Letter: We don’t need the Pentagon’s weapons here

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Our communities are looking more like war zones every day, thanks to the Pentagon’s 1033 program that authorizes transfers of surplus military equipment from the Department of Defense to domestic law enforcement agencies free of charge. Buncombe County has received at least 74 military articles through the 1033 program, including assault rifles and an armored vehicle. We do not need these weapons of war in our neighborhoods.

Public safety arguments supporting the 1033 program are contradicted by research findings. Recent research from Princeton University demonstrates that law enforcement’s use of military armaments does not reduce crime rates nor protect officers in the line of duty. Moreover, this study found that militarized police units create negative public perceptions of police that may hinder citizens’ cooperation with law enforcement, disrupting criminal investigations and crime reduction.

Another study found a correlation between military equipment requests and an increase in violent community-police interactions. Finally, a Government Accountability Office report found that 1033 equipment is routinely handed over to law enforcement agencies with no verification or accountability measures. The director of this project reported that requesting 1033 equipment is almost like ordering controlled military equipment from eBay.

As a Quaker and a social work student, I am dedicated to peace and community well-being. This is why I urge Rep. [Patrick] McHenry, Sen. [Richard] Burr and Sen. [Thom] Tillis to improve community-police relations and public safety by supporting the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (H.R. 1556/S. 1856). This legislation would establish necessary limits and oversight measures for the 1033 program and begin to address one of many systemic issues with policing.

— Bobby Trice
Swannanoa

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9 thoughts on “Letter: We don’t need the Pentagon’s weapons here

  1. Rick

    I disagree with the sentiment expressed in Bobby Trice’s letter. Making ex-military equipment available for possible use by police department staffs potentially improves their ability to perform effectively when antisocial events occur in our increasingly uncivil societies across the United States. One need only consider how so many drivers disobey traffic rules, speed limits, and consider themselves above the law in general. Our law enforcement personnel clearly need every advantage possible to help protect themselves as well as the other civil members of society from those who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, and who often exhibit disregard for common sense action in daily life where others can be seriously affected by their stupid and senseless acts. Far too many people, especially the young reckless individuals angry with their condition in life, can easily and suddenly become a threat to others in society. We need to provide our law enforcement agencies with strong deterrents to use against those who would act in violent ways when within groups in society. Hospitals, nightclubs, theaters, schools, churches, music venues, etc. all need to have strong protective means available for use by police when it becomes necessary to deal with the idiots having short fuses in today’s society.

    • Terry

      I agree with Mr. Trice that military equipment should not be transferred to civilian police. Civilian police are just that–civilian, and their ability to make war on the citizens that they ultimately report to should be limited. Rick paints a picture of a society run amok with crime and depravity. However, crime rates have been falling for decades and that trend began long before military grade weapons of war were ever being transferred to civilian police.

      Police are an arm of government and history has shown repeatedly that government power is dangerous and must be limited. The framers gave us the second amendment to provide a check on runaway government. Let’s not dilute that critical component of our civil society by arming civilian police with automatic weapons and armed armored vehicles that civilians who are not police officers are denied.

      • Lulz

        Police report to no citizens. Government is increasingly becoming a police state. When government passes a smoking ban on private establishments and wants snitches to call in any violations, that’s evil. And I don’t give a rats rear end what you think about smoking itself. Conditioning people to snitch on others for violating the “law” is going against everything a republic is. Today it’s smoking tobacco in a bar where adults congregate. Tomorrow it might be for something you do. So what happens when something you do is “outlawed” and in order to get you to comply, are aware that your neighbor can possibly turn you in? Does that make us all one cohesive society or one that distrusts each other and needs a big ol government police state to keep everyone in line? That’s your progress, fools.

    • Lulz

      The irony is the morons trust government to lift people out of poverty, solve “global warming”, and treat the sick. And yet don’t trust it with a militarized police force that needs to enforce the government they crave. How are you people going to kill off those white men when they’ve had enough?

      • SpareChange

        You seem not to grasp that government exists in multiple forms, operates in the context of many separate semi-sovereign entities, has its power diffused across innumerable institutions, and performs a staggering number of different functions and services. It is not a singular entity. Given that reality and context, it is perfectly reasonable to support some of its actions and not others.

