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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Should Police Use Bombs to Kill Criminals?

Should Police Use Bombs to Kill Criminals?


Ivan Eland Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty, The Independent Institute
In the wake of the two seemingly outrageous slayings of African American men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana and the equally heinous retaliatory killings of five police officers in Dallas by a black former Army Reservist, questions have been raised in all three cases about excessive police behavior.
Police surrogates on the cable TV networks have been sent into a state of apoplexy that some security analysts, while the Dallas police department is still grieving, have raised eyebrows about the use of an exploding bomb, delivered by a robot, to kill the Dallas shooter. Whether intentional or not, this argument is an attempt to use the legitimate grief of the police families to shield the department from a debate about the aggressive military tactics used to kill the shooter.
Using a robot normally used for explosive neutralization to offensively deliver a bomb is not just a further incremental militarization of the police, such as military-style uniforms and SWAT teams with military gear and equipment, including armored vehicles. The police use of exploding ordinance is a quantum escalation that has the potential to kill innocent bystanders and also to start fires that are difficult to control. Let’s remember when police in 1985 attempted to roust out the Move group by dropping a bomb from a helicopter on an urban neighborhood in Philadelphia, which started a fire that destroyed more than 60 homes in that city. The city blocks destroyed looked like something from a foreign war zone, but the manmade disaster happened in an American city.

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