Ferguson cops (courtesy bostonglobe.com)

“None of this means that police officers who use deadly force should get a pass. But it’s a reminder that chalking up such shootings simply to overly aggressive police doesn’t tell the whole story. America is the most heavily armed country in the developed world. Our toxic gun culture and permissive gun laws are crucial factors in the ongoing militarization of America’s police departments. But in a nation seemingly inured to the constant tragedy of senseless gun violence, that is barely part of the conversation.” – Michael A. Cohen, US gun culture has police arming to keep up [via bostonglobe.com] [h/t SS]

70 Responses to Quote of the Day: I Blame the Second Amendment for Police Militarization Edition

  1. This is why police need MRAPs. The current Crown Vics can’t hope to stand up to the flood of larger SUVs that are clogging the streets. Police are out-carred.

    /sarc

  2. Right, because in the 1950s right after WWII when all the soldiers brought their rifles and German Lugers home, the police were heavily militarized. Because the protestors in Ferguson had machine guns too. I am sure the 1994 law that authorized the DoD to hand out MRAPs like lollipops had nothing to do with it.

    • The EPA has no problem sending out SWAT, nor does the Dept of Education if you default on a student loan but city SWAT team’s take the case using SWAT to go after unpaid parking tickets.

    • *gasp*
      A violation of business licensing?! The horror!

      It’s almost as bad as the business down the street that is… *whispers* mixing their recyclables!

    • “Hey Captain, I heard the Miller Farm is selling raw milk.”

      “What?!? Those b*stards… Gear up, Johnson, and call the judge for a warrant. We’re gonna take those raw milk selling sons of b*tches down. And their little dog too.”

  3. I think the car culture in this country is horrible. There are way too many drunk drivers. So I’m going to smear the entire culture of driving because of a tiny minority of bad folks.

    • Of course it’s about the TOOLS, just not the inanimate ones. Who here would not agree that Boxer, Schumer, and Pelosi (not to mention the O himself) are all tools?

  4. Another ANTI blaming the tool not the person using the tool. An inanimate object is not the one to blame the majority of gun owners and the pro 2A community aren’t running around in armored vehicles. Blame the misuse of tools on those who misused the tool.

  5. “See, you fakin civilians have gaht all this wicked pissa hahdware, so we need tool up.”

    “Chief, you’re a reetahd…”

    “!!! NO , YOU AHHHH!!!”

    “No, YOU AHHHH!”

  6. The transactions of military equipment are mutually beneficial.

    – Cops want to be like the military and love the toys.
    – With the drawdown in Afghanistan, there is an abundance of goodies that have to go somewhere. Getting something ($$$) out of nothing (destroying equipment) helps the military’s bottom line, and prevents a general from getting his ass chewed by a politician for “government waste” by destroying an MRAP (it’s cheaper to destroy it than it is to ship it back to the states).

      • I was thinking along similar lines. Tell all nations, “We aren’t coming back here ever so if any nation is concerned about equipment left behind, pay us and you can pick it up while we’re still here. We’re leaving it where it sits regardless.” IMHO, that solves a whole lot of raised issues… there is the potential recoup some expense, we don’t have the expense of bringing it back, and it doesn’t get distributed to domestic law enforcement.

  7. “Our toxic gun culture and permissive gun laws are crucial factors in the ongoing militarization of America’s police departments.”

    The problem is NOT our toxic gun culture and permissive gun laws. The problems IS the toxic liberal, anti-Christian infestation of our congress, state legislatures, and local governments. Just like termites infest a home and eventually destroy it if left untreated, so the democrats and liberal republicans are slowly destroying this great nation. They have no concept of right and wrong, nor are they even care. Their only concern is for their own futures.

  8. I bet during the cold war eastern european police forces were heavily armed because they also allow their people to keep and bear arms. Makes complete sense.

  9. “US gun culture has police arming to keep up”

    Given that the huge majority of the population are not violent criminals, this looks like an admission that the “authorities” are preparing for a fight with the population-at-large.

