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 The militarization of our police force has its defenders.
  Other law enforcement personnel, including former Los Angeles Police Chief and current New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, have defended the equipment as necessary for defending themselves from a more dangerous citizenry.
   “I don’t see us as militarizing police,” Bratton told the Center for Investigative Reporting in 2011. “I see us as keeping abreast with society. And we are a gun-crazy society.”
It's understandable to want the police officers to be able to do their job in safety.
  The problem is that this claim of policework being more dangerous is total bullsh*t. Just look at the chart of police killed in the line of duty.

 The number of fatalities of U.S. law enforcement officers in 2013 is the lowest in 54 years and the number dying in firearms-related incidents is the lowest since the 1800s, according to a preliminary report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
That's the lowest number of police officers killed in the line of duty since 1959, despite the population of the country doubling.
  In fact, you are more likely to be murdered simply by living in some of America's big cities than you are being murdered as a cop in the line of duty. Far more cops die on duty from traffic accidents than from violence.

      Just last year the St. Louis Police were complaining about being outgunned.

 “We’re outgunned out there all the time,” said Jeff Roorda of the St. Louis Police Officers Association. “The thugs out there have dangerous and sophisticated weapons.”
He obviously never mentioned that his department has military-grade weapons.

  However, before you denounce the police commissioners for hyping the danger to police officers, consider that they are far from alone. Only last year, Vice President Biden said that police being killed by assault weapons was way up.

"There were fewer police being murdered, fewer police being outgunned when the assault weapons ban, in fact, was in existence," Biden said.
 Only around 1% of cop killed while on duty were killed by assault weapons.

   It isn't just police and politicians. The news media loves hyping the fear.
 Two years ago the NY Times told us that police being killed on duty was going up. Three years ago MSNBC reported a "war on cops going on".
   One Texas sheriff told NBC that "I think it's a hundred times more likely today that an officer will be assaulted compared to twenty, thirty years ago." These sorts of claims are rarely questioned.

  Consider these facts:

  There are 137 SWAT raids a day in America, and nearly 80% of them were deployed just to execute a search warrant.
   That means the overwhelming percentage of time the SWAT is used for people only suspected of having drugs.

  One-third of all war material given to state, local, police agencies by the Pentagon is brand new.

  It isn't just the War on Some Drugs. Police departments on the border are using the DHS grants to get war weapons to use against illegal immigrants.

  As for the claim of a more violence society, well, that's total bullsh*t too.

  The rate of murders by guns has dropped 49% since 1993.

 And even that understates the drop in gun-related violence. The drop in non-fatal gun crime has dropped even more dramatically - 75%.
 These are actual facts. This is reality.

   The biggest obstacle to reform is the news media, which exists to hype every crime and scare us all into a frenzy of irrational fear just so they can get higher ratings. Consider these charts.

That's the public's perception of the violent crime rate.

  And this is reality.

It isn't just one region of the country, or one type of violent crime. It's everywhere and everything.

  Since 1993 the murder rate has dropped from 9.5 per 100,000 to 4.7.

Aggravated assaults have dropped from 440.5 per 100,000 to 242.3.

Forcible rapes have dropped from 41.1 per 100,000 to 26.9.

  In fact, the violent crime rate is about to hit a century low.

 This is fairly preliminary data, but Rick Nevin reports that if current trends keep up, we'll end 2013 with the murder rate in America at its lowest rate in over a century.
   The public's perception is getting more and more divorced from reality. It's bizarre.

  Since the days of feudalism, the right-wing has been supportive of law enforcement. Its critical for controlling the peasants. Hyping the fear of crime is the easiest and quickest way of rallying support for more cops with more guns, tougher laws, and bigger prisons.
  The twist is that in recent decades the liberal left has also been hyping the fear of crime as well. It's a shortcut to addressing whatever the pet cause is (guns, sexual predators, etc). This is a historical shift, because liberals have historically been the rational voice on the subject of crime.

