Saturday, February 6, 2016

War on drugs, who is the enemy?

This is a picture taken in the 1960's of a protest.  Police were called in to control the riot.  A good share of the time there was no riot, but the police scene from the 1960's hasn't changed much from how protests are handled today.  Are police more aggressive today?  Likely not, but aggressive is aggressive, be it 1960 or 2015.

In 1971, President Nixon declared 'America's number one enemy' was drugs.  He declared a war on drugs.  Unfortunately when there is a war, there is also a perceived enemy.  Has that enemy become the American people?  I think the answer to that question depends on who you ask.  Even after all these years, the war on drugs is no closer to being won.

Police departments are trained military style, just as if we are in a war in the United States of America, whether you have noticed or not.  A big problem with training police to act as a military unit is this:  When soldiers, or any military unit, is sent out on a patrol mission in a real war zone, there is usually someone in command, on the premises, with that group.  Not so much with police in the U.S.  Most of the time, the patrol cops have to call a commander to come to the scene, after the fact.  Cops acting this way, are pretty much rogues, not bad cops, but cops who are acting like a loose cannon, with no commander with them to call the shots, or offer much direction.  Yes, they may be in touch by cell phones or by radio, but in the heat of the moment cops have to act as they see fit.  When Americans see cops as perhaps dangerous loose cannons, they are right.  This is not to say those cops are bad people.  It just says that we all hope their training is sufficient for them to act alone, in an appropriate manner, toward the citizen public.  Many times the outcome is good and bad people are apprehended.  But, in the news, what we hear about most of the time is when the outcome is not so good.  Sensational headlines grab attention.

The picture on the left is from the 1960's also.  On the right is modern day America.  They don't look so much different, do they?  Do police have it fixed in their heads that Blacks commit the majority of the crimes?  I do not know, but sometimes it sure seems like that is what most people, including cops, think.  Otherwise, why is history repeating itself so often?