everyday in full uniform fatigues, boots and camouflage. I remarked to my companion, why weren't these people in the barracks? We were close to a large base. My companion, who doesn't share my political leanings, but is not a right-winger, replied that they are just like anyone else, they're probably here for a seminar or some sort of training and the government arranges with private hotels to provide lodging. He wasn't concerned about having all these uniformed military persons around. Don't they have "office" uniforms or uniforms besides the boots and camouflage?

As I was waiting at the airport, I saw airport police walking in what appeared to me to be a routine patrol. I think I counted nine officers, four in the front and four in the rear, they all looked like typical police officers. In the middle was another typical-looking police officer, except this one was carrying what appeared to be a military-style assault rifle. I would call it an M-16 but I know nothing about firearms, it was something I had never seen a police officer carry.

chilidog
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Comments

I'm really surprised that there are no comments. Are other people seeing police with military rifles? I live in Los Angeles, lots of police, lots of special events with heavy deployments - I was shocked.

I went on a tour of the Pentagon in the 1980's and everyone wasn't in fatigues. I did some research and apparently what I saw were "Airman Battle Uniforms." Every branch of the armed forces seems to have "service uniforms" and informal attire.

chilidog
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Take a trip to Israel.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/46-reasons-why-iran-should-think-twice-before-attacking-israel-hint-women-with-guns/#

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Redwing
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Jun. 21, 2012 5:12 am

In the Air Force, we had two sets of uniforms. One was for work, commonly called fatigues. The other was for wearing in public, commonly called service uniforms. Fatigues were not permitted in public unless traveling or on military business. The service uniforms came in two flavors: Class A (formal), and Class B (informal). Both of these were very uncomfortable, but popular at the Pentagon. I fall in line with your companion. I don't have any concern about seeing people in uniform. I do find it interesting when I see a uniform far away from a military installation.

Living in Europe made me accustomed to seeing police carrying heavy firepower. So when I moved back to the US, I found it unusual that American police did not carry something more significant than a pistol. Anyone watching the news knows that the bad guys are arming themselves with heavier firearms, so I think it is appropriate for the police to keep up. I, for one, would not like to see a bad guy with an AK class rifle facing a policeman holding a silly little 9mm Glock.

Paleo-con
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Well, we've had Special Weapons And Tactics divisions for many years.

Granted, I'm seeing this through the lens of we-are-at-war-with-eastasia-we-have-always-been-at-war-with-eastasia. But if were to don my armed-forces-friendly-fiscally-conservative cap, I might argue that a.) the servicepersons should be as comfortable as possible as often as possible, as the apparel for actual combat should necessarily be less comfortable; and b.) the apparel for actual combat should necessarily be more expensive and therefore used as little as possible.

chilidog
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

chilidog, you are right on target. Oops! The TightenedSphincterAdministration's post-9-11 terrorism response has been to terrorize us out of that old silly civilian idea about keeping it in the barracks. Now our support for the troops has to include our love for their fashion sense and swagger. So post-Peace!

I see the rail flatcars lined up along I-5 south of Olympia where they can serve the Fort Lewis armory and get it out to our local neighborhoods. Makes the militia idiots look like comic book characters compared to the real threat. Paranoia is not a recreational drug.

I heard some rightwinger declare that the military was established in the Constitution, and in the general flood of lies, it got past the netminder. Had it been, the 2nd Amendment would not be there. They always want it both ways.

The draft protests were supposed to begin the national debate on what our national defense needs really were. Instead of advancing the "free world," we were the last gasp of Neocolonial retreat. How had that happened? When did "the first New Nation" become the "Last Empire?" Wasn't that Mushroom Cloud supposed to go away when we got on top of the mountain? How did we miss the addictive power of fear?

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

I'm bumping this due to the Boston bombings.

Another thing: it seems we lower the flag to half-mast every other month.

chilidog
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

In the rural area I commute through, there is gated rural property where people in paramilitary gear seem to be busy frequently, but there are no government insignia or commercial signs (like for paint ball or something). Is it contractor training? If it is, that is equally disturbing.

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nora
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

As someone who has spent alot of time at airports, both flying and working, cops with AR 15's are nothing new. They became more visible after Sept 11th, 2001. However every major airport has had a tactical response team since the 1970's, with all the skyjackings that were all the rage back then. Those 747's and Learjets and BJB's all cost a ton of money, the fuel storage is expensive and easily flammable, 9-11 terrorists, DB Cooper etc etc etc.

The biggest change after 9-11 has been the tactical team members will walk through the public areas as a show of force, whereas pre 9-11 they were kept in areas of limited access, and on the tarmac. If you ever go the FBO's where the private planes fly out from, at most airports, the parking spot on the tarmac where the tactical cops perch in their SUV's with the AR15's are very visible. It makes the rich folks feel like they're getting their monies' worth. That and they can assist the Customs and DEA inspections for the private jets.

