We’ve Got Problems and It’s Not Just Police Militarization

We’ve Got Problems and It’s Not Just Police Militarization

“Buy first, ask questions later.” That’s how Emma Roller of The National Journal described “the biggest budget of any military in the world.” She’s talking about the Pentagon here. While Tuesday’s congressional hearing (with Sen. Rand Paul in attendance and ready for attack) was primarily set to address police militarization, it brought us back to another core problem: The Pentagon buying equipment it doesn’t need or use.

As sharply pointed out by the head of the hearing, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo), roughly 36% of all surplus equipment gifted by the Pentagon to local police forces was practically brand new. Untouched. Never used. And that’s not even accounting for the additional equipment purchased with millions of dollars in grants. It sounds like we’ve got another issue besides police militarization, no?

“What in the world are we doing buying stuff that is not used,” asked McCaskill. “I want to make sure we are clear about how out of control this is.” (Guardian)

For an example, we don’t have to look any farther than the 12,000 bayonets that Sen. Paul highlighted. Why would local police need bayonets or 12,000 of them? Not even the Department of Defense’s representative could answer that. (See the video below.)

What happened in Ferguson triggered a much-needed evaluation of police militarization, but we’ve got more than one problem here, folks. Share your thoughts on this below or by sending us a tweet. Follow us on Facebook for more updates.


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