Do Not Resist
Have you or anyone you’ve ever known been a victim of random street violence? I didn’t think so.
Have you or anyone you’ve ever known been beaten up or shot by a police officer for no reason? Me, neither.
The job of America’s police officers is to keep us safe without harassing us too much in the process. All things considered, they are doing an amazing job.
Meanwhile, we keep finding ways to make their job more difficult.
The misguided war on drugs forces officers to go after drug offenders rather than actual evil-doers. The misguided Police Unions waste their time defending the few bad cops instead of fighting for better pay for the many good ones. The misguided prison system continues to transform poor young men into violent, unhirable ex-cons by the millions.
It almost feels as if our streets are so safe and our police are so effective that we need to invent new diabolical schemes to challenge them.
The documentary “Do Not Resist” introduces us to the latest horrible plan to try to sabotage America’s police forces: militarizing them.
A generation ago, police officers protected our streets with sedans and pistols. And that was pretty much it.
“Do Not Resist” shows that many police forces have undergone a major weapons upgrade. Now it isn’t uncommon for even rural police departments to own an arsenal of assault weapons, sniper rifles, tear gas, gas masks, riot gear, and armored vehicles that can withstand heavy fire and land mines.
How did this happen? The War on Terror has come home.
The militarization of America’s police was virtually inevitable as soon as the public bought into the concept that 9/11 was an act of war. As soon as we gave our consent to the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, we were also consenting to – and funding – the purchase of hundreds of billions of dollars of high tech military weaponry. Like the soldiers, much of that weaponry has come home.
“Do Not Resist” consists of long scenes of firsthand footage of police departments utilizing their new military toys in the field.
We see what happened on the ground during the Ferguson riots of 2014. And we follow a SWAT team on a few drug raids.
The conclusion I drew was that the police in Ferguson demonstrated an impressive amount of restraint. Using tear gas was probably unnecessary and counterproductive. But all in all it felt like the Ferguson cops resisted using deadly force at every turn. And, in the end, they pacified a town that could have unraveled into anarchy. That, to me, is the most important reason why we have a thin blue line to begin with.
The drug raids, on the other hand, are a shameful disgrace. The SWAT teams behave like a band of pillagers: busting up homes, breaking up families, and forfeiting cash just because they can.
Unlike the people who made “Do Not Resist,” though, I do not blame the cops for this. If the nincompoops in Washington and Montpelier simply legalized drugs, these awful raids would end tomorrow. Even in this wildly anti-cop documentary, it appears that the police are just doing their jobs. It is not their fault that their job is often to enforce foolish laws.
“Do Not Resist” is half right. In my estimation, America’s police were doing an outstanding job of keeping the peace before they became militarized and they are doing an outstanding job of keeping the peace since they have been militarized. So let’s just take away all of their heavy weaponry.