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SergeantQueen's avatar

Do you think law enforcement has the right to "act like they are the military"? (Read description)

Asked by SergeantQueen (10638points) April 7th, 2017

About an hour away from where I live, a man robbed a gun store and is hiding in a town. He is considered a national threat and is obviously armed. The town is located in the lower part of Wisconsin and has a lot of trees and such (this is relevant).
Someone who I know on Facebook made a post saying that the FBI shouldn’t be walking around that town wearing camo and carrying military grade weapons. He thinks that the appearance of military force in small towns shows that we aren’t a free nation.
I disagree.
I think that they have the right to carry these weapons around because they don’t know what else he has. He also tried to disarm a cop a few years ago. Because of the amount of trees, they are in camo to be able to go into the woods to see if he is there without being obvious. This guy is considered a national threat because he wrote a 121-page manifesto that was directed towards Pres. Trump that was anti- government and law enforcement. So to me, it seems obvious that he isn’t going to just give up right away without a fight.
This guy thinks that they shouldn’t be walking around with weapons that they typically wouldn’t carry around because it’s scary looking and shows we aren’t a free nation. I say we should be carrying that stuff around because even if it is intimidating, it could be the thing that protects innocent civilians from being killed.
The main point of this question though, isn’t what is happening in Wisconsin, although you may discuss that. My main question is, should law enforcement be allowed to carry military grade weapons and walk around wearing military-style gear in situations similar to the one listed above?

I said “act like they are military” because that is how the guy on FB worded it

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35 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Your friend is foolish. If his mom got shot by this guy, he’d be singing a different song.

chyna's avatar

I’m just now seeing this on the national news. The guy stole multiple weapons from a gun store. If this kind of thing was happening in my small town, you better believe I want the FBI and any law enforcement carrying any type of weapons they may need to stop this guy.
He has filmed himself sending a threat to Trump, so he seems to be really deranged to me.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@Dutchess_III I tried to bring up the “what if your family was in this town and at risk” thing and he just kept saying that Yes, it is important to save lives, but the law should come first (???). He ended the conversation because he said he wasn’t going to get through to me.

I wasn’t aware he recorded the video threatening Trump. I’m pretty sure that’s a felony, correct?

chyna's avatar

Yes, that is a felony.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I take he’s about 18 @SergeantQueen?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Tell your friend that the response seems perfectly appropriate to the threat involved. It isn’t superficial things like military grade rifles or uniforms that should bother him. There’s more to military intervention than “looking like a soldier”.

zenvelo's avatar

”... He is considered a national threat

I call bullshit on that. How can a lone gun man be considered a national threat? And why do the police need an overwhelmingly militaristic response for a lone gunman?

When the FBI did this at Ruby Ridge and in Waco, all the gun nuts claimed it was the Feds run wild. Why is it okay now?

SergeantQueen's avatar

this site

“He’s expressed interest in attacking several different targets and that’s our concern nationally,” says Tolomeo.” This is a quote taken from the article. Tolomeo is an FBI Special Agent.

“How can a lone gun man be considered a national threat?”
He threatened the president

SergeantQueen's avatar

**EDIT** It isn’t a 121-page manifesto it is apparently a 161-page manifesto

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

The article doesn’t say he threatened Trump.

“a 161 page manifesto Jakubowski allegedly sent to President Trump about his displeasure with government and law enforcement.”

SergeantQueen's avatar

I didn’t say the article said that
@chyna said that he sent a video threatening Trump.

chyna's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Well he did steal a lot of guns, so that alone should be a felony, and apparently the authorities feel that it is a threat to the president. I don’t think they know what the manifesto says yet.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

apparently the authorities feel that it is a threat to the president

Nope. You’re reading something into the story that isn’t there. There is no indication of a threat to the president.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@chyna literally said (it’s the 2nd comment on this post) that the man filmed himself threatening Trump.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Feel free to post a link to the video of that threat.

janbb's avatar

I don’t want t opine on this case because I don’t know enough about it but yes, I do think in many cases the police are over militarized and over-equipped with Army surplus tanks and weapons. There was a piece on NPR yesterday about SWAT teams going into homes by mistake after drug suspects and terrorizing people. One group went into the wrong house, handcuffed an old lady who was cooking, threw her down on the floor and killed two dogs. I certainly don’t think all cops are bad but I do think protocols of appropriate force are necessary.

Patty_Melt's avatar

They never know what they will face when they search. They could end up finding him in a bunker with a dozen armed friends.
Lots of cops get ambushed that way, especially lately.
They are keeping citizens and themselves safe, and being fully prepared is important.

Zaku's avatar

“The main point of this question though, isn’t what is happening in Wisconsin, although you may discuss that. My main question is, should law enforcement be allowed to carry military grade weapons and walk around wearing military-style gear in situations similar to the one listed above?”

