If the Ferguson riots in Missouri do nothing else, they are awakening an unsuspecting nation to the dangers of further militarizing police departments. As I was watching television coverage last night, there appeared a talking head who felt the need to point out how small towns in Vermont and New Hampshire are providing tanks for their police departments.
I for one didn't have to think long about the comment to realize how true it was. Just this spring, I was on the losing end of a debate in the New Hampshire House, speaking against the dangers of providing excessive fire power to police departments. And no, it wasn't your typical law and order Republican right wingers who spoke out in favor of such extreme measures. I recall quite clearly how former Democratic leader Dan Eaton, of Stoddard, tried to mock our concerns, insisting that nothing could possibly go wrong by providing such fire power to police departments.
We've seen what could go wrong in the bloody streets of a St. Louis suburb.
As I pointed out in the House floor debate last spring, tanks and other militarized vehicles patrolling our streets on the domestic front cannot help but remind one of Soviet tanks rolling through Prague in 1968, through Budapest in 1956, and through Berlin, German on June 17, 1953 (there's a street, Strasse de Siebsehn Juni, commemorating the date in central Berlin).
Nothing good can come from tanks rolling through our streets. They represent foreign invasion and domination, sheer intimidation which a domestic population should never have to experience.
Outside of the most extreme instances in major cities (perhaps New York), we should never ever allow our police forces access to tanks and other armored devises. They can only do more harm than good, alarm a public which is already overly alarmed. Tanks by their very nature are meant to intimidate; during times such as we are experiencing this week in Missouri, intimation is the last thing we need.
The New Hampshire House and Senate should pass legislation first thing next January to repeal the permission granted to cities and towns to purchase these militaristic weapons. (The filing period for incumbents begins the day after the primary; that would be Sept; 10; anyone wan to co-sponsor?).
Of course, we may not need to pass such legislation. From what I read, the feds may be second guessing their headlong rush spend billions for such weapons of mass destruction on our domestic streets.
Here's a link.
I'm sorry to say, I told you so, but it's true, and I wasn't the only one. I'm asking legislative researcher Myla Padden to see if she can dig out the roll call on the tank bill, so we can see just where all incumbent Reps stood on this vital issue. (If anyone has it, feel free to add it in here).
Who was it who said that he who would give up freedom in exchange for momentary security deserves neither? Ah, here it is.
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. ATTRIBUTION: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, November 11, 1755.—The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed.
www.bartleby.com/...The American Heritage Book
We know Eaton, who should be in a close race come Novembert, was for the militarization which I can't imagine the good liberals of Cheshire County would support!