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How did America’s police become a military force on the streets?

Jul 1, 2013, 10:10 am CDT

Comments

The terrorists won, after all.

By PacRim Jim on 2013 06 29, 4:10 am CDT

I know the third amendment is the red headed stepchild of the bill of rights, but seriously, our tax dollars, extracted by force, are being used to pay for the instruments of our own oppression.  If a bunch of clever lawyers can insert a penumbra of privacy into the constitution where it never was, and then magically stretch it to cover abortion, can’t they make an argument that the current police situation constitutes quartering troops in time of peace?

My guess is that even if there were a third amendment argument (or any argument for that matter), those with the power to push it forward secretly view the militarized police as “their team”, and view the future victims of police head busting the same way the IRS looks at the Tea Party groups.

I suspect we shall all be living in interesting times very soon.

By Mike O'thelake on 2013 06 29, 1:11 pm CDT

This is a very good article. I agree. Its very scary what is going on. Why don’t they send a few cops. EVen with the situation in Boston…he was one young man in a boat. They acted like he was a force of 25 armed terrorist! . Its crazy. We are not a free society.

By monica on 2013 06 30, 8:03 pm CDT

the bill of rights went out the window a long time ago—the police and prosecutors run the country, not the people.  If you object, you go to jail.

By alistsi on 2013 06 30, 10:21 pm CDT

Obama is the imperialist president.  He wants to see a one world order with him in charge when he is done with the presidency.

By tim17 on 2013 07 03, 11:13 am CDT

Osama bin Laden is the supreme victor of the War on Terror.  Yes, he is dead, along with many of his associates, but he triumphed over the US and its often reluctant allies.  bin Laden did something that Hitler, Stalin, Tojo and many others were unable to do: he convinced the US Government to destroy American civil liberties, with the concurrence of both major political parties.  The violent SWAT raids on nonviolent suspects, the massive electronic surveillance, the drones, all are evidence of bin Laden’s victory, which reportedly cost just $250K.  God save America from its government, which is hell-bent on destroying it.

By Roger J on 2013 07 03, 11:45 am CDT

Monica clearly does not reside in Boston. That “one young man,” murdered three innocent people in the most horrific way, including a child, and then executed a police officer who was merely sitting in his cruiser, NOT dressed in his black armor from head to toe. But despite that, this is an excellent article. Let’s get back to our roots. I have a great idea, let’s disband all police departments, and fully advocate the use of “self help” by any person aggrieved by another, like the creditors did against Shays. I’m sure this will lend itself to a much freer and safer society. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a police supervisor and an attorney. I do not support the use of swat teams unless such use is against armed (KNOWN TO BE ARMED,) suspects who pose a danger to society. I also believe that a large number of “illegal narcotics” should be decriminalized, and in that regard, at least Massachusetts has taken a small step forward. Personally, I’d love to out of work at the PD, unfortunately, there are too many “self helpers” out there already, who like to take advantage of the meek, the scared, the stupid and the vulnerable. Good luck America, we’re gonna need it.

By Michael on 2013 07 05, 9:53 am CDT

I could barely finish the article.  The injustice and perversion of if it all is gut wrenching.

By Michael on 2013 07 05, 11:47 am CDT

I would like to weigh in with my thoughts on this article, but I have serious reservations about doing so and about the potential ramifications of commenting in general.

By musiclawyer on 2013 07 05, 12:11 pm CDT

The militarization of the police into a standing ‘militia’, with police state organization and function, is as threatening in our times as it was in Cromwell’s. The nature and substance of our polity at the Framing, disciplined by a belief system extolling true virtue, avoided any necessity, the rise of ideology the beginning of the problems we have today, the absence of hope giving rise to the violence of despair. Instead of militarizing our police, we should be extolling good order enabling an efficiency working more by presence and example, than bringing to bear overwhelming force. And for that, we need not disarm the citizenry, only educate them in a ‘tradition’ involving fundamental beliefs extolling good personal behavior. The militarization is a sign of cultural decay.

By gdp on 2013 07 05, 12:21 pm CDT

Make work for sure.  I mean really TSA, what is that all about. Metal detectors at every single public building, event or venue.  We need to make jobs, so we have.

By John on 2013 07 05, 12:34 pm CDT

As citizens we must find a way to make Congress act on our behalf or all is lost. We must elect citizens who are that first and foremost and not politicians, else we will only see, and experience, violent change.

By Geoffrey Webster on 2013 07 05, 12:54 pm CDT

A thought-provoking article.  One point that was not mentioned was the rising incidence of “swatting”, i.e., making a false police report in order to instigate a SWAT raid against a political opponent, a troublesome neighbor, or anyone else whose life the “swatter” wants to destroy.

