It’s a topic on which this writer has spilled plenty of ink, but one that goes largely ignored by mainstream media: The troubling militarization of local American police forces.
During his closing monologue of Friday’s Real Time, HBO’s Bill Maher aimed squarely at what has become a largely-unspoken civil liberties threat at home.
“Now that violent crime is at a 40-year low, someone has to explain why your local police department has gone from this to this,” he demonstrated:
Maher ran through the gamut of American small towns (e.g. — Doraville, Ga., Nixon, Mo., Justice, Ill.) that somehow employ military-style tanks in their police departments. These tanks, often gifted by the Pentagon to police departments, come “fresh from our glorious victories in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and are used for unnecessarily over-militarized police exercises.
“Cops all know what it’s like when you get a new toy, you want to use it.” he continued. “I bought a glue gun once, and by the end of the weekend my dog’s face was stuck to the toilet rim. But in West Springfield, Mass., the police department’s new toy is two grenade launchers. Why? In case Boko Haram takes Connecticut?” he joked.
Other interesting moments:
If you’d like more information about police militarization, check out Radley Balko‘s Washington Post blog for regular dispatches from that front.
Watch below, via HBO:
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