Rand Paul on Ferguson: We must demilitarize the police

posted at 5:21 pm on August 14, 2014 by Allahpundit

As expected, here he is belatedly seizing an obvious opportunity. The only question for Paul was which angle of the Ferguson drama to emphasize. Racial disparities in how the law is enforced? He mentions it in his op-ed but rarely does a would-be presidential nominee profit from expounding at length on race at a moment when tensions are high. State suppression of civil liberties, in particular the police restricting press activity in Ferguson? He mentions that too but no Republican will ever get much mileage from defending the media.

How about the militarization of the police, then? That’s the sweet spot for Paul as it influences both of the other problems above and carries obvious appeal to all of the constituencies he’s trying to reach, namely, blacks, libertarians, and conservatives that have grown more leery of state power in the Obama era. And best of all, it’s an issue on which there’s bipartisan support. There are valuable pieces online this morning on how the feds turned small-town cops into Special Forces by Alec MacGillis of TNR, Conn Carroll of Townhall, and Mark Thompson of Time — left, right, and center-ish. Big government has shoveled billions in money and materiel at PDs since 9/11, with predictable results. And if there’s one thing that summarizes the Paul brand, it’s skepticism of big government in all its aspects.

Not surprisingly, big government has been at the heart of the problem. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement.

This is usually done in the name of fighting the war on drugs or terrorism…

When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury—national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture—we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.

Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.

Racial double standards, the NSA, the war on drugs, federal spending, even a whiff of overreaction to 9/11 — the whole Paul policy portfolio is there in service to the broader point about demilitarization. He’ll have support from some veterans too:

“You see the police are standing online with bulletproof vests and rifles pointed at peoples chests,” said Jason Fritz, a former Army officer and an international policing operations analyst. “That’s not controlling the crowd, that’s intimidating them.”

King added that, instead of deescalating the situation on the second day, the police responded with armored vehicles and SWAT officers clad in bulletproof vests and military-grade rifles.

“We went through some pretty bad areas of Afghanistan, but we didn’t wear that much gear,” said Kyle Dykstra, an Army veteran and former security officer for the State Department. Dykstra specifically pointed out the bulletproof armor the officers were wearing around their shoulders, known as “Deltoid” armor.

“I can’t think of a [protest] situation where the use of M4 [rifles] are merited,” Fritz said.

Paul Szoldra, an Afghanistan vet, made the best point I’ve seen on this in a piece for Business Insider a few days ago. He too marveled at the use of M4s and the Bearcat, but the thing Szoldra couldn’t get over was the camouflage pants that some of the cops were wearing. You can understand why they’d wear body armor but what conceivable purpose is served by wearing clothing like that while patrolling city streets? The answer, obviously, is psychology. The pants don’t make the cop blend into his surroundings but they do put him in a warrior frame of mind and signal to onlookers that he’s apt to respond like a soldier would if challenged. That’s the core vice of police militarization, I think. It’s not that the cops are lobbing grenades through people’s windows, it’s that they feel more free to take lesser but still heavy handed measures like tear-gassing a camera crew. Sometimes, when you’re pacifying a restive enemy population in an occupied zone, you need to be a little rough with the locals. Aren’t the police supposed to be part of “the locals” themselves?

Anyway. Expect Paul to float some sort of bill cutting federal funds for military gear for locals PDs. There’s already some support for demilitarization among Democrats. It’ll be hard for Obama to resist.


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You got me. I tried to cover up your mother’s molesting of six year old girls. And well-endowed gerbils.

Now I am going to bed. Goodnight all.

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 12:27 AM

You directed that at me. You are a previously banned commenter jimbo. You really have no business giving your opinion or anything else for that matter here at HA. So why all the hate?

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Why don’t you post the entire exchange? You know, where you asked me if I lied all the time or just some of the time. Which was after you asked me (if I remember correctly) if I was a coward privately or publicly.

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:09 PM

Seems like Bundy realized these two were nuts and got rid of them. Yes, that would be a compliment.

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:06 PM

So we’re back to square 1. The violent, angry, anti-social whites tend to support the leftist causes du jour.

chris0christies0donut on August 14, 2014 at 6:09 PM

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Does your girlfriend know you’re an internet troll on Hot Air?

notropis on August 14, 2014 at 6:09 PM

What about the militarization of all the federal agencies…? Does the Department of Education have a SWAT team yet?

d1carter on August 14, 2014 at 5:27 PM

How else are they going to force Communist Core down our throats?

slickwillie2001 on August 14, 2014 at 6:09 PM

jimbo, your comment isn’t to just vanish. You with one comment have prooved to be both a coward and a liar. Would you like to add anything?

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 6:09 PM

AP, it’s not pointless to debate it on the notion that no one will change their minds because it’s a known fact that almost all libertarians grow out of it, which means they grow a brain and change their minds. It’s usually a situation like this that brings the change.

You are correct in believing that a libertarian will never convince a normal person that the cops should demilitarize when their jurisdiction is on fire.

Buddahpundit on August 14, 2014 at 6:09 PM

The problem is that in policing, mistakes get people killed. In order to minimize mistakes, it pays to NOT allow police officers to act as paramilitary forces. I’d be okay with a mistake or two every now and again that results in a broken door or a blown out car engine, but we are talking about the lives of innocent citizens — including in at least one instance children.

