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Police Militarization

What I Don't Like About Life in the American Police State

John W. Whitehead | Posted 07.16.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

I don't like being treated as if my only value to the government is as a source of labor and funds. I don't like being viewed as a consumer and bits of data. I don't like being spied on and treated as if I have no right to privacy, especially in my own home.

Why Does This Town Have Two Grenade Launchers?

The Huffington Post | Simon McCormack | Posted 07.08.2014 | Crime

Even the current police chief has no idea why his department acquired two grenade launchers. In a Facebook post promoting its new report on militar...

238 Years Later, Would Americans Still Choose Freedom Over Slavery?

John W. Whitehead | Posted 07.01.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

Imagine the shock and outrage these 56 men would feel were they to discover that 238 years later, the government they had risked their lives to create has been transformed into a militaristic police state in which exercising one's freedoms is often viewed as a flagrant act of defiance.

Simon McCormack

'Neighborhoods Are Not War Zones'

HuffingtonPost.com | Simon McCormack | Posted 06.24.2014 | Crime

Police said there was no way they could have known a baby was inside a home they stormed with a "no-knock" drug warrant at 3 a.m. But a "flash gren...

America's War Comes To A Town Near You

The Huffington Post | Simon McCormack | Posted 06.09.2014 | Crime

As America's war in Afghanistan winds down, the tools used to fight the battle are popping up in towns and cities across the country. As the New Yo...

The Growing Epidemic of Police Violence: Is It Time to De-Militarize Police Forces?

John W. Whitehead | Posted 06.04.2014 | Crime
John W. Whitehead

The epidemic of police violence continues to escalate while fear of the police increases and the police state, with all its surveillance gear and military weaponry, expands around us.

Horrific Stories of Two Babies Victimized by the War on Drugs

Sharda Sekaran | Posted 06.03.2014 | Politics
Sharda Sekaran

It is a bitter irony that thousands of kids have experienced needless violence or had their families ripped apart in the name of drug prohibition.

'I'm Not There Yet'

Norm Stamper | Posted 05.30.2014 | Politics
Norm Stamper

A recently retired interim police chief in Seattle replied, "I'm not there yet" when asked by a local reporter whether he could support an end to drug prohibition. As these leaders continue to dither, we will continue to experience a steady stream of exasperating, heartbreaking incidents.

Cliven Bundy and the American Police State

John W. Whitehead | Posted 06.21.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

Those tempted to write off the standoff at the Bundy Ranch as little more than a show of force by militia-minded citizens would do well to reconsider their easy dismissal of this brewing rebellion.

Jesus Lived in a Police State

John W. Whitehead | Posted 06.14.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

Jesus challenged the political and religious belief systems of his day. And worldly powers feared Jesus because he dared to speak truth to power in a time when doing so often cost a person his life.

Why Are Americans Paying to Be Searched, Spied On, Shot At and Robbed Blind by the Government?

John W. Whitehead | Posted 06.07.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

The State Department wants $400,000 to purchase a fiberglass sculpture of a camel looking at a needle for its new embassy in Pakistan. They've already...

Vigilantes With a Badge: The War Against the American People

John W. Whitehead | Posted 04.28.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

Americans are now eight times more likely to die in a police confrontation than they are to be killed by a terrorist.

Paranoia, Surveillance and Military Tactics: Have We Become Enemies of the Government?

John W. Whitehead | Posted 04.22.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

While this hyper-militarization of the government is being sold to the public as a means of preventing terrorism and maintaining national security, it is little more than a wolf in sheep's clothing.

The State of Our Nation: the Greatest Threat to Our Freedoms Is the Government

John W. Whitehead | Posted 04.08.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

History may show that from this point forward, we will have left behind any semblance of constitutional government and entered into a militaristic state where all citizens are suspects and security trumps freedom.

Life in the Emerging American Police State: What's in Store for Our Freedoms in 2014?

John W. Whitehead | Posted 03.08.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

In Harold Ramis' classic 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, TV weatherman Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) is forced to live the same day over and over ag...

Militarizing Santa Claus

Radley Balko | Posted 12.27.2013 | Politics

A couple years ago, I wrote a story about efforts by citizens in the town of Keane, New Hampshire, to block their city council from purchasing a DHS-f...

Dire Civil Liberties Predictions for 2014

Radley Balko | Posted 01.23.2014 | Politics

As we come to the end of a year that saw revelations about massive government spying programs, horrifying stories of police abuse, and brazen violatio...

A Christmas To-Do List for a Better World

John W. Whitehead | Posted 02.18.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

As Charles Dickens reminds us in A Christmas Carol, it's never too late to make things right in the world and try to be better people and, most importantly of all, pay your blessings forward.

Slowly, A Consensus Emerges To Oppose The Security State

Radley Balko | Posted 01.23.2014 | Politics

From a new Reason/Rupe poll (pdf): Do you think local police departments using drones, military weapons and armored vehicles are necessary for...

Stopping Al Qaeda One MRAP at a Time in Rural America

Tom Engelhardt | Posted 02.08.2014 | Politics
Tom Engelhardt

Sometimes a single story has a way of standing in for everything you need to know. In the case of the up-arming, up-armoring, and militarization of police forces across the country, there is such a story.

The Over-Policing of America

Chase Madar | Posted 02.08.2014 | Politics
Chase Madar

American over-policing involves far more than the widely reported up-armoring of your local precinct. It's also the way police power has entered the DNA of social policy, turning just about every sphere of American life into a police matter.

The Police-Industrial-Entertainment Complex

Radley Balko | Posted 12.02.2013 | Politics

In my book on police militarization, I have a section on the role pop culture has played in blurring the line between cops and soldiers, particularly ...

What We Should Not Be Thankful for This Thanksgiving

John W. Whitehead | Posted 01.27.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

Mind you, if we do not push back against the growing menace of the police state now, future Thanksgivings may find us giving thanks for creature comforts that serve only to lessen the pain of having lost our most basic freedoms.

Talking "Warrior Cops" With Bill Maher

Radley Balko | Posted 01.25.2014 | Politics

Last week, I flew out to Los Angeles to do an interview for HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. You can watch video of the interview below. I typically d...

Drones, Tanks, and Grenade Launchers: Coming Soon to a Police Department Near You

John W. Whitehead | Posted 01.25.2014 | Crime
John W. Whitehead

While recycling unused military equipment might sound thrifty and practical, the ramifications are proving to be far more dangerous and deadly.