I acknowledge that being a cop is a very difficult and dangerous job and that they have to be prepared to fight well-armed criminals any way they can. But America is becoming, more and more every day, a war zone, and our basic freedoms that we used to take for granted are being stripped away from us, one by one. We are slipping into an Orwellian nightmare. "1984" is coming. It's just taking a little longer to get here than Orwell predicted.
I know that there are still many good cops who are trying to do the right thing, but the good cops can't just sit back and keep making excuses for the increasing number of renegade, thuggish cops who are no better than the criminals, and sometimes even worse. It seems that they almost always just get a slap on the wrist and then they end up back on the force. I would think that if the good cops really cared about protecting their reputations they would be as adamant as anyone about weeding out the bad-asses from their ranks.
Another thing that has corrupted our police departments is the allowing of drug seizures and criminal and civil asset forfeiture to pad their budgets. Both federal and state laws, in general, say that a law enforcement agency that seizes assets may not "supplant" its own budget with confiscated funds, nor should "the prospect of receiving forfeited funds ... influence relative priorities of law enforcement agencies." But police depts. all cross the land are using drug seizures and asset forfeitures to finance increasingly larger portions of their budget, and neither the Feds nor the state authorities are doing anything to deter them from doing it. In fact, they are tacitly encouraging the police departments to do so.
"Police aren't using this military grade equipment to serve 'n protect citizens as much as they are using it against citizens who pose no threat." - Ki
Exactly. I don't see how anyone can see the militarization of the police as a good thing. They wouldn't need this bigger and badder firepower in the first place if we had not been so stupid as to allow military-style weapons to circulate freely on the open market. But then, apparently we must coddle those who interpret the second amendment to mean that our founding fathers intended for us to have the right to own machine guns, grenade launchers, and other weapons of mass destruction, either for our sporting pleasure or for forming a “well regulated militia" (which, by the way, we already have!). Of course, they could not, even in the farthest reaches of their imagination, conceive of such weapons at a time when single-shot muskets were the only firearm known to humankind, but that is neither here nor there as far the gun crazies are concerned.
And how often do we see SWAT teams showing up with a small army of robo-cops, decked out in full military gear and wielding their assault rifles as they apprehend a drug dealer or user (oftentimes involving nothing more than marijuana)? Drug busts seem to comprise the vast majority of their raids, and usually when the suspects are at home with kids and other innocent people around.
Then, it has become customary for the cops to show up at even the most peaceful of protests decked out in full military gear, with their very presence and demeanor bringing out the worst in people.
The only way that anyone can see the militarization of our cops as a good thing is if you don't have the good sense to see, like Ki said, that “police aren't using this military grade equipment to serve 'n protect citizens as much as they are using it against citizens who pose no threat."
Thank you, Sandy Harris, for yet another inspiring letter from the Bible thumping community, reminding us that the only thing really wrong with America is that we need to get right with God and get back to that ol' time religion.
As for how Chattanooga can do its part, might I suggest a weeklong festival of penance and Godly celebration? We could have tent revivals all along Broad and Market Streets from the riverfront to King Blvd. And we could have music stages set up all around (kind of like a God-centered Riverbend) with gospel quartets and Christian rock bands belting out their love songs to Jesus and God. And then we could have areas designated for self-flagellation. And let's not forget one of the most important things - public hangings and burnings, on the hour, every hour, of abortionists, gays, sodomites, socialists, and atheists, to really show God how sincere we are about cleaning up this great Christian city of ours and eradicating the heathen filth.
Surely, if other cities across the land joined in, God would once again look favorably upon this nation, smite our enemies, and we could all live happily ever after, knowing that he's got the whole world in his hands - except for those he's smiting, of course. Hallee-loo-ya and praise Jeezus!
The only thing that makes for a ho-hum column is when the writer is more worried about offending someone than by stating the truth as he/she sees it. It's always obvious when a writer is trying to make nice and not ruffle anyone's feathers. He only comes across as a wimpy fence straddler. The divide between right and left, theist and non-theist, is so vast today, with people so passionately attached to their opinions and beliefs, that somebody somewhere is always going to find something rude in what we say or how we say it.
