Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act in 1878 as Reconstruction came to end. The law ended the military's ability to enforce laws on domestic soil. The police had to be used. But since Sept. 11, 2001, many police departments in the country have turned themselves into mini-militaries. It used to be just a SWAT team ready to take on bad guys.
More and more, the police are suiting up to contain and control the population they are supposed to serve. Not a week goes by without encountering horrific stories of police abuse. In Dallas, Texas, the independent school district has a SWAT team. In New York, a man died after police put him in a chokehold for the high crime of selling cigarettes.
With the rise of terrorism in the United States, major metropolitan areas may need police trained to serve occasionally as paramilitary outfits. But not all police forces are major metropolitan areas.
The odds of a young white man being shot by the police in similar circumstances to Michael Brown are not as high as those of a young black man. But we should not need to have a young white man shot and killed for the rest of the nation to pay attention to the issue.
Just because Michael Brown may not look like you, should not immediately serve as an excuse to ignore the issues involved. Likewise, a media suddenly invested in stories of government overreach should not be dismissive of stories of bureaucrats, not just police, abusing the public trust.
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