Overkill

Over two centuries ago, Sam Adams had this to say:

A standing Army, however necessary it may be at some times, is always dangerous to the Liberties of the People. Soldiers are apt to consider themselves as a Body distinct from the rest of the Citizens. They have their Arms always in their hands. Their Rules and their Discipline is severe. They soon become attachd to their officers and disposd to yeild implicit Obedience to their Commands. Such a Power should be watchd with a jealouse Eye.

I have a good Opinion of the principal officers of our Army. I esteem them as Patriots as well as Soldiers. But if this War continues, as it may for years yet to come, we know not who may succeed them. Men who have been long governd by military Laws, and inurd to military Customs and Habits, may lose the Spirit and Feeling of Citizens. And even Citizens, having been used to admire the Heroism which the Commanders of their own Armies have displayd, and to look up to them as their Saviours, may be prevaild upon to surrender to them those Rights, for the Protection of which against an Invader, they had employd & paid them.

For those reasons, this makes me nervous (H/T Radley Balko):

As the fighting continues overseas, some lessons from the Middle East conflict are hitting home right here in Alabama.  Members of the Montgomery Police Department SWAT team are in a five day counterterrorism school taught by a former Israeli servicemember. . . .

Montgomery officers say, if they can absorb the tactics of one of the world’s premier counterterrorism teams, they’ll learn to move faster and become smaller targets.  It’s an international lesson racing to the heart of Alabama crime fighters.  The Montgomery police say counterterrorism training has become essential for all law enforcement in the wake of 9-11. They say this school fills a real need in their department and the new techniques will be applied to everything they do.

For plenty of examples of SWAT teams destroying those rights ‘for the Protection of which against an Invader, [we] had employd & paid them’ check out this map of “isolated” incidents, as well as this report on the often tragic results of using para-military units to enforce the criminal law.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Alabama News, Fourth Amendment, Not Alabama

3 Comments on “Overkill”

  1. Dan Says:

    Giving SWAT teams the same training as military is about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of. Are they similar? Of course. Are they playing on the same rules? Of course NOT!

  2. Susan Says:

    “The Montgomery police say counterterrorism training has become essential for all law enforcement in the wake of 9-11.”

    Yes, surely the horrors of 09/11 have forever changed the degree and type of violence on Montgomery’s streets. Good grief, must 9/11 be invoked at every instance of societal dismantling?

    “It’s an international lesson racing to the heart of Alabama crime fighters.” At least the reporter’s not playing along by romanticizing the situation to blind the public to the idea’s lunacy or nothin’.

    Wheeler: You don’t have a comment preview function that I’m overlooking, do you?

  3. wheeler Says:

    susan,

    no kidding about that reporter, huh? i’ve seen less excited language on the back cover of romance novels.

    as for the comment preview, i don’t think i have one. thus my own frequent mistakes.


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