Skip to Content

President Trump’s ‘Arms for Cops’ Program Just Means More Militarization of the Police

Another sop to the gun nuts

Maybe that would be a a good thing. A stabbing victim, I should think, would have a much better chance of survival than someone who is the victim of a barrage of bullets fired by an over-excited assault-rifle carrying cop in the heat of urban, suburban or rural “battle.” That is unless the cop wielding the bayonet decides to engage in multiple piercing of his victim.

Really, this whole thing is getting seriously out of hand.

I was just in England, where I had to spend some time in a National Health Service hospital waiting room, and among other things, I got to see an English version of a reality cop show, where the camera was following a couple of bobbies around on their night patrol. I don’t know what city it was but judging by the size of the railroad station where the portion of the program I watched took place, it must have been a big one.

At any rate, the two bobbies drove up to the train station in response to a call about an apparently deranged man attacking a locked station door and shattering its glass pane. The cops exited their squad car and walked up to the perp. He tried to leave but they gently took him by the arms and restrained him. They kept their voices low and calm and did not draw any weapons (I’m not sure they were carrying guns at all).

“Why did you break that glass?” one cop asked him.

The man had no answer. The other cop asked him where he lived. When he replied that he didn’t have a home, he was told they could take him to social services, which could find him a place.

They told him he had destroyed public property and might have to pay for it. The man said he had no money, so they said they had to bring him in to the station. They then walked him — no handcuffs needed — to the squad car, and helped him gently into the back seat, which is walled off from the front seats, and drove off.

I didn’t get to see the rest of the show as I was called away for some tests, but what struck me was that the cops remained calm at all times through this incident, and that they did not rough the man up. He was not thrown to the ground and piled on by the arresting officers, which is now pretty much standard practice for arrests in the US. And he didn’t have his arms wrenched behind him and cuffed — another US standard police practice that frequently results in injured hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders, and that can also result in more serious injuries if the cuffed person, unable to protect his head, “happens” to fall over, or down some stairs.

The same retiring police chief also told me, back during our conversation about militarized police, that when he first got hired as chief in our town, he found that the department had earlier been supplied by the Pentagon, under the arms-for-cops program of handing out surplus military equipment, with enough fully automatic M16 rifles for every cop on the force. This in a town where the biggest violent crime in two decades was whatever the largest barroom brawl was during that period. We did have a restaurant owner murdered in what appears to have been a mob hit, but that is a kind of unique thing that hardly required use of a SWAT team or M16’s to handle. The guy was found shot dead, and it became a job for detectives, including the FBI.

Anyhow, the chief said one of the first things he did was send back the automatic weapons to the Pentagon. He said “We didn’t need police running around with fully automatic weapons.”



story | by Dr. Radut