Oops. I meant to say, at the beginning of my second paragraph above, "...about making the NFL a kinder, gentler league and football a kinder, gentler sport." My bad. But by the look of things this article is not attracting anyone's interest, at least not enough to respond to it, so I don't know why I'm even bothering to correct myself! Mr. Cook has raised some valid points and this topic is certainly timely and relevant. It seems that unless he writes about gays, guns, or God nobody is interested enough to enter the discussion.
David, it doesn't help matters that Janay Palmer is going the Tammy Wynette route and "standing by her man."
We can talk all day long about making the NFL a kinder, gentler sport, but the kind of violence we have come to expect in football is not the problem; it is the symptom. Let's face it, we just live in a culture that gets off on violence. We must not forget that there are just as many women in the stadiums cheering on those jarring hits between players. And many women seem to expect men to be "manly," oftentimes calling a man a wuss if he doesn't do the typical "manly" things.
In the South especially, the women in redneck culture extol the guy who drives the big truck, goes huntin' with his buddies, and drinks his whiskey and stands his ground in a barroom brawl. Just listen to any C/W song - they are all about men being "men" in a purely physical sense. And rap is even worse, with women not only not rising up in protest about being called bitches and hoes and being treated as objects, but joyously singing and dancing along with the rappers who demean them. And unfortunately many women, especially redneck women and black rap-condoning women, seem to think that being a man means mistreating his woman on occasion and showing her who is the "man" of the household. They would rather have a man who slaps them upside the head than one who demurs to her and comes across like a wuss. Of course, these women are not right in the head and they do not make up the majority, but there are enough of them who seem to sanction violence in men, even when it is directed against them personally, that it gives grounds for certain men to think that their violent and abusive behavior is the "manly" thing to do.
America is just a friggin' violent nation, comprised of people who like and condone war, love guns and things that go boom, football and the WWE. Hell, even the God that many Christians worship is violent, more intent on eternal retribution of non-believers (especially "unmanly" gays) than he is on love and compassion. And look at the movies that Americans prefer: we think it's perfectly okay for our kids to see the violence of heads being severed, limbs being torn apart, blood spattering out of bullet-riddled bodies, but we dare not let them see a naked human being, or two naked people engaged in love-making (unless it's via internet porn). In other words, the message we are conveying is that violence is acceptable - cool even! - but sex, even romantic, loving sex, is dirty and offensive.
A couple of posters (fairmon and SBrauer) seem to be defending "switching" as punishment. I too got my fair share of switchings and spankings when I was a kid but my parents never crossed the line. I was never left with long-lasting welts or bruising or open bleeding. I don't know what Adrian Peterson's son actually experienced at his hands but from everyone interviewed thus far who has seen the first-hand evidence, he was not just administered a good old-fashioned switching, he was left with massive welts and other scarring and was clearly abused.
When I was a kid, spankings and switchings were typical and most parents didn't think twice about it. But all parents should know better today than to think that any kind of physical punishment is acceptable. Of course kids need to be taught right from wrong but we know much better and more humane ways to teach and discipline them. The old Biblical adage "Spare the rod and spoil the child" needs to be laid to rest once and for all. Besides, many parents, when they beat, slap, or hit their kids, are not really disciplining or teaching them but merely lashing out in anger and frustration.
IM, you raise some interesting questions about some of the finer points of bethanygray's comment but aren't you nitpicking just a little? As individuals deciding what course of action to take at any given moment and in response to any given person or thing, we go through a sometimes swift and subconscious process in which we don't really enumerate the questions and other times a more deliberative and painstaking process in which we might literally ask ourselves how our actions will affect another person, ourselves, and those around us. Of course, it all depends on the gravity of the situation. I didn't focus so much on the specifics of what bethanygray might ask herself at any given moment and about any given situation but the overall message she was conveying - that our moral choices and actions are indeed relative to the situation at hand and not always written in black and white. And as thinking, mature adults taking responsibility for our own actions it is up to us to arrive at what we deem to be the best course of action for all concerned.
Good points, bethanygray. Christians who base their morality on the Ten Commandments or edicts from God have not really done any soul searching or deep thinking about the why's and the wherefores of morality. Rather they live in a state of suspended childhood, fearing their invisible sky daddy who COMMANDS them to love and obey him and who will punish them if they disobey.