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In a free society, how strong should the domestic police be? What weapons and hardware should they posses? Should they possess any firearms? Military grade equipment?

 

This is a very hot-button issue amongst libertarians today, especially in light of the events in Ferguson. The claim is that local police across the US have undergone a process of "militarization" by requisitioning military hardware such as assault rifles, sniper rifles, military tactical vests, APCs (armored personnel carriers), etc. It is said that by strengthening the police force to such a degree, the police are encouraged to act more violently towards the population since fewer people have the ability to resist them.

 

Here are a list of articles on Reason Magazine pertaining to the issue:

http://reason.com/tags/militarization-of-police

 

EDIT: Here is a book which brought the issue to the forefront of libertarian politics recently. I haven't read it myself but I've heard it is excellent: http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Warrior-Cop-Militarization-Americas/dp/1610392116

Edited by Dormin111
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Grand jury decision is in. No indictment, obviously. As the overwhelming evidence confirming the cop's innocence was being released (including testimony from the people who originally talked to the

So the biggest tragedy, as far as you're concerned, is that some of the rioters got bruises from rubber bullets? Not the dozens of looted and burnt stores or injured cops? You're grateful that the pe

Sorry, you're probably getting a biased version where you live. Lots of Americans support most of what the police did here. It is possible that the cop was unreasonable when he shot the kid, but it is

In a free society, how strong should the domestic police be?

As strong as it needs to be to stop rioting, spree killers, resolve hostage situations, etc. This is especially true in the US, where the law prevents the military from acting on home soil.

What weapons and hardware should they posses? Should they possess any firearms? Military grade equipment?

Yes, yes, and yes (I'll comment more on "military grade equipment"). They shouldn't be used except in rare situations when it is required, but special response units should have them, and be trained with them.

I think that, in the US, the Police often act with more force than necessary. But to suggest that that's the case in Ferguson, this past week, is absurd. The rioters have been looting, attacking the Police, destroying private and public property pretty much unchallenged, despite the so called "heavy handed" Police response. If anything, the Police response isn't responding with enough strength.

I also think calling something "military grade equipment" is begging the question. The implication is that since it's "military grade", it shouldn't be used by cops, but, as it turns out, the people defining what "military grade" means are the same people arguing against using that equipment in LE.

We're talking about rifles, body armor, helicopters and armored personnel carriers, not tanks, bombers, missiles, warships or nukes. Body armor and armored personnel carriers are defensive equipment, so, as far as I can tell, the only reason why someone would want to deny them to LEOs is to allow them to be killed more easily. Helicopters are only used for information gathering, they're not used offensively.

That leaves rifles (I've heard them called machine guns, which is another attempt at manipulation), including sniper rifles. They're necessary tools for modern law enforcement, because they're more suitable than handguns and firearms when faced with an assailant out in an open space (like a riot). Besides, in Ferguson they've only been used to fire rubber bullets. The alternative would be live rounds. Either that, or cops allowing themselves to be bludgeoned to death by the rioting gangs.

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Perhaps the focus should not be on the hardware police cary but on the tactics used. There has been a significant use of swat teams having some terrible consequences recently. Heavy handed tactics, in relation to some specific example, should be mulled over. The case in Ferguson is probably not a good one since so little is known, and since the US justice department under Holder is set to take this case, little will likely ever be known.

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Body armor and armored personnel carriers are defensive equipment, so, as far as I can tell, the only reason why someone would want to deny them to LEOs is to allow them to be killed more easily.

This seems to be a motive of libertarians when they argue against "statism." They start with the assumption that there shouldn't be cops, and so anything that makes a cop safer or more powerful is bad. But, they're so venomous that it gives me the impression they would like to see cops killed -- some of them even post crap cheering when a cop is killed while on duty.

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In a free society where the use of force is minimised:

  • Citizens should be arrested for owning weapons like military grade guns and molotov cocktails.
  • Citizens should have the right to peacefully protest without hassle from the police.
  • Police should not carry guns in normal use.
  • If citizens become violent, special police forces with weapons should be used sparingly and those weapons should not be military grade.

All of the above is common sense and if any of them is violated you get a spiral of violence. Witness the events in Ferguson as evidence where both citizens and police can own military grade weapons. Ferguson is for all purposes a mini police state; if there isn't radical reform and demilitarisation across the USA (of both police and citizens) then your US town will be next.

