06 November 2013

Books and Bad Guys

Last night I did something that I've never done before. I deleted a book from my Kindle reader.

The book was called "Navy SEAL Sniper" and predictably it was about snipers. More to the point it was about the technical aspects of being a sniper, from the ammunition and weaponry to the mindset required to do the job. Because I'm an overweight over 40 casual shooter at best I found the material kind of hard to slog through, but when I got about halfway through the book the author started bemoaning the fact that there is no standardized training for police department SWAT team snipers. This is where I stopped reading and deleted the book.

I do not deny the need of snipers for training. What I deny is the need of police departments for snipers.

Friend and fellow blogger Mark of a Free Man ran a post once upon a time about a police force acquiring tactical armored vehicles for their SWAT teams (I would spend the time to dig for a link, but it's early and I've been up all night). His contention was that there was no need for a local police department to have such equipment, a sentiment I happen to share and for the very same reasons. In my opinion police departments need to base their training more on the teachings of Robert Peel and less on the teachings of Robert Rogers.

The long and short of it is this; when your only tool is a hammer all of your problems start to resemble nails.

Local police department SWAT teams (and this can be expanded to include sheriffs departments as well) are usually trained (to varying degrees of "training") and equipped at high taxpayer cost. Before too long you have a lot of money riding around in tactical black clothing and large Chevrolet vans, and it isn't too awfully long afterwards that the questions start coming from politicians and constituents alike...namely, what benefit are we getting out of the money we are spending?

Very soon afterwards all of a sudden a crop of nails starts sprouting up, and the next thing you know you are killing Grandma at 3AM over Japanese maples because some low-life scum sucking toad traded information that she was growing pot plants on her back patio for a reduced sentence.* If it wasn't a problem we wouldn't be talking about it, unfortunately the fact that we are talking about it is another excuse for the "us vs them" mentality. It has to stop because history shows this path leads to some very dark places.

Police departments need to be intimately attached to the communities they serve. Every police officer needs to remember that the person in his crosshairs (yes I'm being sexist. My blog, piss off) is a citizen of these United States, not a foreign combatant, and as such deserves the right to a trial if he/she can be apprehended instead of swift dispatch by the crack of a supersonic round.** Police are first and foremost civilians just like us, not military, no matter how paramilitary they act (refer once again to Robert Peel's teachings).

I will not deny that occasionally there is a need for snipers. I will only say that should such expertise be needed it should be gotten from the nearest Nat'l Guard unit or SBI or FBI office, and if you really need a bullseye shooter quicker than you can find one from those sources, surely someone knows a deer hunter that owns a scoped Remington 700 and never misses who can be deputized for the purpose. I'm quite certain that in most areas of the country one can be found in the very same police/sheriffs departments that are needing the services of a sniper at such short notice.

But in all cases the police need to abide by this very basic tenet: "the police are the people and the people are the police".

*The war on drugs is yet another subject, but while we're touching on it...still think you don't have a dog in this fight?

**I will also acknowledge the fact that some folks just need a good killing, and in these instances the police are in the completely un-enviable position of having to make split second life or death decisions. It's a fine line and it's easy to be the armchair quarterback. Hand me the remote, will ya?


Anonymous said...

Well said Larry! I'm probably be linking you in a few days.

That ongoing 'militarization of police' thing.


RabidAlien said...

Valid points.

Larry said...

gfa, link away. Thanks for dropping by guys!

Chris Mallory said...

I have always wondered why when the cops put our every action under a microscope it is "just doing their jobs", but when citizens dare examine the way the police operate we are "Monday morning quarterbacking".

Larry said...

Actually Chris, I think you would call that a police state (see this picture shamelessly stolen from Msgt B: http://tinyurl.com/knf3jnt )

Thanks for dropping by, I've added you to the blogroll. Welcome to the Refuge! Lots of blogs you might like on the sidebar, too.