Whether you are okay with kids getting blown apart for someone else’s non-violent drug offense on the merest of suspicions that the alleged perpetrator may be packing heat is a matter of opinion. But you do a huge disservice to citizens the nation over by minimizing these occurrences and pretending they are somehow less than what they are.

gryphon202 on August 14, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Look, I don’t like it when innocents get caught in the crossfire. But whether it’s domestically with police action or abroad with foreign wars, I’m not going to ask either the police or the military to undertake absolutely no action so long as there’s a remote possibility of innocent people getting hurt. In a hostage situation, sometimes the SWAT sniper has to take the shot even though there’s a risk that he could miss or his bullet could be deflected. In a war, sometimes you’ve got to drop the bomb even if there are civilians in the area.

The key lies in not targeting the innocent, and trying to avoid casualties of innocents. At the same time, you can’t have rules so burdensome on cops or soldiers that it gets them killed or stops them from being effective.

The police have armored cars, they have body armor, and for offensive purposes they’ve fired bean bags (non-lethal) and tear gas (non-lethal), while brandishing weapons that make it clear that they could use lethal force if they had to. That allows them to gain the upper hand in the struggle to reestablish order, while keeping casualties to a minimum. So even though I would like to see lethal force employed against the rioters, the restrained response of the police has preserved human life while still letting them assert dominance in open conflict.

Stoic Patriot on August 14, 2014 at 6:10 PM

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:09 PM

You are a coward. You are a liar. You are a cheat. Do you get it yet? Please defend your personal attack against my Mother for all to see.

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 6:11 PM

Maybe tomorrow, in HOT Fer-GAS-on’s wall-to-wall coverage of Ferguson, we will hear from all of those who were/are being PROTECTED by the “militarized” police.

Let’s hear from taxpayers, HOMEOWNERS, BUSINESS OWNERS, those EMPLOYED in Ferguson – let’s ask them whether or not they want the police to protect them and their property – let’s ask them if they think that the “militarized” police are good, or bad.

Seriously – has anyone who is screaming about the police overreacting actually looked at the violence and damage from the first night and second nights of rioting? If these animals were rioting in my neighborhood, my city, I would certainly want the police to do all that they can to restore law and order.

Pork-Chop on August 14, 2014 at 6:13 PM

C’mon, c’mon jimbo. Explain your attack against my Mother. You aren’t afraid to are you?

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 6:13 PM

So the coward jim56 isn’t man enough to own his words.

What a shocker.

Hey jimbo you’re a coward.

HumpBot Salvation on August 14, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Look, I don’t like it when innocents get caught in the crossfire. But whether it’s domestically with police action or abroad with foreign wars, I’m not going to ask either the police or the military to undertake absolutely no action so long as there’s a remote possibility of innocent people getting hurt. In a hostage situation, sometimes the SWAT sniper has to take the shot even though there’s a risk that he could miss or his bullet could be deflected. In a war, sometimes you’ve got to drop the bomb even if there are civilians in the area.

The key lies in not targeting the innocent, and trying to avoid casualties of innocents. At the same time, you can’t have rules so burdensome on cops or soldiers that it gets them killed or stops them from being effective.

The police have armored cars, they have body armor, and for offensive purposes they’ve fired bean bags (non-lethal) and tear gas (non-lethal), while brandishing weapons that make it clear that they could use lethal force if they had to. That allows them to gain the upper hand in the struggle to reestablish order, while keeping casualties to a minimum. So even though I would like to see lethal force employed against the rioters, the restrained response of the police has preserved human life while still letting them assert dominance in open conflict.

Stoic Patriot on August 14, 2014 at 6:10 PM

You don’t like it when innocents get caught in the crossfire, but what you leave unsaid is that you accept it as a cost of doing business in a civilized society.. I do not.

Fortunately, it seems as though the police in Ferguson have been behaving as if the eyes of the world are on them. And the eyes of the world are on them. That doesn’t make up for the untold thousands of people every year who have no recourse when cops steal from them, injure them, or worse.

SWAT teams should exist for the sole-and-express purpose of dealing with hostage situations. In most jurisdictions, if the police had to rely on hostage situations to justify the existence of SWAT, the funding for those teams would dry up. And so you have no-knock raids that not only put citizens at risk, but police officers as well.

gryphon202 on August 14, 2014 at 6:15 PM

PS Wasn’t Johnson the idiot who thought Guam would tip over?

Yup

formwiz on August 14, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Yep, the pride of Atlanta. We have John Lewis and Hank Johnson, a two-fer on the moron team.

slickwillie2001 on August 14, 2014 at 6:17 PM

C’mon, c’mon jimbo. Explain your attack against my Mother. You aren’t afraid to are you?

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 6:13 PM

jimbo, do you lie about everything. Or just certain things?

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 12:20 AM

jimbo, are you cowardly in private as well as public?

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 12:22 AM

Goodbye. For now.

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 12:24 AM

Goodbye cowardly liar.

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 12:24 AM

jimbo, do you lie about everything. Or just certain things?

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 12:20 AM

You got me. I tried to cover up your mother’s molesting of six year old girls. And well-endowed gerbils.

Now I am going to bed. Goodnight all.

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 12:27 AM

No other explanation is needed or deserved.

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Despite reports that “Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected” vehicles, or MRAPS, were usedon Ferguson streets, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Public Safety said none has been supplied to agencies in St. Louis or St. Louis County. Some other Missouri agencies have received them.

The defense department does not supply a somewhat similar vehicle, the BearCat, a brand name for an armored truck common to police SWAT teams and often in the forefront in Ferguson.

“If somebody has them, they bought them commercially,” spokesman Mike O’Connell said.

