The missing component in this discussion of police militarization and related issues is the responsibility of law enforcement to educate the citizenry, and not simply take upon themselves prerogatives they were never intended to have within the American system.
The discussion is published by the Daily Signal: “Police Beefed Up Capabilities Because a Crime-Weary Nation Wanted Them To.”
The demands of a weary public compelled state and local law enforcement to challenge more conventional thoughts on policing. A more targeted, tenacious approach to policing crime hot spots began to take root, and these tactics, because of their inherent danger, often necessitated the use of more specialized police personnel to carry them out.
And in part because of a shifting model of policing, crime rates began to drop dramatically in the 1990s and continue to do so today. In fact, between 1991 and 2001, violent crime fell more than 33 percent.
When the public cries out to be “saved” one of the key demands upon law enforcement in the unique construct of the United States is to clearly and publicly emphasize what the courts have repeatedly found: Police have no inherent responsibility to protect you from harm—personal self-defense is a God-given and Constitutionally-protected right, and the foremost line of defense against most criminal evil.
If more citizens were told to act as responsible adults, rather than looking to “Daddy Police” to save them (very flattering to those in uniform, but destructive to our culture and freedoms), we would have fewer individuals calling for law enforcement to come in like Rambo-to-the-rescue.
Also, unrelated to the above, I’m not sure how to interpret this quote: “No police officer is morally obligated to place himself or herself in greater danger than a given situation inherently places them.”
I would suggest police are morally obligated to put themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve citizens. The preeminent consideration in all activities should be to protect the innocent, even if that puts the officer at enhanced risk—that is their calling.
Unfortunately, many no-knock, nighttime raids are clearly designed with a primary goal of protecting the officers doing the raid, not the safety of any potential innocents who may be inside the residence about to be assaulted.
Too many people and animals have been tragically slaughtered, only to have the military-suited police say “oops,” at the conclusion. (And the more common response—even when it’s clear police completely blew it, is to circle the wagons, and offer lame excuses as to why that murder of an innocent civilian or pet was justified.)
Yes, we need to have a conversation, and I am thankful the writer started it. The job of the police is horribly difficult in the current context where—in many cases—the public doesn’t care about justice and facts, but only predetermined outcomes based on the “class” of the person police felt compelled to shoot.
That said, each police officer chooses the profession with all of its risks and rewards, and if he or she is not up to the increased personal risk of doing things the morally proper way, then perhaps he needs to turn in his badge.
We must return to a law enforcement ethos (and military ethos) which says it is better to die unjustly, than to unjustly take an innocent life.
As a final comment: I realize the final statement of ethos above is only possible amongst a Christian culture–something we are running away from, as fast as possible today. Many law enforcement officers apply a reasonable pagan mentality that says: Better to go home for dinner, than to do things in a way that might protect others, but leave me more vulnerable.
The real problem with law enforcement today–as with government–is that we are ruled and served by philosophical pagans, not Christians. Since Christians are the only ones who have the antidote to the disease, I’ll leave you to ponder who shoulders the largest part of the blame for that.