Justin’s note: Yesterday, Casey Research founder Doug Casey and I discussed the opioid crisis that’s spreading across the country like a virus.
Today, Doug and I pick up that conversation. But this time, Doug shares his thoughts on the militarization of US police departments. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.
Justin: Doug, yesterday you called out anti-drug lawmakers, or what you called “drug warriors,” for their immense hypocrisy and stupidity. But what about the growing number of “warrior cops” who seem to view the United States as their own personal battleground?
Doug: I started writing about the militarization of American police back in the 1990s, when it started happening in earnest. And it’s very disturbing, because the way a solider deals with the enemy is necessarily quite different from the way the police are supposed to deal with citizens.
The US has these numerous continuing wars around the world, so they wind up with lots of spare military equipment. And what to do with it? They bring it home and give it to the police because they think it might be helpful. And then, driving APCs and wearing body armor, the police get the wrong idea.
Furthermore, all the military vets—many of whom have extra y chromosomes, as do most police generally—like the idea of wearing a uniform and like the idea of carrying a gun and giving and taking orders. They’re preferred hires for police forces. But they shouldn’t be, because you inevitably pick up bad habits, and inappropriate skills, hanging out in a war zone.
All these things compound upon the other. It’s a very bad trend. I see no reason why that trend is going to turn around. In fact, I expect it to accelerate, especially as the economy turns downhill and people become more restless and the Deep State feels that the plebs have to be kept under control. So, yeah, it’s a trend that’s been accelerating for several decades. And it’s going to keep accelerating until some type of a crisis blows it all up.
Justin: Yeah, I can only imagine how much US police departments will up the ante when the next financial crisis arrives.
Doug: That’s right.
Another key distinction here is that there are two ways police can relate to society. One is as peacekeepers, and the other is as law enforcers. Keeping the peace just makes sure that the bad elements of society don’t become violent or don’t violate other people’s rights to life and property—that’s basically it. That’s what a peace officer does. Other than that, he keeps his nose out of everybody’s business.
But the people in today’s police aren’t brought up to think that way. They’re indoctrinated to think in terms of law enforcement—totally different thing. Because there are thousands and thousands and thousands of laws—federal, state, local—and they’re supposed to enforce them all; it has nothing to do with keeping the peace. This is another bad trend which is bound to accelerate.
Justin: It’s scary to think how much more militarized US police departments could become. They already have grenade launchers and armored personnel carriers, after all. And now, the state of Connecticut wants to give its police officers drones that fire missiles. What could they possibly want next?
Doug: Yeah, what could possibly go wrong? It’s one reason why I’m actually quite happy to be living kind of off the grid in a rather remote place in Argentina. These things aren’t even being imagined, much less happening, down here. It really seems like every trend, every single trend in the US, is going the wrong way. It’s completely out of control.
Where will it end? Science fiction has always been a much, much better predictor of the future than any think tank. A couple of movies come to mind. One is Running Man, 1987, now 30 years ago, with Arnold Schwarzenegger. In it, Arnold plays a cop righteously hunting down accused miscreants, for the amusement of the hoi polloi. Their trial and punishment was basically a game show. It anticipates the direction of today’s shows like Cops and Bad Boys. These shows always make the cops out as upstanding heroes. The offenders are generally lower-middle-class whites, for drug violations, and not blacks—that would be too politically incorrect.
In Total Recall, 1990, they deal with the subject of pre-crime—predicting who is likely to commit what felony, and taking preemptive action. In fact, neuroscientists are making great strides to determine pre-crime. Very disturbing—you’d better look, act, and think like a good little lamb to avoid being locked up.
And then, of course, Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Things are evolving in the direction of both books, simultaneously.
Justin: Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Doug.
Doug: My pleasure.
Reprinted with permission from Casey Research.