We are paying the price in many ways for society's movement away from the boundaries provided by religion. What follows, via the Huffington Post, arguably details one of those ways:
On the night of Jan. 5, 2011, for example, police in Framingham, Mass., raided a Fountain Street apartment that was home to Eurie Stamps and his wife, Norma Bushfan-Stamps. An undercover officer had allegedly purchased drugs from Norma's 20-year-old son, Joseph Bushfan, and another man, Dwayne Barrett, earlier that evening, and now the police wanted to arrest them. They took a battering ram to the door, set off a flash grenade, and forced their way inside.
As the SWAT team moved through the apartment, screaming at everyone to get on the floor, Officer Paul Duncan approached Eurie Stamps. The 68-year-old, not suspected of any crime, was watching a basketball game in his pajamas when the police came in.
By the time Duncan got to him in a hallway, Stamps was face-down on the floor with his arms over his head, as police had instructed him. As Duncan moved to pull Stamps' arms behind him, he says he fell backwards, somehow causing his gun to discharge, shooting Stamps. The grandfather of 12 was killed in his own home, while complying with police orders during a raid for crimes in which he had no involvement.
The Obama administration has begun talking about reforming the criminal justice system, notably this week, when Attorney General Eric Holder announced changes to how federal prosecutors will consider mandatory minimum sentences. If government leaders are looking for another issue to tackle, they might consider the astonishing evolution of America’s police forces over the last 30 years.
Today in America, SWAT teams are deployed about 100 to 150 times per day, or about 50,000 times per year -- a dramatic increase from the 3,000 or so annual deployments in the early 1980s, or the few hundred in the 1970s. The vast majority of today's deployments are to serve search warrants for drug crimes. But the use of SWAT tactics to enforce regulatory law also appears to be rising. This month, for example, a SWAT team raided the Garden of Eden, a sustainable growth farm in Arlington, Texas, supposedly to look for marijuana. The police found no pot, however, and the real intent of the raid appears to have been for code enforcement, as the officers came armed with an inspection notice for nuisance abatement.
Where these teams were once used only in emergency situations, they're used today mostly as an investigative tool against people merely suspected of crimes. In many police agencies, paramilitary tactics have become the first option, where they once were the last.
“It’s really about a lack of imagination and a lack of creativity,” says Norm Stamper, a retired cop who served as police chief of Seattle from 1994 to 2000. “When your answer to every problem is more force, it shows that you haven’t been taught and trained to consider other options."
There's much more and it ought to be read and passed around.
I have a brother who's a cop and so you'll not find me often criticizing the police force or police tactics. Unless you've been out with a cop on the beat and see what it is they face daily, you're not likely to appreciate the job they do but... and I put the but out there cautiously, I do think our local police forces are becoming too much like local military units and when you couple that phenomenon with corrupt politicians who love to abuse power, you can see the problem. Or should.
Something needs to be done and the piece goes into some detail as to options.
I posit a different one that I think will have longer lasting effects.
Let's do what we can to promote the Christian faith. Let's be who we need to be to enable that promotion.
God, please help us.