$afety and $ecurity

Image from a promotional presentation for Urban Shield 2013. (Alameda County Sheriff’s Office)

“Between October 25 and 28 a major urban security training event and trade expo will invade Alameda County, Calif. Urban Shield, now in its seventh year, is a marketplace of repressive ideas and technologies…The stated goal of Urban Shield is to improve ‘regional disaster response capabilities,’ but rather than fostering community-focused crisis response, it presents a view of our ‘high-threat, high-density’ cities as always, already violent spaces. This vision of urban life dehumanizes and criminalizes public assembly and nonviolent protest.”

This weekend, a one-stop-shop to militarize your town – Waging Nonviolence

Andy Lopez was shot dead by a Santa Rosa police officer as he walked down the street carrying a pellet gun modelled on an assault rifle. Photograph: AP/The Press Democrat

Andy Lopez was shot dead by a Santa Rosa police officer as he walked down the street carrying a pellet gun modeled on an assault rifle. Photograph: AP/The Press Democrat

The militaristic mentality creeping into our law enforcement agencies encourages “heroes” to see everyone as threat. “First Responders” starts to mean: “respond” (i.e. shoot) first, ask questions later. They feel entitled to “respond” with force at the slightest provocation. On October 22, thirteen-year-old Andy Lopez was shot and killed because he was carrying a toy BB gun. “The deputy’s mindset was that he was fearful that he was going to be shot.”

Now this from Pacem in Terris (I replaced “nation” with “people”):

128. And yet, unhappily, we often find the law of fear reigning supreme among people and causing them to spend enormous sums on armaments. Their object is not aggression, so they say—and there is no reason for disbelieving them—but to deter others from aggression.

I love the part where it is written, “Their object is not aggression, or so they say…” A shield, of course, as in “UrbanShield,” is used only for protection, of course.

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