By JM-K on 2013 07 05, 1:45 pm CDT

Perhaps the most positive aspect of this article is the fact that people can offer some very whacked-out theories and find supportive whacked out comments in blogs such as this.  Very little is offered by way of alternative to “keep the peace” more or less.  Yet the hand-wringing and whining, calls for insurrection and overthrow, and general hyperbole can be offered here without consequence. 

Yay for the U.S and happy day after Independence Day.

By porkut on 2013 07 05, 2:21 pm CDT

politicians use the police as their private army.  Unjustly agressive and cruel toward their victim. It’s all about property rights and land use.. love they neighbor as thy self. a good neighbor is better than a distant relative.

By lulu on 2013 07 05, 3:01 pm CDT

This article is ridiculous and largely devoid of facts.  Lets stop being paranoic.  I don’t defend everything the police do, because many do violate the law and violate our rights, but lately people like this blogger are making people who don’t necessarily watch news or read a paper think that the government is about to raid our homes and take over.  What has happened to this country? 
I think that the NRA and other such groups are promoting this feeling in others for their own self interest, so they can get more guns sold, which only exacerbates the problem, people.  Arsenals in your home don’t make you safer.  They have made all us of less safe, as is obvious, except to people like you and some of the other commentators.  The police had to use swat teams on that killer in Boston because they didn’t know how many killers there were.

By Debbie on 2013 07 05, 3:04 pm CDT

A small group of psychopaths—humans without conscience—has taken over the world.  The legal system applies only to the weak and powerless.  The “Justice Department” publicly stated it would not charge HSBC bank criminally because of its vast wealth and size, despite catching HSBC red handed laundering billions of dollars for al Qaeda and the drug cartels.

But steal a loaf of bread with a felony history and spend your life in prison.  America has descended into perpetual war, a dying stage in a dying society.  America represents the brutal battle of the rich against the poor, fighting all its wars against the poorest people in the world, such as Afghanistan with a per capita annual income of $500.

By Tom Carberry on 2013 07 05, 3:08 pm CDT

This is largely an indirect attack on dubious laws, notably the War on Drugs. It is is much more effective to work on repeal or shrinking of these laws than to try to outlaw cops. Citizens’ concern for security will easily trump efforts to dismantle police, but they can be persuaded to ease up on intrusive drugs and other laws.

By Richard on 2013 07 05, 3:10 pm CDT

If a criminal defendant not only has the right to remain silent but police must inform him of that right because one cannot exercise a right one is unaware of, then why can we not apply the same logic to criminal jury trials?
I believe juries should be informed with a sort of Miranda Warning, ESPECIALLY in federal drug trials (given that there’s nothing in the Constitution allowing them) that “If you find the law to be unjust, you may acquit regardless of the facts.”
It’s the whole reason we have juries in the first place.

By Robert on 2013 07 05, 3:40 pm CDT

For a recent example of law enforcement gone mad and the complete protection of law enforcement gone mad, look up newspaper articles on the recent incident in Charlottesville, Virginia in which Virginia ABC (Alcohol and Beverage Control) agents, supposedly trying to find underage drinkers in a shopping mall parking lot late at night, surrounded a UVA student and her friend, who had just bought water and other goods at a grocery store for an upcoming charitable event, late at night with guns pulled, not in uniform, screaming, and without discernible identification. They then charged the woman with multiple felonies because she didn’t know the officers were law enforcement and started to flee thinking she was in danger (the prosecutor only dropped the charges months later). Of course, the ABC says they did nothing wrong and are protecting their neaderthal agents. All to stop underage drinking. And even at that they were wrong. Abominable.

What needs to be done in these type of situations is the names of the officers need to be published. They should not be protected by the media. After clerking after law school and seeing judge after judge protect law enforcement run amok, I’ve come to believe that that is the only chance to stop bad police. Shame them. Put their names in newspaper articles about such incidents. Those articles will last forever and could be found be neighbors, friends, family members, even potential partners. Law enforcement posts the mug shots of every single person arrested (notice arrested, not convicted) in large part because it hopes to shame them (and potentially others) from committing crime in the future. The same should be done for those law enforcement officers who abuse their positions and are protected by their brethren.

By Traveler on 2013 07 05, 3:40 pm CDT

What the public wants is a safe State. The safest State is a police state occupied by a well-funded, well-armed police force unconstrained by laws, rules and concerns for public sentiment. The objective: incarcerate everyone not carrying a badge.

By Adel on 2013 07 05, 3:56 pm CDT

DHS / FEMA have recently built enough internment camps across the continental USA to hold 30 million people. That’s 1/10 of the population. These are all connected by heavy rail. They also had constructed a huge number of rail cars filled with nothing but seats and shackles.  Buy your ammo while you can, folks!

