Challenge Match: Oscitate vs Heike : "The Militarization Of The Police Force"

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posted on Oct, 21 2008 @ 10:03 PM
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The topic for this debate is: "Does The Recent Trend Towards Militarization Serve Only To Further Separate The Police From The Rest Of Us?"

Oscitate will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Heike will argue the con position.

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posted on Oct, 22 2008 @ 02:30 AM
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Before beginning, allow me what is likely to be the only moment of respite before the oncoming storm to thank Semperfortis, Heike and the debating community as a whole, for the opportunity and fun.


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I will be debating the notion that the ongoing Police Militarization serves only to distance the Police from the rest of us. My opening statement will outline the nature of my argument, both in theoretical terms and in practical terms. With reference to the past, the present and the future. I will also attempt to forewarn the reader of any attempts my respected opponent may take in order to skew the self-evident facts and trends which I will use to present to make my case.

I will debate that the use of the "military mindset" -- which also contributes in giving today's police force more than just a mindset, due to the fact that surplus military equipment and training is now flowing from the pentagon into the hands of police -- is both immoral and illegal. And that ultimately, should the trend expand, is a danger both to us and themselves.

The threat of Police militarization is not a new one, in 1878, with this precise threat in mind the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C. § 1385) was introduced at the end of the reconstruction period. It was a logical extension of the same human rights campaign that saw the end of slavery. The bill recognizes the danger in allowing the Navy, Air Force, or Army in dealing with domestic affairs. A line of thought which carefully and consciously has been eroded.

In 2006 we saw U.S President G.W Bush attempt to overturn this decision with the controversial "John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122)". The passing of this bill would have allowed the federal government almost dictatorial power over the people. The bill itself, despite being thrust into debate on the heels of Katrina, includes mention of Government authority in wielding special military power after terrorist attacks. Thankfully, the act was rejected in it's entirety. The Posse Comitatus act is still in effect. And its message is very clear. Separation of military and state. Sadly, the intent is also very clear. Centralized power and control, despite the interests of the people they wish to control. But the place lacked subtlety (this is Bush after-all) and the plan collapsed.

Despite the black and white wording, our shields are being continuously probed. Rather than impose legal and transparent legislation. The trend comes in a different form. In silent cancer of "military" counseling, coupled with an arms giveaway, serve to change the police force from within. Perhaps Heike will attempt to argue that the police force have evolved, just as crime has evolved, and that the nature of crime itself warrants change. But bear in mind that most crimes in the United States are non-violent. Property crimes, camping, indecent exposure, forgery are classic and common examples. Military training is simply inadequate when dealing with domestic affairs, that in most cases require officers to manage the gray area of social relations. The amplification of SWAT-stlye incursions and teams are ample evidence of the inefficiency of contemporary police in dealing with us, as a people.

Case in point:

www.cato.org...




On Jan. 24, a SWAT team in Fairfax shot and killed Salvatore J. Culosi Jr., an optometrist who was under investigation for gambling. According to a Jan. 26 front-page story in The Post, Culosi had emerged from his home to meet an undercover officer when a police tactical unit swarmed around him. An officer's gun discharged, killing the suspect. Culosi, police said, was unarmed and had displayed no threatening behavior.


This is not breaking alternative news, or a sensationalist article. This is an ongoing and all to familiar scenario to most. Especially to those of us on ATS. I do not blame the SWAT team, this is what they are trained to do. But I believe we can all agree that a fully armed assault team have no place intervening here. The law must be upheld -- but in this and in the majority of cases, not at gun-point.

Innocent deaths, along with abuse are not the white-flag of criminals. But the black flag of American, and global human rights values! Other controversial examples martyred by the explosion of SWAT teams include;



  1. Larry Harper of Albuquerque fatally shot by Police while threatening suicide
  2. Police swarm Ramon Gallardo's home looking for a stolen gun, killing him in the process.
  3. Mario Paz, shot in the back in 1999. The Police say he is a suspect yet admit they have absolutely no evidence to back up this claim.


These are striking cases. But the list goes on, and on.

The military has no place in domestic and civilian affairs, I believe the majority of us agree with the statement. But when the line separating police and military is so fuzzy and blurred it is merely a technicality, why do we pretend not to notice?

When Police, who are in place to protect the people, are no longer able to serve us, or protect us because they are no longer able to communicate with us. It is time to view the trend for what it is, and question the bloody conclusion should we allow it to slide to its ultimate end. When the people no longer trust the Police, and begin another blackened trend, where can this lead?

Ultimately to a country where the state is an enemy unto the people. Where colossal jails and illegal detention centers flourish amidst a climate of fear. Where even those who are innocent, have something to fear. Despite being innocent. And if with Alaskan concentration camps (Fairfax), Guantanamo, and innocence lost are what comes to mind, you'd be wrong. The reality threatens to be much, much worse.

I hereby pass the baton to my esteemed opponent Heike in the presumption that I have sufficiently explained the direction I intend to take this debate. I wish you luck!



posted on Oct, 22 2008 @ 09:08 PM
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Thank you, Oscitate, for this opportunity to debate, and thank you, Semperfortis, for setting it up for us.

Does The Recent Trend Towards Militarization Serve Only To Further Separate The Police From The Rest Of Us?"

Unfortunately, the debate topic makes it impossible to argue that the police are not being militarized to the extent that some claim (I originally expected a slightly different topic), but I will work with what we have.

Police can not entirely be “miliitarized.” Military members in combat are isolated from family, friends, and civilian life completely for months at a time. Police officers live civilian lives for over 100 hours every week (assuming a 40 - 50 hour work week). Many police officers have wives and children at home, and all have parents and other family members as well as friends. Police can not lose touch with the public they are sworn to protect and serve without also losing touch with their own lives - their families and friends. Soldiers in combat zones are immersed in that environment 24/7 with no breaks, no return to anything approaching normality. Police officers are generally in that environment - and that mindset - for an eight hour shift and then return to a more or less normal life.

Even while spending months in combat zones, soldiers do not entirely, or even mostly, lose their humanity or ability to “connect” with civilians. We have hopefully all read the stories of soldiers who help civilians, save children, and form attachments that cause them to try to bring people and even animals back to their civilian lives with them. Soldiers in combat zones still play with and feed children, help women carry heavy loads, help families re-build damaged houses, and so forth. They are still humans and still act humanely when they are not in actual life-threatening combat situations.

How much more so must police officers, who are in the “combat zone” only 40 or so hours a week, maintain their ability to be humane and connect or communicate with ordinary people? Except for that 40+ hours a week, they ARE ordinary people, and they live, play, love, laugh, watch TV, party, pay bills, and put up with the in-laws for the holidays just like the rest of us. To claim that police officers have become “militarized” to the point of not being able to communicate or connect with the general public is, in my opinion, ridiculous.