  Even on DKos it doesn't fit into the narrative. We need better gun control laws. We still have too many gun murders.

But its much easier to get people motivated if you scream "OMG! There are guns everyone and people are getting mowed down in the streets!"

   It's a lot harder to get people motivated by saying, "This is the sane and moral thing to do."
   Thus you have people here (and elsewhere) taking the easy method and screaming their fears.
   The problem is that when you appeal to people's fears rather than to their reason you get unintended consequences. Good laws and policies are never formed from whipping people into a frenzy of fear.

  In this case you get lack of political motivation to do something about the insane levels of incarceration and an over-militarized police force.
 You've made a trade-off, and it wasn't a good trade.

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Comment Preferences

  •  While this has been an ongoing effort over... (6+ / 0-)

    ...many decades, the current administration--egged-on by the right and the military-industrial-surveillance complex--has been turning this fear/propaganda machine up many notches, legislatively, domestically and internationally, since the first-half of 2012.

    I just commented extensively about this reality, with lots of links, in another post see right here. Over the past few weeks (even before Ferguson, MO), it's really reaching a crescendo!

    (The Wall Street Journal is outright reporting from some rightwing Never-NeverLand, even moreso than normal, of late!)

    Large numbers of now-documented government lies, mostly perpetuated, in large part, by the status quo or by gov't contractors and (bought-off) media consultants who were former gov't employees (whose lies were made even more effective by all-too-willing MSM stenographers), are being called out, right and left, if one has been paying attention of late.

    SEE THIS THREAD (again, we're talking both with regard to domestic and international news)...

    I linked to WIRED's cover story at the top of my post here, yesterday. And, I noted no less than three (for a total of four) other instances of propaganda in that post, as well (and that's just over the past 72+/- hours):

    1.) The FAA provided cover for shutting down the media over Ferguson this past week. Pretty common knowledge, further supported by commentary from Barbara Morrill here, yesterday.

    ...Of course, as we were also reminded over these past couple of days, another way our government maintains "control" is via taxpayer-funded propaganda. (Many, even at Daily Kos, claim this would never happen in our "democracy.") Here are links to a couple examples of that, and this is just since Tuesday...

    2.)

    Is Former NSA Contractor Snowden a Traitor? Andre de Nesnera, Voice of America, August 13th, 2013
    3.)
    NPR Is Laundering CIA Talking Points to Make You Scared of NSA Reporting, Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman, The Intercept, August 12th, 2014
    Whether it's Ferguson, Missouri or halfway around the globe, the truth on this over-arching story just can't be "contained."

    There have been virtually countless instances of gov't censorship and distortion of facts with regard to matters throughout the Mideast of late, as well. (The IDF incursion into Gaza was chock full of bullshit; and that's just one aspect of U.S. propaganda emanating from that region.)

    THE TRUTH is that the overall effort to turn our government's propapaganda up many notches was baked into the current administration's efforts going back to two key milestones in February/March and May of 2012:

    Here: NYT's Orwellian Lead: AG Holder Officially Signs Off On "Total Information Awareness" For All (3/23/12)

    And, especially HERE: House NDAA Bill Passed w/Amendment Formally Authorizing Gov’t To Lie To U.S. Citizens (5/19/12)

    (Naturally, there was much pushback from a few of the more trollish members in this community at the time, when I published these couple of otherwise-well-received posts.)

    But, it's been all downhill from there. And, it's CLEARLY being turned up even a few more notches over the past couple of months.

    In the face of these ongoing, now (almost) DAILY lies from--and about--our government being spewed by the MSM, it's amazing that any truths are getting out AT ALL!


    #            #            #

    Ultimately, it really IS sociopathic power, prejudice and (corporate) greed which stoke the violence that begets even more violence...and fear! Many in this community--despite catcalls from other here dealing with their own cognitive dissonance--and elsewhere have seen this coming for more than a decade. It really is Poli-Sci 101!

