Thursday, December 22, 2011

Militarizing the Police

Recent confrontations between members of the Occupy Movement and municipal police have highlighted the sophistication of contemporary law enforcement weaponry. This recent Daily Beast article provides a horrifying dose of context. Since 2001, the federal government has poured billions of dollars into local police departments, furnishing them with military-grade arsenals justified by "the least likely terrorist scenarios." Not only does this program leave departments armed to the teeth, but also, apparently, encourages the worst kinds of militaristic fantasizing:


"A grainy YouTube video from one of Clark’s recent competitions shows just how far the police transformation has come, displaying officers in battle fatigues, helmets, and multi-pocketed vests storming a hostile scene. One with a pistol strapped to his hip swings a battering ram into a door. A colleague lobs a flash-bang grenade into a field. Another officer, holding a pistol and wearing a rifle strapped to his back, peeks cautiously inside a bus. The images unfold to the pulsing, ominous soundtrack of a popular videogame, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Though resembling soldiers in a far-flung war zone, the stars of this video are Massachusetts State Police troopers."

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