By You call this coffee!? on 2013 07 05, 4:03 pm CDT

Don’t be fooled, police or military, it’s called the military industrial complex- same one Dwight Eisenhower described in 1961 and it’s all about money/ defense contractors / corporations/ institutions and political contributions. It floors me how the masses and the media are pointing at Obama.  He has done what those before him have done, pushed the envelope. Now over decades that envelope is a whole lot nastier. Does anyone remember Ollie North and Iran-Contra, GH Bush rush to Panama, Clintons failure to trump the Pentagons regarding arms control and the Bush/Cheney Patriot Act???
That said, if you’re living in fear you’ve given in.

By k88 on 2013 07 05, 4:08 pm CDT

So… this just happened in Henderson, Nevada:

http://randazza.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/third-amendment-case-in-nevada/#comment-73580

By Mike on 2013 07 05, 4:19 pm CDT

I passed two cops with M-16s on my way to work this morning.  They were just standing there watching everyone walk by.  I had the same thought that it felt like I was living in a police state.

By Rothberg on 2013 07 05, 4:20 pm CDT

As part of my practice I handle police misconduct cases.  It is said that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.  Well a police detective can get a search warrant just as easily.  Police in many, if not most jurisdictions, simply change the date and the address on a warrant affidavit to support its issuance and the judges routinely sign it with few if any superficial questions.

A trusted confidential informant bought drugs from an unidentified individual at this address. No corroboration, no investigation, and no skepticism on the part of the judge and 92 year old Katherine Johnston of Atlanta was murdered. The murder might have gone unpunished but for the confidential informant testifying he never bought drugs at that residence and the police made up the whole thing. This happens every day in some city across the country and rarely are the officers subjected to discipline or punishment when found out.  The taxpayers then pay for the damages.

By acop on 2013 07 05, 4:40 pm CDT

From the headline, I thought this was going to be an article about Chief Parker and the transformation of LAPD into the nation’s first “professional” (i.e. paramilitary) police force.  I was surprised when the author first talked about the irrelevant Third Amendment (which has nothing to do with anything else in the article except serve as a thematic touchstone), then addressed the early domestic rebellions in the history of the Republic (always interesting), and then jumped into the far future to complain about police home invasions (the real purpose of the article). Unfortunately, these three topics have nothing to do with one another. This is the strangest article I have read in ABA Journal, simply because it is so disconnected. It appears to be a failure of good editing. The editor’s function should be to help the author make his point without getting lost in distracting irrelevancies.

By Bait and Switch on 2013 07 05, 5:44 pm CDT

Summer of 1967.  Question answered.

By Fool's Gold on 2013 07 05, 6:43 pm CDT

Excellent article, but it really only tells half the story. The other half is how an increasingly subservient judiciary has insulated these quasi-military organizations from nearly all accountability. On the criminal side, the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth amendments have been whittled down to mere shadows of their former selves. On the civil side, federal (and a good deal of state) jurisprudence of the last decade has effectively barred private citizens from seeing any meaningful compensation for law enforcement caprice.

By Third Amendment Lawyer on 2013 07 05, 7:08 pm CDT

That is the standard situation. They smash into your home, you smash them, then you are the criminal. I consider trespassing to be one of the most hideous crimes, and smashing into the houses IS trespassing. Seems like America isn’t a good country to live in after all; there are many others around the globe.

By Anna Gray on 2013 07 05, 7:49 pm CDT

Ann Gray, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way to those really good countries.

By p on 2013 07 05, 7:54 pm CDT

Remember soviet comedian Smirnov with “what a country” slogan? some of his sayings: “in U.S. people watch TV, in Russia, TV watches you ...”  - do I need to say more? NSA, etc. make KGB look like clueless boy scouts.
Great ‘indictment’ for all lawyers by #26acop “It is said that a [lawyer] can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich” i.e. ‘legal pedophilia’ is no different from ‘financial pedophilia’ by banksters and alike kinds.
Founders created Constitution i.e. it is for lawyers to ‘defend’ it in Courts, not take bites of ‘ham sandwiches.’

By Whatever on 2013 07 05, 8:43 pm CDT

A few years ago in Houston an off duty drunk police officer in his personal car decided to pull over a woman for some traffic issue.  Based on his weaving, etc. the woman did not assume he was a police officer.  After an extended chase,  which she called 911.  She was told no on duty police officer was pursuing her.  She eventually pulled over and drew the gun for which she had a permit.  She off duty officer also drew his gun.  She was killed and the officer was fired.  He became a tow truck driver. The 911 tape was horrifying when played.  Now the Houston Police Department thinks it is a good idea to place patrol offices in “stealth cars” or police cars marked only by reflective tape that can only be seen from certain angles.  It appears that the safety of frightened citizens is less important that speeding tickets.