Lenco, the Massachusetts company that makes the BearCat, declined to provide sales figures. Its website boasts that the BearCat “may be used as a S.W.A.T. or Military Counter Attack and Rescue Vehicle and is often used in hostile Urban Environments or as a Patrol/Reaction Vehicle on a Military Base.”

Formidable as the equipment sounds, in a press conference today Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson defended its use by civilian authorities.

“The tactical units will be out there if firebombs start getting thrown, property is getting destroyed, shots are being fired, people are being shot at. We have to respond to deadly force,” he said.

“The whole picture is being painted a little bit sideways from what’s really happening,” he said. “And it’s not military. It’s tactical operations. It’s SWAT teams. That’s who’s out there. Police. We’re doing this in blue.”

r keller on August 14, 2014 at 6:19 PM

For everyone out there complaining about police tactical teams, ask yourselves how many Cartel drug distribution houses are in their town? How many paranoid meth heads are cooking in your neighborhood? Is there a radicalized jihadi getting ready for his 72 virgins? The answer, of course, is i have no idea neither do you. But if you were responsible for public safety in your town it would be your responsibility to prepare for the POSSIBILITY of an incident like this. If you neuter police forces, you will embolden the lawless thugs into further acts of aggression.

rmkdbq on August 14, 2014 at 5:47 PM

,
I live in a small town. Our idiot mayor (part time position) was caught applying for a Federal grant to form a 5 person SWAT team.

Five officers out of a total force of SEVEN.

He DIDN”T enjoy the public meeting on the topic – especially when questioned on how the maintenance and repair costs for the new vehicle and gear were going to be covered.

He figured on GETTING the SWAT team and then using it as justification for a new TAX levy.

OH … We HAD a meth house blow up three blocks over from the police station. Wasn’t much for them to do – one guy was dead inside, the one who “escaped” was laying on the lawn screaming in pain from third degree burns and is apparently finding prison life pretty tough going.

NONE of these “toys” are zero cost and most of the politicians approving police militarization have agendas even less coherent than your gibberish.

PolAgnostic on August 14, 2014 at 6:19 PM

I don’t like it when innocents get caught in the crossfire.

There was no crossfire. All the fire came from one direction. Cops were playing Rambo vs some unarmed young women and a few babies, and blew up a little kid in a crib – just to try to scare a small-time drug dealer, who wasn’t even home, and probably wasn’t even a drug dealer.

notropis on August 14, 2014 at 6:19 PM

C’mon, c’mon jimbo. Explain your attack against my Mother. You aren’t afraid to are you?

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 6:13 PM

So the coward jim56 isn’t man enough to own his words.

What a shocker.

Hey jimbo you’re a coward.

HumpBot Salvation on August 14, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Does this website know that you have multiple accounts?

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:21 PM

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:18 PM

You are also very weak minded. Now. Tell me more about your attack against my Mother.

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 6:21 PM

“And it’s not military. It’s tactical operations. It’s SWAT teams. That’s who’s out there. Police. We’re doing this in blue.”

Hahahahahaha. Blue

Chief is colorblind. And not black/white colorblind.

notropis on August 14, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Does this website know that you have multiple accounts?

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:21 PM

What are you blabbering up now, jimbo3?

HumpBot Salvation on August 14, 2014 at 6:23 PM

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:18 PM

You are also very weak minded. Now. Tell me more about your attack against my Mother.

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 6:21 PM

I’m done talking to you and your multiple personalities.

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Does this website know that you have multiple accounts?

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:21 PM

jimbo. The mods at HA know everything about me, professionally and personally. Unlike you I am not a liar or a coward or a leftist. I do not stoop so low as to attack other commenters Mothers. Explain yourself. You are being both cowardly and you have told a lie about my Mother.

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 6:24 PM

I’m done talking to you and your multiple personalities.

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Still not man enough to own your words? I thought lawyers were supposed to have some integrity?

HumpBot Salvation on August 14, 2014 at 6:24 PM


“The whole picture is being painted a little bit sideways from what’s really happening,” he said. “And it’s not military. It’s tactical operations. It’s SWAT teams. That’s who’s out there. Police. We’re doing this in blue.”

his submit by accident. SWAT teams are decades old. Remember the shoot out in LA where the police were outgunned? That grabbed a lot of attention in LEO circles.

I the the liberation/HA/Guy Benson people are pining for a different, older world where police didn’t have the power. You know like the Rodney King riots. How many people were killed?????? (hint: lots)

so those were the god ole’ days…where a riot was a riot. Now we have Riot Suppression…and everyone from the Left to the libertarians are screaming about the LEO

Discernment. Libertarians need discernment, judgement. Good vs. Bad. and yes IN CONTEXT. Tough stuff…and not as fun as reading HuffPo and twitter

r keller on August 14, 2014 at 6:26 PM

I’m done talking to you and your multiple personalities.

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Yet another lie from you. Sorry jimbo, that ain’t gonna cut it for me. Man up and explain your attack against my Mother.

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 6:26 PM

I will now desist. My apologies to all of HA for being off topic. My apologies to you Allah.

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 6:28 PM

Oh goody, Trayvon 2.0

somewhatconcerned on August 14, 2014 at 6:36 PM

My only comment:

http://condition1industries.com/images/B52SuperiorFirepower.jpg

NoPain on August 14, 2014 at 6:37 PM

Do I think the police can be heavy handed? – YES
Do I want police well armed in near riot situations? – YES

That is the dilemma we are faced with.

Tater Salad on August 14, 2014 at 6:39 PM

I will now desist. My apologies to all of HA for being off topic. My apologies to you Allah.