My worthy opponent has presented several cases in which presumably innocent civilians have been harmed by police, and makes the case that these incidents have become increasingly common in recent years. Rather than argue that this is not the case, I suggest an alternative explanation for these incidents. Namely, fear.

I worked as a veterinary technician for several years, and my attitude was always noticeably different when working with “dangerous” patients than when working with patients I viewed as harmless. That is to say, my judgment was somewhat impaired and I was much more likely to overreact or make mistakes when I was afraid of the patient I was working with.

I suggest that the same is true for our police force. As criminals become increasingly well armed and well organized, the danger to police increases. An ordinary traffic stop may unexpectedly become a major drug bust, and the people in the car may suddenly break out semi-automatic weapons instead of their license and registration. A burglar alarm call may be just a teenager trying to score a free TV, or a gang of organized thieves prepared to defend themselves when the cops show up.

I think that an overall increase in the frequency and intensity of violence directed at police is what is causing their lapses in judgment and escalated responses to certain situations. The officer knocking on a door in response to a complaint of a disturbance can’t be sure whether he will be greeted by a compliant homeowner or a belligerent gangster with an Uzi. Fear of bodily harm, of lethal retaliation to being confronted, is behind the incidents described by my opponent, not lack of compassion or dehumanization. Not all of them, but then a few mistakes do happen - they always have, and they always will. We can hold our police to a higher standard of behavior in many respects, but we can’t expect them to be perfect.

The solution to this problem would be to make our police force bullet proof and invulnerable. No longer afraid for their own safety, they would be calmer and more rational in dealing with potentially violent situations, and “collateral damage” would decrease. However, that is not possible (as far as I know), and what a real world solution will be I can’t say, except that I believe that excessive violence from police is a response to excessive violence from segments of the public, and the cause must be corrected before the effect can be eliminated.



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 06:33 AM
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The Opponents of this debate have agreed to a "Hold" until Sunday 10/26/08 due to Real Life Issues..

Semper



posted on Oct, 26 2008 @ 08:00 AM
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Before I begin in earnest I would like to address this point here.




Unfortunately, the debate topic makes it impossible to argue that the police are not being militarized to the extent that some claim (I originally expected a slightly different topic), but I will work with what we have.


I began my argument in the assumption that we agreed that there is in fact a militarization occurring. But this is by no means a forgone conclusion (if this is what you mean). Feel free to argue the case, since I think it ties in well with the argument at hand. I will do my best to argue the contrary (Obviously if you successfully argue that point, then nothing I say is of any value whatsoever).



Formal Rebuttal


You being your argument by saying that the Police cannot entirely become militarized, and you draw a line between Police and Military based on their situation and location:




Soldiers in combat zones are immersed in that environment 24/7 with no breaks, no return to anything approaching normality. Police officers are generally in that environment - and that mindset - for an eight hour shift and then return to a more or less normal life.



I agree with the principle that the Police remain attached to a reality that we share with them. But the point I wish to make is that there are many factors which makes this synergy with the populace increasingly difficult.


The Effect Of Paramilitary Training

During the highly publicized story of Sean Bell, where a trio of men were shot over 50 times by plain clothes Police Officers, one of whom died on the morning of his wedding. San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara had this to say in a column for the Wall Street Journal.




“the police culture in our country has changed. An emphasis on ‘officer safety’ and paramilitary training pervades today’s policing, in contrast to the older culture, which held that cops didn’t shoot until they were about to be shot or stabbed. Police in large cities formerly carried revolvers holding six .38-caliber rounds. Nowadays, police carry semi-automatic pistols with 16 high-caliber rounds, shotguns and military assault rifles"



But is this an overreaction? How dangerous really is it being a cop nowadays? Being a law enforcement officer is not among America's most dangerous professions. It is superceded by jobs such as recyclable material collectors (deaths per 100,000 workers: 42), farmers and ranchers and agricultural workers. Furthermore, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics release about fatal work injuries (which included 5,524 fatal work injuries), cops didn't even get a mention. Consider also that more cops are killing traffic incidents then violent crime related activities!

www.nytimes.com.../8PQaLd1g&oref=login&oref=slogin

The point is, the arming and training of police as a paramilitary force, is not justified or supported by facts. Serving only to distance them from us. So when my opponent claims:




How much more so must police officers, who are in the “combat zone” only 40 or so hours a week, maintain their ability to be humane and connect or communicate with ordinary people?



My answer would be that this "Combat Zone", is largely a media fabrication. The idea that a cop must fear for his life on a continuous basis is a highly romanticized idea with little base in reality.

My opponent mentions an arms race, the fact that Cops never know if the person behind the door they are knocking down (and why are we knocking down someone's door without knowing in the first place?) has an uzi. You claim this is a reaction of the Police to criminality. Yet I perceieve this to be the reverse. It is the criminal reacting to the arms race initiated by the Police. For instance, lets consider this article:

www.theregister.co.uk...




"An Arizona inventor has been granted a patent on his Taser-proof fabric, which he intends to sell to police officers to protect them from villains toting electric stunguns. However, it has been argued that protective garments of this sort will in fact endanger policeman's lives."



The "danger" is that criminals will now aim at the head and not the body. Which means that policy for the police will become even more agressive. Take no chances. But this is clearly a danger which Police have brought onto themselves, and will raise the bar on a new arms race to respond to a new danger. Ad nauseum. Until every man, woman and child is potentially a mass murderer, simply because you can't be sure anymore.

There is another area for concern. My opponent claims:




believe that excessive violence from police is a response to excessive violence from segments of the public, and the cause must be corrected before the effect can be eliminated.




The Second Amendment


I would like to employ a Socratic question at this point.

Socratic Question 1: Are you saying that Police must Pre-Emptively engage suspected criminals?

It sounds to me that this line of thinking leads us both to illegality and immorality. With regards to the Second Amendment we know that:




A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.



There have been examples of pre-emptive policy. Let's consider the aftermath of Katrina. Greg Evensen, author of "The Sovereignty Papers" and a former cop. Had this observation to make about the topic.




You need look no further than New Orleans after Katrina. You could watch California Highway Patrol and many other agencies going door to door, disarming innocent civilian victims of gangs and criminals. Police officers were on a rampage to confiscate firearms from those people trying to protect themselves. Observing this was to incite a first class riot in my home.




