January 30, 2015
New York, NY – The New York Police Department has announced that it will have a squad of fully-automatic weapon toting goons present to intimidate the activists at every protest from now on. The idea that quite literally the same rifles used by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan are necessary to patrol protests is insane. There are a number of countries that have tried this, and the end result has always been the same: dead cops.
Police Commissioner Bratton described the new 350-man Strategic Response Unit as:
“They’ll be equipped with all the extra heavy protective gear, with the long rifles and machine guns — unfortunately sometimes necessary in these instances.”
The basic plan is to arm riot control cops with “machine guns.” The problem is that there is a reason riot control officers don’t carry long guns. Rifles are easy to take away during clashes in which lethal force would not be justified. The US military’s M4 rifle is the most likely candidate to be employed in this manner. Depending on where they are sold, a fully-automatic M4 will get anywhere from $5000 to $15000 on the black market. In a time when NYPD cars are being sabotaged and their officers are being killed simply for wearing the uniform, it might not be the best idea to give the public a significant financial motive to kill cops as well. The department might as well run an ad featuring the headline of this article.
The idea of arming officers with “machine guns” when they will be in close proximity to large numbers of people is a flawed plan to begin with. A fully-automatic weapon is not a useful tool in a crowd. Innocent people are shot and killed. While patrolling a protest that could potentially turn violent, especially given the NYPD’s habit of escalating violence, arming officers in such a manner simply gives the first group of attackers a weapon to open fire on the rest of the cops with. This is the reason prison guards don’t carry guns.
Aside from the dozens of officer safety issues raised by the Police Commissioner’s plan that involves placing automatic weapons within the grasp of potential rioters, there is the historical precedent set by other countries that employed this tactic. When a group of police officers are given automatic weapons to deal with protesters, then they are backed into a corner, they open fire and kill civilians. Civil wars have started in this manner.
In the early 1970s, there was a large civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. The British government employed this very tactic to contain protests, only they gave the weapons to highly trained paratroopers, not just local cops. On today’s date in 1972, those highly trained paratroopers opened fire on a march and shot 26 people, killing 13. This incident bolstered the movement and radicalized the populace. After the events of “Bloody Sunday,” the Irish Republican Army’s ranks swelled and decades of civil war followed.
A storyline more familiar to American readers occurred on March 5, 1770. British troops in Boston moved to contain a protest and wound up opening fire on the crowd. It sparked a revolution.
The Police Commissioner’s plan is to address protests that are mainly about the militarization of police by further militarizing the police. This is the action of a tyrant who is putting the lives of his officers and the lives of innocent people in the community at risk. If this plan goes into effect, citizens and cops will be killed by one of the rifles the NYPD is using to curb the public from exercising their Constitutionally-protected right to Free Speech.
Editor’s Note: The author publicly predicted the execution of the two NYPD officers, down to the detail of them sitting in their car, four months before it happened.