Officer Alex discusses “disarming” the police.
While I am loath to broach the topic after the media circus that has (clearly unintentionally) caused its own media circus regarding the audacity of police to respond aggressively to having shots fired and flaming gasoline thrown at them, I’ve been sucked into a few discussions about the perceived militarization of our local police forces over the last few post-9/11 years.
Surplus military equipment (Bearcat armored vehicles, armored personnel vehicles), wearing “helmets” and utilizing gas masks and of course, the ever-present AR-15…People say they are nervous about the blurring of the line between the military and civilian police.They are concerned about the police acting as an occupying force rather than a peace-keeping force. But what they’re all saying in small groups is that they’re scared.
Do I blame them? No. But do I think “scared” people make terribly wise assessments and judgments in small or large numbers? No. I get it, but that doesn’t mean people shitting their pants should be making policy for those that are trying to prevent such.
Where my discussion will stray from the mainstream is that while people are afraid of the police becoming militarized, I know that many police are afraid of people becoming stupid and making decisions that are short-sighted and foolhardy. Callous, yes—but let me explain.
People aren’t just discussing removing rescue equipment (hold that thought), they’re talking about flat-out disarming police. No firearms, because using deadly force against citizens shouldn’t be an option. Because it’s just that simple, right?
In one discussion a blogger of exceptional note opined that if a bad guy comes at a cop with a knife, they should “just disarm them”. The number of people espousing such a belief that have actually fought someone with a knife while they themselves were empty-handed? Zero, as best I can narrow it down. Making that person “stupid,” of course…my fears, like theirs, now coming to fruition.
Rescue Vehicles. God forbid you call them a “tank” in our hallowed halls of justice, but the less-smart folk out there that do are determined they are for urban pacification only. I have to tell you. they are unarmed and only exist in all of my training scenarios over the last decade or so to serve as bullet-nets to be placed between armed bad guys and downed citizens and officers so we can get them the hell out of there. It’s a hell of a handy tool to have in your pocket when things go that sideways, but the alternative is to just assume that kind of thing will never happen. And that thinking is what brings us back full circle to the word “stupid”.
Do you know why I have an AR-15 in my trunk? Because that’s what the bad guys have access to in every city and town in our country. It’s what one particular shithead was trying to get to during the robbery of a pawn shop that led to the murder of a friend and co-worker of mine. I have it in my trunk because the trunk is a lot closer than headquarters when I encounter bad guys with rifles. It’s just that simple, not sinister.
We have a unique system set up in this country that doesn’t just encourage us to hold our police officers accountable, it demands it. It demands we make sure they are kept in check within the framework of the Constitution, just as that same document ensures the military is held to its non-domestic rules as well (bless you, Posse Comitatus). None of this is coincidence, but by the same token it doesn’t mean giving cops more safety equipment is somehow a sign of the end-times.
We have a responsibility to watch the watchers, but we also have a responsibility to keep calm and not rush to judgment, to not make decisions based on emotions rather than fact. In a perfect world that’s how cops do it, but it should be noted that those cops are citizens, too.They are us. We are you.
As a country, let’s breathe a moment. Stand back, relax, and breathe…we have work to do building, so let’s take the focus off demolition for a few moments, shall we? The Stupid have a voice, and while it’s certainly the loudest more often than not, it’s not the only one.
Take your time.This is worth doing right.