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Hullabaloo


Monday, August 18, 2014

 
Let's Remove “unnecessary military equipment” from Ferguson-like Police Departments by Spocko @spockosbrain

 I love it when our comedy-media-industrial complex comes to the same conclusions right after I do.

 

My comedian friend Jimmy Dore @jimmy_dore also addressed the same issue on his very funny radio show and podcast on Friday.

(BTW his show is like the Daily Show on radio, only funnier with more progressive insight from folks like Frank Conniff, @FrankConniff;  Ben Mankiewicz, @BenMank77; Robert Yasumura, @teamyasumura; stef zamorano,
@stefanezamorano and Mike MacRae, @MikeMacRaeMike)

 Last night I asked this question to Cliff Schecter and Avedon Carol on Virtually Speaking hosted by Jay Ackroyd. (My question is at about 23 minutes in. )

 I've suggested this on twitter to my few followers and got some ideas.
 In my post earlier I suggested looking what worked with Occupy or other protests. Cory Doctrow and my friends at Boing Boing found a group called Muckrock that did FOIA requests on who has what military surplus but it's only for the last two years. (You might want to donate to this group so they can file more and get more info.)

 So we have some the tools, but we also need a strategy, both public and in the media. I've worked with municipalities in their purchase of big safety equipment. I've worked with city governments to attempt to prevent spending "free money" on projects that are unsafe for the public.

But I've never worked on a project that is designed to take away equipment, especially when they got it cheap or free. In this process we need to think about who are our allies and who has leverage. Who are our opponents and what leverage do they have? Saturday I said.
Once people have power, and powerful tools, it takes other kinds of power and powerful tools to remove them.

We can anticipate the responses from the organizations that have the equipment, what is our response to that? Can we see anticipate the RW media response? Do we have an answer for that?

This kind of action needs to come from inside the communities, but with support and expertise from outside.

The cities and police depts are very good at hanging onto money and equipment with, 'What if" scenarios.  They will fight any equipment being taken away, "We need it if..." and we can point to Ferguson or other events and say, "So this can happen?"

They will claim they are better trained, "Really? Where is that in your training budget? Why is it 'para-military' training and not community crowd control from experts like the DC police?"

We can propose if they want access to big guns they have to first fund training from community policing people. Who pays? Taxpayers? "No, it comes out of your equipment and maintenance budget first.  Or you can sell your tank to some larger city that really needs one."

The Right and RW Media. Opponents or Allies?

The RW media often line up with the police and authorities, but they don't have to. One of the reasons they say that citizens need superweapons is to defend themselves from the government.

We point out to them that their local police now have tanks and M16s. Are they okay with that? They aren't gearing up for the dirty hippies with no guns, they need that tank to come for you. Maybe you should force 'em to bring in those black helicopters from else where.

The fight over equipment being taken away can be an interesting media story in cities around the country. Police will need to justify the cost of maintaining and use of equipment but also address their mindset and lack of training.

And I REALLY want to get rid of all unnecessary equipment!  However after we fight hard we might settle for no tanks and mandatory training for local departments and neighboring departments.

Who Pays?

Can someone please calculate the PR and eventual financial damage the city will incur if they use the equipment wrong with untrained people?



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