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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

August 14, 2014 - 10:37 am

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wrote in a TIME op-ed today that the crisis in Ferguson, Mo., after a police shooting underscores the need to demilitarize the police.

“If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot,” Paul wrote of the “awful tragedy” that took the life of 18-year-old Michael Brown. “The outrage in Ferguson is understandable—though there is never an excuse for rioting or looting. There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response.”

“The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action.”

Paul cited a Glenn Reynolds piece in Popular Mechanics five years ago, stressing that our fears about police militarization are becoming reality.

“Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement,” the senator wrote, adding it’s “usually done in the name of fighting the war on drugs or terrorism.”

When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury—national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture—we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.

“Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them,” Paul continued.

“This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is what the citizens of Ferguson feel when there is an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting like the incident with Michael Brown.”

The senator stressed that “anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention.”

“Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth,” Paul wrote. “The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm. It is one thing for federal officials to work in conjunction with local authorities to reduce or solve crime. It is quite another for them to subsidize it.”

“Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security. This has been a cause I have championed for years, and one that is at a near-crisis point in our country.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
"Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them,” Paul continued."

Given all the black on white crime, I would say it's logically far more difficult for whites to not figure that blacks are targeting them. That is, when blacks are not targeting other blacks.

The last time I checked federal statistics, the black violent crime rate was a staggering 7.5 times that of whites, and among young males a hyper-staggering 14 times.

There is where your disparity is, you idiot!
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sen. Paul is a demagogue. Libertarians are NOT Conservatives and we should not be confused by their party's stance on the issues. Some will coincide with Conservatives, but most are plain Libertine utterings.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey, Senator Paul:

I was wondering.

Is it possible that you do not have all the facts on the Ferguson tragedy?

Is it possible that you are demagoguing the tragedy merely to keep your name in the public spotlight?

I know that you appear on cable news a lot, but what are your major legislative accomplishments since you were elected to the United States Senate?

Exactly what have you done for the people of the state who elected you?

Do you believe that presidential candidates should demonstrate some mastery of public policy issues and executive management skills to be taken seriously by the American electorate?

Are you concerned that you will be a one-term Senator?

Are you concerned that you will soon be forgotten or, at best, remembered as a shrill talking head who accomplished nothing for the state that elected you?

I would appreciate any comment you might have on these matters.

Sincerely,

A Constituent
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (73)
All Comments   (73)
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Paul is looney tunes on the Right. One of the most dangerous men in the country. We'll be very relieved at the military training and equipment of our police once the American ISIS jihadists start returning home. Not to mention terrorists and gangsters crossing our southern border. Am I hostile to civil liberties? Not exactly. Twenty-five years ago I was an ACLU local board member. Reality has set in and I know we're in dangerous times.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Every BPOS on the street feels they are entitled to steal what they want and then indignantly cry racism when confronted. If more got shot, maybe they wouldn't act like such asses all the time.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Do any of the politicians ever watch the TV show "cops"? There always seems to be a drunk white guy without a shirt.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great word play, but I do question your characterization of Paul as having ideas. I think soundbites is a bit more accurate.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, he's got a lot of ideas!

A few of them are good.

Very few.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why should we be surprised the Left will take white on black murders, ignore twice as many black on white murders, and convince us the opposite is the case, all the while also then ignoring that as many whites are murdered by blacks every 8 years as black lynchings in the 86 years documented by the Tuskegee Institute from 1882-1968. The Left lies as often as it breathes.

Actual FBI statistics show a picture that is the complete opposite of the Left's lies when it comes to interracial murder in the United States. In 2011, 448 whites were killed by blacks, 193 blacks killed by whites. In 2010 the numbers were similar: 447 and 218. Turn all that upside-down, exaggerate it by 10 times and you have the riots in Ferguson.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
The issue is not what races is killing what race, it is when officers of the law kill a certain race more often. Killing and violence or other crimes are bad but the issue being addressed by Paul is state actions not individuals.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
"It is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them."