Bmore on August 14, 2014 at 6:28 PM

You deserve an apology, Bmore.

Cheese Wheel on August 14, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Ran Paul is an idiot.

You don’t talk about ‘demilitarizing the police’ while riots and looting is going on.

faraway on August 14, 2014 at 6:43 PM

Ran Paul is an idiot.

You don’t talk about ‘demilitarizing the police’ while riots and looting is going on.

faraway on August 14, 2014 at 6:43 PM

what’s right is right. It doesn’t matter when it’s said.
If the situation is that bad the governor can request the national guard.
Anything else is borderline tyranny.

weedisgood on August 14, 2014 at 6:52 PM

somewhatconcerned on August 14, 2014 at 6:36 PM

That’s not “breaking,” and it’s not “news.” It’s a police department doing standard C.Y.A.

Just curious: why would the unarmed, not-carrying-drugs, not-wanted-for-any-outstanding-warrants black youth have attacked an armed police officer, who was simply getting out of his car?

Here’s my version – and it’s just as likely to be accurate as the one manufactured by the police:

Kids are walking down the middle of the road. Cop tells kids to move off the road. Kids reply with some version of “eff off.” Cop decides to hit the kid with his car door. Door bounces off of kid (ricochets) and back into cop’s face (injury to cop face). Kid falls through open window of cop car. Cop panics and shoots the kid. Kid staggers backwards with some variation of “What the Eff, mother Effer?” Cop shoots the kid again. Kid staggers a few feet, turns, arms up, pleading “Don’t Shoot!” Cop plugs him with a half-dozen more rounds.

And, like I said, it’s as likely to be accurate as any other account. At least it jibes with what independent eyewitnesses have reported, and what the crime scene shows.

notropis on August 14, 2014 at 6:55 PM

My point here is, this was such an easy opportunity for him that I’m surprised he didn’t act faster to try to own the issue. Not sure why that’s controversial.

Allahpundit on August 14, 2014 at 5:48 PM

To be fair, AP, it has been a busy news week…

JohnGalt23 on August 14, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Here’s my version – and it’s just as likely to be accurate as the one manufactured by the police:

And, like I said, it’s as likely to be accurate as any other account. At least it jibes with what independent eyewitnesses have reported, and what the crime scene shows.

notropis on August 14, 2014 at 6:55 PM

Ridiculous.

The police officer was there – you were not. In fact, the police officer and the perp may have been the only actual eyewitnesses. If there are so many supposed “eyewitnesses”, why hasn’t a single one of them come forward to reveal the race and gender of the officer involved? They are talking to the press, and yet, nothing about the identity of the officer. So, they saw the shooting, but they didn’t see the officer? Impossible.

Pork-Chop on August 14, 2014 at 7:16 PM

Pork-Chop on August 14, 2014 at 7:16 PM

The gender was male. Both eyewitnesses (and yes, definitely, everyone agrees there was a second black male youth there, and the girl unquestionably took photos of the scene before other cops arrived), and the police chief, used the pronoun “he.”

I think we can also safely assume that the cop is white. There are 53 cops on the force in the town, and 50 of them are white. Had it been one of the 3 non-whites, I’m sure one of the witnesses would have mentioned it.

Yes the police officer was there. He’s also accused of murder. His first loyalty is to himself, not the truth. And his department’s first loyalty is to him, not the truth.

notropis on August 14, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Today, American citizens must be sacrificed in order to protect cops.

This change in philosophy is how we got here.

I hope it changes because it’s bass awkward.

Cops are supposed to bravely defend our individual rights.

Not violate our rights in order to protect themselves from harm.

This fear/cowardice on their part often means they will violate just as many laws as they protect.

fatlibertarianinokc on August 14, 2014 at 7:27 PM

I live in LA. We started tactical units, but they were suppose to specialized units trained to take on armed suspects. Now, SWAT teams are regarded as counter-terrorism units- your local agency’s version of the SAS. It’s beyond absurd. Militarization is destroying police work. How many of these protesters in Ferguson are gonna help detectives when they investigate a true crime, especially now after some have had M4s pointed in their face?

Part of the problem is militarization is internally subversive; many veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan join local PDs and sign up for the SWAT team. It’s shouldn’t come as a surprise that lethal force has been increasing ever since the draw-down from those wars. We need new use of force standards and new protocols when to call tactical units in (they do not need to be pointing guns at protesters). A local agency should not regard it’s SWAT team as a Counter-Terror unit; if any counter-terrorism is done at a local level, it should be investigative.

Cr4sh Dummy on August 14, 2014 at 7:27 PM

Funny, I see the looting and rioting as the problem. Did the “militarized” police do that?

/I think not

LashRambo on August 14, 2014 at 7:28 PM

Funny, I see the looting and rioting as the problem. Did the “militarized” police do that?

/I think not

LashRambo on August 14, 2014 at 7:28 PM

I’ll let Glenn Reynolds, a man nobody here, I think, will take for a bleeding-heart, speak to this:

Soldiers and police are supposed to be different. … Police look inward. They’re supposed to protect their fellow citizens from criminals, and to maintain order with a minimum of force.

It’s the difference between Audie Murphy and Andy Griffith. But nowadays, police are looking, and acting, more like soldiers than cops, with bad consequences. And those who suffer the consequences are usually innocent civilians.

When cops act like soldiers, how do we expect citizens to act…?