There are many issues here which worry me. Not least the fact that this kind of pre-emptive line is unconstitutional. The fact that you are treating criminals and victims equally. Which is exactly the point I wish to reinforce in my debate. That while cops are obviously human, it is an increasingly sad fact that policy dictates treating innocents (who represent the vast majority of people) as suspects. Policy, not people. A policy driven from a paramilitary background that has no place in domestic affairs.



posted on Oct, 27 2008 @ 09:16 PM
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According to the statistics I have found upon research, there does appear to be some militarization of American police occurring, especially in terms of equipment. However, it is far from universal and I'm not sure it could even be called widespread. In my particular area of Northeast Oklahoma, the police are not armed with semi-automatic weapons, and although county sheriffs may have rifles, they have been so armed for a very long time, and such weapons are most often used to dispatch four-legged "varmints" rather than humans. Furthermore, not all of the "military equipment" being given to police departments is as ominous or threatening as some would have you believe. "Military equipment" given to police includes uniforms, night-vision goggles, computers, office equipment, communications equipment, and other relatively innocuous items that pose no threat to the public.

Training for SWAT teams, vice units, special drug enforcement units, etc. may include some military or "para-military" style training, but regular police officers go through the same old police academy training and are required to have 40 hours per year of additional training, most of which they probably find as boring as I find the hours of training I am required to complete annually for my job.

Although some specific statistics are difficult to find, I suspect that our larger, crime-ridden cities with gangs, organized crime, and drug trafficking are the ones where most of the "militarization" is occurring. A US map showing "botched paramilitary and SWAT police raids" over the years indicates that incidents are concentrated around California, Texas, Florida, Chicago, and the Northeastern States. Although incidents dating from 1985 to the present are covered, several states (Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, Alabama, etc.) have very few incidents or none at all. It appears to me that mountains are being made out of molehills; the majority of Americans who do not live in crime-ridden inner cities and major population centers are seeing very little, if any, of this type of "para-military" activity from their police.


Being a law enforcement officer is not among America's most dangerous professions.


I agree. Firefighters, miners, loggers, fishermen, construction workers, and others are killed on the job much more frequently than police officers. However, having a tree fall on you unexpectedly, or falling off of a roof while doing construction work, is not comparable to having a gun pointed at you or being fired upon. The flight-or-fight response kicks in for most of us when we are physically threatened; not when we have accidents. The gut-wrenching fear which occurs when one's life is directly threatened by aggression from another person has few comparisons and happens even to seasoned combat veterans, let alone police officers. Furthermore, let us not forget that in many cases, a use of lethal force by a police officer is in response to a threat to an "innocent civilian" or unlucky bystander, not to the police officer himself. The ability to do what must be done in the face of life threatening danger, such as when police are required to resolve a hostage situation or save civilians caught in the crossfire between two gangs, is not truly comparable to facing a stand of trees with a chainsaw or going into a mine.

According to The Officer Down Memorial Page, 33 police officers were killed by gunfire (in the US) so far in 2008. In 2007, 65 were killed by gunfire. In 2006, the number was 51. Compare these numbers to the incidence of "paramilitary and SWAT raids (all types)" for the same years: In 2008 (to date) there were 16, 2007 - 17, 2006 - 24, 2005 - 24, 2004 - 16, 2003 - 23. Source Police officers are dying at more than twice the rate that "paramilitary raids" are occurring, and these figures are coming from a site that has the same alarmist attitude about police militarization that my opponent does. By the numbers, the facts are that police are still being killed in far greater numbers than they are killing.


My opponent mentions an arms race, ... . Yet I percieve this to be the reverse. It is the criminal reacting to the arms race initiated by the Police.


Where will we find honest statistics on who had the bigger guns first? I doubt that they are truly available. But for an analogy, let us consider our public schools. Do we now have metal detectors and armed security in schools because children have begun carrying guns and knives, or are children bringing weapons to school because there are metal detectors and armed security? Are locker searches and school searches with drug-sniffing dogs occurring because school students are becoming drug dealers, or are students becoming drug dealers because of the searches? The latter reasoning makes no sense; obviously the increased security and searches are a response to incidents, such as the Columbine shooting, which have occurred. I maintain that our police are carrying bigger and better guns because they have been outgunned by gangs, organized crime, and drug dealers in recent years.

Furthermore, I'm not sure I understand why the police being better armed is such a problem. Obviously in this day and age, a chubby-cheeked friendly "Bobby" with a nightstick on the neighborhood beat would be more a target than any kind of protection. When it comes down to my safety, I'd much rather the police be better armed than the criminals. Whether or not the police are actually targeting "you and me" is debatable as demonstrated by the fact that we are having this debate; the fact that the criminals target "you and me" is unquestioned.

In the criminal world, might is right. The true escalating arms race is among the criminals; on a daily basis they are more concerned about fighting each other than the police, and they will have the best weapons they can acquire because they are competing with each other regardless of what the police have or don't have.

Socratic Question 1: Are you saying that Police must Pre-Emptively engage suspected criminals?

No. Not at all. I am suggesting that the police should be equipped and armed in such a manner that they can effectively respond to offered violence and threat. When one realizes they have brought a knife to a gunfight, it is too late. The police officer can not politely request that his criminal opponent wait while he acquires a more suitable weapon. Having the proper weapon to adequately respond to a violent situation is not the same as pre-emptively using a weapon before the situation is known to be violent.



You need look no further than New Orleans after Katrina. You could watch California Highway Patrol and many other agencies going door to door, disarming innocent civilian victims of gangs and criminals. Police officers were on a rampage to confiscate firearms from those people trying to protect themselves. Observing this was to incite a first class riot in my home.


I adamantly disagree with this type of behavior. My husband and I have a small "arsenal" in our own home, and having the police come and attempt to confiscate our weapons might be a somewhat dangerous mission for them. However, disarming the public is a separate issue and has nothing to do with the "militarization" of the police. Soldiers are not able to disarm their enemies, and this debate is not about the infringement of Americans' Second Amendment rights but about the abuse of military equipment and tactics by the police.

Socratic Question #1: Are you really more afraid of being victimized by the police than by criminals?

Socratic Question #2: Would you consider it acceptable for the police to have inferior weaponry as compared to organized crime, gangs, and drug dealers?



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 04:50 PM
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However, it is far from universal and I'm not sure it could even be called widespread.


Peter B. Kraska and Victor E. Kappeler are professors of Police studies at the university of Eastern Kentucky. They jointly released their studious which underline the fact that there has been "a dramatic rise in the number of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams and a rapid expansion of their roles since the early 1980s". They study itself surveys 690 separate Police agencies which operate in towns with a population over 50,000. They found that over 90% of these law enforcement agencies had a SWAT team or equivalent. This trend he labels "militarizing Mayberry". It is also interesting to note that many key players in the media today have coined their own terms for the process. This New York times article coins a different term, meaning the same thing: select.nytimes.com..." target="_blank" class="postlink" rel="nofollow">SWAT Syndrome.

