Why Demilitarizing Police won’t Solve the Problem

Carey Wedler (The Anti-Media)

After years of the federal government funneling millions of dollars into militarizing local American police forces, that same federal government is eager for justice over the grotesque shows of force and brutality in Ferguson, Missouri this past August. It is so disturbed, in fact, that members of President Obama’s cabinet and of Congress are pursuing a policy of de-militarization.

Obama himself, an active proponent of militarization, tepidly stated:

“I think it’s probably useful for us to review how the funding has gone, how local law enforcement has used grant dollars, to make sure that what they are purchasing is stuff they actually need. Because there’s a big difference between our military and local law enforcement and we don’t want those lines blurred. That would be contrary to our traditions.”

Attorney General Eric Holder has said he is “deeply concerned” and last Thursday, launched a civil rights investigation into the events that took place in Ferguson. While these well-calculated words and actions indicate a step in the right direction, the ineptitude of government to regulate itself, the lack of consistent public scrutiny, and the glorification of violence in American society prevent a policy of de-militarization from creating a lasting solution to increasing waves of police violence and abuse.

The state is increasingly tasked with solving problems–often ones it created or enabled. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 helped cause the Great Depression and for a century, this pillar of economic policy has widened the gap between rich and poor. When the economy collapsed in 2008 and the federal government took action, it did so by further strengthening the power of the banking elite with bailouts. After decades of “spreading democracy” by dropping bombs and toppling multiple democratically-elected leaders, the federal government continued to deal with the disdain it sowed by starting new wars and continuing foreign meddling in the 21st century. This perpetual policy has most recently reared its head in the form of the Islamic State.

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