By Melissa on 2013 07 05, 11:18 pm CDT

I have been saying these same things for almost 25 years.  One of the best articles on this topic I have ever read (partly because there are truly precious few articles on this topic that aren’t polemics or irrational screeds.  As far as the ending idea that perhaps the tide is turning as far as public attitudes and perception/awareness: God I truly hope so.

By Ray on 2013 07 06, 2:48 am CDT

We are the frogs in the tepid pot of water, heating so slowly we fail to jump out to save ourselves.

The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs is August 28 , 2013.  We need to converge on DC to make clear that we understand that the militarization of domestic police forces, NSA and other government agencies’ widespread spying on citizens, government interference with journalists engaging in investigative journalism, and prosecution of whistleblowers are all linked, and unacceptable.

Those who support this kind of state have abandoned the US constitution and, instead, adopted the approach of East Germany and the Soviet Union at its worst.  It is the responsibility of lawyers to speak out again, and again, and again against the path our nation treads.  How hard is it to spell “fascism” in the US?

By Vermont Lawyer on 2013 07 06, 6:43 am CDT

p - you sound like a stepper. are you in AA? So black & white , so ...immature. so condescending…

By malia on 2013 07 06, 7:52 am CDT

The escalating looks of these raids has become a big concern in many ways, bringing us too far away from the friendly English-style “bob.” Training for SWAT-like raids does generate it’s own demand for plenty of those raids to take place, and you have to multiply the number of raids by the number of innocent victims affected in every house involved - not to mention the effect on neighbors. The balance has swung too far on the side of raids, raids, raids.

By Richard on 2013 07 06, 2:39 pm CDT

In 2005 Coleman was convicted of perjury. He received 10 years’ probation and was fined $7,500.


LOL

By harry tuttle on 2013 07 06, 4:19 pm CDT

What an audacious question posed by the ABA.  Eh hem—Dear ABA, the police were allowed to become militarized due, in part, to the ABA being asleep at the switch.  Same can be said for the ACLU.  Same can be said for all of those alleged “Americans” who wave their flags on the 4th of July, chant “USA…USA” at the drop of a hat, and who rolled their collective eyes when people like me and my friends were screaming from the streets to the rooftops that our liberties are being stripped under the false guise of safety.  In fact, this is all about control.  Too late now folks.  Can’t undo it at the ballot box or in the courts.  It’s now entrenched.  Americans deserve the government they have, and they deserve it good and hard.

By Veritas&Candor on 2013 07 06, 5:57 pm CDT

W hat s happening in AMerica now is happening in the middle east by 21 year old army kids who haven’t a clue what they are doing and kill innocent woman and children! Now they are dressing in their stupid military police gear and pounding down our doors. Get out I say .. Get the hell out of my home. Its nuts ....

By monica on 2013 07 06, 9:12 pm CDT

The citizens are at the breaking point with cops. I see ex-combat vets turning the tables in the years to come.

By Greg on 2013 07 06, 10:30 pm CDT

The same commentators who advocate fewer police and police actions probably do not like what private citizen George Zimmerman did as the captain of his neighborhood watch program.  You cannot have it both ways.  We either have police to deal with crime, or citizens will handle crime themselves.  The choice between those alternatives seems to be a no-brainer to me.The huge real-world probabilities are if the police are pounding on your door, they have a good reason to do so.  Are mistakes made? Of course, by both perps and police.  Most so-called “raids” by SWAT teams are for reasons that completely justify heavily-armed and overwhelming force.  Despite the paranoia and fear-mongering by some commentators, you cannot order-up a SWAT raid on anyone just by calling 911.  It does not work that way in the real world, and if you think or claim it does, you simply do not know what you are talking about.

By Realist on 2013 07 07, 1:05 am CDT

Police don’t work for people and constitution anymore, they enforce ordinances, policies, rules in order to make money – it is a legally armed monopolistic business. Certainly, there are some good cops, just like there are some kind people in a gang (good-bad cop routine), but gang is still a gang and lawyers/judges are in it, actively or passively.

If you have been stop by a police for any reason whatsoever – that’s just really truly terrifying bad news, period, you never know what they will decide – search your private parts or tech you to be ‘respectful.’ They will find something wrong unless your absolute obedience is good enough for them. If you oppose anything, they and the ‘justice’ system will attack you mercilessly – entire system is design to criminalize anyone touched by the system: your only option is stay away from it. It is all about taking money from you or, if convicted, make you work like a slave for nothing.
It has gotten so bad that most call cops hero just for merely doing what they were hired for, in theory, i.e. to protect public. They behave like military during wars in foreign lands: first is to protect self at any costs.  How often do you see a cop taking a bullet or allowed self to be bitten or get a cut in order to save a human (even temporary insane one) or a dog: they cowardly shot first knowing that there will be no punishment, but cookies from boys/girls scouts.

