I was contacted by a journalist a few weeks ago asking me my thoughts on the Boston Police Department’s quest to obtain AR-15 assault rifles for the department. I think I squealed a little with glee at the opportunity to break down the many reasons why that is a baaaaad idea. I may have even gotten a tad carried away blitzing him with so much information that he decided not to use my almost hour long telephone lecture. I wanted to share with you what I shared with him, in short, so you can see how this is played out in political theatre.
The Bible has a story called the “Parable of the Talents” where a land owner leaves and entrusts 3 servants with money to manage in his absence. Upon his return, the one who squandered got nothing and the one who managed well was rewarded and given more responsibilities because he managed the ones he had well. You see where I’m going with this? The BPD should not have AR-15 assault rifles number one, because they have not responsibly managed what they already have. The BPD killed an innocent white girl with a “non-lethal” pepper spray pellet gun for chrissakes. Not to mention of course the fact that all people in the City of Boston who have been killed by Boston Police with a gun have been Black, Latino & Cape Verdean. (Check the list here)
Below are a series of unrelated articles following the subject from earliest to most recent. My comments will follow the articles. I have added bolding for emphasis and articles are only excerpted to illustrate the points.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
2013 ‘intense’ for officers
By: Antonio Planas | Boston Herald | firstname.lastname@example.org
Boston cops are coming under fire this year more than at any time in recent memory, a top police official said yesterday after an officer took a bullet in the arm in Dorchester. “For the number of officer-involved shootings, and the numbers of times kids are shooting at officers, this is the worst I can remember,” Superintendent-in-chief Daniel Linskey said. “It seems like this year, kids are holding their guns and taking an offensive, and that’s troubling. Couple that with the marathon bombings — it’s been a very intense year.”
Yesterday’s shooting that left a man dead after police said he fired at them is the latest since a spate of shootings involving cops this summer.
• In early August, two veteran plainclothes cops were shot in broad daylight in Dorchester. Police returned fire and killed the 21-year-old gunman from Brockton. The officers survived.
• In mid-July, an alleged crack dealer was shot and wounded in the chest after police said he ran from them and then opened fire.
• In mid-June, Boston cops and state police shot and wounded a 53-year-old man after he pointed a weapon at them that turned out to be a pellet gun.
• Earlier that month, while checking out a report of gunfire on Willowwood Street in Mattapan, a 38-year-old man was fatally shot after opening fire on officers, police said.
Four Hub officers were slain by gunfire from February 1993 to February 1994 — they were Berisford Wayne Anderson, 37; Charles L. Israel, 39; John J. Mulligan, 52, and Thomas Rose, 42.
The article headline states 2013 ‘intense’ for officers, using ‘intense’ as described by Supt.-in-chief Dan Linskey but neglects to take into accounting the information within the article that actually shows 2013 was intense for citizens. After every instance you will note that the “perpetrator” who police “said” fired on them got shot and ended up wounded or dead. One of the above listed was a 53yr old man with a pellet gun who was shot & wounded by State & Boston Police. The article on 2013 ends with the deaths of four officers that occurred from Feb. 1993 to Feb. 1994, almost 10 years ago. In that same 10 years over 10 people have been shot and either wounded or killed by the Boston Police. This article is the precursor to the quest to get these assault rifles. In order to convince the general public that the BPD “needs” these AR-15 assault rifles they have to first convince you that there is this dangerous super street war going on and they are sorely outmatched. The above tells you that when and “if” people fire shots at the BPD they end up wounded or dead, but the cops seem to make out OK by the averages, very seldom even wounded, even more seldom wounded seriously or killed. The article starts out with “yesterday’s shooting” which was the police killing of Darryl Dookhran which is under community scrutiny and quite bluntly, produced an officer shot in the arm and a 20 yr. old man shot dead in the head.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Police urged to watch for retaliation by gang
CHARGED: Christopher Murrain, 26, is arraigned yesterday in Dorchester District Court on charges of assault and battery on a police officer.
By: Laurel J. Sweet, O’Ryan Johnson | Boston Herald
The Boston police intelligence unit is warning street cops to watch out for possible retaliation from a violent Mattapan gang after a Favre Street gangbanger was killed after shooting a cop Saturday.
“Officers should be aware for the potential for individuals with ties to the suspects or Favre St (sic) to hold hostilities towards police,” police said.
This is the second article regarding the shooting of 20 yr. old Darryl Dookrhan and bolsters their attempts to paint him as a gang-banging criminal who is a part of the dangerously violent and ruthless Favre St. Gang. In actuality it is a further feather in the cap of the fear mongering platform that says the BPD is in an all out street war and faces dangerous retaliation of gangs every day and therefore of course they need assault rifles to handle these type of situations. I would ask you to bear in mind that these are grown men, duty sworn public civil servants with walkie-talkies, helicopters, cars, guns and horses talking about engaging in an all out street war with teenage and twenty-something Black, Latino & Cape Verdean boys. The article in itself is weak and grasping at straws not pointing to any credible threats and rather a very weak “Officers should be aware for the potential for individuals with ties to the suspects or Favre St (sic) to hold hostilities towards police,” DUH! The police just shot and killed their 20 yr. old friend the day before of course they may “hold hostilities” towards police. Many of them probably “held hostilities” before this incident based on a long history of harassment and brutality across the country, as does this 42 yr. old writer and 95% of Black & Latino men reading this. Its as if this “Favre St. Gang” threw a rock through the window of BPD HQ with a note on it that said “You’re dead meat”?!?! Where is the threat? Did they snatch somebody up? Burn a police car? Or was it simply a surveillance of their twitter and facebook and “they” caught some of them venting? I can’t remember the last time, if ever, that there was a major retaliation on law enforcement from any gang that wasn’t all white and the mafia.