 

This leads into the debate on gun laws in the US. Police militarisation is a direct result of having an armed citizenry, where a literal arms race has occured.

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Calling something "common sense" isn't the same as supporting an argument. Do you have reasons for these rules you've laid out?

 

As I say, if any of those points are violated you get a spiral of violence. Witness the events in Ferguson as evidence where both citizens and police can own military grade weapons. Witness the arms race between citizens and the police as evidence.

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Witness the police deliberately firing tear gas at journalists: 

 

America has broken down, if you don't think this is coming to a town near you soon then I have a poem for you:

 

 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

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National Guard being sent into Ferguson. So much for the cops being too militarized.

Meaning the cops are acting immorally and illegally in a violent way such that they were acting too militarized...

 

America isn't broken yet. Except, it is HIGHLY concerning that there are cops out there showing an intent to act as a police state would. Fortunately it can be stopped now. I can only hope this won't happen again. Not just about the shooting, I'm talking about the aftermath. The question is how the cops to blame will be dealt with. And weapons laws. (key word: WEAPONS)

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America has broken down, if you don't think this is coming to a town near you soon then I have a poem for you:

Sorry, you're probably getting a biased version where you live. Lots of Americans support most of what the police did here. It is possible that the cop was unreasonable when he shot the kid, but it is just as likely that he did exactly the right thing and that the kid was rushing him at the time. The case is being investigated, and it unclear what these protesters want when they go around chanting "no justice, no peace". 

 

Still, if they want to assume the cop is guilty, without knowing the facts, and if they want to protest about this peacefully they should do the following: first, they shout drop the threat of "no peace" in their chant; that has no place if they claim to be seeking justice. Secondly, they should proactively make an effort to keep their protests peaceful and easy to control, so that the looters who use them as cover cannot get away with the mayhem they are wrecking. 

 

What you are seeing here, in this looting, has been seen before in other American cities. How many of these shop-keepers will reopen when they get their insurance payment? Would you be so irrational as to re-open your store in this neighborhood? 

 

A majority of leaders of the black community add fuel to the fire, encouraging these protesters to remain in their culture of poverty and assumed discrimination: victims forever. There are small shop-keepers in this community, who can hardly speak English; who came to America and worked any job they could get; who saved enough to put some money down (along with help from other family members) to open a small store. Now, this shopkeeper is looking at his burnt out store, while degenerates who grew up here, were offered free education, and had many more opportunities, instead choose to play victim. 

 

If I had a business in Ferguson, I would probably think the police did not do enough to protect my property from angry, irrational crowds and a handful of looters.

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Sorry, you're probably getting a biased version where you live. Lots of Americans support most of what the police did here. It is possible that the cop was unreasonable when he shot the kid, but it is just as likely that he did exactly the right thing and that the kid was rushing him at the time. The case is being investigated, and it unclear what these protesters want when they go around chanting "no justice, no peace".

"Just as" likely? Lots of Americans support what he did, shooting a kid to death with no apparent responsible use of weaponry? I'd like evidence of that. And if what "the police did" includes all the apparent over-the-top anti-riot activities, then I'd be more surprised to see any supporters. I'm fine about the original shooting being a case taken to court as it should. But I don't think this conversation is about that. Isn't it about everything ELSE that transpired? Perhaps the protesters should calm down, but so should the police and arguably the police have behaved worse.

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What you are seeing here, in this looting, has been seen before in other American cities. How many of these shop-keepers will reopen when they get their insurance payment? Would you be so irrational as to re-open your store in this neighborhood? 

 

A majority of leaders of the black community add fuel to the fire, encouraging these protesters to remain in their culture of poverty and assumed discrimination: victims forever. There are small shop-keepers in this community, who can hardly speak English; who came to America and worked any job they could get; who saved enough to put some money down (along with help from other family members) to open a small store. Now, this shopkeeper is looking at his burnt out store, while degenerates who grew up here, were offered free education, and had many more opportunities, instead choose to play victim. 

 

If I had a business in Ferguson, I would probably think the police did not do enough to protect my property from angry, irrational crowds and a handful of looters.

