I agree with Professor Glenn Reynolds that our police are too militarized, both in hardware and mindset. However, I’d think twice before lauding his supporters on this issue, from Useless Toady:
Often, if you wait long enough, an idea comes around. Back in 2006, I wrote a piece for Popular Mechanics on how the federal government’s transfer of surplus military equipment to local police departments — sometimes in very small towns — was leading to “SWAT overkill.”
My complaints didn’t get much traction with either the Bush or the Obama administrations. But now, in the wake of what many consider to be an overly militarized police response in Ferguson, Mo., President Obama has ordered a review of federal programs — in the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security — to arm local police with military weapons.
Lawmakers — from Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who quoted my 2006 piece in an op-ed in Time Magazine — are looking at legislation to limit transfers. This is good. There’s a role for SWAT teams in limited circumstances, but they’ve been overused in recent years, deployed for absurd things such as raids on sellers of raw milk. The problem is, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And when you have cool military equipment, there’s a strong temptation to use it, just because, well, it’s cool. (Federal regulatory agencies have succumbed to SWAT Fever too.)
Johnson, McCaskill and Paul don’t even qualify for the jayvee. Johnson thinks Guam is about to tip over. McCaskill wants to persecute military commanders for not prosecuting phantom rapes and Paul is an isolationist. Yet three of a kind, but not exactly a winning hand.
Hat tip: Instapundit.