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View Diary: I don't want this to be another 9/11. (239 comments)

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  •  it's always been the reality. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sam Sara, catilinus, dharmasyd
    Is this the new reality?
    from the moment we crawled out of the sea, this is what humans do.
    can you name a period that humans walked the earth that was peaceful and non violent?
    i'm never sure what people mean when they say the world has gone crazy.
    it's always always been this way.
    this country was founded on genocide of its natives.
    so this place is actually nicer than it used to be.

    guns, germs, and steel. not an easy read.
    but sheds some light on it.

    We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear. Robert Louis Stevenson

    by Christin on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 09:56:31 AM PDT

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    •  A major city effectively being placed under siege (9+ / 0-)

      in order to find 1 terrorist is a new development for us.  The complete and utter militarization of what formerly would've been a law enforcement operation is new, too.

      Yes, I know that Malcolm X said that violence is as American as apple pie.  Bill Maher spoke of our love affair w/ war a week ago.  MLK spoke about his govt being the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.  We're not exactly innocent.

      We did, however, historically maintain a barrier between military and law enforcement w/in our borders.  That barrier has been steadily eroded for the past 12 years, and it's totally breached now.  It's an obvious cause for concern.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:13:06 AM PDT

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      •  Just the opposite (4+ / 0-)

        A major city responding to the possibility that it is under siege, and that while it searches for one known (suspected) criminal there may be others hoping to take advantage of the situation.

        Or that the one man they're hunting and his now-deceased brother could have used the past few days to plant surprises around the city.

        And while we have indeed historically maintained a barrier between law enforcement and the military on our own soil, it's hardly been impermeable. The National Guard and even military units have been called out on myriad occasions to deal with extraordinary events beyond the ability (or in some cases, the willingness) of local law enforcement to handle. A couple of terrorists attacking crowds and throwing bombs at police seems to qualify reasonably well.

        There are plenty of reasons to question our nation's current policies and overall approach to law enforcement, anti-terror efforts, and the inherent tension between these things and individual liberties. Let's not start seeing them where they don't really exist.

        "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

        by pragmaticidealist on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:43:08 AM PDT

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        •  This is pretty unprecedented in (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sam Sara, 4CasandChlo, catilinus

          modern times. I see the justification for it, but let's not pretend like it's a thing we want to see happen regularly. Obviously that means the bombings, but if we're going to shut down a city because of one suspect on the loose then I'm never going to be able to go anywhere. Not that anyone is going to bomb Oakland.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:45:59 AM PDT

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          •  Detroit. 1967. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            poco, catilinus

            I watched the glow on the horizon from my suburban backyard as the city burned. My best friend sat beside me, knowing that the neighborhood his family had moved out of not long before was one of the ones burning.

            National Guard troops and Army units were dispatched to stop the rioting and restore order. The police simply couldn't do it.

            Want more examples? Watts. Wallace on the schoolhouse steps. Any major disaster relief effort in recent memory.

            Is it common to shut a city down? Of course not. But it's not unheard of to do so, either, or to send in military units to do a job law enforcement can't. And so far, it hasn't destroyed the Union.

            I hope you're right, and that no one is going to bomb Oakland. But if there's ever a bomb-planting, explosive-throwing nut/zealot/whatever running around, I would expect the city and its officials to respond in the way they think will most quickly contain and neutralize the threat. Why would anyone not expect that?

            "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

            by pragmaticidealist on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:01:45 AM PDT

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            •  One person, not a riot (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              4CasandChlo, RFK Lives, catilinus

              That's why this is so unprecedented.

              And the situation is also unprecedented, to be sure.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:05:09 AM PDT

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              •  I didn't say there are no unique aspects. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                All I said is that there is ample precedent for authorities to use extraordinary measures, including military involvement, to respond to extraordinary threats to the public welfare. Which is what you seemed to be claiming was in fact unprecedented.

                Technology advances and the evolution of tactical understanding has changed the playing field. It is now possible for one man (or, in this case, at least two) to create a situation wherein a single fugitive poses sufficiently grave and wide-spread a threat that authorities must respond with force that a few decades ago would have quelled a riot. But that's not the fault of the authorities; it's the downside of progress.

                "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

                by pragmaticidealist on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:19:11 AM PDT

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                •  Nothing this guy is doing would have been (0+ / 0-)

                  significantly more difficult 50 years ago. All they would have had to have done is put a timer on the bombs instead of the cell phone detonator. It's not like the weaponry is especially dangerous. Everything they used to build these bombs has been around for quite a while.

                  If anything the technological advantage is on the side of the authorities. They've got cameras everywhere, they're always in contact, they're better armed than police ever have been.

                  Like I said though, the whole situation is pretty unprecedented.

                  If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                  by AoT on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:40:25 AM PDT

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                  •  Actually, timers would be quite different (0+ / 0-)

                    Once they're set, they're out of the bomber's control.

                    And I never suggested that the authorities fail to keep pace with changing technology. On the contrary, I expect them to do so.

                    But if, indeed, "they've got cameras everywhere, they're always in contact" etc., they'd already have the suspect in custody. Technological sophistication is not (yet) equal to omnipresence or omnipotence.

                    Sorry, but I'm done arguing this with you.

                    "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

                    by pragmaticidealist on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:45:15 AM PDT

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        •  I've never seen anything like this before (5+ / 0-)

          I know that calling the Guard in to quell riots became almost routine in the 60's.  I've never seen APC's swarming a major city or a city being placed under lockdown to catch 1 guy, however.  Hell, I don't recall the entire cities of LA or Detroit being placed under daytime lockdown during riots when dozens of people were killed and entire blocks were on fire.  

