Monday, December 9, 2013

How Every Part of American Life Became a Police Matter

Well, I was hoping we would see a short period of austerity in this country.  This period was to usher in the New American Century with substantially less intrusion by the Federal Government.  But, it looks like to me, things will be much worse before they finally get better.

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. (All of this is ably reported on journalist Radley Balko's blog and in his book, The Rise of the Warrior Cop.) But American over-policing involves far more than the widely reported up-armoring of your local precinct. It's also the way police power has entered the DNA of social policy, turning just about every sphere of American life into a police matter.


Despite a long-term drop in youth crime, the carceral style of education remains in style. Metal detectors—a horrible way for any child to start the day—are installed in ever more schools, even those with sterling disciplinary records, despite the demonstrable fact that such scanners provide no guarantee against shootings and stabbings.
And where does the school get the money for these metal detectors? Why, from the Federal Government, of course!  Believe, me, I think we can lay 85% of the problems at the feet of our Federal Government.

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