On other blog sites (not so much on Facebook) I'm seeing a lot of conspiracy-based reactions to police departments being outfitted with armored vehicles. OMG! OMG! They're going to use them to suppress the masses! Hey, Goober, settle down and take off the tin foil hat.
Before we go any further, a little disclaimer about data: it varies depending on who wrote it and what their motives are, and you can't always get data from the same time period. That said, keep calm and let's begin.
According to the CATO Institute, in 2010 there were 1,575 reports of excessive force by police officers in the U.S., but only about 57% of them (592) involved actual physical violence (blows, strikes). Contrasted against FBI data from 2012, law enforcement in the U.S. made 521,196 arrests for violent crimes. Now, the following isn't really valid math, but 592 ÷ 521,196 = .1% In other words, the cops arrested a helluva lot more bad guys than they committed bad acts, themselves. Let's look at a few other everyday scenarios where mistakes can happen.
On average, there are 85,000 medical malpractice suits each year (Galfand Berger - personal injury lawyers). That's a lot more bad incidents than the cops had. By those numbers, you'd think we should start avoiding doctors. But, on average, less than one-half of 1% of America's doctors face serious sanctions. Only 1 in 14 are actually sued annually (medmalfacts.com). Every year in the U.S., there are 30 million dispensing errors out of 3 billion prescriptions at outpatient pharmacies (CNN). I'm not about to avoid pharmacists and start self-medicating myself with herbal remedies. Banks make accounting errors with our money. Gee, maybe we should start stuffing mattresses or burying our cash in the back yard. The NRA is one of the largest conspiracy mills. They'd have you believe you're not safe - nor patriotic - unless you buy some serious firepower and carry it with you wherever you go; shopping, movies, school, church, etc. But overall, an American male's chances of being involved in a violent crime are 15 per 1000 or 1.5 chances in 100 (crimeinamerica.net). I'm not about to start packing heat. People, the last I checked, we were still recruiting cops, doctors, pharmacists and bank tellers from the human race, and humans tend to make mistakes. Police brutality is not a good thing and yes, there are a few bad cops, but there is also such a thing as a bad situation. Let me explain. In my home town, there was a municipal park that wasn't heavily used, and it was bordered by rather upscale real estate. It became a place where young hipsters would congregate and indulge in a variety of activities and intoxicants. One day, somebody probably looked out their expensive living room window and saw something, and dialed 911. The cops showed up to check things out and apparently, one kid was acting fairly bizarre. They approached him and probably gave orders to put his hands on his head or lay down on the ground. But instead of complying, the kid made some kind of gesture, like he was reaching for something. Bang. He was dead. Shit happens. Sometimes you're in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing. The cops are the good guys; there to protect you, get you out of harm's way, to save your life and catch the bad guys. If more municipalities are providing their police departments with heavy-duty vehicles, it's a fair guess that part of the reason is there are a lot more rabid gun nuts, and folks like those gun-brandishing Tea Partiers. "We came unarmed…this time." How cute. How arrogant. Regardless of the 2nd Amendment, how small does your junk have to be that you need to openly carry, much less anything larger than a .38?? These days, there are a lot more people with a lot more guns. Bigger guns with larger magazines and some of them are packing armor-piercing or hollow point ammo. Hey, could I interest you in a career in law enforcement? Median salary is $51,266. Is that enough to persuade you to don body armor and answer a domestic dispute in a shabby neighborhood? I didn't think so. So take off the tin foil hats and quit blogging like every cop is out to Mace your ass or suppress your rights. Because when somebody in the neighborhood goes off the deep end - that guy nobody suspected, the quiet one - and starts picking off innocent people from his second floor window with an AR-15, you're going to breathe a sigh of relief when the cops roll up in an MRAP to take care of this nut.