When I was growing up, as I’m sure was the same for you, police were the good guys. The ones to save the day, come to the rescue, or just lend a helping hand to those in need. They were the shield in the darkness standing against the evils of the world, or at least that was what we were brought up to believe; that they’re heroes, with no exception. I have come to realize, as with everything in this world, there is always an exception.
While police forces across the country began a process of militarization when President Reagan intensified the “war on drugs,” complete with SWAT teams and flash-bang grenades, the post 9/11 “war on terror” has only added fuel to that fire.
Through laws and regulations, like a provision in defense budgets that authorize the Pentagon to transfer surplus military gear to police forces, local law enforcement are using weapons found on the battlefields of South Asia and the Middle East.
With the infusion of hand-me-downs straight from never-ending wars in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, Americans stand by and watch as their friendly neighborhood peace officers quickly become something straight from the mind of George Orwell. Personal belongings unjustly confiscated for profit, ever-present electronic surveillance, and a constant and steady erosion of rights leading to one unavoidable slowly materializing end game.
This country has witnessed an undeniable and seemingly irrevocable transformation of its core values and subsequently its once friendly local police force. Americans have stood witness to their transformation into a fast-moving well-oiled machine of industry and control; no longer here to serve the citizen, but the interests of the state. A group once thoroughly committed to the safety and individual sovereignty of every American within their jurisdiction, has now morphed into the type of police state force that has been seen in third world countries for decades, and would seem a logical precursor for martial law.
What Makes a Nation Third World?
Despite ever-evolving definitions, the concept of the third world serves to identify countries that suffer from high infant mortality, low economic development, high levels of poverty, low utilization of natural resources, and heavy dependence on industrialized nations, and are generally characterized as poor with unstable governments and having high rates of population growth, illiteracy, and disease. A key factor is the lack of a middle class — with impoverished millions in a vast lower economic class and a very small élite upper class controlling the country’s wealth and resources. Most third world nations also have a very large foreign debt.
The above description could very well be describing the United States itself, and not the general traits of a third world nation. It is shocking and unnerving to see that the U.S. falls right in line with the literal definition of a third world country. The conversation in regards to what comes first, the fall of a nation or the police state, is debated, yet currently irrelevant. The sad fact is that the United States is in bad shape, and many continue proclaiming the greatness of this once thriving nation, and touting its unrivaled “freedom” to all who will listen. At one point in history that was the reality of the U.S.; people sought its freedom and set out to emulate it if possible. Others did in fact find their way, and today, some nations enjoy the same freedom and democracy that Americans still pretend to have. Over the years, Americans have fallen victim to the very enemy the founding fathers set amendments to protect them from, yet American eyes were closed as American rights were taken.
Perception Dictates Reality
The people are standing by and watching first hand as non violent crimes are met with military force and warrants served with war-time vehicles and tactical precision.
Profits as opposed to safety become the primary objective as police are given a financial motivation to shift their attention to wars that can never be won; wars fought against ideas not people; wars that are brought to the doorstep of every American. This is the war of the 21st century. It is not being waged on a foreign enemy, despite the barrage of propaganda that can be seen on every channel, but on the minds of Americans.
This nation is wrought with turmoil and violence. Circumstances carefully cultivated to divide a nation with surgical precision. A simmering pot of contrasting views flirting with the idea of boiling over. The question arises: Has this country’s police force risen up to stand against a rising danger, or have the people risen up to combat a rising police force, which stands to threaten their very way of life? The perception wholly dictates how the reality is seen.
Sources: http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/third_world_countries.htm, http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/11-shocking-facts-about-americas-militarized-police-forces, https://www.corbettreport.com/tag/police-state/