Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Gear's a symptom....

On the whole militarization of the police.
The way I see it the equipment is a symptom of a greater problem of the attitude of how procedures are carried out (warrant service, arrest, ect).
To be blunt, that a cop has a gun on his hip (or slung over his shoulder) is the *least* scary thing about them. In a free society just about anyone can do *that*.

The difference is that Joan Q Public doesn't have police powers. She's got no legal way to break into someone's house, take their stuff, and kidnap the people inside (In other words, serve a warrant, come in with force, take evidence, and put suspects into custody).

It's like how one can propose that cops have "badge cams" when on duty and not want non-police CCW's to have them. Again the difference isn't the gun, but that police are employees of the state who are authorized to use force.

And to go back to the well of Peelian policing. Take a note that all the rules are about how the police interact with the public and the level of force they use, and not the kind of gear they've got.

That isn't to say that the police buying (or being granted) lots of equipment that they can't afford to keep, that eats a budget that could have been spent on training or other more useful stuff, isn't a problem. The use it or loose it dictum does come into play. But again, it's symptomatic of a larger problem.
As for which police gear is kosher, I'd say put it on parity of what the public can own. As the police are civilian, and that'd be a simple enough rule of thumb.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Yeah... Police Militarization is totally a "Red State" problem.

Some maps,  from the NYT of all places.   Again, this shows that blaming this on "conservatives" (or liberals) is a myopic view.   The problem is far too widespread for that.

Course liberal gun controllers also have to deal with the whole "Only the Police should have guns" and the proliferation of "military rifles" in states where they banned commoners from having 'em.

I'd like to stress that this gear is symptomatic of a greater problem.  That is the abandonment of Peelian Principals.

It's less the gear the police have and more their acting like an occupying army and thinking warrant service has to be framed like a tactical assault.

The problem with this gear is that it's expensive to maintain, is handed out cheaply,  and thus can become a big budget drain and threaten to be a white elephant.  So there's the temptation to use it.  And why not use it? Afterall aren't the police the front line in the War on Terror and the War on Drugs?

One can readily see how problems crop up.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mr A knows who's to blame for the Militarization of Police.

Well.... it hasn't been quite a month since my last post... Yay?

So doubtless you've heard about the Ferguson riots and the over militarized police response. If not,  use your search engine of choice to read up on it.

What's fascinating is how this has mainstreamed the whole "Hey the Police are acting more and more like an occupying army and that's not good."

And of course whenever something enters the mainstream that conservatives and libertarians have been debating and warning for years many liberals have to pretend that conservatives and libertarians haven't been talking about it.

Enter Washington Post blogger Paul Waldma who makes such claims. Now I'll leave you with a link to David Kopel at Volokh

Of course, I'm not here.  I'm here to put up the latest bit from Mr. A.
(Hey it was this or his rant against the Israelis and how mean they are and that Egypt's Gaza border doesn't count.)

I was having a conversation with some friends talking about the police militarization.  These folks are very differing politically, but know that I personally am a large 2nd amend advocate and have been harping on the militarization of police for years.

And in saunters Mr. A who drops this bomb:
Those police are Conservative America in a nutshell
Big mouths, lots of gear, not much between the ears
I blink and give a drawn out...  Riiiiiight.  And he follows up with 
It's conservative towns that have these cops, that pay them, buy their tacticool gear.
And I ask "Liberal towns don't? Can we talk about cities? What about the armed helicopters that the NYPD has?  Does the LAPD need to have everyone armed up in SWAT gear?  How about Boulder or Burlington or any other city in the country?"

He then goes on about how cops are inherently conservative. Huh, an upper class liberal seeing LEO as untermenschen.

I then followup by pointing out "Heck, isn't the idea that 'Only the police should have guns' especially military guns pretty liberal?  Aren't liberal gun control laws the ones that specifically exempt cops?"

To which he demurred and then started talking about his job offeres.

It really does show that so much of gun control has a "stop hitting yourself" vibe.

Example: silencers are banned,  then people complain about the noise gun-ranges make.

Police are going all tacticool with military gear,  then very people that want it make it so that *only* the police can have such gear blame gun owners for the police having such gear.

And of course David Frum is on board with it going on about how 
the police wouldn't be all militarized and abusive in their powers if it weren't for all those armed proles.

Edit:  That's not to say that there isn't a "Law and Order" Conservative streak.  Tough on crime sells.  But for a liberal to think the militarization of police is only a conservative problem is to be in total denial.