The ongoing, and evidently accelerating, militarization of law enforcement has for a while now been of real concern to those of us who realize that the Posse Comitatus Act is of little value when state, and even local, police departments are allowed to arm themselves as if going to war (war with whom?). That's fine with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, who caution us to "not pile too much on the militarization of law enforcement," but more than a little alarming to those of us who have vowed not to permit a "government monopoly on force."
It's a topic that has been coming up with some frequency of late, as more and more police departments obtain heavily armored vehicles from the military, who will no longer be needing them in Afghanistan and Iraq. These huge, lumbering, greenhouse-gas-spewing (and where's the statist outrage over that?) behemoths may not hold much interest for the few remaining cops who think of themselves as "peace officers," but they sure excite the heck out of the inexorably growing number of "Only Ones" who fancy themselves as "operators."
The law enforcement "need" for vehicles designed for combat operations in some of the most dangerous war zones on Earth (and aren't we supposed to be outraged about "'weapons of war' on our streets"?) has seen numerous dubious justifications, but we occasionally see an especially disturbing one. The sidebar video, showing an interview with Morgan County, Indiana Sheriff's Department Sergeant Dan Downing, is worth watching in its outrageous entirety, but Mike Vanderboegh's Sipsey Street Irregulars provides a transcription of the money quote:
Sgt. Dan Downing of the Morgan County Sheriff's Department states, "When I first started we really didn't have the violence that we see today," adding, "The weaponry is totally different now that it was in the beginning of my career, plus, you have a lot of people who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build IEDs and to defeat law enforcement techniques."
Whoa--back up a minute. The reason that police have to be armed like an occupying army is that they might have to kill the veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq? Seriously? The Captain's Journal blogger Herschel Smith responds as politely as possible, but at some point, politeness must yield to honesty, and Mr. Smith gets about as close to the balance point as is possible:
Good grief! First of all, returning veterans aren’t the problem – militarized police are. Second, if returning veterans did decide to take matters into their own hands, if this idiot thinks that a bunch of fat ass, unqualified, keystone cop goofballs like Amerikan police would be able to handle combat veterans, he is living in fantasy world – a world of his own making because he wasn’t man enough to go to the sand box and do it himself.
Loud mouth coward.
But Downing is right about one thing. If we the people do find ourselves with no recourse against tyranny short of "voting from the rooftops," we will certainly have the expertise of a great many combat veterans, whether formal members of the Oath Keepers or not, and some of that expertise will be in the form of hands-on experience with Army Technical Manual 31-201, the Improvised Munitions Handbook, although he should know that those techniques are not the exclusive province of military veterans.
And the government's hired muscle is going to need a bigger MRAP.