To put all this in context with an example;




GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (AP) - The Memphis suburb of Germantown doesn't have much violent crime and has never had a riot. What it does have is a brand new, $184,000, armored personnel carrier.

The vehicle, called BearCat, was bought with a Homeland Security grant.


source (AP): www.wmcstations.com...

Was there any purpose at all to the militarization of Germantown? To the entire "Mayberry" militarization process at all? It is obvious that this militarization process is not in the eye of the beholder, certainly not illusory paranoia, nor as my humorous opponent wishes to illustrate: the fruits of an "alarmist attitude". It is also obvious that even as these counties suffered a "homicide a decade", their near pristine records are now threatened by the evolution of para-military means. Why change that which has worked? So when my opponent claims:




It appears to me that mountains are being made out of molehills; the majority of Americans who do not live in crime-ridden inner cities and major population centers are seeing very little, if any, of this type of "para-military" activity from their police.



It appears to me that that is simply because there is little crime, which limits the amount of action these agencies see. But it doesn't mean that the Germantown's of America have not evolved and militarized, it simply shows how the militarization is redundant and a financial excess. After all, Kraska and Kappeler did find that 90% of small and medium sized towns, (admittedly as well as large) much like Germantown, had para-military Police agencies. Despite having little or no crime.


Socratic Question 1: What message is the militarization of Germantown sending to the people of Germantown?


To me the answer is simple and direct. The logical extension to 25 years of Law enforcement evolution: To blur the line between police and military. In order to better illustrate my argument, I would like to use the example of the famous St.Paul protest (RNC 2008). Where millions of Americans, thanks to the transparency of the internet were shocked by the actions of their own Police force.

This website offers a run-down of events, with audio, video and photographic evidence of the events of that day.




troops of federal, state and local law enforcement agents marching around with riot gear, machine guns, and tear gas canisters, shouting military chants and marching in military formations. Humvees and law enforcement officers with rifles were posted on various buildings and balconies. Numerous protesters and observers were tear gassed and injured





For whatever reasons, the brigades of police officers would periodically chant military terms and march around in formation ("Double Time!"), while helicopters hovered overhead and Humvees drove by frequently:


Were it not for the limit of sources and images, I would do my best to create a story-board for the previous quotes. Any research on the facts of that day show irrefutably what I intend to reinforce is the blur between Police and Military. Not only are both agencies and institutions seen side-by-side. But they act almost identically. If anything, the Police are used as the first rankers against, disarmed, non-violent protesters. Given the context, they are acting as a foreign power, not a domestic power. Forgetting perhaps, that protesting and reporting are constitutionally protected. As a buffer, allow me to point out that this is a striking example of abuse of power. However, it does not reflect the reality observed throughout much of the country itself. But it is a wake-up call in terms of what the past 25 years of training, recruiting and legislation have lead to. And where it seems to be leading.

Before I begin the arduous task of answer my opponents Socratic questions, a few brief facts about the day itself (all facts taken from wikipedia, so as to find a relatively neutral source)



  1. Over the four days of the convention, more than 30 journalists were arrested while reporting on the protests.

  2. When a permit expired at 5 p.m. on the last day of the convention, bridges were closed and police used tear gas, smoke bombs, pepper spray, flash bangs, mounted police, 40mm paint rounds, 40mm sponge rounds, and all-terrain vehicles to prevent an anti-war march organized by the Anti-War Committee

  3. Between 300 and 400 persons were arrested or held including 19 journalists, among them AP reporters Amy Forliti and Jon Krawczynski

  4. During the convention's first three days, more than 300[53] individuals were arrested by police,[54] including journalists (AP photographer Matt Rourke was one),[55] health-care workers and lawyer observers

  5. About 102 persons were arrested for unlawful assembly at a Rage Against the Machine concert in downtown Minneapolis

  6. Three journalists from Democracy Now!—including principal host Amy Goodman—were detained by police during their reporting on the protests






Socratic Question #1: Are you really more afraid of being victimized by the police than by criminals?



I never recall making that affirmation, however, I am not. But I am concerned with the fact that the Police are increasingly taking on the semblance of the criminality. I say semblance, because of policy, not because I believe they are criminals.





Socratic Question #2: Would you consider it acceptable for the police to have inferior weaponry as compared to organized crime, gangs, and drug dealers?


Good question! No, I do not. However, there should be caution when introducing new technologies, (such as electric, stun or spray, gaseous based) because of the truism that crime will adapt and the entire cycle will repeat itself (arms race), until innocents are left completely powerless. Essentially, knowing that you are powerless to act, given the ongoing arms race, is a fearful position to be in despite the assumption that Police are there to guard your interests first. Police Brutality does exists, it may not be likely, but you never know.


Socratic Question 2: Do you believe that the Police presence and reaction to Protests outside the RNC in 2008 where justified?

and if not (if you believe they were, you nee not answer the next one):

Socratic Question 3: What were the causes?



In closing, I would like to thank my opponent for providing evidence to backup his claims. Mostly because I believe that this particular source of evidence he chose to use, seems to make an entirely different statement than the one we have been offered. *evil smile*


Picture taken from: www.cato.org...



(I uploaded a screenshot because frankly, I have no idea how to copy/paste a google image map, I'm sure you'll forgive my lack of tech savvy.)



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 11:21 PM
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They found that over 90% of these law enforcement agencies had a SWAT team or equivalent.


Okay, they have a SWAT team. I have 2 handguns, 3 rifles, and 2 shotguns. If you were my next door neighbor, no doubt you'd be concerned about my "arsenal." But the fact is, I won't use any of it unless I have to, so unless you're planning on burglarizing me you have nothing to worry about. I could have a nuclear submarine, and if I only used it to get to my favorite fishing spot, what difference would it make to you? All this fuss about what the police have is beside the point. What you are afraid of is what they will DO with it. And what they will do with it is determined by their attitude.

So instead of the smokescreen about bayonets, Uzis, tanks, and riot gear, why aren't we discussing the real issue - the attitude of the police towards the general population? Their intentions and motivations should be the real issue, the real area of concern. The big nasty impressive toys won't hurt anyone unless someone is using them inappropriately.


It appears to me that that is simply because there is little crime, which limits the amount of action these agencies see.


Exactly. They have the equipment, but they haven't used it because there hasn't been an incident in which using the equipment would have been the appropriate response. Which means that, although there must be some crime in their areas, they aren't bringing out their tanks and Uzis to go after kids shoplifting iPods. So you're saying that either they shouldn't have the equipment because you are absolutely sure they'll never need it, or since they have it they should use it even though it's not necessary? How can you be sure they'll never need it? Who would have predicted the OKC bombing before it happened? Nothing like that ever happened in OKC before, so it wasn't going to. Right? Wrong!


it simply shows how the militarization is redundant and a financial excess.


