The Boston Bombings Didn’t Scare Me…
I think we know enough now, and it’s been long enough, to stand back a little and consider what the most terrifying part of the entire ordeal was. I can only speak for myself, but for me, it wasn’t the bombings, it was the aftermath.
Have a look at this video:
There are a few things I’ll get out of the way first. Notice the weapons they are carrying. While it’s hard to tell from appearances alone, they were either M-4’s or AR-15’s, I would guess the latter. Haven’t we been exposed to endless emotional screeds about how these weapons don’t belong on our streets? How many times has some ignorant political opportunist told us that these weapons have one purpose, to “kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible”? Now if you do know about these weapons, you know that they are no different in function and capability than other semi-auto rifles, and they are not designed to kill with extreme efficiency. The police carry them for the same reason civilians like them, they are light, adaptable, all weather (wooden stocks change with temperature and humidity), modular, easy to repair, reliable, and so on. They are the multitool of guns, and just like multitools, they are not really the best thing for all circumstances, they simply provide the best performance across a number of situations. If you really need a good pair of pliers, you go to your tool box, if you just need a pair for general use, you grab your leatherman.
So it isn’t the weapons that I am concerned about.
I started out saying that the bombings didn’t scare me, what scared me was the police going door to door in force, in some cases harassing homeowners (not often, just in a few cases), and generally instilling terror in the population. In some instances, they happily tromped around on private property without permission or articulable suspicion, to say nothing about reasonable cause, and I’m still not sure why police departments feel like they need what are essentially tanks (I know they can be useful, but they are expensive, and having very limited usefulness, they seem like an awful waste of tax money).
I’m not sure what else they should have done, I don’t claim to have answers there, but I do know that the idea of the police rolling around the streets in force, yelling at people to get off their porches and go inside, not permitting people to move about freely, all those things make me uneasy. We have seen the ever increasing militarization of the police force, and I’m not saying that is a bad thing by itself, but crime has been plummeting for a couple decades, and as far as I can tell, the cause is no more related to this militarization than it is to increasing rates of gun ownership, the proliferation of concealed carry and the general loosening of gun laws we have seen over that same period. There is correlation between falling crime rates and all of those things, but not much causation to be found.
The police serve a purpose, but lets remember one very important and oft overlooked thing: the military is prohibited from being used for law enforcement purposes. There is a reason for that, and I’m not sure it’s a good idea to let our police forces use the same tactics that the military does. The weapons are not the issue, there are no functional differences that matter, the issue is tactics. If we are going to have the police operate the same way as the army, why are we paying for both? We might as well just do the thing properly and save a bunch of money in the process, I can’t see spending more than we absolutely have to if we are going give up the protections we have against oppressive government, protections that were bought and paid for with the lives, blood, and injury, of countless men and women over the past two centuries.