It has been about 2 weeks since my last posting, and for that I am sorry. I have not necessarily been in a dry hole on the idea for topics but instead my creative mumbo jumbo is not flowing from my mind as much as it did last month. My ever so insightful father prompted me to read an article concerning a book abut the militarization of the police force, and so I shall give my opinion of the topic. I wasn’t able to actually read the article because I lacked a subscription but the idea behind that topic is what I would like to discuss.
I live in a world of many dangerous possibilities. In Afghanistan the Taliban in connection with Haqqani terrorists have been able to effectively deter us from doing our job. (That job which nowadays is rather watered down and very unknown in certain aspects.) They use whatever means they have to kill and maim Americans and Afghan security forces as well as destroying property. Suicide bombers, Vehicle born improvised explosive devices (Some having almost 7,000 kg of homemade explosives), and worst of all rockets are just some of the tools they use to accomplish their mission. These are the tools that extremist terrorist organizations use in places like Afghanistan where law and order is much like the Wild West. What is to say that terrorist acts on an equal or greater scale cannot happen at home in America as well? First and foremost I would like to say that repeated attacks on the home front are less then likely. We have a multitude of resources to prevent attacks back home unlike the Afghans who either do not care nor really have the ability to do anything about it.
I am well trained in anti-terrorism and rule number 1 to destroying a terrorist cell is to THINK like a terrorist. It is not just suggested nor is it merely hinted for police forces to not be trained in fighting terrorism. It is pivotal to the over all stability and well being of the country for all police forces to be trained in anti-terrorism operations. As Americans we can many times be narrow minded in our views towards well armed and well trained police officers. I am sure that your average citizen gets enough peace of mind out of seeing a cop car driving down their street and that is all they want to see in regards to police. This is understandable to a certain extent, however, they need to have the means and the training necessary to accomplish any number of possibilities.
This is a quote from William French Smith, President Reagan’s first attorney general: “The Justice Department is not a domestic agency. It is the internal arm of national defense.” Today we see that attitude in the war on terror. Because it’s a war, we can arrest and imprison Americans indefinitely without charges. We can eavesdrop on the communications of all Americans without probable cause. We can assassinate American citizens without due process. We can have secret courts issuing secret rulings about secret laws. The militarization of the police is just one aspect of an increasing militarization of government.”
This is a frightening thought to a lot of us but in all honesty how much does the common citizen know about the laws that allow the government to defend against terrorism? Not a lot…Let us be honest for a minute… I ask my soldiers the names of important people in the government and some of them do not even know. Government and politics are rarely ever taught in schools anymore. Even during the national election for president I have seen videos of street polls and some people do not even know who was running. We must constantly educate ourselves, we must understand how the law affects us and our children otherwise all we are is a bunch of zombies. I saw a picture on Facebook of about 12 people walking down the street and every one of them was looking down at their smart phones with head phones plugged in. If we constantly stay plugged in and focused to only certain things how can we have the situational awareness that will protect us when the unexpected happens?
The answer to that is easy, that is where the police come in. Not the poorly trained overweight guy that pulls you over for swerving next to the mall, I am talking about ex-military cops who are passionate about their jobs. What does it mean to be passionate? Devoting all thought and attention to something that you care about is exactly what we need in our police officers. They need to have the training to be able to assess and understand all aspects of counter terrorism so that another Boston bombing does not happen, or 9-11, or Oklahoma City. Acts of terrorism come in all forms and as common citizens we need to be able to do 2 things. First defend our families, and second defend others.
Is the quote above true? No all aspects of what Mr. Smith said are not accurate but they are possible and the law in the hands of the wrong person is a very bad thing. We need to ask ourselves why are we vulnerable as Americans and do we want to stay that way? As people who cling desperately to freedom and what it symbolizes it would be unjustified for anybody to do the things that he stated. Although flawed to a certain degree our justice system is unique to our country and is about as honest as it can possibly be. Due to the fact that we are not perfect nothing we create can be perfect nor flawless. We pride ourselves on the freedoms we possess and that limits our abilities to reach outside the law even on things such as homegrown terrorist hunts. I wish I could say that every body thought the same when it came to religion and politics but then we would not have free will would we? I wish we could say that we always have good PresidentÕs, Supreme Court Justices, and Attorney Generals. But the way we define “good” and “morally acceptable” in today’s society is a lot different than 60 years ago.
If the powers that Mr. Smith describes and those abilities to make decisions were put in the hands of the wrong politician it could be misconstrued as murder. A person or persons cannot be judge, jury, and executioner, it is not right. All acts of terror are not acts of war, so how can we NOT give people who are American citizens the right to a trial if they commit some sort of heinous act? The answer is we cannot make that decision. The CIA cannot assassinate an American civilian who makes a threatening phone call or a bomb threat. The right answer would be to detain, question, prosecute, indict, and then the punishment that is deemed just can be given to that individual.
I hope that in all this rambling my opinion is clear. The law of the land should not, cannot, and will not be twisted to create short cuts so that an individual loses his or her own rights granted to them in the Constitution. The punishment should always remain equal to the crime committed. If the person or persons commits an act of terror and they are a citizen they should be given the same rights as those who also commit manslaughter or any other sort of equal or lesser crime.
The topic of militarizing our police force, and the Justice Department being more of an iron fist of secret assassinations as opposed to a righteous hand of moral rationalization can be discussed more in length then the above blog. I hope to be able discuss what it really means to have freedoms instead of the over regulation of the citizens rights that we actually have. For now however, it is my intent for you, the reader, to understand my initial opinion on the matter and that if you would like any clarification I will gladly give it in an even more in depth response.