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

Another sop to the gun nuts

True enough, though they still all have semi-automatic AR-15s racked in their SUV patrol vehicles. These weapons only get used, though, for putting injured deer out of their misery. There are no other types of crimes calling for such guns to be unracked in Upper Dublin.

Truth is, most SWAT raids across the US — and there are over 20,000 of them a year across the country, mostly to serve warrents that could be served by a knock on the door, or to search for drugs, which could be done without breaking down doors and terrorizing families — are clearly unjustified. In fact they have resulted in numerous killings of innocent citizens, sometimes because police raid the wrong address, and other times because the cops don’t do good pre-raid intelligence to see whether their are children in the targeted home. Babies have been killed when police toss flash-bang grenades into windows as part of a raid and they end up landing in an occupied crib or playpen.

The whole thing should sicken decent people of all political stripes, but we seem to have accepted the idea of cops behaving like occupying troops in a foreign land as normal policing in the United States of 2017.

Trump is catering to that mentality by reactivating the arms-for-cops conveyor belt.

How long will it be before we have the first baby stabbed by a bayonet-wielding cop who will predictably claim he couldn’t see because his visor was fogged up from the tear gas canister police launched, or smoke from the stun grenade they tossed into the house before rushing in?

It’s time to back this whole thing up. Most of this up-arming of police, and the adoption of brutal and aggressive tactics in arrests is justified as necessary to protect officers from perceived risk of harm. But that’s outrageous and wrongheaded.

Firefighters are also uniformed public servants — many of them volunteers! — and we expect them to be ready and willing to run into burning buildings if they think there’s any chance that a person might be trapped inside. They do this knowing that they could be running to their deaths. I actually watched two New York City cops do this, kicking open the door of a burning apartment in my building and, without a second’s pause rushing in as smoke and flame burst out of the busted doorway. It’s almost hard to imagine a firefighter, confronted with a burning building and cries from someone inside the conflagration, just standing there with a hose and doing nothing because he or she was afraid of injury or death. It’s just not what firefighters do.

Yet all a police officer has to do to get off the hook for panicking and slaughtering an unarmed person during an arrest is to say, “I feared for my life.” The cop doesn’t have to offer any serious evidence of a threat. It could be a person reaching, in response to an order from the cop, for his wallet (all too common a situation). If the cop says that he or she thought the wallet might have been a gun, that would be enough, and often is, to convince a district attorney not to prosecute, or in the rare instance where there is a prosecution, to convince a jury not to convict.



story | by Dr. Radut