Furthermore, with contemporary surveillance, they are able to find something illegal. If they see you as a threat, they will act. Realistically, everyone does something illegal or anything could be interpreted as illegal – that’s reality.

By Whatever on 2013 07 07, 2:06 am CDT

The .gov cannot control an innocent person.

By Ann Rand on 2013 07 07, 2:08 pm CDT

Ann Rand is selling a dream.  Governments have been controlling innocent persons for millenia.  The US government has been controlling, and even executing, innocent persons for ages. 

Guess Ann is unaware of the recent fruits of the Innocence Project and of Texas’ willingness to execute even when real evidence of guilt is questionable (no reason to let DNA facts change a jury conviction accompanied by every effort on the part of the government to assure that DNA facts that may prove a false conviction are not uncovered).

Can Ann Rand pronounce Sacco & Vanzetti?  Or Joe Hill, executed in 1915.

Is Ann Rand unaware of Lena Baker, African-American kidnapped and held against her will and subjected to sexual assault by a white Georgia mill owner, who escaped and shot him as he trying to recapture and reimprison her on his property?  Lena Baker, convicted by a white, all-male jury in a one-day trial of capital murder in George, and sentenced to death.  Pardon denied and Baker was executed on 2/23/45.  Lena Baker was granted a full pardon by the Georgia Board of Pardons sixty (60) years later, in 2005.  See http://www.walb.com/story/13075123/lena-baker-execution-was-six-decades-ago and http://www.blackcommentator.com/40/40_guest_commentary.html and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Filling-in-the-Gaps-in-American-History-FIGAH-Inc/84190006098

By Vermont Lawyer on 2013 07 07, 3:12 pm CDT

All of these individuals/cases demonstrate Ann Rand was correct.  The .gov had to incriminate in order to “control” the individuals. 

Govts around the world use the violation of BS laws to incriminate and prosecute individuals all the time.

Ann Rand was referring to the abuse of power by the .gov to impose the .gov will on individuals/populations that did not agree with the powers to be.

By Ann Rand on 2013 07 07, 4:11 pm CDT

It’s important to know that our government wrote the plan to disarm the worlds militaries and their citizens.  It also includes creating a police state in every nation state.  They wrote it for the UN to implement.  This occured in 1961 “Freedom from War” is the easily googled document.  It also makes it clear the US would then answer to international law, dealt out by the UN.  In other more direct words, It is and was tyranny of the highest order.  There is a complete trail of evidence here, there is no doubt.  The fruits of their efforts since then are ample proof of this plans implementation and our governments complicancy.

By the way, it was our gov. that created the UN in 1945.  The majority of those on the committee who created the UN were communists or sympathizers who subverted our gov.  Algier Hiss being the most famous.  WAKE UP AMERICA, IT’S TYRANNY.

By ractivist on 2013 07 07, 8:02 pm CDT

This article is naive.

If the author thinks the framers of the constitution would be “alarmed” at the current state of police forces in the U.S., imagine what they would think of modern crime!  Bombers, home invasions, gang shootings, all purpetrated by people with weaponry more advanced than anything known to the militias that fought the revolutionary war.

By Jason on 2013 07 08, 2:57 am CDT

“The militarization of the police into a standing ‘militia’ “

The problem is precisely that the police ought to be a militia, but aren’t.

One of the distinguishing features of a militia is that it’s armed only with those weapons that are readily available to ordinary private citizens. A police force armed with weapons that exceed this limit isn’t a militia, but rather a much more dangerous sort of paramilitary force. Such paramilitary forces may be called “militias” but that’s the result of either ignorance or an ulterior motive for bashing actual militias and/or gun rights.

In fact, that’s the point of the Second Amendment’s militia clause - security & law enforcement was to be provided by groups that were well-armed (and so able to do their job), but not better armed than “the people,” and so still qualifying as militias, rather than as “troops, or ships of war” that the Constitution supposedly prohibits the States from having without special congressional permission.

Unfortunately, modern police aren’t a militia but rather are those constitutionally-prohibited troops. It would be a great improvement if the police were a militia - limited to those weapons that ordinary private citizens can buy and carry.

By Deep Lurker on 2013 07 08, 3:53 am CDT

It started with Woodrow and has been further perverted every four years.

Absent armed civil war, the only qualified defenders of the Republic and the People are Bar members. Gentle(wo)men, you are loosing precipitously.

By Blue & Gold on 2013 07 08, 4:12 am CDT

@50: wow, you are one informed lawyer with a sense of honor: must be hard to be among contemporary pick and chose money makers i.e. bar members.

By Whatever on 2013 07 08, 6:14 am CDT

The police need to go back to the 9 Peelian Principles

By wraparound on 2013 07 08, 12:44 pm CDT

You folks are paranoid and delusional. Police officers are heroes.  Probabilities are on the government/police’s side.

