Demilitarizing the Police

I just got back from St. Louis, staying just a few blocks from the riots in Ferguson over the police shooting an unarmed teenager.  I didn’t see anything and I don’t want to address the incident, as such.  But the Cato Institute’s Walter Olson raises some interesting questions:

Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo. so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? (“‘This my property!’ he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.”) Why would someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone”?

Now Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky), citing what happened in Ferguson and quoting his fellow libertarian Olson, challenges the militarization of the police, which has happened thanks to the federal government. [Read more…]

Destroying our own military equipment

My brother-in-law (Seabees, retired) told me that when we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, we are going to be leaving behind or destroying much of the military equipment our troops had been using, since it is too expensive to bring back and there won’t be that much use for it anymore.

Well, now it’s happening.  We are putting billions of dollars worth of equipment–including trucks and armored vehicles–into giant metal shredders.  Other stuff we are selling to the Afghanis at pennies on the dollar or giving it away free to foreign governments willing to haul it away. [Read more…]

“Up to now, I’ve given nothing for what I have taken”

Peter Wehner shares a letter written by his wife’s uncle, Frank Keaton, shortly before landing on Omaha Beach.  It makes very good reading for Independence Day. [Read more…]

Trying to stop smoking in the military

The men and women in our military, for various understandable reasons, smoke quite a bit more than the general public.  So our government has been launching campaigns of both persuasion and coercion to make our troops stop using tobacco.

Whatever you think of the controversy, you have to appreciate this quotation from a Marine:  ” “We sleep in the dirt for this country. We get shot at for this country. But we can’t have a cigarette if we want to for this country, because that’s unhealthy.” [Read more…]

The POW exchange debacle

The POW release was orchestrated to be a feel-good moment .  But now the Obama administration is dealing with a major scandal.  Not just because 5 dangerous terrorist leaders were released from Gitmo.  Not just because the president broke the law in not informing Congress.  But mainly because America’s troops are in an uproar about all of this attention being given to an anti-American deserter whose dereliction of duty reportedly cost the lives of six soldiers. [Read more…]

“Fixing” the Second Amendment

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, having spent much of his career trying to interpret the Constitution away, now wants to change it.  He has written a book entitled Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.  He has published an op-ed piece on how he thinks the Second Amendment can be “fixed” by adding five simple words.  See them, along with some thoughts, after the jump. [Read more…]