Letter: Our police have become too militaristic
Two weeks ago, a low-grade military weapon was used by Detroit police to disperse a peaceful crowd that had gathered to protest the city’s water shutoffs.
The weapon, which is not officially considered a"‘weapon," was a LRAD, or Long Range Acoustic Device. It can be set to emit a sound which causes physical pain to the ears of those within range. The sound is so powerful it vibrates the bones of the skeleton. That was the setting used on the protesters. The pain was so intense, the crowd quickly fled. The incident garnered practically no press attention.
It has been widely announced that local police across the country will be given used military weapons coming back from Afghanistan, including grenade launchers, M16’s, gun silencers and even tanks. However, there seems to be no national discussion about the growing militarization of domestic police forces.
What about Utah? Do Salt Lake City Police have any of these military weapons? How about the West Valley City Police, where one detective has already been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of a civilian? There are two major newspapers in Utah; has either one made a GRAMA request to find out if military weapons have been distributed to police departments in our state?
If police are given serious military weapons which they may then use against civilians at the behest of businesses and large corporations, or on their own volition, how many heartbeats will pass before America officially becomes a police state?