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As Criminals Gain Greater Technology Will The Police Grow Militarized in Response?

This excerpt from page 264 of Glenn Reynolds's An Army of Davids reminds us that the real world will continue to creep closer to science fiction.

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May 14, 2013 - 4:45 pm

Every week day a book excerpt, video, news story or some combination thereof to provoke spirited debate on controversial subjects. Have an idea you'd like to offer up for discussion? Email PJ Lifestyle's editor Dave Swindle: DaveSwindlePJM [@] Gmail.com

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All Comments   (6)
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Well, it comes down to the fact that the technology exists. How can anyone think the growth of technology WON'T reach the police force? Did you all think computers would increase in efficiency, cameras would shrink in size, but the police would just keep using typewriters and wooden file cabinets? I know libertarians who get upset when cops wear helmets. "They look like stormtroopers! STORMTROOPERS!" It's a friggin' helmet. They're facing a mob of 2,000 people!

I think scientists can be the dumbest, most naïve people around. "Hey, I'm a scientist, pal! My inventions aren't good or evil! It just depends on how they're used!" Yeah. Like there's a virtuous use for spyware. How can someone invent spyware and not think it's going to be used by the government? And is there much of a difference if it's used by the government or a corporation?

If there are cars driving through my neighborhood with cameras bolted to the roof, why is it I'm supposed to be afraid if it's the government but not worry if it's a corporation? If I'm getting spied on, it doesn't matter to me if it's Google, the government or my creepy neighbor. I'm getting spied on.

You're carrying a tracking device in your pocket at all times, but hey! It has games and a camera and it constantly updates with irrelevant comments from friends, and it can help you find the nearest sushi restaurant! So that's OK! And then you're shocked - SHOCKED! - if the government taps into it?

Right-wingers (and I'm one) mock people who would trade their freedom for security... while at the same time they are trading their freedom for the convenience of cool gadgets - all to make easier the things that weren't even difficult to begin with.

We're standing on the threshold of the worst surveillance culture in the history of the world and we think it'll all work out if we just tell the government they need warrants to read our emails. But it's like downloading music - it's simply TOO easy, so the laws get ignored. We can be shocked when we hear that the IRS is reading our facebook posts, but the next generation (you know: the ones who have been casual music thieves for their entire lives) won't give a damn.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Um, yeah? Syberpunk said it all. They've been going military at least since the 80s.

I don't object to police having the means to deal with heavily-armed criminals. The problem is, when you've got a bunch of military hardware, you have to use it. It sits there gather dust, the city council thinks you're wasting the people's money. So you turn every encounter with a "possibly" armed suspect into a no-knock SWAT raid. The kind of stuff the local sheriff's deputy used to take care of now takes an armored car full of commandos with machine guns. Innocent people are terrorized at best, shot to death at worst. All so you can justify having tons of military gear at your disposal.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
They are already militarized, and they seem to take especial delight in using their war-toys against 80 year old women in bed, people not listed on the arrest warrant because they couldn't bother to double check addresses and so busted down the door at the totally wrong house , West Point graduates legally carrying, elderly deaf woodcarvers, old men in Florida mowing their lawn, dogs and puppies including dachshunds and yorkshire terriers-basically, the innocent and helpless in general. The crips , bloods, and MS-13 might actually shoot back, never mind terrorists.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Grow militarized? They already are. In response to the West Hollywood bank robbery, now cops usually have access to some semi-auto rifle as well as shotgun and sidearm. In response to school shootings and the War on Drugs/Terror, even small towns can get Federally subsidized military grade hardware.

Every year in DC there is an expo called GovSec for law enforcement. Take a walk on the expo floor and see all the hardware vendors are pushing: armored vehicles, firearms, "tactical" uniforms, etc.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
And like any shiny new toy, one just can't wait to play with it.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
This has been happening for the last couple of decades. It perhaps started with the first SWAT teams, whatever they may have been called. These were more or less police with military style offensive training. Over time they got more and more military gear like body armor, automatic weapons, armorer cars, helicopters for observation and snipers, etc. Now larger numbers of police have such training and equipment with bigger armored cars and drones and that's not counting the spy technology like tracking cell phones, knowing you have been in contact with and predictive behavior programs that can look at all of your online information and decide what you are going to do, then do the same to your associates.

Unfortunately I agree with the author of that clip: given human nature and especially the bestial nature of those drawn to power, a police state, global or otherwise, is the almost certain future of humanity.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
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