  10. I guess I should blame the first amendment and a pen for your flippant assumptions & opinions Mr Cohen, because its the easy way out.

  11. Since the most *recent* situation when any cops were “outgunned” was in 1987.. and it hasn’t happened again, perhaps that’s not a good example to use anymore.

    Perhaps we should be talking about the old ladies in California who had 103 rounds fired at them by police officers who thought the sound of a newspaper hitting the ground sounded “like a gunshot”.

    I’m not terrified of my fellow citizens having guns, but officer “go fark yourself” in Missouri, pointing his ar-15 at unarmed people just a few days ago.. that’s a lot more scary than a bank robbery that happened 25 years ago.

    • Just a reminder about that incident in 1987; both criminals died at the scene. That does not express to me that the cops were “outgunned”, even if they did have to borrow an AR from a gun shop. (Idiots. I’d have borrowed something more in my color, like a .308.)

      • I know rite? A borrowed bolt-action 300 winchester magnum and a box of 180 grain match would have ended things real quick.

  12. I thought the rationale was that police were arming up because of drug lords and terror cells? Oh wait, “domestic terror cells” now means anyone with a gun and distrust of the government…

  13. This is quite simply another attempt to blame the law-abiding citizens that have nothing to do with the problem. It’s their long game to ban all guns by changing public opinion to make the perfectly legal and safe private ownership of firearms appear as the number one safety concern facing all Americans in all parts of the country. They will keep spouting lies until the lies drown out the truth and people actually begin to believe them because there isn’t an opposing voice in the “discussion”.

    The tools used by police are not the main issue with police militarization; the main issue is the attitude adopted by police, that being an “us vs them” zero-sum game perspective. The secondary issue is a lack of consequences when authority is abused. Police should be a part of the community, not an elite group above the people that look down on and prey on the people. That change in attitude changes everything, from how they present themselves to simply doing the right thing for the people and not for the PD’s balance sheet. The reality is police are mostly there to keep the PD running and couldn’t care less about the people. There are good officers and better departments in certain areas, but it seems most find human interaction at least annoying.

  14. Slightly offtopic. This is not the first article ive seen with this premise. In fact its the third. Adam Winkler wrote one and I saw one more.

    Do you think the authors call each other or something? Or is this an idea ‘whose time has come’?

    I don’t really believe it but the apparent, random or not, level of collusion in the media/gun grabber complex gives me the creeps.

    • While you’re correct, it is not just about guns. I notice it more with libs, but all sides tend to pile on, use someone else’s ideas because they have none of their own. I think we have to just live with it (after complaining).

    • It’s being lazy. “Reporters” (be it print or TV) are required to turn in a certain amount of articles/topics in a given time frame (day/week/etc). Original content requires work and research beyond a Google search or a Twitter feed. Most of the established journalists just recycle old pieces by updating them to feature current events with previously written and approved themes. The editors are supposed to approve the articles before publication. There is a lot more to it, but that is the basic rundown. When you see a reporter continually push a media meme like gun control and offer no new facts along with tired buzz words, disinformation, false assertions, etc; it is generally a rehash of what they have written in the past with no/little research or fact-checking.

  15. Yup, that certainly explains why England switched from a mostly unarmed police force when their civilians were allowed to own guns to arming their police officers with guns, including submachine guns, AFTER disarming their population.

    • Well, before the mid 80’s, when one could still buy a machine gun legally in the USA, and the violent crime rate was higher than it is now, police officers were mostly armed with revolvers and pump action shotguns. Today politicians want to disarm citizens of every firearm other than revolvers and shotguns, and want to give every beat cop a M4 carbine. It’s a brave new world.