It truly is a sad dichotomy -- the immigrant hard-worker's store, and the ghetto welfare game-player who maybe also had a store. But, his store is a shady cover for something else. If he had insurance, it would only be if he was smart enough to have insurance fraud in the back of his mind. Now, in this "emergency," he will have sent someone deliberately to destroy his store, collected the check, and moved on to some other shady "enterprise." All the while he, his babymama, his obese Aunt, his addicted/"disabled" cousin, and everyone else he knows collects a government check.

 

Welfare fucks everything up.

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"Just as" likely? Lots of Americans support what he did, shooting a kid to death with no apparent responsible use of weaponry? I'd like evidence of that. And if what "the police did" includes all the apparent over-the-top anti-riot activities, then I'd be more surprised to see any supporters. I'm fine about the original shooting being a case taken to court as it should. But I don't think this conversation is about that. Isn't it about everything ELSE that transpired? Perhaps the protesters should calm down, but so should the police and arguably the police have behaved worse.

Do you think the police should have done something to prevent or lessen the looting and destruction of the property of innocent people? Not just innocent, but literally the property of a victim of the thug kid, Mike Brown. If you think the police should have done something, what is that some thing? 

 

As for reaction, I'm not gauging it by what I see from my Objectivist online friends. I'm speaking of colleagues at work, and family: none of whom leans Objectivist.... just general hoi-polloi, but all non-black.

Edited by softwareNerd
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In a free society where the use of force is minimised:

  • Citizens should be arrested for owning weapons like military grade guns and molotov cocktails.
  • Citizens should have the right to peacefully protest without hassle from the police.
  • Police should not carry guns in normal use.
  • If citizens become violent, special police forces with weapons should be used sparingly and those weapons should not be military grade.
All of the above is common sense and if any of them is violated you get a spiral of violence. Witness the events in Ferguson as evidence where both citizens and police can own military grade weapons. Ferguson is for all purposes a mini police state; if there isn't radical reform and demilitarisation across the USA (of both police and citizens) then your US town will be next.

This leads into the debate on gun laws in the US. Police militarisation is a direct result of having

an armed citizenry, where a literal arms race has occured.

It is remarkable how little "common sense" resembles "sense". Opining from an ocean away before hardly evidence is in more resembles non-objective emotionalism.

Almost everything in the initial news reports was absolutely false. We were told that the boy was shot in the police car while resisting arrest. Then we were told that he was shot from behind while surrendering. We were told that he was gentle and would never harm anyone. Then we were shown a thug abusing a shop clerk while committing a robbery. Now we are told he was shot fron the front while rushing at the police officer. The young man was shot by a pistol and not

military weapons.

The case of Mr. Brown has little to do with police militarization. It seems that it has more to do with a thug culture that did not exist in the black community in the 1960's when racism was worse. The focus on police militarization is misdirection.

Edited by aleph_1
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Do you think the police should have done something to prevent or lessen the looting and destruction of the property of innocent people? Not just innocent, but literally the property of a victim of the thug kid, Mike Brown. If you think the police should have done something, what is that some thing?

I mean, maybe you presume more background knowledge than I have. Still as far as I know, 1) any rioting is made worse by exaggerated response, 2) there's no particular evidence that Mike Brown was a thug anyway except from the cop who shot, but this is irrelevant 3) the police there are not making objective decisions about enforcement, relying on people untrained in civil disorder (and being untrained to deal with it properly, it follows that they are using weapons improperly).

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In a free society where the use of force is minimised:

  • Citizens should be arrested for owning weapons like military grade guns and molotov cocktails.
  • Citizens should have the right to peacefully protest without hassle from the police.
  • Police should not carry guns in normal use.
  • If citizens become violent, special police forces with weapons should be used sparingly and those weapons should not be military grade.
All of the above is common sense and if any of them is violated you get a spiral of violence. Witness the events in Ferguson as evidence where both citizens and police can own military grade weapons. Ferguson is for all purposes a mini police state; if there isn't radical reform and demilitarisation across the USA (of both police and citizens) then your US town will be next.

 

This leads into the debate on gun laws in the US. Police militarisation is a direct result of having an armed citizenry, where a literal arms race has occured.

Except for the fact that the UK had worse riots than this one a couple of years ago, and they handled them just as poorly. Same with Norway. Same with France, where riots like this are commonplace.

And except for the fact that for the most part the protesters in Ferguson aren't using firearms, and, of course, neither is the Police.

