Tom note: Here is the fourth entry in our 10 Long March posts for 2018, the 7th most-read item of the year, which originally ran on April 23, 2018. These posts are selected based on what’s called ‘total engaged minutes’ (the total number of time spent reading and commenting on an article) rather than page views, which the T&P; editors see as a better reflection of Long March reader interest and community. Thanks to all of you for reading, and for commenting–which is an important part of this column.
The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, when discussing security operations, states that “sometimes, the more force used, the less effective it is.” According to journalist Radley Balko and his recent book “Rise of the Warrior Cop," SWAT recruitment ads, fighting-crime politics, and Department of Defense weaponry have spawned a storm trooper mindset within many police departments and resulted in a more heavy-handed approach toward enforcing the law. In recent decades, the inception of SWAT teams --- along with America’s war on drugs, war on crime, and war on terror --- have encouraged many police departments to develop an “at war” mindset, resulting in a more militant approach toward daily law enforcement.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Owen Kimbrel
A car window shattered, sending glass flying at children in the backseat in Indiana. A man with a toy gun in a Walmart, shot dead with little interaction with police in Ohio. A flash grenade accidentally tossed into a sleeping child's crib in Georgia. A man reaching to retrieve his wallet immediately shot in South Carolina.
Extensive media attention was centered on Ohio State University last year when it acquired a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle. The university police claimed it would be used for worst-case scenarios, such as an active shooter on campus, but would serve mostly as a presence during college game days. Following the vehicle acquisition, many questioned if the college campus was becoming a police state. When did the MRAP --- a military vehicle designed to withstand the most austere environments and severe bomb blasts --- become necessary for police presence at a football game?