  16. So why is the murder rate lowest among white Americans when they have the highest rate of gun ownership?

  17. Having visited countries where guns are strictly controlled, having seen how they respond to protests, I can say that the writer of this article is full of it. Even though the Posse Comitus Act has been watered down a bit, we are one of only a few countries that prohibits the use of active duty military enforcing law on civilians. Some where in my collection, I have pictures of heavily armed British military patrolling streets in Ireland. How about that famous picture from China of a lone protestor standing in front of an entire column of tanks? Heck, we can go back to the disarming of Jews and other minorities by the Nazi’s. I can go on and on with the evidence on the use of military weapons on unarmed societies. Geez, do these progressives even care about truth? Is every thing out of their mouths a lie?

    • “we are one of only a few countries that prohibits the use of active duty military enforcing law on civilians.”

      Hence the rampant militarization of the police. When you use civilians (yes, cops are civilians) to make war on the citizens, you’re not violating that Posse Committewhatsis thingie.

  18. What was the last school shooting a Armored carrier pulled up on while the shooting was taking place? Columbine maybe.

    I am not saying police shouldn’t have cutting edge gear but ferguson has showed us they are buying tactical for the sake of buying tactical. When your response to a riot is to have your officers pointing guns at unarmed citizens instead of putting on RIOT GEAR you have a break down. You had more officers swing guns around then you had officers with shields. More officers with MOLLE plate carriers then with a helmet. And St. Louis has NO excuse for this type of response. They were one of the last cities to hold the republican presidental nominations and there was a news segment showing how they were gearing up for that, they have the stuff.

  19. This is honestly a point that I’d considered before. My uncle was a state trooper, and was absolutely, 100%, no-questions-asked in favor of total civilian disarmament. To the point that he sold off some heirloom rifles and pistols when my grandfather passed on, rather than allow them to be inherited by someone else in the family.

    He always used to say that he was tired of feeling that he could get shot and killed any time he interacted with a member of the public.

    Does a heavily armed populace by definition require a more heavily armed police force? It would seem that it probably does given the largely-disarmed European countries with unarmed cops.

    The question is whether:
    A. police militarization has gone too far
    -and-
    B. Is it acceptable that we should give up our constitutionally-secured, old-as-the-country rights in order to correct it.

    Yes… but no.

    • “…The question is whether:
      A. police militarization has gone too far”

      Kind of depends on whom you ask. The author above, and your uncle too, are of the opinion that the lives of the Police are more important than the lives of the people they are hired to protect. Anything so they can get home safely at night I think is the new catch-phrase….

      “…B. Is it acceptable that we should give up our constitutionally-secured, old-as-the-country rights in order to correct it.”

      This one is considerably easier…. No.

      It is already illegal to shoot another person except in self-defense. Why does it need to be any more complicated than that?

      And specifically to the Police, they are not allowed to shoot anyone without cause so the best thing we can do is to redefine what is ’cause’ regarding the Police.

    • Does a heavily armed populace by definition require a more heavily armed police force?”

      No. A population experiencing a loss of morals might, but the armament of people who aren’t using those arms to harm others do not. Even angry mobs without guns would require more heavily armed police to deal with them.

      No offense, but your uncle was paranoid. It’s been stated many times before here in many ways, but if I have a gun and interact with a police officer, I pose no more threat to that officer than if I were unarmed. But that’s because I’m not violent.

      The real cause of actual danger to any officer is violent individuals, who pose a threat armed or not, or with weapons other than guns.

  20. “Our toxic gun culture and permissive gun laws are crucial factors in the ongoing militarization of America’s police departments.”

    1) We have always had permissive gun laws and the militarization has only been recent in the history of this country, so that point is invalid.
    2) Our gun “culture” is not toxic. What is toxic is the demonization of guns and gun owners, this has been an ongoing problem but most heavily in recent times. THIS is the reason for the militarization of police.

  21. “Our toxic gun culture and permissive gun laws are crucial factors in the ongoing militarization of America’s police departments.”

    The folks shooting the most police are not the ones who use permissive gun laws to legally own firearms or part of what anti-gun folks consider gun culture.

    “When powerful semi-automatic and military-style weapons started to appear on the streets, police departments began moving from six-shot revolvers to semi-automatic weapons.”

