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Required Reading

August 18th, 2014 - 6:19 am

For absolutely no good reason whatsoever, Mark Steyn’s regular column fell off my radar a while back. Here’s what got it back on:

As for what’s happened in the days since the shooting, I’ve written a lot in recent months about the appalling militarization of the police in America, and I don’t have much to add. But I did get a mordant chuckle out of this line from Kathy Shaidle on the green-camouflaged officers pictured above:

Shouldn’t a ‘Ferguson’ camo pattern be, like, 7/11 & Kool-Aid logos?

Indeed. To camouflage oneself in the jungles of suburban America, one should be clothed in Dunkin’ Donuts and Taco Bell packaging. A soldier wears green camo in Vietnam to blend in. A policeman wears green camo in Ferguson to stand out – to let you guys know: We’re here, we’re severe, get used to it.

This is not a small thing. The point about “the thin blue line” is that it’s blue for a reason. As I wrote a couple of months ago:

“The police” is a phenomenon of the modern world. It would be wholly alien, for example, to America’s Founders. In the sense we use the term today, it dates back no further than Sir Robert Peel’s founding of the Metropolitan Police in 1829. Because Londoners associated the concept with French-style political policing and state control, they were very resistant to the idea of a domestic soldiery keeping them in line. So Peel dressed his policemen in blue instead of infantry red, and instead of guns they had wooden truncheons.

So, when the police are dressed like combat troops, it’s not a fashion faux pas, it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of who they are. Forget the armored vehicles with the gun turrets, forget the faceless, helmeted, anonymous Robocops, and just listen to how these “policemen” talk. Look at the video as they’re arresting the New York Times and Huffington Post reporters. Watch the St Louis County deputy ordering everyone to leave, and then adding: “This is not up for discussion.”

Read the whole thing.

Twenty years ago almost in the wake of Ruby Ridge, NRA President Wayne LaPierre called federal agents “jack-booted thugs” in their enforcement of gun laws. The left reacted in its typical mock horror. But that thug attitude has trickled down from the BATF, along with billions in military equipment, to local police forces across the nation.

The horror we feel now should be real, and it should be felt by everybody.

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All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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Just to make this point clear, Wayne LaPierre didn't call ATF agents "jack-booted thugs". He was QUOTING Rep. John Dingell, who first used the phrase "jack-booted government thugs" to describe BATF.

The sentiment was true then and is true now, no matter who first said it.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
This trend is so very disturbing because conservatives are generally wholesale on the side of "law and order" and "rule of law" and support our men and women on the Thin Blue Line utterly. We're polite and respectful towards the police because we know they're on our side. But this "occupying army" mindset can change that relationship and perhaps does for some of us. Can we be "law and order" citizens but find this militarization alarming? I do. And it's in the abstract until it's pointed at us as it may well be someday.

Years ago, the idea of the police laying seige to an area was the stuff of the tin-foil hat crowd. But now, our law enforcement personnel are indistinguishable from an army. They have automatic weapons, long guns, battle helmets/armor/NVGs, armored vehicles with turrets/weapons, and more. Years ago, they COULDN'T lay seige to an area for lack of the means. Now they have the hardware and the manpower; all they need is an order to do so.

Another intersting thought experiment; after reading Sir Robert Peel's fundamantals of policing that confirm that one of the key elements of successful policing is the relationship between the citizen and the police ("they are us; we are them"), how does the police showing up as an occupying army with long guns and armored vehicles affect that relationsip next week with the citizenry?

Cop: "Good morning, Mrs. Smith. Yeah, sorry for the tank tracks in your front yard and we hope your cat finds his way home after all that tear gas."
Mrs. Smith: ....simply glares.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
The traditional (US)Police Blue uniform stems from the post Civil War surplus Union Uniforms issued to the new police forces, especially in NYC. And the various Khaki or green variations followed subsequent US wars. While Jackboots come out of Orwell and Jack London by way of Nazi Brown Shirts and Soviet Political Police. So none of this is exactly new. What is NEW(ish) is the willingness to apply military (occupation) tactics to American civil society. And especially the lower ends of that society. Quite simply a step too far. Past 'Keeping the Peace'. All the way to 'Enforcing the Peace' and there is a difference.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well since Steyn left NRO you have to seek his stuff out.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Amusingly (at one level), the MSM commentariat's response to LaPierre's "jackbooted thugs" comment centered on the fact that the boots worn weren't 'jackboots'. This sort of deliberate misunderstanding is properly called "dumb insolence."
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fortunately, the Bundy fiasco in Nevada illustrated that there still is a willing militia, in the truest sense of the word, willing to risk all for liberty.

I suspect they'll pick their battles, but I also suspect the big one is going to happen within the next two years.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
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