I have to agree with that statement. The money being spent for some of this equipment could be much better spent elsewhere. But that has nothing to do with the ability of the police to connect with or protect the public. We aren't debating whether or not police departments are fiscally responsible, we're debating whether they are capable of responding appropriately to the needs of the citizens they are supposed to serve and protect.


Socratic Question 1: What message is the militarization of Germantown sending to the people of Germantown?


If I were a resident of Germantown, my honest answer would be this: The message I get is that they received more money than they knew what to do with, so they spent it on something really stupid. I'm more inclined to be annoyed that they haven't bothered to do the necessary planning and analysis to come up with something actually useful and helpful to spend the grant money on than to be worried about what they're going to do with that APC.


As a buffer, allow me to point out that this is a striking example of abuse of power.


Was it, really? A different web site gives a much different view of events that day:


Thousands of protesters ... some smashing cars, puncturing tires and throwing bottles ... cement bags that protesters were throwing off the overpasses onto the interstate ... groups of protesters slashed tires on police vehicles and buses transporting convention delegates ... smashed windows of cars and stores ... tried to rip the credentials off their necks and sprayed them with a toxic substance that burned their eyes and stained their clothes. One 80-year-old member ... had to be treated for injuries, and several other delegates had to rinse their eyes and clothing ... Pushing, shoving, spitting, throwing harmful chemicals
Source

This does not sound like a peaceful protest which was mishandled by aggressive and militarized police to me. I wasn't there. I don't know exactly what happened. The website I quoted above may have a biased view of the event, but I suggest that your sources may also be biased. In any case, is this one incident representative of a disturbing trend? Without other similar incidents or a clearer picture of what really happened and why, I don't agree that it is justifiable to say that.


crime will adapt and the entire cycle will repeat itself (arms race), until innocents are left completely powerless.


Yes, it will. I reiterate, however, that the primary "arms race" is not between the criminals and the police, but between the various criminal elements. Organized groups of criminals competing for the same turf or the same "customers" (victims) will continue this "arms race" among themselves, leaving the police and the civilians powerless unless the police try to keep up enough to be effective when they must go up against these criminal groups. If the police become powerless in relation to the criminals, then we will all truly be defenseless. Yes, police do sometimes abuse their power, but if I could choose I'd rather trust the police to do the right thing most of the time than trust the criminals not to harm me.


Socratic Question 2: Do you believe that the Police presence and reaction to Protests outside the RNC in 2008 where justified?


I honestly don't know, but realizing that I must answer yes or no, I will hesitantly say yes. In a mob situation I don't know how you can tell the ones who are being violent from the ones who aren't. Police officers are also still human beings, and I myself have done things I normally wouldn't in a stressful and chaotic situation where I felt threatened. I think it likely that initially it was all a big show put on in an effort to deter violence, but when violence broke out anyway the entire situation got out of control.


Socratic Question 3: What were the causes?


Some reports I found on the incident indicated that the police had "intelligence" from informants that acts of terrorism and violence were being planned, and that these sources were trusted when they shouldn't have been and the information was acted upon disproportionately to the reliability and accuracy of the information. If this is true, I would consider that the reliance of the police on questionable informants to be at least one cause that should be investigated.


In closing, I would like to thank my opponent for providing evidence to backup his claims. Mostly because I believe that this particular source of evidence he chose to use, seems to make an entirely different statement than the one we have been offered. *evil smile*

Picture taken from: www.cato.org...




Think this picture is pretty scary, do you? Perhaps you didn't notice that the map includes incidents from 1985 to the present day. That's 23 YEARS of incidents, and the grand total is only 333 incidents (an average of less than 15 incidents per year), and includes incidents in which police officers were killed or injured. Notice also that, as I mentioned previously, there are quite a few states showing few or no incidents in 23 years. Note also that this site is biased against the police. Some of the victims they call "innocents" actually fired upon and killed or injured police officers. I think their statistics are somewhat exaggerated, and yet I still used the site because it shows how small the "problem" really is. 333 incidents in 23 years, less than 15 per year. That is a minuscule number when compared to the 861,000 police the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there were in the US in 2006. According to the cato.org site there were 24 total incidents in 2006. If one assumes that 20 police officers were involved in each incident (an arbitrary and probably high number), that translates to approximately .06 percent of police officers nationwide being involved in such incidents. So (for 2006, the most recent year for which I could find numbers) 99.94% of the police force were NOT involved in a "paramilitary" incident. Shall we reconsider the effects of the "widespread militarization" of the police when the number of police involved in paramilitary "incidents" gets over .. oh, I don't know .. 5%? 10%?



posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 01:07 PM
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I could have a nuclear submarine, and if I only used it to get to my favorite fishing spot, what difference would it make to you?


Legality and reality are separate issues here. Of course, what you do with your weapons is entirely your right and privilege, and there is nothing I can do to stop you. But as you say earlier, you admit that there is justified concern. Or as you put it, "no doubt you'd be concerned about my "arsenal."". This theme is tied to the title of the debate itself, because we are dealing with social impact. Fear leads to paranoia. How am I going to act if I know that my neighbor has enough firepower to settle any potential disputes with a "bang"? Assuming we didn't know each other, it would condition our ability to communicate. The same goes for Police militarization. While legally, I have nothing to fear from a Police incursion, given the degree of militarization, it conditions relations on a social level.





All this fuss about what the police have is beside the point. What you are afraid of is what they will DO with it. And what they will do with it is determined by their attitude.



We agree to disagree. What the police have is directly relevant, as it is an indicator of what their attitude is, along with what they do, and are doing with it. Providing the means, equipment and training will condition their actions. Furthermore, they have proven to use much of this material. Armored hummers,new uniforms almost indistinguishable from that of the military, tear gas, tazers, military formation and tactics, and so on, ad nauseum. In the same way that a bomb's purpose is to explode, the surplus military gear's purpose is to be used, as shown in my last post.






So you're saying that either they shouldn't have the equipment because you are absolutely sure they'll never need it, or since they have it they should use it even though it's not necessary?