JohnGalt23 on August 14, 2014 at 7:43 PM

I think we can also safely assume that the cop is white. There are 53 cops on the force in the town, and 50 of them are white. Had it been one of the 3 non-whites, I’m sure one of the witnesses would have mentioned it

Silly. If the officer were white – you know darn well that every “eyewitness” would be screaming about it 24/7, and obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the rest of the racecarders would be trumpeting that fact.

Yes the police officer was there. He’s also accused of murder. His first loyalty is to himself, not the truth. And his department’s first loyalty is to him, not the truth.

notropis on August 14, 2014 at 7:26 PM

You really are delusional. So far, there are no serious murder accusations being thrown around – just the normal drivel from people who believe that the police are always at fault.

Pork-Chop on August 14, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Another chance for the pig jock sniffers to air their grievances against a man dedicated to liberty.

May I suggest that all of you pig worshipers are, in fact, racists?

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 14, 2014 at 8:00 PM

That would fall under the mistake category. They were looking for a drug dealer, had reason to suspect they’d encounter a violent response, threw in a flash bang, and it landed in the wrong place.

Stoic Patriot Stupid Fascist on August 14, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Good God…

dave c on August 14, 2014 at 8:00 PM

The reason I don’t want a militarized law enforcement at the local, state or federal level (especially the federal level) is it gives too much power to the state and will in the end evolve into paramilitary forces (we maybe already there). Can you imagine how certain politicians will abuse that power if not already? Might as well allow the military to be armed at home and let them patrol the streets if we are going down that road.

I hope Paul pushes this, but he needs to extend it to the Federal Level for me to support it. If the local police force cannot have armoured personnel carriers the same should be the case for the EPA, IRS, etc….make that a big yes for the ATF. In fact just kill ATF…

William Eaton on August 14, 2014 at 8:02 PM

In fact just kill ATF…

William Eaton on August 14, 2014 at 8:02 PM

BTW for all ATF, or federal law enforcement agents reading this I mean “kill” in that the ATF should be disbanded…not the other “kill”…

Just want to make sure I don’t have federal ninjas crashing through my windows tonight, flinging flash grenades all over the place, and damaging my collection of historical ephemera and documents…

William Eaton on August 14, 2014 at 8:08 PM

Funny, I see the looting and rioting as the problem. Did the “militarized” police do that?

/I think not

LashRambo on August 14, 2014 at 7:28 PM

Dare I suggest the police investigate and prosecute those who actually looted? The police should defend our right to peacefully assemble. You seem to be conflating two separate issues. The looters are separate from peaceful protestors. Who remained peaceful until their rights were violated.

fatlibertarianinokc on August 14, 2014 at 8:08 PM

He mentions it in his op-ed but rarely does a would-be presidential nominee profit from expounding at length on race at a moment when tensions are high.

He does if he wants to snatch white millenials from the Democrats.

libfreeordie on August 14, 2014 at 8:10 PM

Aquateen Hungerforce on August 14, 2014 at 8:00 PM

You’re a moron. That’s not a suggestion.

HumpBot Salvation on August 14, 2014 at 8:10 PM

Funny, I see the looting and rioting as the problem. Did the “militarized” police do that?

/I think not

LashRambo on August 14, 2014 at 7:28 PM

.
Please cite the instances of rioting and looting in Ferguson since the incident occurred.

Note: One person throwing a brick at a police officer does NOT constitute a riot.

Add’l Note: Please be quite specific on the looting – since the Ferguson police have not listed ANY looting incidents that occurred on August 12th or 13th.

PolAgnostic on August 14, 2014 at 8:11 PM

Though I have spoken out against the militarized police in the past, I would caution against jumping on the demilitarize the police bandwagon. Many areas of the country have become unmanageable by any normal civil control. When all hell breaks loose which would you rather have, relatively well trained police or the National Guard? Keep in mind this isn’t the fifties any longer.

claudius on August 14, 2014 at 8:21 PM

Good God…

dave c on August 14, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Awwwww… how clever! You crossed out a name and replaced it with an insult! What’s the matter? Lack a coherent argument?

Stoic Patriot on August 14, 2014 at 8:29 PM

If the police do not think it is important to look like they belong in the neighborhood rather than as a military occupation, expect more of this nonsense.

Lonetown on August 14, 2014 at 8:30 PM

It’s not that the cops are lobbing grenades through people’s windows…

Yes, it is.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/05/30/georgia-toddler-critically-injured-by-polices-flash-grenade/

hamiltmc on August 14, 2014 at 8:42 PM

I think we can also safely assume that the cop is white. There are 53 cops on the force in the town, and 50 of them are white. Had it been one of the 3 non-whites, I’m sure one of the witnesses would have mentioned it

Silly. If the officer were white – you know darn well that every “eyewitness” would be screaming about it 24/7, and obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the rest of the racecarders would be trumpeting that fact.

Yes the police officer was there. He’s also accused of murder. His first loyalty is to himself, not the truth. And his department’s first loyalty is to him, not the truth.

notropis on August 14, 2014 at 7:26 PM

You really are delusional. So far, there are no serious murder accusations being thrown around – just the normal drivel from people who believe that the police are always at fault.

Pork-Chop on August 14, 2014 at 7:49 PM

He’s just trolling you Pork-Chop, no one can be that stupid.

slickwillie2001 on August 14, 2014 at 8:47 PM

Big government has shoveled billions in money and materiel at PDs since 9/11 the War on Drugs began, with predictable results.

More acurate.

