One of the few hilarious things that has happened in the wake of the violence in and around the shooting of Michael Brown has been the parade of right-wingers declaring that, oh, their stars and garters, the militarization of the police in this country might be a problem. In an editorial in Time magazine this week (motto: "Yes, fer chrissake, we're still a magazine. Stop asking us already"), conservative hero-of-the-moment and a man who always looks like he wants to sell cannabis gummi bears to 3rd graders, Rand Paul, made the case that, gee whizzers, it's a problem that the neighborhood police get up in soldier drag and drive around in vehicles and with weapons that are associated with killing children in Gaza.
Said Senator Paul, "There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response." And he quotes other right-wingnoids who agree with him, like some fuckin' Cato Institute stooge, who offers, "Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors?"
Following up on this fashion faux-pas is Kevin Williamson at the National Review (motto: "Skull-fucking the actual skull of William F. Buckley on a daily basis"). He writes, "Police in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas, occasionally go about their business in army-green armored vehicles and uniforms with woodland camouflage patterns, in spite of the fact that God never saw fit to put a tree within a hundred miles of there." And it's just so fugly, right, Kevin, the way it clashes with the .50 caliber rifles?
In a shockingly mostly sympathetic column, RedState's Erick "Erick" Erickson says that "since September 11, 2001, many police departments in the country have turned themselves into mini-militaries. It used to be just a SWAT team ready to take on bad guys. More and more the police are suiting up to contain and control the population they are supposed to serve." The result is a heightened threat of violence that breeds distrust in the population.
Paul and Erickson, among others, believe that the placing of armored vehicles, high-powered assault weapons, and, yes, camouflage is part of a big federal government plot to take away our rights or some such shit. It's probably Obama's fault somehow, even though it was Bush who started this push to turn our cops into armies.
But they are also pointing out something very plain: if you allow someone to have the crazy shit, they are going to use the crazy shit. So, of course, the first opportunity they had, the cops in Ferguson were gonna get out the sniper rifles and armored vehicles. This is the the same argument that gun control advocates use. If you let dumbass motherfuckers have stupid-big guns and magazines, dumbass motherfuckers are gonna want to use 'em.
Welcome to the party, bitches. Don't worry. Right now there are a lot of small city police chiefs saying, "Hey, why punish us? We use our military equipment and arms responsibly."