My line of thought revolves around reinforcing the idea that the militarization of the police is in many cases redundant and hypersensitive. I am saying that the militarization of these towns is completely disproportionate to the threat involved. And that the presence of this equipment will condition relations between civilians and police. Of course, I cannot say for certain whether something will or will not occur, but then again, we could suffer an immediate nuclear attack from North Korea, it doesn't mean that we should all carry radiation-proof suits in briefcases. Although an obvious exaggeration the analogy highlights the tactics that I believe law enforcement agencies are taking. The assumption that a threat lurks everywhere, and the logical extension to this is considering every innocent a criminal. Leading to cases such as New Orleans or St.Paul, where in order to "be on the safe side" no distinction is made. Yes there were rioters, but what of arrests involving innocent bystanders. If the actions of the few, infringe upon the actions of the many to such a degree that we can no longer safely execute our rights, it is over-simplistic to only accuse the criminals, it is also the job of the police to protect our right to peaceful protest. And this of course, was not the case.







I have to agree with that statement. The money being spent for some of this equipment could be much better spent elsewhere. But that has nothing to do with the ability of the police to connect with or protect the public



As illustrated above, I believe there is a connection. Ultimately I believe the jurors will have the last word on whether they too can see it.


You make some good points with reference to the St.Pauls incident. Yes, it is possible that my sources, as well as yours are biased. Yes, I wasn't there either. But the main-line of my point was to illustrate the description of the way the riot police and other federal law enforcement agencies acted. There is audio-visual evidence to back this up, on my source (as well as the quotes I mentioned). The presence of rioters do not detract from this point. They only serve to justify potential aggressive action against those who warranted it. Police marching "double time!" and the use of para-military equipment such as armored vehicles however, are a clear indication of how the police viewed the people in the protest. The word I'm looking for is: Indiscriminately.

You then claim:




Without other similar incidents or a clearer picture of what really happened and why, I don't agree that it is justifiable to say that.


There are other examples of Police breaking up protests, or herding them along in a ring of steel. But more telling is legislation which is being actively sought, on the grounds of "terrorism". It also serves to justify the trend of which I have bored you throughout the debate.





NYPD seeks more leeway to monitor political groups
By The Associated Press
09.26.02

NEW YORK — Citing a climate altered by terrorist threats, the New York Police Department asked a court to sharply curtail the powers of a panel that oversees the department's surveillance of political groups.

The request, filed yesterday in federal court in Manhattan, would eliminate many of the panel's powers to monitor and regulate surveillance of domestic activists. The department now must seek permission from the three-member authority to use undercover officers to investigate any political group believed to be involved in planning a crime.

The authority, which consists of two deputy police commissioners and a civilian appointee, must grant permission for the NYPD to conduct such investigations for more than 30 days. Police investigators are also restricted from gathering all but the most basic information about planned political demonstrations.

Those restrictions would be eliminated under the department's request.


www.freedomforum.org...



This trend, spear-headed by our loss of freedom, and the increasingly somber prospect of centralized power are the hallmarks of a militarized society. Where ultimately, communication is entirely one-sided.

In essence, I would like to ask the jurors the following question. Given some of the following arguments I have made:

1. There has been and is an ongoing military trend since the 1980's.

2. Much of this spending as agreed with my opponent, is redundant and could have been better spent.

3. That LAPD, and other law enforcement agencies, are actively seeking new measures to combat "terrorism" by monitoring domestic political groups.

4. That paramilitary tactics are being used indiscriminately at the behest of innocents and criminals alike. With little action in as far as protecting our right to protest. Overshadowed by the threat to themselves.

5. That social impact is as big a factor in society as legislature. I.E A heavily armed officer is likely to condition a civilians ability to communicate with law enforcement. Added to paramilitary training, which most definitely is not geared at serving society in a social sense. But only at facing and terminating threat. Most non-violent crimes, which are the majority of crimes, are met with the same tactics that violent crime is.

Given that all of this, that has come about under the guise of militarization has had a marginal effect in buffering criminality. Assuming no overarching conspiracy, which could to some degree be argued in my mind. Considering all this. Is the trade-off worth it? Is the climate of fear and distrust between civilians and police worth it? Is this all in the name of safety, and in the realm of legality? And finally, "Does The Recent Trend Towards Militarization Serve Only To Further Separate The Police From The Rest Of Us?"" I hope I have given you reason to believe that it has.



posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 10:21 PM
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you admit that there is justified concern. Or as you put it, "no doubt you'd be concerned about my "arsenal.".


I apologize for not making my meaning clearer. In no way is there "justified concern," but some people are paranoid, and some people worry too much about what other people have. The same type of thinking that says "they have military equipment so they must intend to act like the military" says "they have guns so they must want to shoot people."


Fear leads to paranoia.


No, paranoia leads to unreasonable fear. As I have said, there is no reason to fear me or my guns unless you intend to try to hurt me. Likewise I do not fear my local police just because they have more and bigger guns than I do. They have no reason to use them on me, and if I did get mixed up in some kind of police action I'd expect them to use the minimum necessary force.


How am I going to act if I know that my neighbor has enough firepower to settle any potential disputes with a "bang"?


Why would you act any differently than if he had no firepower? Again, you assume that just because a person HAS firepower, he will use it inappropriately. My neighbor recently shot my dog, but when I went over there to discuss the matter I didn't even take a gun. Are you surprised to learn that the matter was resolved amicably and without the use of any of my "firepower"?


In the same way that a bomb's purpose is to explode, the surplus military gear's purpose is to be used, as shown in my last post.


If, however, it is used appropriately, you have nothing to fear from it. If violence or riots should erupt in my town, I will be thankful if the police have the means to deal with it effectively.

During this debate I have come to wonder why "militarization" is unquestioningly accepted as a bad thing. I was in the military (Navy). My Dad is retired career Army. Several of my co-workers are ex-marines. Except for a certain tendency to self-discipline and an expectation that their subordinates will "obey" them in the work environment, I see little difference between their interactions with other people and the interactions of people who have never been military.

I think that much of the concern about police "militarization" is due to the fact that people think the police view us (the general public) as the "enemy." Perhaps this is so, to some extent, but if it is, where did it start, and how? We call them "pigs" and worse. We make fun of them, complain about them, show them disrespect and have evolved evading or outsmarting "Smokey" into a redneck and macho art form. In movies and TV shows they are often portrayed as either stupid, incompetent, and corrupt, (Dukes of H, Smokey & the Bandit) or aggressive, violent, vicious, and corrupt (The Shield). WE have made THEM the enemy, and express our contempt, dislike, and disrespect of them openly and obviously. How would you react to such treatment?

At my job I periodically encounter police officers, usually as they are escorting a youthful offender to or from our facility. They often seem amazed to be treated with courtesy and respect, and so far every one of them has responded in kind. It is us, the public, who have ceased being their allies and supporters and become their enemy. They have had to learn to expect that the average citizen is more likely to interfere with them, obstruct them, and oppose them than to assist them.

