In the wake of the violent clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, Sen. Claire McCaskill has announced she will head a Senate hearing investigation into the “militarization of local police departments.” Police in the St. Louis suburb have been attacked for using former military equipment to help quell the riots that followed the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson.
This is prompt #1 — Dear Senator McCaskill, why are you trying to draw attention to yourself? This is about a fair and balanced article as I believe they come. Please do not let your partisan party politics get in the way of your judgment. From this perspective it has already been admitted that during the protests the people experienced “wake of violent clashes between police and protestors.”
McCaskill, the Democratic chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Financial and Contracting Oversight subcommittee, said her panel would study the Pentagon’s 1033 program that allows local police departments to buy surplus military equipment at discounted prices. The hearing would also examine Department of Homeland Security grants to local police departments to help them acquire military-style equipment, the senator said.
Here is prompt #2 — If you are the chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Financial and Contracting Oversight subcommittee, one is poised to ask you — what’s up with the government expenditures? Homeland Security has handed out six-figure grants to towns and cities across the U.S., which have helped to fund the purchase of BearCats and other heavily-fortified vehicles since the 2001 terrorist attacks, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The hearing would also examine Department of Homeland Security grants to local police departments to help them acquire military-style equipment, the senator said. Homeland Security has handed out six-figure grants to towns and cities across the U.S., which have helped to fund the purchase of BearCats and other heavily-fortified vehicles since the 2001 terrorist attacks, according to The Wall Street Journal. Last year the government also gave out 200 surplus vehicles built to withstand mines and bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is mulling over requests from 750 more communities, the Journal said. More than $4 billion worth of discounted military ordnance, including M16s and mine-resistant vehicles, has been sold to police departments nationwide since the 1033 program started, The Hill reported.
Sorry folks but this is where I start suffering from the symptoms of over politicization of a “standard” civic right. One need not be an acute mathematician to actually see if Congress — especially the Democrats within the Senate simply have not been either doing their jobs or uglier, the government is paying for this material two and sometimes three times.
Prompt #3 — There is nothing wrong with using our First Amendment rights in this case, the right to assemble as well as to be heard. However, let’s get on point here — during the 1970s with civil rights issues being literally fought for, civil disobedience happening everywhere, and college campuses is where people were literally killed for singing. It was the National Guard that was called in.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh also accused the Pentagon of militarizing police departments. “Where do you think the militarization equipment comes from for these police departments? It comes from the U.S. Department of Defense, the DOD,” Limbaugh said. Attorney General Eric Holder has criticized the use of war-zone equipment during the Ferguson unrest, according to Politico, while President Barack Obama has weighed in on the issue as well, suggesting that the program providing military arms to local law enforcement may have gone too far. “I think one of the great things about the United States has been our ability to maintain a distinction between our military and domestic law enforcement,” Obama said during a news conference while on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. “I think it’s probably useful for us to review how the funding has gone, how local law enforcement has used grant dollars, to make sure that what they’re purchasing is stuff that they actually need, because there is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement and we don’t want those lines blurred.”