I don't disagree with the militarization in general terms, but given the reality of Ferguson and the Zimmerman/Martin debacle, it's hard for whites to feel they are not being targeted for anomalous white on black murders while black on black and black on white murders fall into a pit somewhere - ignored.

It's pretty clear those statistically irrelevant white on black deaths are being exploited towards a political agenda to show a white supremacy where none exists while ignoring a virtual racial criminal syndicate that exists in every American city.

Thousands of black deaths are ignored for political purposes that are completely out of touch with reality. The PC Left creates it's own narrative and reality by publicizing nothing into the something and something into nothing.

Our Orwellians never let us down. When you think thousands are marching in the streets over one politically "correct" black death while they ignore thousands of politically "incorrect" black deaths one can only weep at the blatant stupidity and outright lying of so many Americans.

If those thousands of black dead just from the last 5 years could walk and parade they might have their own protest to make - and it wouldn't be against whites, but against the current protesters.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mike Medved cited something like over 6000 murders of blacks in one year, most committed by other blacks.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
So ... can someone explain to me why it is wrong for police with military-level guns and vehicles to shoot to kill black people rampaging and looting, with droopy pants falling down, as they are trying to create Molotov cocktails? Precisely what does a black thug have to do (or look like) before his (or her) death is pronounced "justifiable"?

And really - you're going to be anti-police on the word of a reporter for the Huffington Post, for god's sake?!?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
These are your fellow citizens, not your enemies.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
If they're rioting, they can also be enemies.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
What reports are you reading????
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
What reports are you reading????
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, it's an issue. Excellent LA radio host Bryan Suits was going on about various aspects of this today. Of course the fear is an internal Gestapo to stamp out the Tea Party, not to mention violating every tenet of the American approach to life and government. The fear is the police are protecting the government from the people.

But more than that, Suits explained that police today are told to shoot to kill - if they fire that gun and the target survives, they will be called before the chief to defend themselves. The only moral reason they should draw that gun is because they are in a life or death situation, anything that uses a bullet and doesn't kill someone (hopefully the perp) is a violation.

That is a different issue than militarization, and perhaps an even more serious one IMHO.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
"police today are told to shoot to kill - if they fire that gun and the target survives, they will be called before the chief to defend themselves. "

This is simply not true. Their training is to shoot to stop the threat. That means shoot until the threat is no longer a threat. IF that means he's dead, oh well.

If that means he falls down and drops his gun, fine. Nobody is gong to be called on the carpet because the perp didn't die.

Yes, it IS true that "The only moral reason they should draw that gun is because they are in a life or death situation".

Would you want it otherwise?

13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd have to add to what you say that no matter what the result of firing your gun is, you will be investigated as a matter of procedure. Cops are held to a different standard, basically a guilty until proven innocent attitude internally as a way of limiting agency liability. Frequently, an officer who fires their gun is cleared quickly and returned to duty, but their life as a cop is put on hold until that time.

I'm not sure if there have been past problems with that particular agency in Ferguson, it isn't out of the realm of possibility for mistakes and even criminal behavior to happen inside. But in general any agency would have taken the cops gun and initiated an investigation to determine the facts and culpability of either party. For any group of people to jump to conclusions of wrongful death without an investigation is premature; to launch violent protests in the name of justice without full knowledge is simply criminal.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
"to launch violent protests in the name of justice without full knowledge is simply criminal. "

And looting, with or withOUT full knowledge, is criminal.


Hmmm. Why is it that it always seems to involve looting?


I'm sure some sociologist can give us some long-winded and scholarly explanation having something to do with oppression.


Me? I think it's all about the values, or lack thereof, of a debased, criminal culture.

13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
If a Paul is for it it's probably a bad idea for the country. No more dynasties!
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
You're saying he has a-Paul-ing ideas?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Monkey, report for flogging at Oh Dark Thirty!


13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
My question is whether people here supported Cliven Bundy?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
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