In 2014, critiquing the police went mainstream. “Police militarization” stopped being a term heard exclusively on libertarian internet radio shows or reddit forums, and instead became a normal talking point mentioned by politicians and news stations. I believe I have maintained a healthy skepticism of all government, even local police forces, but it felt weird when reality pushed past the limits of fiction and kept going. Back in 2012, many libertarians were wary of the capabilities of the US intelligence community. But then Edward Snowden happened, and suddenly anyone not communicating exclusively in ephemeral Diffie-Hellman key exchanges using Perfect Forward Secrecy while wearing a tinfoil hat looked like a moron.
That same phenomenon has repeated itself in the past year; in the summer of 2014, any civil libertarian worth his or her salt probably believed the War on Drugs had given too much power to police forces at the expense of privacy and individual rights. But would they have predicted police forces using military grade equipment on city streets, pointing semi-automatic rifles at unarmed civilians, arresting journalists, killing civilians with chokeholds, and then going on semi-strike by not “making arrests unless when necessary”? No one could be paranoid enough to believe that and be taken seriously. But once again, the crazies were proven right: Continue reading