“Homeland” Militarization

Thanks to MinnPost for publishing Views fro the Edge‘s submission this morning.

Click Homeland militarization — tanks in Ferguson, Blackhawks in Minneapolis — must be stopped to read, like, or comment on MinnPost’s site.

One of the more informed responses to this piece came in a personal email rather than through the MinnPost site. It’s worth sharing here.

“About 15 years ago, there were articles in the NYT about new, non-lethal, technologies for subduing criminals and quelling riots. They were clever, stuff like a slime-cannon that basically lobbed a ball of K-Y jelly into a crowd, making it impossible to walk, run, or even get up off the ground. Or sticky webs that wrap around the target with tenacity enough to immobilize an All-Star wrestler. But why mess with all that when you can really send a message?

“The six shots that murdered Michael Brown were an act of terror; and so is all the police combat drag, including the assault rifles and armored personnel carriers. H.L. Mencken once said about a Baltimore cop, with a wink, “He loved a long, hard chase almost as much as a quick, brisk, clubbing.” These are different times. They still love clubbings, and a little pepper spray in the face while your hands are zip-tied, but the number of police killings using insanely unnecessary levels of force these days broadcasts notice that, no matter what they’re doing to you at this moment, anything less than complete submission could cost you your life. Everybody should know by now that you could cross a cop in your birthday suit and have your birthday taken away by six rounds from a 9-millimeter.

“Do you know much about the 1967 riots on Plymouth Avenue in Minneapolis? I don’t really know what set it all off. Stores were burned and looted, and yet it all hardly drew mention in the national press, overshadowed, maybe, by the really angry riots in Watts and Detroit and on the East Coast. There was a war on then, too, but it’s said the National Guardsmen who were called in carried rifles with empty magazines.

“Today, everybody who complains that Americans never had to give up their domestic comforts during more than a decade of war should get some grim satisfaction out of the black helicopters and armored personnel carriers in the cops’ garages. Isn’t it ironic, when we remember how everybody likes to praise the warriors who fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan ‘to keep us free’?”

6 thoughts on ““Homeland” Militarization

  1. Gordon. Your memories led you back to Chicago 68. My first thought was of Eisenhower’s “Military Industrial Complex” speech. I understand how this is good for the weapons manufactures. I don’t understand how any one can justify even displaying such things to protesting citizens.

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  2. Thanks for posting this Gordon. Claremont theologian David Ray Griffin has written 7 books describing the shortcomings of the official 9/11 Cpommission Report. Griffin’s conclusion is that 9/11 served to gain American’s support for the attack on Iraq & the taking of their oil fields. The events of 9/11 also seem to have resulted in a greater willingness on the part of the public to accept anything that is related to protecting us from terrorism including “regime changes” in the larger ME. The corporate “warfare state” economy has a huge presence in MSP. Their influence makes it difficult for local elected officials to speak out about things like the war games being practiced here.

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    • Gary, Thank you. Yes, public consciousness has been affected profoundly in ways that serve deep-pocket vested interests – the same deep pockets and political-economic-military complex that Occupy Wall Street lifted up for public view until its energy drizzled away, as most moments do. Unlike Occupy Wall Street, the institutions that brought us Iraq and Afghanistan abroad and Ferguson at home do not rely on the likes of us. They have staying power. As the public media sources get gobbled up by the political right wing all across this country, we need to look to new sources like MinnPost and to blogs and websites that are not beholden to anyone but themselves. Thank you, Gary. As you know, this is nothing new. It began long before 9/11, as William Sgringfellow noted in the late ’60s when he said that we were living under “extras-constitutional powers and authorities.”

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