The 2012 Democratic Platform Promises More Police Militarization

If you want to find the differences between the 2012 Democratic Platform's and the 2012 Republican Platform's approach to criminal justice issues, you'll need a magnifying glass and some tweezers. The differences are mostly in tone, not substance. But there is at least one section in the Democrats' 2012 platform that stuck out to me: 

In the last four years, rates of serious crimes, like murder, rape, and robbery, have reached 50-year lows, but there is more work to do. President Obama and Democrats are fighting for new funding that will help keep cops on the street and support our police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. Republicans and Mitt Romney have opposed and even ridiculed these proposals, but we believe we should support our first responders. We support efforts to ensure our courageous police officers and first responders are equipped with the best technology, equipment, and innovative strategies to prevent and fight crimes.

Calling out Romney for wanting to cut public sector spending is probably breath wasted; promising to funnel battlefield-tested tech and weaponry to local law enforcement agencies, forever and ever, is genius. For, even though the Pentagon has been sharing weapons, tech, and tactics with with local cops for years, opposition to the practice is gaining ground. And considering the extent to which local cops have embraced their new, cheap toys, it's probably a cause for their concern that Americans are increasingly wary of police militarization. 

The last year has seen an unprecedented amount of scrutiny and criticism of the domestic use of drones and armored personel carriers, and the proliferation of military training available to SWAT teams (paid for by asset forfeiture). Sen. Rand Paul's opposition to domestic drones, and the widespread media coverage of his opposition, is also unprecedented. For Democrats to cheerily brag about arming local cops to the teeth, when they clearly don't need anymore weaponry, is worrisome. 

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  • BarryD||

    "In the last four years, rates of serious crimes, like murder, rape, and robbery, have reached 50-year lows, but there is more work to do."

    ...and that work has nothing to do with reducing violent crime, which may not even be possible below some level that exists in all human societies.

    It does, however, involve a lot of heavily-armed paramilitary police all around the country, despite low levels of real crime.

    Makes you think, doesn't it?

  • Hugh Akston||

    I'd hate to be the PR writer on whose desk they dumped the "we're blatantly buying police union votes by promising them more badass army toys" plank and told them to make it sound like something that actually benefits the public.

  • ||

    You're so cynical, Hugh. Of course, I had the exact same thought, so I guess that makes me an asshole too. Uh...cynical. I mean cynical too.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Did you also assume that the PR writer in question has a shred of integrity? Because that might be where I'm going wrong.

  • ||

    No, I would never assume that.

    Were you about to call me an asshole?!?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Actually I was about to tell everyone about how you're a dendrophiliac and caught Dutch Elm Disease from a sidewalk sapling in Tacoma.

    But instead I will respect your privacy and just go with calling you an asshole.

  • ||

    Look, I was at the Glass Museum, and there it was, looking so young and green out front, and I...don't look at me like that!

  • BarryD||

    I sincerely doubt that it's ONLY about that, any more than Fast and Furious was just a fuckup by some low-level desk jockey in Arizona.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, one way of dealing with citizens having guns is to arm the hell out of the government. So, for instance, if cops were in power armor and armed with x-ray lasers, Bobbie-Sue with her .44 wouldn't matter anymore.

  • ||

    The cops already will mow you down if you take a shot at them; they don't need more arms. What arming them so heavily does is increase their alienation from the non-cops. It turns them into good little footsoldiers for their masters, the politicians.

  • Pro Libertate||

    But if cops were invincible and had, I dunno, a 1,000-to-1 advantage in firepower, everything would be groovy.

  • ||

    The cops have a 1000-to-1 advantage in not being punished for using force, not matter how wrong it might be. That's where their true advantage lies.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, but sometimes cops can get hurt or even killed. Total firepower and defense would end that. Along with any kind of accountability whatsoever. Power-armored cops could also skip getting paid by the government and collect money directly from their serfs.

  • BarryD||

    Politicians would NEVER want to have their own footsoldiers.

  • Christina||

    What arming them so heavily does is increase their alienation from the non-cops.

    Exactly. Have you noticed the custom of referring to non-police as "civilians?" Police are civilians too, supposedly.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Except Bobbie-Sue knows how to shoot her .44, the cops can't hit the broad side of a barn.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Which is why they need x-ray lasers, tactical nukes, and computer brains.

  • BarryD||

    Hence the tank in the picture.

  • ||

    Now look, we all know cops aren't very good marksmen. Frequently, having shot nearly everyone in the area, it's revealed that they missed the bad guy. We can fix this problem right now by arming them with artillery. Then they'll be able to shoot everyone in the area and be sure to hit the bad guy.

  • BarryD||

    That appears to be what they did in New York, even without a tank.

  • ||

    "Incoming!!!"

  • AlmightyJB||

    DUI checkpoint by my house friday night. Results below. Yeah, but there is such a shortage of police.

    The Franklin County DUI Task Force operated a low man sobriety checkpoint on Hilliard-Rome Road at Richlanne Drive in Hilliard between 9 p.m. Friday and 3 a.m. Saturday.

    Of the 787 vehicles that passed through the zone, 338 were checked and 23 were diverted. Two of those diverted drivers were arrested for OVI.

    In addidion, the following citations were issued:

    Total Number of Citations Issued - 10
    Driver’s License / Suspension Arrests - 2
    Open Container Citations - 1
    Misdemeanor Drug Arrests - 2
    Traffic Warnings - 13
    Vehicles Impounded – 3
    For additional information, stay with

  • ||

    Ohio allows DUI checkpoints? I thought those had been ruled unconstitutional almost everywhere.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I think they got around it by not stopping everyone. They have to do it in some random sequence, like every other car or every third car. It's till a clear violation of the 4th if you sak me but so far they're getting away with it. They publically announce most checkpoints in advance (usually earlier in the day or a day ahead) which I believe may also be required. I knew about this one and text all my bar hopping friends ahead of time:)

  • AlmightyJB||

    "still" and "ask". I'm not sure what saking me would entail but doesn't sound pleasant:)

  • ||

    Ohio allows DUI checkpoints? I thought those had been ruled unconstitutional almost everywhere.

    They're still doing them in Hawaii. I'm worried about losing it if they pull me over in one of those 4th Amendment Free Zones.

  • ||

    yup. in MY state they are unconstitutional because WE have a right to privacy. there is no such right under the 4th amendment

  • ||

    is this a typical reason assertion w/evidence article (iow as long as its a reason metanarrative, no need for evidence?)

    " For, even though the Pentagon has been sharing weapons, tech, and tactics with with local cops for years, opposition to the practice is gaining ground"

    polling data? SOMETHING?

    i'm a critic of over police militarization (although certainly is a time and place for SWAT for example, they are VASTLY overused)

    but again, is there EVIDENCE that opposition is "gaining ground" and if so, what IS IT?

    i am not saying it';s an untrue assertion. i am saying that, as usual when it's a cause that reasonoids are in agreement on, no evidence is presented in most cases and people accept stuff like this on its face.

    without evidence

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Know something? Its a tank.

  • ||

    Maybe this is not the libertarian moment.

    Maybe this is simply the purge within both parties of everything that libertarians could possibly support and what we are hearing is simply the death cries of our fallen comrades within.

    Once they are quieted the two parties will then turn their knives on us.

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