Resolved: Demilitarization of the United States Police
1st round for acceptance.
Resolved: Demilitarization of the United States Police
Demiliarization: reduction of a polices's equipment, weapons, or military vehicles to an agreed minimum
United States: United States of America
Police: the civil force of a national or local government, responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the maintenance of public order.
May the better debater win!
Audemus jura nostra defendere
Ask yourself: how many times have you seen a crime through the eyes of the police? Every video of a crime online is through the eyes of the perpetrator and only show the officer using force. What did the perpetrator do? We assume their innocence and are quick to blame the police simply because we never saw them in the act.
History shows that long before police were militarized, they were harassing innocent and non-violent citizens based on their own prejudices and lusts for power. These aren’t just qualities of a heavily armed police state. Removing the armored vehicles and military weapons will help decrease the shock and shame of overly armed police, but the fact remains that violence begets violence and the state is inherently impotent to regulate itself. Change can only come when Americans–- currently jaded by and disenchanted with political engagement–- stop tolerating authority through force and develop a more skeptical attitude toward government while actively holding it accountable.
You say that the police need to focus on their job "serving the needs of our citizens and protecting neighborhoods from all threats", and I do not disagree with that statement; but the facts are that it is very dangerous to be a police officer.
Riot gear seems to effect crowd violence according to recent study by the UC Berkeley. When cops wear riot gear it signals to the crowd, that the police are ready for a fight. This comes from numerous observations on the Occupy movement and then watching these theories play out with the violence in Ferguson, while protests in LA were mild and also used less police in riot gear.
Another problem is that riot gear comes with police lines and restricting the movement of protestors, which have been linked to increased aggression in groups.
What we're seeing is a lot of the actions of Law Enforcement actually causing these riots to occur in what would've otherwise been peaceful protests. I don't disputes that a police presence is necessary in these events, but showing up in riot gear is just going to lead to more riots, which actually causes more total people and property to be damaged.
Now my opponent might point out that the risks to police are increased when they wear less riot gear, but when you see the decreased violence towards civilians and their property, you can see it's a fair trade off, especially when you consider how many women and children are spared from violence as a result of this.
Police accept this job knowing they will face more risks than the general population, so this minimal risk is fair, and from a utilitarian point of view an incredibly good trade off.
Paramilitary style uniforms
Another problem police have is paramilitary style uniforms, if the police switched to pink uniforms in a blazer style, they'd be significantly better off. One study on police uniforms showed annincredible decrease in violence from and towards police in blazer style uniforms as opposed to the paramilitary uniforms meant to intimidate the average citizen.
"In 1969, the police in Menlo Park, California dispensed with their traditional navy blue, paramilitary-style uniforms and adopted a nontraditional uniform in hopes of improving police community relations. The new, nontraditional uniform consisted of a forest green sport coat blazer worn over black slacks, a white shirt, and a black tie. The officer's badge was displayed on the blazer and the officer's weapons were concealed under the coat. Once word spread about Menlo Park's attempts, over 400 other police department in the United States also experimented with a blazer style uniform.
After wearing the new uniforms for 18 months the Menlo Park police officers displayed fewer authoritarian characteristics on psychological tests when compared to officers in the surrounding jurisdictions. Also for that first one-and-one-half years with the new uniforms, assaults on the Menlo Park police decreased by 30% and injuries to civilians by the police dropped 50%." http://www.policeone.com...
Also in the same article it explains that people in lighter clothes such as pink are perceived as being good and less aggressive.
Swat teams originally were only supposed to be for really dangerous situations and only about 100 or so we're done every year. Now we have epidemics where gamers are literally prancing their opponents by sending the SWAT team to their house in a prank known as "swatting". The number of seats should at least be lowered to what they were at the height of the drug war in the 70s as opposed to the several thousand seats done yearly as of now. SWATs that routinely end up going into the wrong house and even killing innocent people in the confusion created by a SWAT. These military like units should undoubtedly be scaled back
Before I begin my official argumentation, let me make my stance clear.
My stance is to maintain the status quo in terms of the police's "militarization". I am NOT rooting for neither MORE or LESS militarization.
Oh, the irony.
Under the same source, http://www.policeone.com..., if one bothers to read just a paragraph below my opponent's quoted section, one can find this gem:
"...Also for that first one-and-one-half years with the new uniforms, assaults on the Menlo Park police decreased by 30% and injuries to civilians by the police dropped 50%. (end of PRO's quotation)
(next paragraph, same source)
***These changes were originally thought to have been a result of the uniform changes but there were other factors at work at the same time. The number of college educated officers in the department increased dramatically and the traditional autocratic management style of the department was abolished during this same time period. In 1977, after wearing the blazer style uniform for 8 years, the Menlo Park Police Department realized that the sport coat uniform did not command respect and returned to a traditional, paramilitary-style uniform. A final evaluation showed that although assaults on officers had dropped during the first 18 month of wearing the new uniforms, the number of assaults steadily began to rise again until the rate was double that of the year before the uniform change occurred. During the four years after the Menlo Park police returned to a traditional style uniform the number of assaults against their officers dropped steadily.***"
"...An officer in plain clothes is at risk of being harmed by citizens and other officers as a result of misidentification. Almost any police officer would immediately draw his or her weapon on a person who is wearing jeans, a T-shirt, and is carrying a gun in his or her hand. A plain clothes officer who is chasing a burglary suspect through backyards at night is at risk of being shot by a home owner who believes the officer to be a criminal. The uniform helps both citizens and fellow police officers identify the wearer as having a legitimate purpose for trespassing, using force, or carrying a weapon."