If you have nothing to hide, and act lawfully, then our appropriately armed police force should not bother you.

By Tip Fong on 2013 07 08, 3:31 pm CDT

Read “Enemies Foreign and Domestic” by Matt Bracken…

By greyghost on 2013 07 08, 4:05 pm CDT

Ann Rand - “the government cannot control an innocent person”  My reading of human history has no relation to yours.  Can you expand on that/  Haven’t powers over the years controlled by fear with no concern about innocents?  Are you a college student?  I would hope for the sake of your clients you would get some exerience before represeting people n any capacity.  If you are already licensed, I am very sad.  Do you understand why the concept of innocnet until proven guilty ever needed to be developed?

By Melissa on 2013 07 08, 4:22 pm CDT

Given the opening sentence of the article, I was expecting a law review article with some significant discussion of legal standards - not just bare citation to Constitutional amendments and then a somewhat sensationalistic series of stories.

I’m not downplaying the stories themselves: clearly there was abuse going on. But if you’re going to suggest that these abuses amounted to Third Amendment violations: shouldn’t you have some additional analysis?

As for the amount of weaponry currently owned by police departments, the so-called “militarization” of the police is only commensurate with the “militarization” of individual citizens under the Supreme Court’s current reading of the 2nd Amendment. When individual citizens are allowed to possess “cop killer” bullets, semi-automatic (and in some cases automatic) weapons without any restrictions as to number and without effective background checks - is it any surprise that the police feel the need to have equivalent if not superior armament?

If individual citizens (including criminals) are effectively restricted to muzzle-loaders as in Colonial times, then I’ll consider disarming our police to get them back to Federalist-era arsenals.

PS: I do wonder, though, why the police in that one town need 23 snowblowers. But that one incident of possible “pork” doesn’t seem to be a matter of Constitutional dimension.

By R on 2013 07 08, 4:44 pm CDT

@53…did you not read the article?  @56…same question.  The scarcity of “additional analysis” as to Third Amendment claims you complain of may just have the tiniest bit to do with the fact that there is almost no case law on this issue; a fact you would be well aware of with time spent reading the entire article and the smallest dose of reading comprehension thrown in.  You also criticize the “bare citation to Constitutional [should be a small-case ‘c’, btw] amendments and then a somewhat sensationalistic series of stories.”  However, you then engage is the same practice by claiming (without any evidence) that “individual citizens are allowed to possess “cop killer” bullets, semi-automatic (and in some cases automatic) weapons without any restrictions as to number and without effective background checks…”  Really? I don’t know where you are, but here in CA we have quite the restrictions and effective background checks. As for possession of “cop killer” bullets, I assume you mean armor-piercing or teflon-coated, and I assure you they are quite banned. As for the police being “outgunned” and under constant threat, statistically you have a greater risk of being killed on the job as a rancher, landscaper, farmer, logger, or pilot (typically jobs that pay less and without the accolades of hero status that police work brings) than you do as a police officer. Further, you have more chance of being killed by some moron driving an SUV then you do being shot by some criminal thug. Theses are facts with analysis and statistics to back them up, I didn’t make them up. Check with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the mortality rates for the USA and argue with them.

By CA Atty on 2013 07 08, 5:09 pm CDT

This is the horror that has been wrought on the American people because our politicians have been given the green light by immoral, bigoted and intolerant Americans to treat arbitrarily designated Americans as criminals.  With the granted power to command government resources against the American people, politicians have inexorably built our government into the oppressive state that we appropriately fear today.

Almost a century ago, Christians deemed it necessary to make the American people act morally according to the Christian idea of morality. In the name of virtuous public morality, Christian politicians instituted laws that condemned so-called “immoral” people to a very real Hell similar to that which was prayed for in fervently self-righteous churches every Sunday.  This religious tyranny permeates and pervades our culture today, leading to the jack-booted, Kevlar-plated thugs who have every motivation to uphold the “justice” that our Christian leaders and constituents demand.

The carnage and profound injustice has been devastating to millions of Americans, yet there are many who still cling to the Christian notion that people who act immorally deserve to be treated like criminals.  The fact that the shock troops called out to fight this immorality care for nothing more than their own rewards shows how corrupt and distant our government and these unsympathetic Christians haves become from the American people.

The Christian justification for ultimate, overweening government control of morality has spawned a Hell that only the most viciously cold-hearted can celebrate.  That Hell has manifested in many other ways in which our government is intrusive, coercive and unconcerned; we have our Christians to thank for creating and sustaining Hell in America.

It is time for the roots of the Christian mandate for government-imposed morality to be pulled out of the dark, poisoned muck of selfish intolerance and burned into ashes.  We want a country that promotes freedom, not Christian beliefs about “morality.”  Long ago Christians fled to these shores seeking sanctuary to practice their then-oppressed beliefs.  Having prospered in the haven of American freedom, Christians subsequently turned on this country’s founding principles to impose their own moral beliefs on all Americans in direct opposition of the freedom they once desperately sought.