In my opinion, the solution to the perceived problem is not to take away from the police the equipment and training that enables them to protect themselves and deal effectively with the occasional serious threat, but to restore their status as our protectors and allies, and give them the respect they deserve for placing their lives on the line for our safety. If we stop calling them "pigs" and call them officers instead, they are more likely to act like officers and gentlemen.


marching "double time!" and the use of para-military equipment such as armored vehicles however, are a clear indication of how the police viewed the people in the protest.


I disagree. In my opinion, this is a clear demonstration of something called "deterrence." By showing off their superiority and capability, they intended to convince people that violence was not going to be worth it because they were ready and able to respond. It didn't work, obviously, but I believe that was the intent. The showing of superior force is an accepted tactic in many venues for discouraging the other side and convincing them that backing down is their best option. It is in some respects analogous to showing a large paddle to a child and saying "I don't want to use this, but I have it and I will if I have to ..." with intent to convince them not to engage in whatever misbehavior you think they are about to engage in.


The department now must seek permission from the three-member authority to use undercover officers to investigate any political group believed to be involved in planning a crime.


You place emphasis on the subject of these investigations being "domestic" political parties as if they were harmless Libertarians or the like, but to me the phrase "involved in planning a crime" is telling. A political group involved in planning a crime becomes, by definition, no longer just a political group but a criminal group.

Has it occurred to you that their purpose in these matters may be to protect the members of the political group, or the protesters, from potential violence rather than being an attempt to interfere with the actions of the group? In an area where deer hunters may well be the majority of the male population and steakhouses overwhelmingly outnumber vegetarian restaurants, a smart and responsible police department should plan a show of force and provide protection for a PETA march unless they want to see blood in the streets.

I see it as a "catch 22" for them. If they ignore the march or protest and there is violence, they will be criticized for their lack of response and for not being there when the peaceful protesters needed them. If they do make a show of force and demonstrate their readiness and willingness to keep the demonstration under control and protect the protesters, they will be criticized for being militarized and aggressive.


That paramilitary tactics are being used indiscriminately ... Most non-violent crimes, which are the majority of crimes, are met with the same tactics that violent crime is.


You have suggested the above points, but I don't agree that you have proved them, or even made a good case for them. SWAT teams are not responding to domestic disputes or reports of "disturbing the peace." APC's are not rolling out to apprehend shoplifters or even bank robbers. The heavy equipment is being used primarily against organized crime, such as drug cartels and gangs, and in situations where there is an expectation of mob behavior, rioting, or gang violence. In other words, although there are some mistakes because police are ultimately human and do make mistakes, the surplus military equipment is being used (or not used) appropriately the overwhelming majority of the time.


This trend, spear-headed by our loss of freedom, and the increasingly somber prospect of centralized power are the hallmarks of a militarized society. ...
Assuming no overarching conspiracy ...


And therein lies, perhaps, the crux of the matter. Is there a conspiracy on the part of elements of the government to take away our freedoms and institute something more like martial law? Is there a power grab underway by the proverbial "Powers That Be?" There may well be, but the police themselves are no more the ones behind it than the soldier ordered to "take a hill" is responsible for the overall conflict.

I suggest that, if a military style coup is in the future of the US, the police will be caught in the middle and will be victimized - and used - to a greater extent than any other segment of the population except perhaps the actual military and the National Guard. They, more than any other group, are likely to be torn between their training and sworn oaths to obey their superiors and their desire NOT to turn against their own communities and neighbors. Our (as in the general public) attitude towards them may be the deciding factor in which way they ultimately turn, and it is our attitude of fear, suspicion, distrust, disrespect, and contempt towards them that is separating them from us, not the equipment they have or the training they are receiving.

I point you again towards the aforementioned fact that less than one percent of the US police force have been involved in "paramilitary" incidents and raids.

According to a law firm's website

Because of human error as well as systemic problems, between 44,000 and 98,000 people are killed each year by medical errors in hospitals


So the medical professions - our doctors and nurses - are accidentally killing at least 44,000 people each year, and our "militarized" police have accidentally killed somewhere around 300 or so (estimating from the cato.org site) people in the past 23 years. Yet we are making a huge issue out of the latter situation without even taking into account that some of those "innocent" victims fired on police, were involved in criminal (albeit nonviolent) activities, or were in the wrong place at the wrong time when they perhaps could have avoided it using better judgment. With or without Uzis and tanks, it looks like we should be far more afraid of doctors than police.



posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 11:29 AM
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Final Thoughts



Beyond a selection of conclusions I made at the end of my previous post, I find that there is an underlying realization we must make when looking at the case-studies and facts pertaining to the evolution of law enforcement. That it has changed, and the opinion of many regarding the police, has also changed.

The next realization, as argued in my debate, is that this change is overwhelmingly negative. The side-effects have manifested themselves public and fragrantly (St.Pauls case). Not only this, but beyond rare and select occasions, sometimes called into actions of shaky legal and moral tight-ropes, they are largely superfluous. A point which even my opponent has agreed with me on. This realization is not "a night at the movies", it is documented and observable. The sole redeeming factor is that this progression has had some effect at curtailing crime. But at the same time, we know, that no amount of militarization will ever control criminality. As the slider of progression moves ever-forward, our rights will become privileges and our pivileges crimes. Already our rights are being shaken, and as I have pointed out, governments have tried to overturn the freedom afforded us through the Posse Comitatus act of 1878 (Bush admin 200). Or again, the LAPD's quest to strip away our right to protest. It is not alarmist to assume the law enforcement will reflect the opinions of their leaders.

This intention, coupled with with the evident militarization, both in turns of training and arms, have obvious effects on the population. Fear, distrust and hesitancy. Which are not delusional, because they are born of factual issues and examples. Which in turn lead to other severe trends. But that is another debate entirely.

My opponent pointed out that owning a gun, does not equate to shooting a gun. While without context the statement resounds strongly (with regards to civilians), the truth is different in the context of police militarization. Guns registered for self-defense are used for crimes, which is enough to cement self-preservation principles in police, which advocates pre-emptivity. While a traditional cop may factor this right into his dealings with the populace, by not assuming you are a threat by owning a gun, a militarized law enforcement individual or team will act very differently. A para-military style police force is the ultimate separation between police and civilians. And when, as today, SWAT teams and other paramilitary organizations are increasingly used for other non-violent crime interventions, it is entirely justified to state that separation has occurred.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm cutting this a little short due to time limitations and exhaustion. Before I formally end my side of the debate. I would again like to thank Heike, Semper, the jurors *wink*, and the debating community for their enthusiasm and support. Win or lose, this has been a tremendous learning experience and I look forward to the feedback!



posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 02:57 PM
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Thanks again to my worthy opponent and new friend, Oscitate, Semperfortis, our judges, and all who have taken the time to read our fledgling debate.
_________________________________________________________________

Does The Recent Trend Towards Militarization Serve Only To Further Separate The Police From The Rest Of Us?

