Are the Police Becoming a Domestic Military?

June 13, 2014 in News by The Manimal

Source: Ultra Culture

US domestic police are ordering gigantic caches of military weaponry for domestic use. Why is America prepping to become a war zone?

What do you get when you combine post-war military surplus equipment with US domestic law enforcement agencies?

I don’t know. And I’m not sure I want to.

The sheer volume of equipment coming into the country (see the wave-making New York Times article “War Gear Flows to Police Departments”) makes it look like we’re building another branch of the military—but what for? Different people have different answers, but they’ve all got one thing in common: Fear.

The rise in mass shootings has some members of the law enforcement community calling the escalation an exercise in preparedness. Some cite the threat of domestic terrorism, invoking the specter of the Boston Marathon bombings as proof enough. Other responses are simply brain-searing, like this one from the Morgan County Sherriff’s department, featured in the New York Times:

“In the Indianapolis suburbs, officers said they needed a mine-resistant vehicle to protect against a possible attack by veterans returning from war.”

The Hell? Have we reached such a fever pitch of terror as a society that we’re ready to throw up our hands and ask a quasi-military police force to save us from ourselves? And just how much of this equipment is being distributed?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2012 there were 780,000 active police and detectives in the United States. That’s a little more than the total active personnel for the Army and Marine Corps combined (or the Navy and Air Force combined—I wouldn’t want anyone to feel excluded). If those numbers hold true, one in every eight can have a machine gun of their very own. And those are just the weapons that have been given out since 2006.

The US government isn’t forcing anyone to take these weapons, but the climate of fear is making everyone want to arm themselves to the teeth—just in case. If the surplus hardware wasn’t being used at home, procedure dictates that it would be destroyed.

But given the option between spending money on more practical or traditional police weaponry, or getting freebies that turn everyday police work into Call of Duty cosplay, an astonishing amount of states are choosing the latter.