Spliff Menendez on August 14, 2014 at 9:05 PM

jim56 on August 14, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Does your girlfriend know you’re an internet troll on Hot Air?

notropis on August 14, 2014 at 6:09 PM

She don’t talk much. One of those lifelike Japanese dolls. Quite expensive but little Jimmy’s mom paid the freight so he would leave her alone and stay in the garage.

arnold ziffel on August 14, 2014 at 9:11 PM

Awwwww… how clever! You crossed out a name and replaced it with an insult! What’s the matter? Lack a coherent argument?

Stoic Patriot on August 14, 2014 at 8:29 PM

You don’t send in a wanna-be paramilitary unit into that situation with a sketchy tip, hasty search warrant, and zero intelligence for a two-bit, small-time hustler. You know it, I know it. That kid damn near died because the police need to get their rocks off by using the new toys Uncle Sugar gave them which they most likely never needed in the past and wont ever need in the future.

Spliff Menendez on August 14, 2014 at 9:15 PM

Don’t demilitarize…send these guys to the border!

monalisa on August 14, 2014 at 9:16 PM

Guys, don’t miss all the new dirt on Brown, see the “Fraternal Order…” thread.

slickwillie2001 on August 14, 2014 at 9:17 PM

As expected, here he is belatedly seizing an obvious opportunity.

heh well said

Michael Savage calls Paul the amazing shrinking candidate

Anyway. Expect Paul to float some sort of bill cutting federal funds for military gear for locals PDs. There’s already some support for demilitarization among Democrats. It’ll be hard for Obama to resist.

Why not? The locals already took delivery on the surplus loot

Meanwhile, where is Paul on the mountain of Hollow points, and military hardware still accumulating new, and not surplus, in the federal agencies? That is the truly dangerous militarization.

It is not up the the Bureau of Land Management to fight miltary federalista battles with squatters, but local cops are correctly authorized to deal with local anarchy

I do not begrudge local cops a bearcat to use as a shield, or even camo. It is their job to deal with looters, who also have access to sophisticated weapons and now use bluetooth communications to direct their squadrons of looters and snipers

Wrong time for Paul to carry water for Obama

Where is Paul on the FAA restricting flight over the riot area, which also restricts press coverage? Not impressed

entagor on August 14, 2014 at 9:37 PM

How stupid. Demilitarize the police in the face of rioting and looting? What does that mean? Look more vulnerable? The looters would like that. Take away all their helmets and other protective gear, their rubber bullets and tear gas? Take away real fire power and make it obvious? Rand Paul is a moron saying essentially the riot police shouldn’t look intimidating. All smiles and high fives maybe?

Isn’t it obvious that riot police should and need to look intimidating? They didn’t look so intimidating during the black riots of Detroit and LA and look what carnage and destruction resulted. I think they should be able to shoot Molotov cocktail throwers, or would that be insensitive.

I heard that Ferguson was undergoing an upward revival – it won’t now. This mindless riot & looting spree is helping Phily go the way of Detroit, and Pennsylvania will pay the bill.

Chessplayer on August 14, 2014 at 10:04 PM

That scurrying sound you hear are millions of conservatives getting as far away from this anything goes,amoral lunatic.You picked the wrong side Paul!

redware on August 14, 2014 at 10:20 PM

God didn’t banish Adam & Eve for eating an apple, He did it because they defied his order.
The police have gotten to where defying their order, no matter how inconsequential, means you get arrested and overcharged (in a lot of places, Resisting Arrest is automatically added, plus more depending on how They feel that day).
Why? Because They Are To Be Obeyed.

It’s a sickness.

Tard on August 14, 2014 at 11:26 PM

Allah,
If I hadn’t known you all these long years as blogger and editor since the inception of this site, I might be tempted to write that this blog article about Rand Paul’s comments on Ferguson are decidedly biased in a negative way towards Senator Paul….

Of course you are entitled to your opinion here, but I would like to request you to pen an opinion editorial about your opinion of Senator Paul and why you feel the need to dog him so.

-Paul

paulsur on August 14, 2014 at 11:45 PM

Rand Paul on Ferguson: We must demilitarize the police

This, though, is the opposite of striking while the iron is hot. That is, instead of taking the opportunity to do something about the problem in Ferguson, he’s taking the opportunity to solve what is NOT the problem in Ferguson.

The demilitarization of police is something that needs to be done in general, because the police are way too quick to reach for military-type tactics and gear when it’s not necessary.

But Ferguson is exactly the case for when it IS necessary. The police are not wrong to wear riot gear when they are dealing with actual riots. The protestors are not peaceful. They are looters and rioters, and it seems that there are a lot of outside agitators trying to stir up as much trouble as possible, including the New Black Panther Party.

Disarming the military for a more peaceful world is a laudable goal where possible, but disarming the military when war is thrust upon you is madness. In the same way, NOW is NOT the time to be criticizing the police for taking aggressive tactics in the middle of riots.

There Goes the Neighborhood on August 15, 2014 at 12:36 AM

Rand Paul on Ferguson: We must demilitarize the police

We’ve had courts and police in this country and many others for a few centuries now…and yet people still commit the most horrific crimes.

We’ve wasted billions on prisons, the juvenile “justice” system, parole systems, etc., and yet the recidivism rate among the criminal element is still high.

We’ve been training our police in anti-riot tactics, developing rubber bullets, bean bag shot, tazers, and tear gas delivery systems as well as making the police more of a paramilitary force…and yet we still have riots (here and abroad).

What’s the definition of insanity again?