This tells us a couple things.
Did my opponent get to lazy with the cursor? Or was he too busy orchestrating a heist?
Anyways, this starts off my first round of rebuttals, of which i will be working through in a slightly different order.
1. Paramilitary Style Uniforms
As the source above showed us, once the glamor and hilarity of the new blazers wore off, citizens began disrespecting and disobeying the officers even further, to the point where the rate of violence against officers was twofold. This-- from the same source as PRO's argument-- clearly shows us that adopting a "community-friendly" uniform does not work, nor does it reduce crime in any fashion. On the contrary, NOT having paramlitary uniforms INCREASE crime!
Instead, it is the differentiating uniforms that saves lives by preventing suspect misidentification.
2. Riot Provocation
On the other hand, police vehicles such as MRAPS have actually SAVED lives.
The USA TODAY states:
"Belmar [police chief of Ferguson PD] noted that during the protests, his officers used heavy-armored equipment to help retrieve a gunshot victim. The county chief also noted that there were five shootings in a six-block area near where the protests occurred where the vehicles aided in rescue, and there were several incidents where police and armored vehicles were struck by gunfire during the unrest."
Also, the theories of the Occupy movement were NOT proven by riots in LA and Ferguson.
The PoliceOne (same sourced used by PRO) states:
"In one experiment test subjects were presented with color photos of two traditional paramilitary-style uniforms. One of the uniforms, consisted of the dark navy blue shirt and pants that is so commonly worn by municipal police agencies today. The other traditional uniform was that typical of California sheriff deputies, consisting of a khaki shirt and dark green pants. Although both uniforms ranked similarly as good, honest, helpful, and competent, the lighter colored sheriff uniform rated noticeably higher for warmth and friendliness. This finding is significant since the shertiff uniform only has a light colored shirt, with the pants still being very dark. It would appear that a uniform which is only half dark sends a better message that the all blue/black uniform."
This shows that the color of a uniform can change an attitude. This might seem contradictory at first.
HOWEVER, this does NOT mean that we don't need paramilitary uniforms. Those khaki uniforms are still, by definition, "paramilitary". And as I have proven above, by NOT donning such uniforms we run a higher risk of injuries for both officers and citizens.
Changing the color of a paramilitary uniform has nothing to do with demilitarization.
Swatting has nothing to do with this debate.
Whether or not a city has a small or large SWAT team, if someone calls 911 and says they see a bomb at their school, THAT CITY WILL SEND A SWAT TEAM. NO MATTER WHAT. PERIOD. This is for the general safety of the people, since we cannot risk the possibility of it being a real bomb. The size and militarization of the SWAT team is irrelevant.
To sum up, I've refuted to all three of my opponen'ts arguments while the PRO has not yet rebutted against my arguments. I've used PRO's own evidence to prove them wrong, and PRO have yet to answer the burden I've set for him/her the last round.
Wylted forfeited this round.
DeltaMed910 forfeited this round.
Thanks Con, I agree with this statement. Unfortunately for you it supports my position. It's inherently hypocritical to say that citizens should stop tolerating rule by force and then argue that the police should have more force to use. If we don't want to tolerate rule by force, than we need to roll back how much force that the government (police) have and are able to use. This argument by con weighs in my favor.
"Before I begin my official argumentation, let me make my stance clear.
My stance is to maintain the status quo in terms of the police's "militarization". I am NOT rooting for neither MORE or LESS militarization."
Cool story bro, I'm arguing for less militarization.
"This shows that the color of a uniform can change an attitude. This might seemcontradictory at first.
HOWEVER, this does NOT mean that we don't need paramilitary uniforms. Those khaki uniforms are still, by definition, "paramilitary". And as I have proven above, by NOT donning such uniforms we run a higher risk of injuries for both officers and citizens."
Okay I drop all my arguments about the uniform. I didn't expect my opponent to read the source, otherwise I would have shown sources harder to find those rebuttals in.
"Swatting has nothing to do with this debate.
Whether or not a city has a small or large SWAT team, if someone calls 911 and says they see a bomb at their school, THAT CITY WILL SEND A SWAT TEAM. NO MATTER WHAT. PERIOD. This is for the general safety of the people, since we cannot risk the possibility of it being a real bomb. The size and militarization of the SWAT team is irrelevant."