A century later we have a police state that is out of control and long past any semblance of morality.  Our government has grown fat on the spoils of personal tragedy, ignoring and ridiculing any protest against its corruption and oppression.  Anyone who believes that government should enforce Christian morality deserves to personally experience the Hell that is wished for on others, and then be rendered powerless to protest, escape or survive it.

By sunforester on 2013 07 08, 5:16 pm CDT

Jesus, 58!  Lay off the vodka nooner, please!  (And, I’m a damned atheist!).

By p on 2013 07 08, 7:41 pm CDT

I, for one, am thankful for the men and women who put their own lives on the line every day throughout my community in local police departments, and, yes, even the SWAT teams that raid the drug houses. Crime is crime, consensual or otherwise. I read many complaints here but zero solutions.

By Different Point of View on 2013 07 08, 9:11 pm CDT

@Michael #7 & @Jason #48 - Why are you so scared? What is it like to live in fear of the “boogeyman”?

By Thomas Ritter on 2013 07 08, 10:16 pm CDT

You ain’t seen nothin yet.  Wait till the employer part of OC kicks in (now 2015 v 2014).  When the small employer sees what this is going to do to his bottom line, he will have to cut costs fast if he wants to keep his standard of living.  The quickest way to do that is to cut payroll.  Once the employer side of OC kicks in, you will see hundreds of thousands, even millions of people losing their jobs.  O knows this, thus the change of date in employer enforcement.  How do you think those newly minted layoffs are going to vote.  No problem.  Re-write the law with the stroke of EO pen and problem solved, at least till the next election.

By zekethewonderdog on 2013 07 08, 10:25 pm CDT

One more thing.  Why does our government need to buy 1.6 billion bullets?  Do realize on 320 million people that equates to 6 bullets for every man, woman and child in this country.  Oh yeah, don’t forget the 2,400 armored vehicles and the 7,000 machine guns purchased by the Feds.  Who are they trying to kid, telling us these will be used to “practice” by the authorities.  I don’t know about you, but I didn’t think practice shooting included hollow point bullets.  How do they say this with a straight face?

So the average American can buy all the guns and ammo they can find.  But the bottom line is as was demonstrated by that rogue cop in CA who was killing other cops.  The arsenal that was utilized in his elimination was truly astounding.  No one civilian or even a group, is going to defeat those odds.  The real question is what side are the low level good police officers going to choose?

By zekethewonderdog on 2013 07 08, 10:37 pm CDT

Ironically, today the media is reporting that a family (adult son and his parents along with their two homes) is suing under the 3rd Amendment for forced “quartering” of the Henderson PD.  The facts reported in the media certainly make it sound as if the British of the mid-1700s invaded NV and trounced all over the property rights of these people.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/08/family-booted-from-home-for-police-detail-suing-with-rare-use-third-amendment/

By Juliet on 2013 07 08, 11:58 pm CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By ractivist on 2013 07 09, 1:20 am CDT

Comment removed by moderator.

By ractivist on 2013 07 09, 3:44 am CDT

Wow!  Who invited all the fundamentalists to the party? Fundamentalist liberals, fundamentalist Christians, fundamentalist fundamentalists!!  And all of them dancing here at the Nutters’ Ball!  I thought that this was just a commentary on the state of police agencies in the nation today and their evolution over the last many decades.  For my two cents on the oblique wrong turn off this article’s topic I offer the following.  If you don’t like Christians, don’t be a Christian. If you don’t like homosexuals, don’t be homosexual.  If you don’t like how others live their lives, then don’t live your life like they do.  But it’s been my experience that fundamentalists of any stripe, creed, or color (Christian, Islamic, communist, capitalist, Jewish, Buddhist, Dem, Rep, dog people, cat people, or anyone who thinks Kanye West is even a fraction as talented as he thinks he is) nine times (if not ten) out of ten tend to be nutters of the first order.  And generally the rest of us adults don’t tend to cotton to them too much.  So, if you fall in that category, I think I hear your god/idol/uber-deeply held ideology calling from the padded room next door, so please take your crayons over there where you can scribble on the walls all you want. Cool?

By CA Atty on 2013 07 09, 5:50 am CDT

67 Nicely said.  We might be the only non-screwballs in the group.

By p on 2013 07 09, 1:38 pm CDT

Wow.  What a beautiful piece of scholarship.  Well-done, Radley!

By Jeffrey on 2013 07 09, 2:49 pm CDT

It’s the confluence of unionized police officers, as a large municipal voting bloc and the “war” on drugs.  Every politician needs votes and every war needs an army.

