E-mail Scott
Scott's Links
About the Author
Opinion Archives
Social Media:
Google Plus
Monthly Archives:

January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012
January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014
March 2014
April 2014
May 2014
June 2014
July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015
October 2015
November 2015
December 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March 2016
April 2016
May 2016
June 2016
July 2016
August 2016
September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016
January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017
June 2017

Powered by Blogger
Subscribe via RSS

Friday, June 24, 2016

We have posse comitatus for a reason!

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

The terrorist attack on a homosexual nightclub in Orlando has some people gloating that this validates militarizing our police forces. This is a poor argument and is it unfortunate to see people be willing to give local government this kind of power, and it is scary that people who really ought to know better do not foresee the danger this represents to our liberty.

When I ran for city council last year, I raised concerns about the Bloomington Police Department requesting a Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) military vehicle straight from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan for local policing. This was not because we are facing an armed insurrection, but because police want to bring overwhelming force to their enforcement of drug laws. Paramilitary SWAT teams are even being used for regulatory inspections!

See here and here and here and here for more.

Let's get this straw man out of the way, right away. People are not objecting to police having protective equipment like helmets and bulletproof vests. Protective equipment is a long way from military grade weapons that are more appropriate for a foreign battlefield than for domestic policing.

Most people do not even object to the existence of SWAT teams. The problem with SWAT is it is vastly overused, including for regulatory inspections. There have been too many tragedies because cowboy law enforcement decided to conduct a middle-of-the-night paramilitary raid instead of simply serving an arrest warrant. In the case of a baby who was severely burned because a flash bang grenade exploded in his face, the perp the cops were looking for not only did not live in the home, he was arrested later without incident at a different location.

We all know what happened in Waco, when the federal government used military force, including tanks, on American soil against American citizens. That is truly frightening and should have been a wake-up call about use of force, whether by the federal government or by local law enforcement. Unfortunately, we were in the middle of a national hysteria about crime that led to some terrible policies in the 1990's.

Our nation has always been wary of militarizing the police, and rightly so. Congress passed posse comitatus for a reason. We shouldn't be making an end run around that by turning law enforcement into soldiers. Cops are not soldiers and should not be soldiers. The job of a police officer who is arresting citizens and is charged with protecting even suspected criminals' civil rights is very different from the job of a soldier, who is to kill people and break things in a war.

Finally, we should dispense with another straw man. Opposing the militarization of police is not bashing cops. That is a smear designed to distract from the debate. One can disagree with bad policy and urge reforms in the way police pursue criminals without bashing police. This "war on cops" meme is intentionally designed to stifle dissent, because defenders of a bad policy knew they were losing the argument on the merits of that policy. We should reject these ad hominem attacks.

Below are the rules for commenting on ConservaTibbs.com.

  1. A reasonable level of civility is expected. While it is expected that controversial political and social issues may generate heated debate, there are common-sense limits of civility that will be enforced.

  2. This blog is a family-friendly site. Therefore no cursing, profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, etc. will be allowed. This is a zero-tolerance rule and will result in automatic deletion of the offending post.

  3. Anonymity has greatly coarsened discourse on the Internet, so pseudonyms are discouraged but not forbidden. That said, any direct criticism of a person by name may not be done anonymously. If you criticize someone, you must subject yourself to the same level of scrutiny or the comment will be deleted.

  4. You must put a name or pseudonym on your comments. All comments by "Anonymous" will be deleted.

  5. Please keep your comments relevant to the topic of the post.

Thank you for your cooperation.