The increased militarization of American police departments became more evident yesterday. A high-speed chase of a "home invasion" suspect occurred on a freeway near San Bernardino. The chase ended not through the use of more familiar tactics (such as spike strips or PIT maneuvers) but with an armed police helicopter riddling the car with machine-gun bullets. A police official explained that such a tactic had to be used in order to protect innocent motorists from the dangers of the speeding driver. The only reported injuries to innocent parties were those suffered by the occupants of a car that was crashed into by the vehicle disabled by the machine-gunning.
According to one recent newspaper account, some 2,400 innocent people have been killed in the course of such police chases – which, it must be emphasized, require a "chaser" for the danger to occur. The killing of two – and the injury to three other – innocent children during such a police-chase in Detroit added to the victim list. The increased risk to human life brought about by whatever methods police systems choose to employ will arouse little concern with the "law-n-order" crowd whose members will bleat their "the-law-is-the-law" mantra. Perhaps their attention will be energized by the fact that the helicopters flying above them may be armed with machine-guns available for police officers to use against "enemy forces" in the "war" on the American battlefield. As the residents of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, et al will confirm, the established order recognizes no "innocent" persons, only "collateral damage"!
I have yet to hear any television reporter discuss the significance of the police using attack helicopters on crowded freeways. Such questions would be unlikely to arise from within minds that have been conditioned to remain in the default mode; nor – if their curiosity got the better of them – would any risk their job to raise such a concern. The better trained among them would confine their inquiries to the sort asked of a police official by one news reporter: "how long will the freeway be closed?"
9:32 am on September 19, 2015 Email Butler Shaffer