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 15, 2014 at 1:35 AM

Police should not be allowed to be better armed than citizens. They also should be fitted with cameras and microphones. Anyone interested in actually serving and protecting would not be opposed to this. Get rid of the MRAPs and the high speed, low drag military gear.
Dump the military wannabes and bring back that beat cop. Bring back the cop that has a vested interest in his community.
If you want to play Billy-Badass you should have joined the Marine Corps.

Cladinator on August 15, 2014 at 2:05 AM

The police are militarized because the criminals are militarized. Rand Paul is talking out his ass again. End of story.

JannyMae on August 15, 2014 at 2:12 AM

Police should not be allowed to be better armed than citizens. They also should be fitted with cameras and microphones. Anyone interested in actually serving and protecting would not be opposed to this. Get rid of the MRAPs and the high speed, low drag military gear.
Dump the military wannabes and bring back that beat cop. Bring back the cop that has a vested interest in his community.
If you want to play Billy-Badass you should have joined the Marine Corps.

Cladinator on August 15, 2014 at 2:05 AM

I think average citizens should be required to wear microphones and cameras too. Then they would behave better.

As for the police, what makes you think they do not have a vested interest in their community?

I expect my police to be the sheep dogs protecting the sheep from the wolves. They should, with very good reason, have aspects of the wolf, to the point where we are nervous around them. Otherwise, we might as well fire them, for they are nothing more than sheep like the rest of us.

unclesmrgol on August 15, 2014 at 2:32 AM

The more police look like steroidal stormtroopers, the less the citizens will see them as their own friends and neighbors, in uniform, trying to protect the neighborhood.

They become an alien appearing force and not a trustworthy part of the community.

Enough with the SWAT-mania.

profitsbeard on August 15, 2014 at 3:07 AM

The police are militarized because the criminals are militarized. Rand Paul is talking out his ass again. End of story.

JannyMae on August 15, 2014 at 2:12 AM

So, exactly how many of these rioters were armed with automatic weapons, and wearing body armor?

Oh, that’s right… none of them are.

So, where are the militarized criminals again? Or were you merely engaging in rectalspeak…?

JohnGalt23 on August 15, 2014 at 3:26 AM

The police are militarized because the criminals are militarized. Rand Paul is talking out his ass again. End of story.

JannyMae on August 15, 2014 at 2:12 AM

.
So, exactly how many of these rioters were armed with automatic weapons, and wearing body armor?

Oh, that’s right… none of them are.

So, where are the militarized criminals again? Or were you merely engaging in rectalspeak…?

JohnGalt23 on August 15, 2014 at 3:26 AM

.
Yeah Janny’, when you get a free moment there I’d appreciate hearing about that, ’cause I apparently missed that story as well.

listens2glenn on August 15, 2014 at 7:53 AM

We must DEFUND THE RULING CLASS!!

Senator Paul, let’s start there first.

PappyD61 on August 15, 2014 at 8:48 AM

I agree, but I’m pretty sure this particular issue has nothing to do with a militarized police force.

NotCoach on August 15, 2014 at 9:29 AM

If your husband or wife is a policeman, you want the bullet proof vest.

I want to hold the police to their ideals, but it is amazing, that with the unions and the push to hire the next person from the list, and the extra points for under represented candidates just because of the color of their skin, we are not choosing our police on the basis of merit, or character.

Just because in places their may have been nepotism or favoritism in selecting police candidate, does not validate the current system, it should be a warning instead. You need the BEST candidates in your police force, and you don’t need resentment within the police, over how candidates are hired, or how the chief is hired. Policeman/woman is not a government welfare job that you just “show up” for.

Unions are to blame for most of this, and democrat politics.

When we think about placing sophisticated equipment in the hands of our police, we have to take into account that they are called on today to be the National Guard. That is probably wrong, but until we change that, how does a small police force handle terrorists at the local shopping mall? Gang violence? Biohazards? They have training, and mock episodes that require the police to intervene as first responders. For any incident.

This all costs our smaller towns, and we should probably take another look at our National Guard programs. Seeing Texas, reacting right now, ought to give us all space to pause. The equipment is required, because government and unions and outside forces are dictating what we do. I would rather let policemen walk the beat on foot with a little baton. Can we get there from here? My town just spent $100K on just one cruiser, and it only has a short lifetime. Our firefighters need sophisticated equipment to rescue people, and the trucks are big scary, and expensive. Our firefighters are not trained just to put out fires in an office wastebasket.

The thing is, we don’t get to discuss this, everything is forced upon you, and there Rand has a point. People are unhappy with technologies that are being sold to the police for money by people who make money off selling to government, they make the recommendations and then sell the products. If a humvee is coming to your town, who decides?

You need to be active in your city government and ask questions from the bottom, you need to ask the questions the journalists ask, who, what, where, how and why, and then follow the money.

Fleuries on August 15, 2014 at 10:01 AM

I’m a little unclear how in view of what we know now, this went from an attack on a police officer to a discussion about the militarization of the police. It’s seems to me that’s a strawman construction and opportunistic exploitation by Mr. Paul.

I’ll let law enforcement discuss tactics and the appropriate use of force in response to wide-spread riots, looting, assaults and arson. Actions, by the way that have the potential to provoke more deaths either through the actions of those perpetrators or by people trying to protect themselves or property.

I’m a little curious what the so-called “libertarian” response is to that situation?

By the way, parties to that discussion don’t include the president or attorney general, who have used race more as a grievance cudgel to further divide us, rather than providing a perspective that would bring us together.

Personally, I find that latter point most distressing. Because the one accomplishment I expected from this president is we could further bridge some of the remaining racial gaps. We haven’t and in fact, in my estimation our progress has been set back. That’s shameful and inexcusable.