    The streets do not now nor have they ever had a proliferation of powerful semi-automatic or military-style weapons. Law enforcement data bears this out. It’s a made up, pro gun seizure narrative. The streets have pistols, most of them cheap junk. Moreover, it’s my understanding that police transitioned to semi-automatic pistols primarily because options became available that were price-competitive with revolvers and of comparable simplicity and reliability.

    It’s amazing and sad that a person can actually hold down a job with a newspaper just making stuff up.

  22. There are various underpinnings for the gun grabbers. And they are all rotten. You’ve got your elites, ranging from billionaires like Bloomberg, to deeply embedded thuggish pols like Feinstein, to cabals like the AMA, and ABA. These are motivated in their anti-rights activities by the fear of a righteous armed uprising. They stand to lose the most when things go in the dumper. And some of them well know they will be targeted personally for their transgressions.

    Another group is the intellectual elite. I’m guessing Cohen is in this group. As a side note, to be a member of this group, one merely need fancy himself intellectual. There is no objective test for admittance. So, Cohen, like his intellectual peers, works very hard building his intellectual muscles to grapple with his peers, and to bully and thrash the dunces outside the group. Here’s the problem. In the deepest struggles of freedom versus control, an armed dunce beats the unarmed intellectual every time. That fact has got to worry guys like Cohen.

    Too bad he just doesn’t seem to get the another important fact. The POTG, are more than happy to leave him alone, some even willing to protect him. If he’d only stop kicking us. Like the line goes: “Treat us good, we’ll treat you better; treat us bad we’ll treat you worse”.

    • There is no “various” – Leftists are all cut from the same cloth. They are maladaptive human beings: deceitful, devious, dishonorable, corrupt.

      Everything about them is perfectly described by r/K selection theory:
      http://youtu.be/oCRXJcE7dcw

      Want to know everything you need to know about the enemy? Learn about r/K

  23. It’s all gun owners fault that Police are more militarized yet the proliferation of gun owners and more people carrying concealed has exactly zero to do with the falling violent crime rate.

    Anyone who believes anything the Left has to say is a brain damaged doofus.

  24. Not surprising, but here’s the deal; if you accept the official version of 9/11, then you accept the police militarization that has taken place since. Period. Otherwise you are a hypocrite.

  25. Well now here I was blaming Nixon for this war on drugs that has created this military mentality amongst our law enforcement, when all along it was that pesky Constitution and those nasty amendments.

  26. “America is a nation awash in firearms. It’s simply impossible to talk incisively about what’s happening in Ferguson without talking about guns and the ease with which ordinary citizens and criminals can get access to them.”

    Umm…umm…WHA? Talk about a leap in logic? Or better, a leap in illogic. The incident in Ferguson has absolutely nothing to do with the easy availability of firearms.

  27. Gah… editorials like that honestly make my head hurt. These people couldn’t be less right about what the hell is going on.

  28. I think Mr. Cohen is confusing gun culture with gang culture.

    Gangs and criminals in general don’t have a gun culture, they have a violence culture. Remove guns from the equation and they’ll still be causing the same kind of mayhem with knives and lead pipes (see: England, knife control). Or even without any weapons at all, as a mob that’s large enough can do whatever it wants (see: Ferguson, Missouri, riots).

    There definitely IS a gun culture in the US — a healthy culture driven by peaceful, law-abiding people who treat guns as powerful tools that demand care and respect. If the police are arming up because of these people, they’re barking up the wrong tree.

    Speaking of police, seeing as how they stood by and watched dozens of businesses get looted in Ferguson a few days ago — and the few places in riot central that remained unmolested were defended by armed owners — it seems to me that we could use a lot more gun culture in this country.

  29. It’s the massive money-wasting self-licking-ice-cream-cone-industry-supporting excuse of the “war on ________”…. “stupid”. Drugs, terrorism, you show me a boogeyman which can be defined up to infinite levels of generality, and I’ll show you a politician’s first excuse for eroding your rights and freedoms.

  30. The British were right- Americans are savages who need to be keep under constant surveillance by an occupying military force. Oh wait…

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