The Criminalization of Everyday Life

Shawn Lamouree

Not the police, mind you, but the campus cops at Ohio State University now possess an MRAP; that is, a $500,000, 18-ton, mine-resistant, ambush-protected armored vehicle of a sort used in the war in Afghanistan and, as Hunter Stuart of the Huffington Post reported, built to withstand “ballistic arms fire, mine fields, IEDs and nuclear, biological and chemical environments.”  Sounds like just the thing for bouts of binge drinking and post-football-game shenanigans.  That MRAP came, like so much other equipment police departments are stocking up on — from tactical military vests, assault rifles and grenade launchers to actual tanks and helicopters – as a freebie via a Pentagon-organized surplus military equipment program.

Imagine the songs 2014 generation will write in response to the next student protest at OSU.  My generation witnessed “four dead in Ohio” by Crosby Stills and Nash.  We were traumatized by National Guardsmen who wore actual riot gear and shot real bullets, killing 4 innocent students.  But for most of us, campus protest was a stage, even a rite of passage, youthful expression, a part of life no longer tangible as we entered adulthood.  We shake our heads at the regrettable idea that students today are prohibited from psychologically-healthy protest, and instead implanted with seeds of great fear to participate in a democratic society. 

By the way, don’t think it’s just the weaponry that’s militarizing the police.  It’s a mentality as well that, like those weapons, is migrating home from our distant wars.  It’s a sense that the US, too, is a “battlefield” and that, for instance, those highly militarized SWAT teams spreading to just about any community you want to mention are made up of “operators” (a “term of art” from the special operations  community) ready to deal with threats to American life.

Aggression simply never stops until it self-destructs.  Soldiers from previous wars returned home dedicated to keeping the aggression of war barricaded from home life in our country.  In the interest of profits for Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Halliburton, and the military industrial complex, we are now reloading the weaponry from the Bush Wars into the hands of our communities, mostly RURAL communities, to continue profitability and supplies and endless sales of bullets.

Embedding itself chillingly in our civilian world, that battlefield is proving mobile indeed.  As Chase Madar wrote for TomDispatch the last time around, it leads now to the repeated handcuffing of six- and seven-year-olds in our schools as mini-criminals for offenses that once would have been dealt with by a teacher or principal, not a cop, and at school, not in jail or court. 

Wall-to-wall criminal law encroaches ever more on everyday life as police power is applied in ways that would have been unthinkable just a generation ago.

Read more at Moyers and Company/ billmoyers.com

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Categories: Criminology, Human rights, Philosophy, Psychology, Social policy, Sociology

Tags: , , ,

6 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Bear's Blog and commented:
    The militarization of police forces across the USA is beyond scary.

    Peace ~ Bear

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Where was the public debate on this horrid policy?

    Why in the name of God do we need this vechicle on a universary campus?

    Stop this madness of we have the weapons so we might as well use them to intimidate our own citizens.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Further in the article, it gets worse. We’re arming mostly rural America with tanks and large weaponry, under the pretense of preparing for an Al Qaeda attack. It’s no wonder these folks are afraid someone will take away their guns! I don’t know who is worse — the NRA or DHS or defense contractors for this huge scam on our country.

      It’s the new “Confederacy” looking to secede, only not in a specific geographic region, but loosely knitting together the rural areas with paramilitary weaponry. But hey — it’s profitable to the guys who are in the war business.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This is beyond heartbreaking. Blaming the victim is getting old. These men and women are not even trained properly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with your comment. I know that congress has allowed this to happen and it started after 9/11 but it has gotten worse under the current group in DC. America better wake up to what Congress is allowing to happen. I swear this group acts like a group of grifters and they only care about the big money games.

        For most of my life, I remember that our government did not allow war weapons on US soil. I love being around men but I have seen their change when they get bigger ‘toys’. It is strange to watch what happens to them. I lived on a farm when I was young and we hunted for meat. I had to be very strict about who hunted and what they used.

        The type of guns being used today are insane. I think by allowing one group to have access to ‘more’ weapons claiming it is their right is now violating and infringing on the rights of the majority. It has allowed law enforcement to get bigger and better weapons. Congress does not care. They have made it clear who they work for. We need leaders today that listen to the majority, not bleed us of our last dime, and suppress us. Something is seriously wrong about who has control of our nations budget and what toys our police get.

        Remember to Vote In Nov..

        Liked by 2 people

        • In the late 80s, I was deeply immersed in self-help groups and symposiums learning about alcoholic family systems and the dynamics of addictions. At the time, the *isms* were widely unexposed but some ideas I formed at that time continue to influence my understanding and shape my worldview.

          One idea which won me *she’s gone off the edge* from some of my long-time friends was my new theory that the anti-Christ would arrive in the form of corporations in oil, insurance, and pharmaceuticals. I may have articulated it a bit poorly, but in these past 25yrs, I’ve come to believe in that entity as a dark force of earthly existence.

          I remember making a comparison to a friend in banking about cocaine addiction. I proposed the idea that in her *project management team* the status quo had been elevated by promotions to cocaine addicts. That even tho others were not up all night and operating on a drug-induced stressed desire to compete like the cocaine user in their company’s projects, that the *winner* sets the pace for others, and the bar keeps being lowered on all players until it reaches the impossible. I extended this to society in general, and I’ve watched this show up especially in the mental health field in higher stress management. We then prescribe new pharmaceuticals to manage the stress, rather than looking at the causes, which are the folks fighting to keep their jobs against unreal expectations of their performance without chemical assistance.

          So … all that to say … I believe the speakers at the symposiums I attended were dead-on accurate and this is what we see today. The trick is that it’s not an outside job — it’s an inside job. It’s not electing somebody new — although that is certainly in order in many cases — but someone worthwhile won’t be electable until a majority of us learn to look INSIDE our own values in the mirror to a bigger and more forceful solution, which is the epitome of an addictive solution. I’ve always thought perhaps that’s why Texas seems to me to have a bigger problem than the others, because they idolize a *bigger and better* outlook to almost anything.

          Bigger guns. More complicated guns. Guns capable of standing down an army on their own by one shooter. Big SUVs to drive to a salon for a haircut. Corporations are a pace ahead in the cycle of violence — they’ve institutionalized the unhealthy slavery-style self-talk that I hear from corporate employees. As a society, we’ve incorporated these behaviors into our psyches, and we vote them at the polls. We won’t get legislators who don’t worship corporate giants until we ourselves stop worshiping corporate giants. Until we lose our love affair with all that is convenient — until we boycott things like GMO and Nestle for instance — only then will be elect legislators who will do the same.

          I kind of got off on a tangent, and maybe that only makes sense to me, but I see these patterns and have watched them evolve for so many years now, and they materialize in so many ways. The ways of addiction are most prevalent in the corporate facet of society today — no longer in the ghetto neighborhoods as they will use their media influence to sidetrack citizens. Who knows how it will evolve?

          Liked by 2 people

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