But, other than that, feel free to use every isolated event coming out of the US as evidence of your childish position for gun control. While you're at it, why don't you complete the circle of absurdity and explain how global warming is also to blame.

Edited by Nicky
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I mean, maybe you presume more background knowledge than I have. Still as far as I know, 1) any rioting is made worse by exaggerated response, 2) there's no particular evidence that Mike Brown was a thug anyway except from the cop who shot, but this is irrelevant 3) the police there are not making objective decisions about enforcement, relying on people untrained in civil disorder (and being untrained to deal with it properly, it follows that they are using weapons improperly).

I'm curious how you came to "know" those things.
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Except for the fact that the UK had worse riots than this one a couple of years ago, and they handled them just as poorly. Same with Norway. Same with France, where riots like this are commonplace.And except for the fact that for the most part the protesters in Ferguson aren't using firearms, and, of course, neither is the Police.But, other than that, feel free to use every isolated event coming out of the US as evidence of your childish position for gun control. While you're at it, why don't you complete the circle of absurdity and explain how global warming is also to blame.

“While the [London riots] were at their worst, people were calling for rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to be used against the rioters, Ferguson is a living example of why we should be immensely grateful that those tactics were never used during the U.K. riots."[115]

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/08/18/how-the-rest-of-the-world-sees-ferguson/

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“While the [London riots] were at their worst, people were calling for rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to be used against the rioters, Ferguson is a living example of why we should be immensely grateful that those tactics were never used during the U.K. riots."[115]

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/08/18/how-the-rest-of-the-world-sees-ferguson/

So the biggest tragedy, as far as you're concerned, is that some of the rioters got bruises from rubber bullets? Not the dozens of looted and burnt stores or injured cops?

You're grateful that the people who killed Haroon Jahan, Shahzad Ali and Abdul Musavir for trying to protect their stores, during the UK looting spree, were never exposed to rubber bullets or tear gas?

You're grateful that Police weren't aggressive enough to stop rioters from murdering 68 yo Richard Mannington Bowes for trying to put out a fire they set?

You're grateful that cops weren't allowed to use all means necessary to help this kid from being savagely assaulted:

You're grateful that 186 police officers were injured, because they never had the means to retaliate against armed assailants?

You're grateful that 48,000 businesses have suffered financial losses totaling hundreds of millions of pounds, but none of the looters were bruised by rubber bullets or brought to tears by noxious gases while they were causing that damage?

Out of curiosity, where were you during the riots? Have you gone about your life as normal, expecting the Police to protect you, or did you realize that they wouldn't be able to, so you should hide at home until the "youths" riot themselves out?

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I'm curious how you came to "know" those things.

Same as you - various news things. I don't presume to know as much as other posters, so I made clear what you'd need to tell me about to change my mind, but as far as I have seen, what has happened is not an appropriate response. Rioting is bad. So is exaggerated police response. I'm not saying there should be NO response, but it seems like the police don't know what they're doing.

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Same as you - various news things.

Maybe you should switch news things, because none of what you wrote there is anywhere even remotely near the truth.

Not only is there video of the guy robbing a store shorty before being killed, there are a dozen witnesses confirming the cop's claim that he was attacked and forced to shoot in self defense.

I'm not saying there should be NO response, but it seems like the police don't know what they're doing.

What specifically are they doing that is wrong? Edited by Nicky
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Rioting is bad. So is exaggerated police response. I'm not saying there should be NO response, but it seems like the police don't know what they're doing.

What is the objective measure of this?

Her's what the cops have done: brandishing scary weapons, using tear-gas, restricting where people can gather, arresting people disobeying orders (including a couple of reporters), telling people to keep moving and not loiter in certain areas, keeping people off certain roads.

For all this, I think only a single rioter has been shot and is in critical condition. 

One can always point to mistakes made, but I've not seen any gross mistakes by the police in controlling this riot. The only reason things quieted down for a couple of days was because the Highway patrol cop in charge was black and from the area. the cost was that the looting continued while the cops stood by.

 

I have no idea what these protesters want. They speak of "justice", but it seems that their definition of justice is to convict the cop without due process.

 

In my judgement, "black America" (i.e. the 70%-80% who buy into the message of black victimization) is starting to overplay its hand as far as the rest of America goes.  The rest are starting to tire of their lynch-mob mentality.

Edited by softwareNerd
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