We are in big trouble

By From page A4 | August 26, 2014

How did it happen? We have fought two world wars, suffered the rigors of a Cold War and numerous police actions around the world. I thought the purpose of all that was to prevent police-state governments from taking over and ruling the world. Now, we are the biggest and most powerful one.

It’s bad enough to hear about use of excess force and killings of unarmed citizens by our protectors of the peace. But to see phalanxes of armor-protected riot police moving down a street with military weapons trained on crowds of ordinary people is both chilling and horrible.

With the arrival in Davis of our very own armored military vehicle to keep the peace, it seems we have completed a transition from the land of the free to a community enslaved by its own police-state government.

The image of a Hungarian freedom fighter throwing a stone at a Soviet Union tank back in the 1950s comes to mind. The unarmed hero willing to risk all to stand up to the unwanted force from an external police-state oppressor inspired the world.

But now, we have done it to ourselves. From within, we have gotten carried away with our capacity to accumulate and use more efficient and deadly military tools against “We the People” in the name of preserving the peace. I don’t get it. And I don’t like it.

I would never advocate sending our police into danger improperly equipped to deal with a real threat. Can it be shown that in the city of Davis we really need military transport vehicles to prepare the police for responding to a defined threat? What is the threat?

I think part of the real threat is allowing our unbridled fears to drive public decisions to accumulate ever more killing power. The “use it or lose it” mind-set forces even our own little town into becoming a police-state.

When decisions are made to expend public funds in this way, without the knowledge of the City Council (and without their guidance), we are in big trouble.
Jerry Schimke

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