By Steve on 2013 07 09, 4:00 pm CDT

Local and State police would not violate the Constitution since those would be the province of the state. The FBI on the other hand probably would, though it is likely to be excused under the “courts” section of the Constitution. The same would hold true for the DEA, ATF, etc.

By William on 2013 07 09, 6:30 pm CDT

This is a decent article.  Thought provoking.  The militarization of police is a defacto standing army, and is illegal under any US Constitutional conception.

And that’s disturbing to me.  Because now this can only end one way.

By JAG on 2013 07 11, 7:22 am CDT

We saw just how easy it was for the Govt to turn a major city into a police state…with very little argument from the public.  All to find one teenager on the run in Boston.  And when all was said and done, it was a citizen who found him….not the jackboots.

By Rachel on 2013 07 12, 6:31 am CDT

Seems to me that the answer is rather obvious.  Our police are armed like the military because we didn’t keep military-grade (or near-so) weaponry not reasonably needed for the purposes of self-defense or recreation out of the hands of civilians.

By Anonymous on 2013 07 12, 9:24 pm CDT

Unbelievable what people think when the words do NOT exactly fit todays vernacular. Yes there were cops,  They were referred to as constables and sheriffs. The sooner we STOP this propaganda based spread of ignorance, and return to educated FACT, we WILL be able to stifle the spread of propaganda from the Left. As we fall further behind in the war to recover our Republic, each and every one of you need to look in the mirror and ask yourself, just how ignorant you have become at the hands of the Left, by falling prey to their propaganda, from such lies as “Bush’s wars” and “911 was an inside job” and “the NYC FD blew up the WTC out buildings”. Is it any wonder Obama won term one and was able to use voter fraud to take term two when propaganda destroyed the Conservative credibility? We could not even mount a concerted assault on his false claim to citizenship due to the large number of ridiculous statements made due to wide spread use of liberal planted propaganda destroying the Conservative Fronts Credibility STOP NOW AND CRUSH the spread of the male bovine feces!

By Scott Schoemann on 2013 07 17, 4:04 am CDT

For those commenting on the militarization of law enforcement, look first, Not to the departments and the officers but to the FAILURE of the federal government to follow the order set forth by the US Constitution. We do NOT NEED surreptitious federal law enforcement agencies. There should be but ONE, the FBI. The removal of the excessive cost of multiple agencies would allow the funds for the FBI to be able TO DO ITs JOB.  The individual STATES are responsible for the rest of the work. Customs and Immigration??? Two unrelated agencies thrown together destroying the ability of each to function. if anything Customs and US MAIL, Immigration and Border Patrol. And ENFORCE the borders and immigration Laws. Statistically over 3/4 of the inmates in the US are illegal aliens. BRAND THEM! TATTOO THEM RIGHT ACROSS THE FOREHEAD! On the first felony conviction! A deep tissue tattoo isn’t removable. Deport ALL illegal aliens. NO extended green cards. no green cards for non English speakers either. any one deported a second time…automatic felony NO COURT TRIAL, you are not a citizen automatic tattoo and deport. NOBODY with a tattoo gets across the borders. anyone caught gets dealt with severely, they have NO “guest rights” the same citizen rights extended to all who are here legally… when this is in place, then see what happens to the NEED for militarized law enforcement. Remember, the militarization of law enforcement ONLY happened when it became necessary to out gun the opposition, and the mindset became ingrained because of cities like LA, Detroit, Chicago and DC. Now that you are sitting there thinking either that my solution is insane or the answer, truthfully ask yourself why it got this way, and then remember ALL the candidates you voted for that you researched each and every one of their votes and voting records and trends while in office before voting for them… Didn’t do that? yep… then the blame falls squarely on YOUR shoulders. After all, THIS IS ALL CAUSE AND EFFECT…

By Scott Schoemann on 2013 07 17, 4:28 am CDT

Wow! @76…got…xenophobia?

By CA Atty on 2013 07 17, 3:45 pm CDT

“Yet the hand-wringing and whining, calls for insurrection and overthrow, and general hyperbole can be offered here without consequence.”  Right…that’s the whole point of the first amendment…what would its value be if the government exacted consequences upon the speaker?

By SME on 2013 07 23, 2:46 pm CDT

I DONT KNOW HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE TRAVELLED TO THIRD WOLD COUNTRIES?
in my opinion these are the most free in the world our government control us with fear of terrorism and other threats including militarised police and recently in England controls on where u can and cant protest (notably not outside houses of parliament), As much as weapons in general society are not good in my opinion if english people had weapons that could compete with our captures things would be very different and for this reason americans should never give up there right to armed self defence.
I strongly believe capiltilisms as things stand or democracy, one of the two or both will not last the next century.

By John Harris on 2013 08 02, 1:53 am CDT

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