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Phaedrus76
Joined:
Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm

I can wrap my head around city police departments, SWAT teams, etc., but the highway patrol?

http://www.infowars.com/california-highway-patrol-describes-itself-as-pa...

"An information page on the website entitled Life at the Academy also states, “The California Highway Patrol is often described as a “paramilitary” department, and that is true. The uniforms, ranks and insignias, chain of command, and the long-standing traditions resemble a military organization.”

Yeah, but...

Check out the photo.

chilidog
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Redwing:

Take a trip to Israel.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/46-reasons-why-iran-should-think-twice-before-attacking-israel-hint-women-with-guns/#

Iran has never attacked another country, has never launched an assault on another country. Israel on the other hand does so repeatedly against numerous UN treaties and practices.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

How do those camouflage fatigues disguise detection in a police cruiser?

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I think the militarization of the police has hit the breaking point and that was with the police shootings in New York. People want peace officers back not gestapo roaming the streets.

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captbebops
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Well, you live in one the West Coast high points for militarized police abuse and a long tradition of Slave Patrol. There was a time when the Berkeley cops were relatively community related and it was the Alameda County Sheriffs who were out to bust heads. Oakland was always the protection of White Property and People from the "natives" down on the "plantation."

"Progress through gentrification" is what I see in Oakland, and the demographic dump just shifts things to a worse problem.

People in Portland have been working on this lethal force issue for years with both racial and mental health victims raising strong protests. We face the same cop culture issues and the "masculinist" attitudes. But, I have also met very professional and calming officers who make things better upon their arrival. I compliment them on that and say how much I prefer it to what I see on tv and have experienced in other contexts to let them know that we don't hate the cops. Just the gestapo forces.

We are surrounded by suburbs where White Flight was the rationale for the move to commuter life, which sucks. Many neighborhoods out West have still extant "no blacks" restrictions in their property agreements. It has taken a long time for the sun to set on sunset Oregon.

What we hae to ask beyond an end to the extreme brutality is what "protect and serve" means and from whom? Hiring contract workers to police us instead of recruiting from the community is a bad economy. Having contract workers hired to police you is oppression.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

Te Mihesi Coates said police are the 3rd most trusted institution in America.

confidence-institutions.

I actually don't trust any of the ones listed. I used to, until I was burned.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

How quickly you forget what you voted into office.

"We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

barack obama

July, 2008

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt2yGzHfy7s

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Dexterous
Joined:
Apr. 9, 2013 9:35 am

Idiot. We voted against the past with the only choice there was. Bring something of value from the Right for a change. We have debated the lesser issue forever, and while the greater evil is so clearly evil and greatly so, any hope left is to be found elsewhere. When you have something to offer, please feel free to remind us that Obama is not Kucinich. We keep forgetting.

Get a life!

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

I need not continue my "you all will cave in" comments do I?

You wear that gravy so well on your black pajamas. The same gruel will be served again in 2016. Grow some, or wear a bid.

Merry Christmas

Dexterous's picture
Dexterous
Joined:
Apr. 9, 2013 9:35 am

Yes, I voted against the past in 2008 and of course the joke the GOP was running. I didn't vote for Obama in 2012 but against Romney.

Though the two cops who were shot last week in New York were the work of a psychologically disabled person the tenor of the times and publics long, long overdue rejection of the militarization of our local police helped give rise to it. Lesson to be learned: don't make your local police, sheriff and state police departments appear threatening but there to help the public. We don't need thugs in uniform.

captbebops's picture
captbebops
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Voting for a Democrat or a Republican is a vote against any kind of positive change for the 98% of us who have suffered under both. The Democrat candidates are just an illusion of change who pander false hope. The ruling elite loves it when you fall for the vote-for-the-least-evil choice that they have rigged in their favor. They will win every time. We will lose every time.

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Palindromedary
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

And we're starting to see "top two" ballots where you don't even get a chance to write in a candidate or vote for a third party one unless they somehow were one of the "top two". Wouldn't it be funny if it wound up that the "top two" were neither a Democrat or Republican?

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captbebops
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Friends, elections are important to any hope of democracy, so demanding that we have that basic piece of the larger puzzle in place is a bottom line thing. This Duopoly Two Step is not where it's at. In lieu of quality elections, get busy in movement recruitment and activism while giving elections the relatively low attention they deserve--but do vote even if it ain't much.

Vote strategically rather than emotionally. Use your emotions for your organizing and movement work. I know the "lesser" is depressing, but the "greater" will do bad things to more people, and unless your alternative vote does something about the present mess, make sure it is not you messaging yourself.

I think of that when people urge a vote for Nader. I love Ralph, as a prophet and speaker of truth to power. As a politician, about as inept as it gets. If he is anyone's idea of a viable Third Party candidate who is more than a voice crying in the wilderness, God help them.

We managed to stuff "top two" back into the Kochcan it came in.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

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Don’t believe me? Just check the polls.

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