For much of the 1990s through to today, the United States has led the world in a dubious economic statistic.
We, as a nation, sell more weapons worldwide than any other country.
This includes not only firearms, but missiles, weapons systems, and transport vehicles including trucks, tanks, and aircraft.
It can also be argued that, since Desert Storm in 1990, that the United States has exported war as well, starting military campaigns in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and, more recently, Syria.
What that has done, however, has created a couple of different kinds of imports.
The first import has been battle-scarred war veterans. Because body armor and protective equipment is better than it ever has been, you’re not only having war veterans surviving blast injuries, but war veterans are experiencing more profound episodes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The second import has been surplus equipment that has been given to police departments all over the country. Armored vehicles, assault rifles, bayonets, and even bomb-disposal robots are now in the hands of the nation’s police.
Thursday evening, the collision of these imports had tragic results. Police say that Micah Johnson, who served in the Army and had a six-month tour in Afghanistan, took a high-powered assault weapon and shot 12 Dallas police officers, killing five. In negotiations with him, Dallas police used a remote-control robot with a bomb in order to kill Johnson.
I fear the militarization of what are ostensibly “peace officers” are going to turn them into anything but.