Don't look now, but the overbearing power of America's military-industrial-complex has probably snuck into your town.
Don’t look now, but the overbearing power of America’s military-industrial-complex has probably snuck into your town.
The multibillion-dollar global armament giants have discovered a hot new growth market here at home: The militarization of police agencies. The people of Ferguson, Missouri, learned about the domestic proliferation of battlefield firepower the hard way this summer when their own police department came after them with a Bearcat tank, two armored Humvees, stun grenades, M-16 rifles, and other weapons of war.
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It’s been widely reported that this push into combat gear (and the militant mentality that accompanies it) has largely come from a 1990 law authorizing the Pentagon to disperse surplus war equipment around the country. Less known, however, is that our corporate arms peddlers have lately leapt into direct sales, holding field demonstrations and trade shows to titillate the fancy of police chiefs and other officials.
LRAD Corporation, for example, makes the long-range sound cannon that was used in Ferguson, literally blasting away demonstrators with ear-shattering pain. Also, such tear gas makers as CTS are having a field day supplying and re-supplying police agencies. Then there’s Taser International’s electrocution gun (which can be heart-stopping), is now on the hip of nearly everyone with a badge.
In September, militarizers paraded their stuff at a Missouri shebang call Military Police Expo. LRAD, CTS, and Taser were there along with a horde of other venders, to schmooze and sell to a crowd of “civilian law enforcement and chiefs of police” who were invited to go on this military shopping spree.
A coalition of citizen groups are organizing to stop this pernicious sale of arms to be used against… well, us citizens. For information, go to www.FacingTearGas.org.
“Tear Gas, Stun Grenades, Sound Cannons: Companies Profiting From Police Crackdowns Like Ferguson,” www.alternet.org, August 21, 2014.