          I never saw cops use identical paramilitary tactics to crush unarmed protestors in a series of cities like we saw w/ Occupy in 2011-12.   9/11 changed everything.

          Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

          by RFK Lives on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:01:30 AM PDT

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          •  Actually, Detroit was a lot more restrained. (0+ / 0-)

            There were military snipers on rooftops for days even after the rioting was over. I'd much prefer being asked to stay home for the day, both for my own safety and to stay out of the way, than be informed that stepping outside any time in the next several days could get me shot, at the discretion of a nervous 20-year old two blocks away.

            When the military moved in, it was with 8,000 Guardsmen and 4,700 members of the 82nd Airborne.

            So, you may not have seen it, but by historical standards the level of force in play here is not only easily within precedents, it's comparatively tiny. Heck, if you're dealing with a bomber who may have left IEDs in his wake, why would you not use APCs?

            Now, the response to Occupy is another thing altogether. I've been defending this specific response to a very real threat to public safety. I didn't then, don't now, and can't imagine ever supporting the use of force to disperse peaceful protesters on public land.

            9/11 most assuredly did not change everything. I'm used to hearing right-wingers make that statement, because it gives them access to power. But it bothers me far more when progressives make it, because therein lie the seeds of capitulation. Fear and hatred only win if reason and compassion pack up and go home.

            "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

            by pragmaticidealist on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 01:49:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Militarized police (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, dharmasyd

              That is unprecedented.  Never before have local police forces been armed and equipped like this before.  Some of those guys in camo are police, not military.  Do some research on the Pentagon's program for giving "surplus" equipment to state, county and local police departments.  Do some research on Homeland Security grants to law enforcement.  

              Police departments didn't have Lenco Bearcats before.  There are small sheriff departments with these things now and police departments.  Just look at the marketing for that thing and the cultural change is bleeding obvious. This is one of their marketing videos.  It got a lot of attention a year of so ago. Those guys are not military. They are police, militarized.

              We didn't even have a Homeland Security department before.

              We didn't have extensive counterterrorism units, fusion centers, the surveillance and intelligence shared across all of these agencies and police departments before.

              Please.


              "Justice is a commodity"

              by joanneleon on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 02:47:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The militarized police mindset worries me (0+ / 0-)

                (I apologize in advance for the length of this response, but I want to give full weight to your critique -- and I want to respond today, which means I can't take my usual lengthy pause while my mental editor figures out what to cut.)

                I thought you were concerned about the presence of the military in Boston; that's why I responded as I did. But to an extent, my answer is similar. The "unprecedented" militarization of today's law enforcement does indeed follow precedent.

                There's no question that police have been increasingly militarized, starting with the introduction of SWAT back in '67. The original idea -- that the increasingly risky challenges posed by ever-more-heavily armed criminals, hostage rescue, etc. required a new kind of police unit -- has always been controversial. The progression since then, and particularly in the last couple of decades, whereby ordinary police officers are routinely armed and armored like the SWAT teams of old, is even more controversial.

                On the one hand, I can see the logic: you can't ask police officers to face crooks with more firepower than they have themselves. And there's no question that today's criminals (and not just the terrorists, though they're a large part of the justification) can bring a whole lot more firepower into play than could their predecessors of just a few years back.

                And don't get me started on the whole "Homeland Security" nonsense.

                Not that long ago, it was the norm for beat cops to go essentially unarmed; a truncheon was all they needed or wanted. As criminals moved to greater violence and heavier weapons, so too did the police. Truncheons gave way to guns. Eventually, they added Mace and pepper spray and tasers. Right or wrong, the intent was to give the police the ability to respond with the most appropriate level of force to maintain the peace or ensure public safety when faced with increasing levels of criminal violence.

                My biggest concern isn't that the police are being given weapons on a par with those they're expected to combat. It's not even that they're often bringing much heavier firepower, with the reasoning that an overwhelming mismatch will either lead to a less violent solution ("Look at those things! I'm giving up!") or at least a faster resolution, posing less danger to innocents and the police themselves.

                My worry is that we're shifting how police are trained, from being members of the community they're supposed to protect to being paramilitary occupiers of enemy ground. It's a change in mindset far more than it is of firepower, and the effects have at times been horrifying. The intelligence units and counter-terror units and high-tech surveillance units and such are both a symptom and a further cause of this transformation.

                To me, the APCs and assault rifles and all aren't the problem in and of themselves. It's that they represent a change in how police officers are being trained to think of us all, criminal and innocent civilian alike. Increasingly, we're not those they have sworn to "protect and serve" but simply enemies, potential enemies, and potential casualties.

                NOTE: I do NOT believe that most police officers think this way, or that the vast majority of those who do are aware of it. It's a change that's crept into how we train law enforcement officers, and it's insidious. So far, I don't think we've reached a point of no return, or even necessarily a tipping point, but if we don't fix the problem fairly soon, we may get there.

                "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

                by pragmaticidealist on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 03:18:53 PM PDT

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              •  The Progressive City of Berkeley, (0+ / 0-)

                ...previously called "the People's Republic of Berkeley,"just went in with the University of California and the City of Albany to buy something like these bearcat APC thingies.  

                The Berkeley PD even sends it's personnel to Israel for training with the Israeli Defense Force in tactics for crowd (read: 'Palestinian') control.

                The liberal, progressive City of Berkeley no longer exists.  

                Welcome to the New World Order!

                "The war against Bradley Manning is a war against us all." Chris Hedges

                by dharmasyd on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 04:31:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  So true. Founded on genocide & slavery...& still (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dharmasyd

      in denial about it...& with much of the same mindset always purcolating just below the surface.

      America's greatest political dynasty...the Ka'an

      by catilinus on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 02:30:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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