I think the response and equipment should be appropriate, and I think that often it’s been overkill lately. In general, armed civilians rarely require actual military weapons, but the actual equipment used is a complex technical subject. Police in the US have increased the warlike nature of their equipment particularly during the G.W. Bush administration with the excuse of “terror” threats which have not really materialized in any significant way on US soil since the excuse/justification for it in 2001. The attitude of police departments particularly to civil protests seems to have steadily escalated as well. I think more consideration should be given to collateral damage, and more attempts should be made for police departments to relate to the community as helpers rather than adversaries or antagonists. But if and when there is someone with powerful weapons, stronger equipment may be needed. People with high-powered rifles and/or gang members with machineguns etc do call for SWAT teams.

But for example, I think it should be considered criminal to have called out the National Guard and used chemical agents etc against the peaceful protesters at Standing Rock on behalf of oil corporations.

jca's avatar

Does your friend think the FBI should be walking around always with suits on?

As far the discussion with your friend goes, I’ve made a conscientious effort recently not to “argue with lunatics.” I have some friends here and on FB, and friends of friends, that if I determine it’s not worthy of an argument or even a discussion, I just back away. Let them (or him) think what they want. I’ve decided if it matters little to me what they think, then so be it.

snowberry's avatar

@Zaku Yes, and the victims of mistaken identity who are terrorized and their homes, posessions and loved ones are killed/destroyed by swat teams should be able to file charges against the police. Furthermore there should be fines and restitution made by the individuals who make such “mistakes.”

jca's avatar

I do believe the victims of mistaken identity do file lawsuits and charges against the police.

snowberry's avatar

@jca Really? It seems to me, the swat teams generally get a free ride. There’s little accountability. I’m sure I could find LOTS more.

No Charges for Cops Who ‘Accidentally’ Fired 107 Bullets at an Innocent Mom and Daughter
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/charges-lapd-cops-fired-100-bullets-innocent-mom-daughter-dorner-manhunt/

Military hero killed https://www.rt.com/usa/charges-jose-guerena-swat-409/

Baby’s nose is torn off https://atlantadailyworld.com/2014/10/07/no-charges-against-bungled-swat-team-raid-that-tore-off-babys-nose/

jca's avatar

@snowberry: I’m talking about lawsuits where people sue the police department and the city to get restitution and possible punitive damages. You said “fines and restitution” and that’s what I was referring to.

Darth_Algar's avatar

In this specific case perhaps not, but in general, yes, the police are absolutely over-militarized.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t think they have the right to ‘act like the military’ as the police are a civil force and not a military one. However, there is a trend towards militarisation and units of the kind set up to combat armed terrorists are now being used in drugs busts etc.

When the police are hunting down an armed robber it is only fair they be armed so they can do their job but in normal circumstances they shouldn’t look like an occupying force as they are supposed to be part of the communities they serve.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I disagree. Detectives blend in. Police are a force, a network assembled for specific tasks to uphold laws and protect citizens. I think they should be equipped however necessary to carry our those tasks. If people are going to march into schools, theaters, subways, and shopping malls mowing citizens down with military grade weapons, then enforcers of law should be equipped to stop those aggressors. Also, drug houses often have an arsenal. I can’t believe the stuff they found in the apartment building where I lived a few years back. Besides the drug lab, several guns, many many rounds, even two rocket launchers.
We had some very rough people living all around us then, and I was always glad to see well armed cops handling it. I didn’t mind a bit when I opened my door to check out a ruckus outside and saw a cop down below with a gun pointed right at my door. A very rough looking fellow was carefully going down to his knees with fingers laced behind his head. I slowly closed and locked the door, and joined my daughter in the rear of the apartment. I was relieved to know those morons were finally being rounded up.

zenvelo's avatar

@Patty_Melt Woulzd it not be a lot more effective and safer for the community if the ability to amass a cache of weapons like that was restricted?

The problem with a militarized police force is that they are unregulated and uncontrolled. And they kill people with impunity.

zenvelo's avatar

This is what happens with an over-militarized police force.

No way to identify the killer behind the undisplayed badge.

janbb's avatar

@zenvelo I hate this trend!

Darth_Algar's avatar

@zenvelo

Minus the balaclavas and this is pretty much exactly what we saw in the town I grew up in.

Little town, I should add. And by little I means like 1,000 people. Where generally the worst crime was the occasional pot arrest during a traffic stop or a domestic call here and there.

Oh, should I also mention that this town got along just fine for decades with one full time cop and one part time. Well, fine until the full-time retired and the newly hired sheriff was a frustrated boot camp washout who was upset that he didn’t get his chance to play G.I. Joe in Fallujah and thus decided that Shitsberg, IL was at the front line of the war on drugs and the war on terror.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s really a Catch 22, especially in bigger cities. Any more, the police are targets for social media fueled nut case, literally hunting them down.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_III

Which would be a hell of a lot less likely to happen if the police were seen as community servants rather than as an occupying force. The ‘jackboots with military hardware in mirrored shades and balaclavas’ look really doesn’t paint them as community servants.

zenvelo's avatar

@Dutchess_III …the police are targets for social media fueled nut case, literally hunting them down.

Sorry, but that is BS and you know it. Which came first, the police brutality or the ability to video police beatings? Why else has the right to tape a policeman had to be protected in Federal courts?

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