No, not really. The trend towards militarization:


  • Serves to give the police an equal footing with the criminals, who have become increasingly militarized and better armed themselves.
  • Demonstrates some fiscal irresponsibility throughout government as well as the police departments. (In other words, they have more money than sense).
  • Provides a means for police to (attempt to) deter violence with a more or less impressive show of force.
  • Allows the military to recoup some of the costs of new equipment and do some juggling of figures.
  • May be part of a hidden agenda of higher authorities.


On the other hand, what IS separating the police from the rest of us:


  • The power and authority the police have over us (which derives primarily from the law, not from the equipment).
  • Derogatory portrayals of law enforcement in entertainment and media, including the glorification of those who disobey the law and outwit the police to escape consequences.
  • Public displays of scorn, contempt, and disrespect for police.
  • Civilian unwillingness to cooperate with or aid police.
  • Civilian interference with and obstruction of police actions.
  • Civilian complaints and ingratitude towards the police, which send them the message that they can do no right.


What a man wears and the equipment he uses does not change his basic character. If a man wishes to harm or kill others, he can do it with a rock or even his bare hands - and, if you take his superior weapons away from him, that is what he will do. If a man does not wish to harm or kill others, you can give him the most advanced weaponry in the world and he will harm no one.

Throughout the history of mankind, the things that have separated one group of humans from another have been lack of communication, miscommunication, misunderstanding, ignorance, suspicion, fear, anger, resentment, and hatred. It is no different between the modern police force and today's US citizens. We want to blame the tanks and the Uzis and the uniforms - after all they are such obvious targets - but the truth is we must blame ourselves.

We must blame ourselves not only for the growth of animosity and negativity towards the police, but also for allowing the government and politicians to do what they have done. Our laws seem to favor the criminal over the victim, our freedoms and liberties are being chipped away, bit by bit. We see many problems in today's society, but the solutions elude us. We are angry, frustrated, annoyed, and just looking for someone or something to hold accountable.

And here comes the SWAT team in their APC with their black uniforms and really big guns, no doubt planning a violent raid on some poor grandmother who is baking cookies. My, what a big shiny target they make!

As humans, we seem prone to latching onto very small but attractive problems and making them responsible for everything we can. Abuses of military equipment and training by the police are one such very small problem - involving only a tiny percentage of US law enforcement - at whose proverbial feet we want to lay the blame for all of the "bad blood" between the police and us.

It's time to stop worrying about the weapons and the uniforms and start caring about the men behind and inside them, before the police are irreparably separated from the rest of us by our own hostility and DO become willing to turn against us at the behest of their superiors.

Fear not the teeth of the dog, fear the master who is able to command him.



posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 03:08 PM
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Off to the Judges Folks...

Stand By

Semper



posted on Nov, 4 2008 @ 12:43 PM
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And the Winner is.....

Oscitate...


Honestly, this was a very hard debate to judge. Both brought forth new angles and interesting statistics to support their stance.

Heike: I give you credit for taking your position, you by far had the harder position to prove.. however I think that you did not so much convince the on lookers that the police are not being militarized as you where trying to convince them it was OK. Statements such as.. "According to the statistics I have found upon research, there does appear to be some militarization of American police occurring, especially in terms of equipment."

This of course does not help your position. And I honestly don't believe you did a good enough job defending the reasoning behind the technology build up.

Oscitate: You did an excellent job with sources, and presenting the material that not only is their a technological build up in the police force, but also a rift developing between civilians, and police as far as trust. I think when it comes down to it this statement.. "Is the trade-off worth it? Is the climate of fear and distrust between civilians and police worth it?" is the downfall of your opponent. While even your opponent admits the build of technology and weaponry in the police ranks, he could not effectively distinguish how this build up or militarization does not have an effect on the populace.

In the end, I believe it is all perception. If the militarization of police was benign and discrete we wouldn't consider it militarization at all. But with militarization comes the psychological effect, which I believe has much to do with this debate. And Oscitate did a great job at pointing out that not only is there a military style build up, but in actions, thought, training and even relations to the public, in all essence, the police is becoming more militarized.

This really was a hard debate, it took me a while to come to my conclusion, but officially Oscitate won by a slight margin.




Judgement Oscitate vs. Heike

Oscitate is the winner.

It seems that now even our new Debaters are already seasoned and weathered fighters at arrival to our Forum. I was impressed with both Fighters. Heike did a better job at relating the debate to real-life examples and using cool logic and common sense. Oscitate was better in the citation of sources and finding references. I also enjoyed his use of rhetoric and language.

I had to read the debate twice before reaching a conclusion. And while I find Heikes argument to be more connected to real life and overall “more true” I must award this debate to Oscitate because he stuck to the actual topic of the debate throughout its entirety. The topic was that the militarization of the police alienates the police from the public. The topic was not if the police is good or bad, or if the police being militarized or not (yes, I know Oscitate permitted some discussion on this – but he stayed true to his line nevertheless. Heike did not stay true to the actual topic).

I will however admit that Heike had a tough stand with the awkward phrasing of the subject line.

I think both Debaters are very worthy of this Forum and I wish to see them here again.


Congratulations to both Fighters..

The debate is now open to commentary

Semper



posted on Nov, 4 2008 @ 12:49 PM
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I want to be the first(erm, second after semperfortis...
) to congratulate both Fighters on an excellent presentation.

I hope to see the both of you making the Debate Forum a regular stop in the future...


Edit to add the parenthesized above...

[edit on 4-11-2008 by MemoryShock]



posted on Nov, 5 2008 @ 12:18 PM
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I'd like to thank both judges for providing in-depth analysis and the reasoning behind their decisions. As that was my first debate, it was immensely helpful to me to get some clues on what I need to do better/different next time, as well as where my strengths are.


Oscitate, congratulations on your win. You sure earned it! Ultimately, I hope both of us and our readers learned a little more about the topic. I know that I did, and I have to admit that if I hadn't been having to argue the con to the best of my ability, I might have ended up agreeing with you to some extent. Those darn helmets and dark visors do dehumanize .. they start looking like stormtroopers!



posted on Nov, 6 2008 @ 06:10 AM
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Thank you, and what a great fight Heike. I really think you turned it around Heike, I was fairly comfortable with my topic, but you made me question myself


And yes, I learned a lot, and I'm sure we'll fight again, I'll have the certainty that I'll need a free week to think, scheme and plan!

Thanks also to the judges for th critical and detailed feedback!






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