By Tasha Poullard – TSU Herald News Editor | Opinions Contributor
The “Police Are at War” Mentality
It has become common place to now see images of local police wearing military helmets and masks, carrying high-powered assault rifles and riding in mine-resistant armored vehicles. For me personally, it’s both scary and unnerving when I witness officers who’re heavily armed providing normalized police services, while creating a hostile environment that dangerously escalates into deadly situations. Leaving unarmed civilians murdered in the aftermath. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) takes a profound stance in a report on police militarization in the article “War Comes Home”. The drastic change in equipment is paralleled by a corresponding change in attitude, were police are being convinced that they’re somehow at war with various communities, rather than seeing themselves as public servants employed to keep said communities’ safe. But why is that?
The Kill Generation Cop
In America’s current debate over policing, many observers have expressed concerns about the “militarization” of cops or shall I say addressing their evolution from a traditional, defensive “guardian” model to an aggressive, “warrior”-style one. In order to better understand why police now look like the military, we must understand the psychological training that breathes life into it.
Killology: is the study of the psychological and physiological effects of killing and combat on the human psyche, or the factors that enable and restrain a combatant’s killing of others in these situations. It was originally taught to military service members going too and coming from combat zones, but is now being taught to police officers. The term and field of study was invented by this guy – Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (US Army, Ret.) of the Killology Research Group in his 1996 book “On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society”.
Much of Grossman’s work draws on his study of killing in combat — specifically, aftermath experienced the upon taking a life. Since retiring from the Army over 19 years ago, he has worked with hundreds of agencies, including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Secret Service, the Diplomatic Security Service, the U.S. Marshals, and U.S. Special Forces. But now days his real bread and butter is local police. Over the past years he has spoken to more than 100 departments around the country, teaching the basics of Killology.
Since retiring from the Army over 19 years ago, he has worked with hundreds of agencies, including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Secret Service, the Diplomatic Security Service, the U.S. Marshals, and U.S. Special Forces. But now days his real bread and butter is local police. Over the past years he has spoken to more than 100 departments around the country, teaching the basics of Killology.
With increased dangers at home and the Posse Comitatus Act preventing the military from operating on U.S. soil, he says, cops need to act more like soldiers. “We are at war, and our cops are the frontline troops in that war. You are the Delta Force. You are the Green Berets. It’s your job to put a piece of steel in your fist and kill those sons of bitches when they come to kill our kids.” Grossman tells his trainees. As Grossman believes that cops fight violence with superior violence. Grossman tailors his classes to his audience that incorporates what he calls the “Bulletproof Mind” — focusing largely on threats to law enforcement. During his speeches he spends hours laying out a (frighteningly) dark vision of the world. Everything from elementary-school massacres in the U.S., nuclear bomb scenarios, and Ebola-infected “suicide bio-bombers” sneaking across the Mexican border. He states that these events overseas (and abroad) breathe life into terror cells coming here to the U.S. Next he turns to the internal threats (specifically in America’s urban centers) by stating what he describes as an even more urgent crisis: the war on cops.
In doing so making the bold statement that “The number of cops murdered in the line of duty has skyrocketed – the systematic murder, ambush, and execution of cops has become the norm.” from what calls “cop-haters” like civil-rights protesters and the news media to include “sick” TV shows such as Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy that are breeding “a generation of gang-bangers who sincerely believe cops are the bad guys.” Grossman happens to be one of the most prolific police trainers in the country. Grossman teaches officers how to be less hesitant to use lethal force – urging them to be willing to do it more quickly by teaching them how to adopt to the mentality of a warrior. Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile, attended one of Grossman’s classes (that was taught by Grossmans’ business partner Jim Glennon) titled “The Bulletproof Warrior“. Grossman even goes so far to tell his students that the sex they have after they kill another human being will be the best sex of their lives.
“Both partners are very interested in some very intense sex, there’s not a whole lot of perks that comes with the job, you find one, relax and enjoy it” Grossman advises.
Grossman then closes the class with an animalistic chest-pounding motivational speech (yes, he pounds his chest) that climaxes with him telling the officers to find an overpass that overlooks the city they serve – urging them to look down on their city and know that they’ve making the world a ‘better place‘. Then they should grip the overpass railing, leaning forward and allow their metaphorical ‘cape to blow in the wind’. The room gives him a standing ovation following his invigorating transformational speech to a majority White males, between the ages of (roughly) 25 to 40 years of age. All law enforcement officers at the local, state and federal levels.