        As for killing off white men, it would seem that for the most part, you have nothing to fear but yourself!
        “Nearly 2/3 of all gun deaths in America are suicides, and white men account for 79% of gun suicide victims.”
        http://www.bradycampaign.org/press-room/americas-average-gun-violence-victim-is-white-and-male

        • Lulz

          LOL and it’s been such a bumbling success. I mean where else can a bunch of morons clamor for more of it when the facts show that whatever it touches ends up being nothing more than a funding source for overpaid losers to be employed in. Where else can someone have a job for a couple of years, quit, and walk away with six figures? Hello Chief Hooper. Better yet, when 50% of the nation is gabbing on for socialism, they are expecting an entity that’s 21 trillion in debt, can’t control the borders, has been the NUMBER ONE CAUSE of job losses, has created money out of thin air, and won’t enforce it’s own laws against those within it. Even though they are openly violating them with no fear of prosecution. Yet us mere peons aren’t treated that way are we? And that last part is telling many that in order to be a politician or government employee, you’re either lazy, a slimebag, a lying sociopath, or a combination of all three. I trust no one in government. They’re turning out to be the worst people in society. Graft, theft, corruption, lies, deceit, games, power plays to enrich is the norm for them. Too bad your ideology doesn’t allow you they same perspective.

          So yeah I agree in regards to the police goons not getting military grade weapons. Simply because when ordered by their higher ups, AKA the political scumbags, will turn those same weapons on us when they’re ordered to. But the irony is their higher ups are probably breaking the “law” and won’t ever be held liable.

      • Phillip C Williams

        I thought the ideal of the anti-gun crowd was a constabulary armed with funny hats and billy clubs – like so many London Bobbies – being as how the UK has become a perfect utopia after shedding the “Empah”….odd how some folks want every thing every way – all things to all people.

        Certain people are constantly sidewalk-supervising, Monday morning quarterbacking and second-guessing the police out of one side of their mouths, calling them “pigs” and vilifying them in all kinds of ways out one side of their mouths, yet at the same time they insist that the Restovus should completely depend on the Po-Po to save us from the bad guys (when seconds count, the law is only minutes away!) and that they NEED military grade arms and tools of modern warfare ….

        • Lulz

          Well all I can say about that is that German troops shot Jews, prisoners, and anyone else under the guise of just following orders as their defense when tried for war crimes. And in my honest opinion, I don’t think they’d find a guilty conscious if given orders to violate the rights or the lives of citizens. When faced with losing their jobs or following orders that brutalize people, I have zero faith that most cops would choose the former. Hell, they’ll kick you out in their streets for not paying property taxes. And forcefully remove you if you refuse. So don’t for one iota think they’d reconsider shooting anyone because of orders.

          • Phillip C Williams

            I agree – although I hope that you and I are wrong. My point is the irony in the many conflicting statements by the anti-gun crowd with regard to guns and police. Seems that most of them would be opposed to equipping civilian police with true military weapons because of their ongoing complaint that the police shoot unarmed minorities….wouldn’t giving them tanks and machineguns create that much more danger for young black males? And yet on the other hand, the same people say that everyone should depend on the police to protect family, person and property.

            One RINO politician – a guy named David A. Robinson, claims to have proposed a 28th Amendment to the Constitution, which would “modernize” the 2nd Amendment. The extent of this guy’s ignorance of basics is appalling. He states without equivocation that there is no difference between “Military” and “Militia” and that State, county and local law enforcement are to local government what the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps are to the Nation…..he cites that this is because military rank structure is used…..and of course, he has the backing of many progressives, who see him as an inroad for the ultimate agenda of disarming the American public, or at least severely restricting private gun ownership.

            A couple of recent incidents connected with “red flag laws” have already resulted in the police shooting private individuals in their own homes after showing up to take their weapons – of course, the guys who were shot were acting irrationally and dangerously, but the arrival of the police based on somebody’s “report” was what escalated the situation and ultimately resulted in death…..and it is just a matter of time before the suspect is ready for them, kills a week’s burying, and provides more fodder for the anti-gun folks to try and justify confiscation, forced turn-ins, etc…..

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