Transformation of Community Policing Into Military Policing Sanctions Government Violence

30/11/2013 21:41

BOB KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

dotoregon11 30What goes around comes around . . . and around, and around.

Last month, the day after I left Santa Rosa, Calif., a 13-year-old boy carrying a toy replica of an AK-47 was shot and killed on the outskirts of that town by a Sonoma County deputy sheriff with a reputation for being trigger-happy. The officer had ordered the boy to drop the “gun,” then in a matter of two or three seconds opened fire, giving him no chance to comply.

This is not an isolated incident, which is why it’s yet one more tragedy I can’t get out of my mind — one more logical consequence of the simplistic militarism and mission creep that’s eating us alive. This is gun culture running unchecked from boyhood to manhood, permeating national policy both geopolitically and domestically. This is the trivialization of peace. It results in the ongoing murder of the innocent, both at home and abroad, at the hands of government as well as criminals and terrorists.

“That’s America, we say, as news of the latest massacre breaks,” Henry Porter wrote in September in the U.K. Observer. The massacre of the moment was lone gunman Aaron Alexis’ slaying of 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.

“But what,” Porter asked, “if we no longer thought of this as just a problem for America and, instead, viewed it as an international humanitarian crisis — a quasi civil war, if you like, that calls for outside intervention?”

This begins to get at the American lunacy, its out-of-control certainty that authorized violence has things under control. We need some kind of outside intervention. I fear the death of Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa won’t bring about the fundamental changes we need, any more than the tragedies that preceded it. We lack systems capable of holistic assessment of our problems; we lack systems that are not part of the problem.

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