Patrick from Popehat had the following comment this morning:
.@RBPundit How many Americans would terrorists need to kill to make up for the number killed needlessly by militarized police? 5,000?
— Popehat (@Popehat) August 15, 2014
I have not followed events in Ferguson too closely, having been snowed under with work. I don’t agree with arresting journalists for sitting at a McDonald’s, or threatening to arrest them for going into an area of unrest to cover it. That said, I don’t agree with looting, attacking all cops because of the actions of one, or disobeying lawful orders of police. (Disobeying unlawful ones is legally distinct, but you don’t always know what they know, and disobeying any order is risky.) The following brief comment is not a full-blown defense of use of any military weaponry or tactics in any situation. I guarantee that I have just said will be roundly ignored, but that’s not my fault. I said it. See? It’s right there in this paragraph.
However: I submit that most “needless” deaths caused by police are caused by the simple semi-automatic handgun. And the most prominent feature of the military is firearms. So unless you’re planning to totally disarm police, there is going to be some resemblance between police and the military — and most “needless” deaths by police will result from firearms that cops simply need to carry to do their job. The answer to police misconduct is not always to take from competent and level-headed police the tools that were misused by incompetent or abusive police officers.
We have police for a reason. They carry guns for a reason. And looting is not permitted in this country, yet. (Give Obama two more years.) This is not to defend all actions of police in Ferguson; again, I know little about the facts there. But I caution people not to overreact.
Patterico: saying the things it’s unpopular to say!