Many Americans fear that the United States’ government is trying to arrange a series of events that makes a martial law declaration easy and sensible, to the point that even the most suspicious American might just accept that this is the only palatable action.
Situations like we have seen recently in Ferguson, Missouri and even more recently in Baltimore, Maryland, have heightened this fear. After all, in both instances we saw police behaving much more like military than civil servants. We’ve all had the images emblazoned in our heads. Rows and rows of protesters facing off against lines of police officers in full riot gear. Many in conspiracy circles felt like this was all just bringing their worst fears to fruition, perhaps even quicker than they originally had thought.
They were right.
Today, President Obama restricted what kind of equipment local police departments could hope to receive from the federal government. At first glance, the order seems pretty reasonable. The idea that the federal government was dishing out this kind of gear to local police departments only added to the furor surrounding these events and some of the terrible clashes that took place between protesters and police. Yet, if you really step back and take a cold, hard look at this, you will see that President Obama’s announcement only makes it worse.
Here’s some food for thought: even with the luxury of full riot gear and military-grade equipment, authorities in neither Ferguson nor Baltimore were able to truly bring peace and stability to the situation. That’s right. President Obama is taking away equipment from police forces that just recently completely failed at stopping rioting and looting. That may seem like an unusual reaction, but for Obama, it’s a win-win situation. Think about it. This move makes him a hero in the African-American community for putting a stop to this type of police presence at protests. It also makes it even more likely than before that local police departments are not going to be able to handle these sorts of situations in the future. What do you think local police departments will have to do when they fail at restoring some sort of peace the next time something like this goes down? You guessed it. Instead of using the equipment the federal government gave them to enforce their own brand of martial law on the community, they will have to actually ask the government for real help in the form of soldiers. That’s right. In the next Baltimore or Ferguson, the police will be sorely overmatched and have no choice but to look to National Guards and military personnel for help.
So, you see, President Obama’s action is not the victory that perhaps you may have seen it as earlier today. In fact, it makes a real martial law declaration more likely than ever.