More and more police officers are being taught combat verse effective policing. They’re being taught how to escalate a situation, while seeing the world as their enemy combatants, fighting in a war against cops. In doing so finding the courage within self to kill – and more often.
The syllabus for most of these courses includes a page of Bible verses relating to when its moral and justified to kill – accompanied by the teachings of Dr. William Lewinski at the Force Science Institute in Minnesota, whom of which preaches that a cop should learn to become more lethal while on the job. If you don’t know who Dr. Lewinski is, he’s one of the most influential voices (supporters) of police-involved shootings. He has testified in or was consulted for input in nearly 200 police involved shooting cases over the last decade, and has single handily assisted with justifying countless shootings around the country. His conclusions in every case are almost always consistent: The officer acted appropriately, even when the victim was unarmed, was shot in the back or when forensic evidence/video footage contradicts the officers story.
In other words, he gives them a license to kill.
Why Militarization Of Law Enforcement
On 18 July 2017, the Government Accountability Office (or GAO) releases a scathing report detailing its findings from an investigation into the DLA’s internal controls over the 1033 program. Throughout the duration of the investigation, the GAO employed a sting (or under-cover) operation that involved creating a fake law enforcement origination purchasing excess military equipment from DLA. The organization succeeded in acquiring many controlled items with very little to no resistance or oversight.
The 1033 Program
The 1033 Program (formerly the 1208 Program) permits the Secretary of Defense to transfer, without charge, excess U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) personal property (or supplies and equipment) to state and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs). This program has allowed law enforcement agencies to acquire vehicles (land, air and sea), weapons, digital devices, computer, fingerprint, night vision, photographic, surveillance, first aid equipment, radios, televisions, tents and sleeping bags, uniforms and more.
With a heavy focus upon weapons and vehicles.
The 1033 Program was created by the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 1997 as part of the U.S. Government’s Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services (DLA), in efforts to transfer excess military equipment to civilian law enforcement agencies. As of 2014, 8,000 local law enforcement agencies participated in the reutilization program that has transferred $5.1 billion+ in military hardware from the Department of Defense to local American law enforcement agencies since 1997. According to the DLA, material worth $449 million was transferred in 2013 alone. The most commonly obtained item from the 1033 program is DEMIL A (Defense Military) items, which fall off the inventory after one year of ownership. Some of the most commonly requested items include cold weather clothing, sand bags, medical supplies, sleeping bags, flashlights and electrical wiring. But small arms and light armored vehicles such as air and watercraft have also been obtained.
The 1122 Program – How It All Started
The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 1994 (Section 1122), allows state and local governments to purchase new law enforcement equipment for counter-drug activities via the federal government. Due to the fact that the U.S. government can make its large-volume purchases – that are later passed on to state and local law enforcement agencies. These discounts are a bonus, particularly when purchasing high-tech equipment and newer technologies.
Each state and territory has what’s called a State Agency for Surplus Property or (SASP). And these particular agencies were established to receive federal surplus personal property – and to donate it to public agencies and certain nonprofit, tax-exempt agencies. But the General Services Administration (GSA) has the responsibility of administering this program and has issued regulations for its implementation. Law enforcement agencies enrolled in the 1033 Program are among the governmental agencies eligible to obtain property from their SASP.
The issue with all of this – isn’t the fact that the police are becoming an extension of the military, its the fact that there are White Supremacist with Law Enforcement that’s getting their hands on this equipment and receiving this training. Various media outlets have reported that national law enforcement agencies have been sounding the alarm about white supremacists in their midst. In 2006, the F.B.I. warned of white supremacists attempting to enter into police departments and recruit police officers. In 2009, it was the Department of Homeland Security that was letting the public and local law enforcement know of the threat to national security posed by white supremacists after the election of the first black president. There has been an alarming number of police officers reported to be members of hate groups – expressing racist vitriol in texts, emails, and on social media. In 2014, three police officers of a 13-member all-white police department were discovered to be members of a local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in Fruitland Park, Florida. These men were discovered because they were trying to recruit other officers to join them.
According to the FBI, a “ghost skin” is someone like Deputy David Gay or Sgt. Greg Palm: Both men had worked their way up the chain in their respective law enforcement jobs in Williamson County, Texas, while serving as members of the KKK, according to the county Sheriff’s Office. In a 2006 report about the rise of white supremacist groups in the U.S., the F.B.I. found that members of the KKK or other right-wing extremist groups are encouraged to blend into society in order to covertly advance white supremacist causes. Mostly choosing the military and law enforcement.