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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

Small men, big guns

The situation in Ferguson, Mo., has reached the boiling point. With peaceful protests turning into riots, police have begun using everything from tear gas to rubber bullets to pummel protesters back into line.

The protests in Ferguson began after a police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man, Michael Brown. It has raised serious questions about police departments themselves.

Since 1994, the government has authorized the military to sell equipment to police departments across the country. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the government expanded the program.

We must protect our police, but we must discuss what equipment police departments are allowed to operate.

Police states prove to be exceptionally dangerous and oppressive.

The selling of surplus equipment to police departments is nothing more than a continuing subsidy to military equipment producers and the overarching police state as a whole.

Since 2006, for example, Michigan police departments have received $43 million in surplus gear, including 1,795 M16 rifles, 17 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, nine grenade launchers and three helicopters, according to an article by the Grand Rapids, Mich. affiliate of ABC, wzzm13.com .

Indiana itself has purchased MRAPS for county police departments, such as Pulaski Country, which has a population of about 13,000 people.

Whether or not police need a 55,000-pound, six-wheeled, mine-resistant vehicle to patrol an area home to 13,000 residents is then brought into question.

In fact, the United States has been increasingly helping police departments by selling them equipment at a substantial loss — selling equipment that costs $733,000 for $5,000, in one particular Indiana case, according to Business Insider.

This police militarization might make police officers in the middle of nowhere feel cooler as they ride around in their armored vehicles with machine guns but it does little to protect actual citizens.

For example, a 19-month-old toddler in Wisconsin has a hole blown in his chest from a flashbang grenade, used by police in order to conduct a raid for $50 worth of drugs, according wzzm13.com .

The article also mentioned a pregnant mother was shot while holding her 14-month-old son when a SWAT team broke down her front door and opened fire.

They were searching for her boyfriend, suspected of drug dealing.

Since the beginning of the Iraq war, 4,489 soldiers have been killed in Iraq. The number of American citizens killed by police officers within the U.S. tops that, coming in at 5,000, stated by Global Research.

When police officers are killing more civilians than our enemies are killing our soldiers in combat, the country has degraded into a combat zone.

Video footage shot in Ferguson proves our worst fears. Police are firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at women and children. Reporters are being assaulted and jailed by officers.

Politicians who are brave enough to speak out are being attacked.

This is our democracy. We hold those protecting it to that standard.

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