Stop Militarizing the Police

The tragic death of Michael Brown at the hands of the Ferguson police is a reminder that the upsurge in violence is not restricted to the Middle East or any one place.  It’s right here in our own communities.

Like the Trayvon Martin killing two years ago, the problems of racism, easy access to firearms, and the assault on our civil rights are all, once again, in the spotlight. I suspect I don’t have to explain why peace activists are taking action, mostly in support of activists of color who are leading the organized response to this latest perversion of justice.  Anti-violence is at the very heart of our struggle.

In this case however there is another element that directly connects to our ongoing work to build a more peaceful and just future – that is – militarism.  It’s time to demilitarize our police.

As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq ‘wind down’ (though clearly not all the way down) the Pentagon has been offering surplus weapons to local police forces for free.  Tens of thousands of M-16’s, as well as mine-resistant trucks and other battlefield hardware have already been transferred to jurisdictions around the country – but the Pentagon still has lots and lots of free stuff to give away.

A bipartisan chorus has already begun to speak out in Congress against this practice.  Even Tea Party and right wing extremist Ted Cruz is raising alarm.

Tell your Member of Congress where you stand.

How much military hardware has been transferred to local jurisdictions?  It’s not easy to know as the Pentagon makes the trail difficult to track.  Most of the data available comes from local and state officials – like the State of Missouri which CNN reports has received some $17 million worth in transfers from the Pentagon.

I find, and I’m confident you do as well, the images of police in full military gear aiming assault rifles at unarmed protesters upsetting.  We can expect to see more and more of this in the future too, if we don’t do something about the economic terrorism visited upon the poor in our society at the hands of the 1 percent.

We know, for example, the Pentagon has in place plans for dealing with civil disorder brought about by economic or environmental disaster threatening the stablity of the government.  Arming local jurisdictions is a step in the wrong direction.

Since the 1980’s the US government has enabled the militarization of the police force as part of its so-called War on Drugs.  Post 9/11 politics opened the flood gates with grants from the federal government to prepare for the imminent terrorist threat.  Now, as combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan have ended, the Pentagon is literally giving battlefield hardware away.

The militarism of policing – both in terms of weaponry and tactics – is a threat to our freedom as great as any coming from outside our borders.  It’s time to put it to a stop.

Write you Member of Congress today!

Please forward this message to your friends.

5 Responses to Stop Militarizing the Police

  1. From your America community organizer Rev Dr. O. D. Robinson Psy.d my fellow American and citizens of ferguson Missouri, subject the death of Michael Brown
    we must not be like the people in Iraq and other third World Country are we any better, when it come home to us
    to the citizens of ferguson go home and let the F.B.I.
    do their job violence will not get the job done. i did not know Michael Brown, but i had a Nephew who was gun down by a white policemen for no reason, i know your hurt, but to the citizens of Ferguson Michael is gone now, now let President Obama and the F.B. I. do their job, my friends i know that we still have some difficulties days a head we know that hate crime is still in the mind of some police officer, but not all of them are black hater i say to you let freedom ring
    go home and talk to our young men and young lady about peace in America it all begin at your house the first teaching and let us sings in the words of the old Negro Spiritual free at last traffic this to CNN CBS Google ABC and all other networks from Rev Dr. O.D. Robinson you can poll me at urban life center,Inc 662-741-2522

  2. my fellow citizens inFerguson Missouri and across America.s,is the policemen to hard on black in this Country,my answer is some of them are let us be real are all young blac young men and youg lady

  3. My friends we as parents are not training our young black men how to act when you are a parent your child may act one way at home but when thay get with other young people thay show of, I know because I been in the sheriff,s dept since 1964 and what I have seen is very bad on the part of some young men and young lady

  4. Rev Dr.O.D.Robinson Psy.d I am your American community organizer we as people will never be able to remove all of the hate and violence in this country you know it and I know it I have that vision the people at CNN and FOX and CBS what can you do show us picture until we can sing My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty the old negro song, President Obama can not stop the violence when we come together as a nation of understanding each the key word is slave days are over
    so we say but our your people have inslave them self with (DRUG) and gangs group this is not the American way let me hear from you

    • My picture is on facebook by the name of Oliver Robinson
      but I am a psychology and family counseloer, Oliver Robinson on facebook is the same person Rev Dr. O.D. Robinson Psy.d, remember i am on facebook Oliver Robinson 5011

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