Originally published December 9 2013
Mother Jones now channeling Alex Jones: Police militarization can no longer be denied
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Mother Jones magazine, long a voice of the anti-establishment left, has made a transformation of sorts in recent months, culminating in an admission of sorts that those on the forefront of the fight to restore individual freedom and liberty have a point when they decry the rising instances of police militarization.
It's too bad that it took them this long to join a fight that people like Alex Jones have been waging for years.
The online mag re-published a post titled "How Every Part of American Life Became a Police Matter," which first appeared on the TomDispatch.com website and makes the same arguments those "crazy lunatics on the right" have been making for some time:
If all you've got is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail. And if police and prosecutors are your only tool, sooner or later everything and everyone will be treated as criminal. This is increasingly the American way of life, a path that involves "solving" social problems (and even some non-problems) by throwing cops at them, with generally disastrous results. Wall-to-wall criminal law encroaches ever more on everyday life as police power is applied in ways that would have been unthinkable just a generation ago.
'War on crime' and 'war on drugs' no longer metaphors
Nothing could be more correct. The writer, Chase Madar, goes on to say what Jones and others have also been saying for years - that the problem is just getting worse, as evidenced by such outrageous developments like the campus police at Ohio State University obtaining a mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle used to protect troops from improvised explosive devices while traveling the embattled roads of Afghanistan:
By now, the militarization of the police has advanced to the point where "the War on Crime" and "the War on Drugs" are no longer metaphors but bland understatements. There is the proliferation of heavily armed SWAT teams, even in small towns; the use of shock-and-awe tactics to bust small-time bookies; the no-knock raids to recover trace amounts of drugs that often result in the killing of family dogs, if not family members; and in communities where drug treatment programs once were key, the waging of a drug version of counterinsurgency war.
The revelations by Mother Jones about the rising militancy of cops piggybacks on not only the work of men like Jones and his Infowars.com news and information site, but that of the American Civil Liberties Union as well, which also has been tracking the phenomenon of police militarization.
And, as the civil rights organization has documented, much of this militarization is coming complements of the taxpayer, via the federal government:
Federal funding in the billions of dollars has allowed state and local police departments to gain access to weapons and tactics created for overseas combat theaters - and yet very little is known about exactly how many police departments have military weapons and training, how militarized the police have become, and how extensively federal money is incentivizing this trend.
'Drones, tanks and grenade launchers'
John W. Whitehead, founder of the Rutherford Institute, a legal group that also focuses on civil rights, has been writing about the negative results of so much police militarization. In a recent column entitled "Drones, Tanks, and Grenade Launchers: Coming Soon to a Police Department Near You," he writes:
Why are police departments across the country acquiring heavy-duty military equipment and weaponry? For the same reason that perfectly good roads get repaved, perfectly good equipment gets retired and replaced, and perfectly good employees spend their days twiddling their thumbs - and all of it at taxpayer expense. It's called make-work programs, except in this case, instead of unnecessary busy work to keep people employed, communities across America are finding themselves "gifted" with drones, tanks, grenade launchers and other military equipment better suited to the battlefield.
In other words, as the ACLU and Jones have documented, and now Mother Jones has figured out, departments being given weapons and training for war tend to behave more like an occupying force than law enforcement personnel whose job is to "serve and protect."
For Mother Jones, the revelations must seem shocking, but better to have them on board late than never.
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