I hear a lot of grumblings these days from right-wing pundits about the militarization of the police, decrying the apparent need to roll out in full battle-rattle for every traffic citation.
Those same people turn around and applaud Sheriff Joe giving AR-15's to his officers and mandating they have them with them on and off-duty.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona announced Thursday he will start requiring his deputies to carry AR-15s at all times and expects them to use the weapons to fight crime even when they're off duty.
"While this decision may seem controversial to some in the public and among other law enforcement agencies, I have extreme confidence in the training and professionalism of the men and women deputies in the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office",Ě Arpaio said.
Look, I'm not blaming the gun here, I like the AR-15. I own several and use them for self-defense, hunting and competition. I think it's a good idea that police should have AR-15's, because they want them for the same reasons I want one, namely, they are an excellent self-defense rifle. I also think it's a good idea for cops to be prepared to deal with the criminal element when they're off-duty: I'm prepared to deal with crooks at just about any hour of the day, (and I am decidedly NOT a cop), so the cops should be able to do the same as well.
If you're wondering how we got to the point where the Fish and Game department rolls up with a SWAT team at a no-kill animal shelter to impound a deer, look no farther than decisions like this. Are all the reasons for arming the cops with AR-15's good ones? Yes. Does it result in a heavily-armed, military-style police force? Also yes.
The road to a police state, after all, is paved with good intentions.