Q: Why are there so many incidents of lethal use of force in America?
A: Because there is an element within contemporary American law enforcement that would rather put their efforts into explaining why their fatal encounter was justified, when they could have perhaps found a more reasonable solution.
Q: Why do these elements within contemporary American Law Enforcement feel this way?
A: It’s not a question of “Good Cops” and “Bad Cops”—there is a whole range of “types of cops.”
Among them, there is a vast majority that do the very best they can in the bad situation that is their job. Unfortunately, too many officers tend to lean on their external hardware as a crutch, rather than using their internal software to solve a problem.
That said, whenever a weapon is deployed in a defensive scenario, the situation typically becomes elevated. It could be argued that the bigger the weapon, the greater level of elevation… therefore, rolling an MRAP into a crowd will likely agitate the crowd even more, because it’s simply not in the American cultural fiber to passively accept armed confrontation.
Rather than de-escalate the situation, too many officers choose to rely on that hardware—be it a baton, a pistol, a rifle or the aforementioned MRAP—and fight their way through the situation, because that hardware affords them the opportunity to decisively win the fight.
Q: Why do officers have all this hardware?
A: While there is a demonstrated need for tactical units in domestic law enforcement, they’re far too rapidly becoming the norm. The military-industrial complex has made significant in-roads with the domestic market—by that, I mean these products are being aggressively marketed towards our municipal police agencies, and in a use-it-or-lose-it budget mentality, many of those in charge of procurement are acquiring these goods simply because they’re there.
Q: Why do police departments have all this money?
A: They don’t. By and large, our officers are underpaid, understaffed and under-trained. The echo from department to department is that there’s never enough money for training. Yet they have Lenco BearCats rolling down the street…
Q: Why doesn’t the money go towards training?
A: Municipal budgets—where these decisions are being made—are typically a smorgasbord of pork barrel, cronyistic misappropriation, where public money all too often goes through a centrifuge of corruption before the remaining fraction of funding arrives at its intended source.
Of course that money would serve our LEOs much better if it were put towards effective training for day-to-day police operations, rather than unchecked stockpiling of serious materiel that they may or may not even know how use effectively.
Q: Why are our municipal budgets so badly managed?
A: Because you don’t vote. Well, maybe not YOU… but if you’re reading this in New York City, the scene of two straight nights of widespread protest following the failure to indict the officer charged with homicide in the case of Eric Garner, less than ONE in FOUR of you voted in the last municipal election…
LESS THAN ONE IN FOUR.
Maybe there’s your answer?