Marcus Traianus on August 15, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Silly. If the officer were white – you know darn well that every “eyewitness” would be screaming about it 24/7, and obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the rest of the racecarders would be trumpeting that fact.

Pork-Chop on August 14, 2014 at 7:49 PM

FERGUSON, Mo. — After withholding his name for nearly a week, the Ferguson Police Department on Friday publicly identified the white patrol officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teen.

Chief Thomas Jackson said the officer involved was Darren Wilson, who has been with the department for six years.

rukiddingme on August 15, 2014 at 10:11 AM

So the dead teen was the suspect in a strong-arm robbery?
Will there be counter-riots?

freedomfirst on August 15, 2014 at 10:12 AM

So now it comes out the officer involved in this shooting was attempting to apprehend the youth for a strong arm robbery. There are photos from a surveillance camera of the youth assaulting the store clerk while he was stealing a fifty dollar box of cigars.

birdwatcher on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Yes. Tone down the militarized police. Nothing like a military uniform to make you act like one. If there is an armed robbery in progress then you can do that.

Let’s put more fire under the discussion to disarm the EPA, IRS, DHS, etc. Government agencies have no business with their own police force.

TerryW on August 15, 2014 at 10:46 AM

So people are rioting, looting, burning and firing shots at the police and private citizens but the police are suppose to have nothing but rubber bullets and tear gas? Those police are protecting innocent citizens and their property.
I have no problem with police having military style weapons. I do have a problem with government agencies having militarized police forces. There is a difference.

fight like a girl on August 15, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Fleuries on August 15, 2014 at 10:01 AM

I wanted to unpack your response because it had a lot of info to cover.

If your husband or wife is a policeman, you want the bullet proof vest.

Absolutely. And I think most people would agree with this. However, all of the cops who responded to the riots (not just the SWAT team) looked like they were conducting counter-insurgency in Baghdad. They all don’t need kevlar, assualt style weapons, APCs, etc. They should have donned riot gear, but instead they went all out. This is a huge issue, especially when it concerns such a small town that probably doesn’t even need a SWAT tea (let the county provide that).

I want to hold the police to their ideals, but it is amazing, that with the unions and the push to hire the next person from the list, and the extra points for under represented candidates just because of the color of their skin, we are not choosing our police on the basis of merit, or character.

I don’t know what it’s like in other states, but in Southern California we use a merit based system, with strict standards (most officers in agencies down here have 4 year degrees).

Just because in places their may have been nepotism or favoritism in selecting police candidate, does not validate the current system, it should be a warning instead. You need the BEST candidates in your police force, and you don’t need resentment within the police, over how candidates are hired, or how the chief is hired. Policeman/woman is not a government welfare job that you just “show up” for.

I agree, but the officer who shot this kid was white. The officers who killed the guy in New York (which was a more egregious use of force)were white; and probably, from what I’ve heard, did not have 4 year degrees. I think there is a universal lack of professionalism along the east coast. If you look at the LAPD, as much criticism it has received, they do not have problems like this. They had Rodney King, but the dude wasn’t killed and insulted the officers. Still, they were blackballed because they overreacted and stirred the pot.

Unions are to blame for most of this, and democrat politics.

Police Unions have nothing to do with this. Politics, sure.

When we think about placing sophisticated equipment in the hands of our police, we have to take into account that they are called on today to be the National Guard. That is probably wrong, but until we change that, how does a small police force handle terrorists at the local shopping mall? Gang violence? Biohazards? They have training, and mock episodes that require the police to intervene as first responders. For any incident.

Irrelevant. The Guard is under the command of the US Army, DOD. They have different protocols. The problem isn’t that some of these guys are in the guard, the problem is, as you alluded too, the emphasis to take a militarized role. A SWAT team is now regarded as a counter-terrorist unit, no longer regarded as a specialized unit to negate armed suspects. That’s a huge problem. Some Veterans returning are also problematic because they might revert to military training; however, the biggest problem is the policy within the departments to choose to act like a localized version of the USMC. Gang violence does not mean you need APCs, MRAPs, and a M1 Abrams.

This all costs our smaller towns, and we should probably take another look at our National Guard programs. Seeing Texas, reacting right now, ought to give us all space to pause. The equipment is required, because government and unions and outside forces are dictating what we do. I would rather let policemen walk the beat on foot with a little baton. Can we get there from here? My town just spent $100K on just one cruiser, and it only has a short lifetime. Our firefighters need sophisticated equipment to rescue people, and the trucks are big scary, and expensive. Our firefighters are not trained just to put out fires in an office wastebasket.

A lot of the equipment in a cruiser is specialized. A lot of pricey electronics to aid law enforcement, but your point that the emphasis needs to be on policing, and not counter-terror / military operations is a salient one. A lot of problems steaming from crime today (or in the past) is a result of bad policy.

The thing is, we don’t get to discuss this, everything is forced upon you, and there Rand has a point. People are unhappy with technologies that are being sold to the police for money by people who make money off selling to government, they make the recommendations and then sell the products. If a humvee is coming to your town, who decides?

You need to be active in your city government and ask questions from the bottom, you need to ask the questions the journalists ask, who, what, where, how and why, and then follow the money.

Contracts aren’t that big for police, but still, this is the right approach. City council meetings are open to the public.With enough initiative, the public can have a vocal voice determining their police units.

Cr4sh Dummy on August 15, 2014 at 7:53 PM

That’s for SWAT and the National Guard, not local police.

John the Libertarian on August 15, 2014 at 10:25 PM

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