December 15, 2013
Boston PD’s new assault rifles raise concern over militarization of police
by: Daniel Lovering @daniellovering | America Al-Jazeera
Saying it has to keep up in arms race with street criminals, department will put AR-15 rifles in patrol cars
The plans to deploy the powerful weapons have triggered a major debate in New England’s largest city. On the one hand, many residents, especially in neighborhoods dominated by minorities, worry about a creeping militarization of their local police force, fearing that deploying such rifles on the streets could create more dangers than they solve. Some security analysts agree, seeing the move as part of a larger shift toward the militarization of police departments that has been happening in the rest of Massachusetts and across the country.
But on the other hand, the police and their supporters see a real need to combat often heavily armed criminals and prepare for terrorist threats, as in the case of the city’s recently targeted marathon. Police say they need the guns to do their jobs effectively and protect the city and its people.
Here we have the tying in of the Marathon yet again. A complete anomaly and it is trotted out as if this could happen every year even though we know this happened once in 125 years. This article points out that there is a nation wide trend of the militarization of police departments. The company line is “We need them for school shootings and terrorist attacks” even though Massachusetts has been relatively free of both. The last time I heard of a plot to attack a school in fact it was the troubled son of a cop, who has now passed away. The police also often talk about the need to match firepower with firepower with “heavily armed criminals” however, we haven’t seen these cases in Boston as in California where a team of well-organized bank robbers wearing body armor and armed with military weapons had a stand-off with police. This whole line reminds me of a child who is begging his parents for a play station and coming up with every “logical” reason they should have it “It has the internet, I can do my homework on it,” “It has educational games.” The bottom line is Boston Police are not in a street war, we are not under attack by heavily armed terrorists wearing body armor and this is not a video game.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Marty Walsh won’t say if he’ll approve plan to arm cops with rifles
By: Antonio Planas | Boston Herald | email@example.com
The Boston Police Department’s plan to arm some patrol officers with military-style rifles — a controversial proposal that rankles some city leaders and union officials — could prove an explosive early issue for Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh, who would have to approve the big-gun buy.
Walsh’s camp declined to say whether the incoming mayor backs the plan to buy 33 AR-15 rifles at a cost of $2,500 apiece and place them in the cruisers of two specially trained beat cops in each of the city’s 11 districts. Boston police spokesman Sgt. Mike McCarthy said Walsh and acting Police Commissioner William Evans have been in talks about the proposal.
Longtime City Councilor Charles Yancey spoke out against the plan, saying that “escalating the firepower is not really the way to address the issue of violence in Boston.”
“The appearance of that type of heavy artillery in the community would give the impression that we live in a war zone,” Yancey said, “and that is not the case.”
Yancey said he fears “collateral damage” from the weapons, which he believes are better suited for specialized SWAT-style units.
What this article doesn’t tell you is how many such assault weapons the BPD already owns and are deployed as part of SWAT or tactical units. This article also doesn’t complete the math for you. 33 AR-15s at $2,500 a pop equals $82,500 and 2 cops with AR-15s in each of the city’s 11 districts equals 22, so what of the other 11 AR-15s? Or if you prefer was it one AR-15 per crusier making a total of 11 and in that case what of the other 22 Ar-15s? Once again, Yancey is one of the few City Councillors speaking out about this and talking plain sense. As of the date of this article, there was no word on whether or not Walsh would support this measure.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Walsh shoots down rifle plan; Won’t arm cops with military-style weapons
TRIGGER: Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh is opposed to arming Boston police with rifles such as the AR-15
By: Antonio Planas | Boston Herald | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh is shooting down the plan to arm some Boston patrol officers with military-style rifles — setting up a potential showdown with the department which has backed the controversial measure, citing a need for high-powered weapons in light of school shootings and the marathon bombings.
“Mayor-elect Walsh is opposed to the AR-15 rifles,” his spokeswoman Kathryn Norton said in a short statement yesterday. “Unless otherwise convinced by the Boston Police Department, he does not think they are necessary.”
Walsh would have to approve a budget for 33 AR-15 rifles at a cost of $2,500 each. Police were in the planning phases of acquiring the rifles to put in the cruisers of two specially trained beat cops in each of the city’s 11 districts.
Thomas Nolan, a former BPD lieutenant and now a criminal justice professor at the State University of New York, said Walsh is making the right decision because arming beat cops with high-powered rifles is counterproductive to establishing trust with residents. He noted firing a round from an AR-15 can launch a bullet two miles.
“If the cops have these machine guns, they’re going to use them,” Nolan said. “Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get killed, an innocent bystander is going to get caught in the crossfire and there is going to be a tragic result,” he said.
How quickly things change. Somebody got in Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh’s ear with the quickness. In this article even law enforcement insider and former BPD Lieutenant Thomas Nolan recognizes the obvious “Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get killed, an innocent bystander is going to get caught in the crossfire and there is going to be a tragic result.” If we follow this point to its logical conclusion given the evidence we can say that if someone is hurt or killed by these weapons it will almost certainly be a person who is Black, Latino or Cape Verdean. If we take it a step further looking at who the BPD publicly states as their adversaries in this “street war” we are talking about Black, Latino & Cape Verdean men who are teenagers to twenty-something, and there are some 30-40 somethings mixed in for good measure on their list. Of the list of so-called “impact players” who the BPD says are the most volatile, gang affiliated and likely to commit violence are any of them white people? What we are looking at is the attempt for a state sanctioned, heavily armed, race based “war on crime,” “war on drugs,” “war on guns,” all of which are code words for “war” on people of color.