In response to a friend's post about the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, I posted the following:
This is why I refer to governments as a necessary evil. Tom Paine was the first to express this truism that I know of, though I expect that the concept stretches back to classical antiquity. Clearly, governments cannot be avoided. In the absence of an organized system, some thug will simply say, "Okay, I'm the boss now," and government is reborn.
This makes governments necessary.
The difficulty is that once a government exists it cannot seem to control itself. Unless it's populace is alert and vigilant, the government will turn from a necessary protector into a cancer which eats away at the very values which it was created to protect. SWAT teams were originally created for quite reasonable purposes. Thanks to our bizarre drug laws, another example of government gone insane, the opponents of good government in the form of organized criminals became quite wealthy. They could afford to possess extensive and highly advanced weapons systems.
The problem is that once a SWAT team was created in an environment where it was necessary, let us say New York City; everyone, everywhere wanted to have a SWAT team. It was a matter of prestige. The city that did not have a SWAT team, even if it was quite a small city, felt that it was not on the cutting edge of new policing methodology. Not to mention, SWAT teams are cool and sexy. What mayor or governor wouldn't want to be cool and sexy?
And now we had the structure of a growing problem. Huge amounts of money were expended to create SWAT teams that were totally unnecessary. That didn't sit well with voters. So SWAT teams began to be assigned to perform tasks that did not require anything but a uniformed officer or two.
Some unknown person phoned in an anonymous tip that a residence was being used for manufacturing drugs? Instead of sending over an officer to investigate, let's send the SWAT team, smash the door down, terrorize the residents, and then later apologize because they were totally innocent.
I'm not opposed to the existence or use of SWAT teams. I'm not opposed to them under very limited and specific circumstances. I am opposed to their indiscriminate creation and their unnecessary application.
The LAPD has as its motto, to serve and protect. That is the appropriate application of the police power of the state. No policeman, no police department, no chief of police, should ever forget this.
Turning policeman into soldiers and then trying to use those soldiers to deal with civil problems is insanity. It makes citizens into enemy combatants. It not merely justifies, but practically requires, the use of deadly force.
Of course, I regard America as a kleptocracy. Just like other governments that once were democracies but now have fallen apart and degenerated into something never intended by its founders and certainly not supported by its citizens, the United States has turned into a criminal organization a very basic level.
Whoever is in power, and I primarily refer to congressmen, although administration officials are not exempt, are quickly bought off by what would once been called bribes but which now have become legal campaign contributions. What was once a felonious example of usury now becomes normal business practice. And instead of using thugs to threaten to break your legs with a baseball bat, the courts force you to pay your "legitimate" debts.
I could go on for quite some time, but I think I have made the point. By the way, I am not referring to America as kleptocracy as a sarcastic or satirical comment. I mean that I literally believe that America has become a form of kleptocracy. The Republican Party, seeking to create a one party state, has so rigged the election system that while the number of votes cast for Republicans and Democrats are virtually equal in the last house election, the House is totally dominated by Republicans. It should be 50-50.
One man, one vote? Not in America.