This is untrue. The amount of SWAT teams and how much resources they do have is very important. Right now because of the over abundance of SWAT teams and personnel they're able to do random drug busts often getting the locations wrong and hurting and even killing innocent people and on a few occasions even killing children, in one instance even throwing a flash bomb into a crib and permanently harming a child and nearly killing the baby. With less resources SWAT teams will only be able to respond to the most credible threats and calls. A random twelve year old will not be able to call a SWAT team on a rival and put him through a traumatic experience. With less SWAT teams they'll be forced to do their due diligence and only respond to the word threats. This demilitarization (lessening of paramilitary SWAT team, and resources) would lead to less wrongful SWATs, less dead innocent babies and less wrong addresses and traumatizing average citizens.
"On the other hand, police vehicles such as MRAPS have actually SAVED lives.
The USA TODAY states:
"Belmar [police chief of Ferguson PD] noted that during the protests, his officers used heavy-armored equipment to help retrieve a gunshot victim. The county chief also noted that there were five shootings in a six-block area near where the protests occurred where the vehicles aided in rescue, and there were several incidents where police and armored vehicles were struck by gunfire during the unrest.""
That's nice, but as my study I shared indicated. It's the presence of militarized police that causes the riots to start. So without starting the riots, they wouldn't need the MRAPS, to save people from the riot they started. My argument that police cause riots has been dropped.
Hmm I assumed that your forfeit meant you were giving up this debate, so I didn't bother posting another rebuttal.
But, here it goes:
My extensions to arguments (my opponent only rebutted to one of three)
A. History: "violence begets violence"
Sure Pro. But these aren’t just the qualities of a heavily armed police state. I even daresay the police today are much more nicer-- think about your local policeman. He's nice, he's helpful, he volunteers at elementary schools. Should we go back to times where we had police mericelessly beating protestors with sticks? Police today might have more armor, but at least they don't beat the crap out of every protestor walking across a bridge-- *ehem* Selma *ehem*.
Rebuttals to PRO:
1. Police cause riots.
Police don't cause half as many riots as you'd like to think. These "cop riots" are a modern thing, and should not be correlated with abusive force. Heck, the 1960s had three times as many riots as we have today-- and those were "race riots"--, and I'm sure the police back then only had a cotton uniform and a wooden stick. Even the LA riots-- not caused by direct police action-- are considered one of the biggest riots of America. We shouldn't correlate more police equipment to riots. Moreover, riots like Ferguson were caused by accidental shootings that were attributed to racial discrimination, not police militarization. PRO's point fails.
I took my evidence directly from PRO's source. Pity.
Definition of swatting: act of tricking an emergency service (via such means as hoaxing an emergency services dispatcher) into dispatching an emergency response (Wikipedia).
My opponent's argument, however, was two parts: Swatting and drug busts. I'll respond to both.
I rebutted to the concept of swatting. I gave PRO how swatting will happen, no matter the abudndance of SWAT team, because that is the definition of swatting-- giving 911 enough reasons to send a SWAT team. If the city has enough teams, the caller can just say "I see drugs." If the city doesn't have many SWAT teams, the caller can fabricate elaborate evidence.
PRO responded to my "swatting" counter with an argument about drug busts, so my counterpoint still stands.
So moving on, PRO's argument of "drugs bust" doesn't fit under "swatting", but I'll rebutt to that anyways.
In an average drug bust, a police force will find:
You can't say these drug busts aren't ineffective.
2 assault rifles, a shotgun, and a pistol!? That's enough to call a SWAT team, unless my opponent would like to make an entire case to advocate gun control as well as fish out his sinking demilitarization case.
But of course, there are unfortunate casualties, such as a baby. Losing a baby was sad, but it was an accident. It was a one-time deal, where the police on the scene screwed up. But what does that have to do with militarization? If the SWAT team had been wearing pink Hawaiian shirts, would the baby have lived? No. It was an accident, and it should not be attributed to pollice "militarization", but to general police care.
4. MRAPS save lives
I argued above that the police DO NOT cause riots. In the case there ARE riots, MRAPS can supplement ambulances to save lives, especially when the general population is shooting each other.
Conclusion: So what have I, the CON, achieved? I told you, the audience, about the history of police brutality and how they are not correlated with militarization-- in fact, riots have decreased since the 1960s--, how police use these equipment to fulfill their duty and make sure their "I love you" to their spouses wasn't their last, and how the PRO utilizes cherry picked evidence. Then I responded to each and every one of my opponent's arguments, rebuttals, and extensions.
On the other hand, the PRO didn't achieve much. They dropped two-thirds of my arguments, barely responded to my rebuttals and extensions, and, like I prophesized, cherry-picked evidence from a source that I later used against them.
PRO did not respond to my burden that I imposed on them since my first speech. Their next speech is their last chance to answer my burden.
Audemus jura nostra defendere
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