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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Execution By Firing Squad: The Militarized Police State Opens Fire

“It is often the case that police shootings, incidents where law enforcement officers pull the trigger on civilians, are left out of the conversation on gun violence. But a police officer shooting a civilian counts as gun violence. Every time an officer uses a gun against an innocent or an unarmed person contributes to the culture of gun violence in this country.”—Journalist Celisa Calacal
Legally owning a gun in America could get you killed by a government agent.
While it still technically remains legal to own a firearm in America, possessing one can now get you pulled oversearchedarrested, subjected to all manner of surveillancetreated as a suspect without ever having committed a crime, shot at and killed.
This same rule does not apply to government agents, however, who are armed to the hilt and rarely given more than a slap on the wrists for using their weapons to shoot and kill American citizens.
According to the Washington Post1 in 13 people killed by guns are killed by police.”
Just recently, for example, a Minnesota jury acquitted a police officer who shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile, a school cafeteria supervisor, during a routine traffic stop merely because Castile disclosed that he had a gun in his possession, for which he had a lawful conceal-and-carry permit. That’s all it took for police to shoot Castile four times as he was reaching for his license and registration. Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter witnessed the entire exchange.
Earlier this year, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Florida police will not be held accountable for banging on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failing to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shooting and killing the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense.
Continuing its own disturbing trend of siding with police in cases of excessive use of force, a unanimous Supreme Court recently acquitted police who recklessly fired 15 times into a backyard shack in which a homeless couple—Angel and Jennifer Mendez—was sheltering. Incredibly, the Court ruled that the shooting was justified because Angel was allegedly seen holding a BB gun that he used for shooting rats.
What these cases add up to is a new paradigm in which legally owning a gun turns you into a target for government sharp-shooters.
Ironically, while America continues to debate who or what is responsible for gun violence—the guns, the gun owners, or our violent culture—little has been said about the greatest perpetrator of violence in American society: the U.S. government.
Violence has become the government’s calling card, starting at the top and trickling down, from the more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans by heavily armed, black-garbed commandos and the increasingly rapid militarization of local police forces across the country to the drone killings used to target insurgents.
You want to reduce gun violence? Start with the government.
The government’s arsenal of weapons makes the average American’s handgun look like a Tinker Toy. Under the auspices of a military “recycling” program, which allows local police agencies to acquire military-grade weaponry and equipment, more than $4.2 billion worth of equipment has been transferred from the Defense Department to domestic police agencies since 1990.  

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