The situation in Ferguson, Missouri, where after a police officer shot a black unarmed teen, and when the people protested the police responded using military tactics, was brought to the forefront by people recalling a pattern that has appeared in several places. We suddenly became aware that since 1990’s the United States has been arming its police with military equipment.
In 1990 Congress enacted the National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1208 of the NDAA allowed the Secretary of Defense to “transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense, including small arms and ammunition, that the Secretary determines is— (A) suitable for use by such agencies in counter-drug activities; and (B) excess to the needs of the Department of Defense.” It was called the 1208 Program. The idea was to equip the police like warriors for the ‘war on drugs’, thus providing law enforcement agencies with surplus military equipment and encouraging them to use military weapons and military tactics. According to a source, police in small towns in Michigan and Indiana have acquired “MRAP armored troop carriers, night-vision rifle scopes, camouflage fatigues, Humvees and dozens of M16 automatic rifles”
Reading other sources one finds that “a county in Ohio bought an Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle in June for $6,000 — the towering trucks used to protect troops from roadside bombs in Iraq that cost the military $535,000 or more apiece.”
Back in 2013, the police announced that they were going to send a SWAT team out on routine patrols to ‘problem neighborhoods’
Also, the Police departments in Morgan, Jefferson and Johnson counties and the cities of Merrillville, Mishawaka, Terre Haute and West Lafayette are among the list of police departments that have become equipped with MRAPs.
Under the circumstances, Attorney General Eric Holder said. “ I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message,”
Other senators and legislators like Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich, are among the voices questioning the current situation.
The military mentality has spread throughout the country, and it affects more the places where minorities are housed, where SWAT operations often take place. One would think that upgrading from playing ‘war’ as a child ends with a mature individual, but in reality what happens is that with the influence of war videos and a war culture, the adult continues to ‘play’ war.
Behind this enormous playground there is a business machine of endless production of arms needing new clients. If there are no new conflicts, then nationally we need to absorb the endless surplus of arms. It takes less effort to use arms than encouraging different types of relationships with more equalitarian treatment and opportunities for all.
Even in treating problems abroad, the ‘Aid’, has been in the form of military training and assistance. The whole world is covered in blood thanks to the ‘new’ and more advanced arms technology. We have seen the results elsewhere. Now we realize that it is also here.
I hope every voice in every town is raised to stop this deathly path. Humankind cannot turn into a ‘war piece’, that does not reason and only uses force. We cannot continue to be part of the game played by the military industry.
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