    But, the propaganda, which also "bakes-in" the fear among the masses, is definitely reaching a crescendo...it's at the heart of why trust in our government is at record lows, and yet, the propaganda just continues to get more intense with every passing week.


    #            #            #

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:46:26 AM PDT

    •  So, the propaganda's circulated... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, lostinamerica, MKinTN, 3goldens

      ...and receives tons of attention. Meanwhile, feeble attempts at "correcting" these fear story(ies) propagandists go virtually unnoticed. (SEE HERE.) At the end of the day, the propaganda effort achieves its desired intent.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:52:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  didn't realize how few cops killed on duty (5+ / 0-)

    i am not driven by fear, but just being around, i suspected many more than the actual figures

    recall at the start of the Snowden leaks, don't recall if it was a response, but the survellience state said that 54 incidents had been stopped by their great work. It was a lie. Fear plays a big role to maintain police and military budgets.

    •  Lowest number of police killed by guns since 1887 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica, MKinTN, gulfgal98, 3goldens

      You would never know this from the news media, or Hollywood, or police spokesmen.
         Everyone is incline to support the Fear because it helps their bottom line. The truth gets sacrificed, along with our liberty.

      "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

      by gjohnsit on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 08:57:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's nothing to fear but Fear, Inc. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Chi, MKinTN, gulfgal98, 3goldens
  •  This is a result of two things: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit

    First the failed war on (some) drugs.  Police used the "need" to knock in doors with a tank as reasons to justify getting military equipment and SWAT teams.

    Recently (since 2005) they have used the claim that Police are worried about all the vets who have come home with military training and experience with IED's who were going to team up with the Tea Party and go nuts so the needed MRAPs and M-16's.

    Between the two people bought into it.  

    The simple fix is to end the failed war on (some)drugs and stop the arrests for a personal choice of what to put into your adult body.

    Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

    by DrillSgtK on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 09:53:20 AM PDT

    •  I heard it was all the gangbangers in the military (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit
      Recently (since 2005) they have used the claim that Police are worried about all the vets who have come home with military training and experience with IED's who were going to team up with the Tea Party and go nuts so the needed MRAPs and M-16's.
      When the "moral waivers" started getting handed out to boost recruitment, I remember the freakout that an entire generation of [black and brown] kids were going to come home with military training and turn America's cities into all-out war zones.

      Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

      by Visceral on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 10:23:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The decline in police fatalities to gunfire... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, gjohnsit, jbsoul

    ...could be attributed to increasing SWAT deployments. SWAT teams were originally used to tackle "crack-house-armed-gang-member" situations.

    But I think the cops began to use them routinely just to convince any knuckleheads on the other side of the door that they "will. not. win." a shootout with the police.

    They have no place in riot control. The "soldier" in the photo above should have been held in reserve, completely out of sight, and deployed only in the case of "shots fired".

    Instead, he was put out there as (according to police logic) a "show of force" to deter the use of firearms by any crazies who might be mingling with the crowd... It's the same "you. will. not. win." message conveyed by a SWAT team.

     In terms of crowd-control, it was a grotesque provocation. And politically - intended or not - it was a despicable act of intimidation.

    Heads should roll.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 11:58:17 AM PDT

  •  "Sales of a Deathman" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, gjohnsit

    I think that's the classics title.

  •  Excellent post, gjohnsit. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbsoul

    The media and certain people in government have been doing quite a job instilling fear into Americans these days. Thanks for the various graphs and stats---they paint a very different picture than what the spreaders of fear do. It's really indefensible to play on people's fears the way the MIC and our corporate media do. And the Republican Party with its overt racism and constant focus on fear of "the other" is also a prime example of working hard to divide people. This is just shameful.

    Partisans who don't acknowledge the problems with the Democratic party are its worst enemies. If you don't acknowledge problems, you'll never fix them. ~ Dallasdoc

    by 3goldens on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 02:02:18 PM PDT

  •  Fear sells (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbsoul

    That equipment ain't cheap.

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