Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

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The Annoyed Man
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Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby The Annoyed Man » Sat May 13, 2017 9:16 am

I'm currently about a quarter of the way through a book which I am enjoying very much, and thought I would recommend it to anyone interested - "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces", by Radley Balco (Amazon.com). It was published in July of 2013, so it is already a little bit dated, but it covers events recent enough to still be relevant. Basically, it is a history of the increasing militarization of police forces, with very detailed descriptions of the political and legal decisions which drove that process. The book is completely apolitical, in the sense that it doesn't seem to favor one political party over another. We find scoundrels and ne'er do wells in both parties. It delves fairly deeply into how so many "crime bills" with egregiously unconstitutional components within were a response to the exigencies of political campaigning and/or personal failings. We have conservatives pushing these bills in response to public perceptions of root causes of crime - which were inaccurate - and liberal politicians cosponsoring them to offset (and bury) personal peccadillos in the headlines..........and visa versa. When studied dispassionately from a distance, it is ludicrous. The author also gives a fairly detailed look at the historical development of police forces, going back to the Roman Empire and earlier, and also at what happened to those societies as policing became more formally and tightly integrated into the cultures. It's quite fascinating.

It is important for the reader to understand that the author is NOT "anti-cop". Early on in the book, he says the following:
Before we begin, a few organizational notes are in order. First, this is not an “anti-cop” book. Although it includes plenty of anecdotes about bad cops, there are plenty of good cops. Some of them are interviewed in this book. The fact is that we need cops, and there are limited situations in which we need SWAT teams. If anything, this is an anti-politician book. Bad cops are the product of bad policy. And policy is ultimately made by politicians. A bad system loaded with bad incentives will unfailingly produce bad cops. The good ones will never enter the field in the first place, or they will become frustrated and leave police work, or they’ll simply turn bad. At best, they’ll have unrewarding, unfulfilling jobs. This book explores the consequences of having cops who are too angry and too eager to kick down doors and who approach their jobs with entirely the wrong mind-set, but with an eye toward identifying and changing the policies that allow such people to become cops in the first place—and that allow them to flourish in police work.

Rather, it is a book about bad policy-making by intellectually dishonest politicians, including iconic figures from both major parties, and the literally deadly impact that sometimes has on the lives of Americans of all stripes, who have literally done no wrong. Cops are depicted for the most part as merely the (often unenthusiastic) enforcers of these bad policies, who sometimes find themselves in the untenable position of enforcing laws which violate the individual citizen's innate cultural and historical understanding of common law and human rights.

If anything, I would say that this book helps me to better understand what a difficult line officers have, the history behind their directives; and also to be more demanding of their leadership for better hiring and training practices; and to be WAY more demanding of the politicians who rely on police to enforce the means of getting them re-elected, to demand that they begin to repeal and redirect their efforts into directions more consistent with the Constitution. It has driven the nail into the coffin of any regard I might have had for allegedly "conservative" SCOTUS justices. It also makes me more proud of my decision to become a political independent and not swear my fealty to any party ever again.......3rd parties included......by registering as a party voter. It also reminds of me a favorite quote from H.L. Mencken: "Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under".

If the book has any political "slant" at all, I would describe it as mildly libertarian, although as far as I've read to this point, the author has not mentioned libertarianism, the Libertarian Party, or libertarian politicians. He does address certain favorite libertarian themes, such as the futility of the "war on drugs".......and most other "war on [place name here]" policies. He also spends a fair amount of time describing how "no-knock" raids became lawful through the political process. But he is also honest about, and supports with tons of documentation, exactly why and how public perception of crime - often inaccurate - is both drives and is informed by legislative "wars on whatever", which in turn are usually about the aggregation of power, at the expense of the Constitution. He equally distributes both blame and praise among both parties. My impression so far is that the author's primary allegiance is to the Constitution, and parties be hanged.

How far we have strayed. Anyway, I highly recommend this book to anyone who cares about these matters.
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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby Abraham » Sat May 13, 2017 10:03 am

I'll read it if: I can do so free as I'm a library using maniac. I rarely buy books as I once did.

Plus, I do a lot of my reading downloaded on a Nook, electronic book, as small print and I don't get along anymore.

I also listen to a lot of audio books when pursing tedious chores which generally renders them if not enjoyable, at least not 'as' tedious...

Thanks for the review.


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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby Sport Coach » Sat May 13, 2017 10:32 am

Abraham wrote:I'll read it if: I can do so free as I'm a library using maniac. I rarely buy books as I once did.

Plus, I do a lot of my reading downloaded on a Nook, electronic book, as small print and I don't get along anymore.

I also listen to a lot of audio books when pursing tedious chores which generally renders them if not enjoyable, at least not 'as' tedious...

Thanks for the review.

Problem solved - it's available on hoopladigital, the electronic extension of, at least, Harris County Public Library as an audiobook. I use this site quite a bit as it's free (paid for with my taxes) and they have quite a large selection.

Thank you TAM for the review as I'll be reading soon.
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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby The Annoyed Man » Sat May 13, 2017 10:37 am

Abraham wrote:Plus, I do a lot of my reading downloaded on a Nook, electronic book, as small print and I don't get along anymore.

Abraham, I'm reading this book using the Kindle app on my iPad. You can set your preferred font display size in the Kindle app. I don't know if/how it would work for a Nook.

Sport Coach, I'll check out hoopladigital. Thanks for the suggestion.
"Give me Liberty, or I'll get up and get it myself."—Hookalakah Meshobbab
"I don't carry because of the odds, I carry because of the stakes."—The Annoyed Boy
"Id aegre et in omnibus semper."—Quod Homo Aegre


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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby Abraham » Sat May 13, 2017 11:04 am

Thank you Sport Coach!

TAM,

She Who Must will know how to do it if it's at all possible.

Electronic anything more demanding than turning on the T.V. and I'm up the proverbial creek without a paddle...and I even mess that up occasionally and have to yell for help.

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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby Liberty » Sat May 13, 2017 4:06 pm

I think it's reasonable to assume that Radley Balko is a libertarian. He was an editor for Reason, and frequently wrote articles for CATO and Slate. He is a prolific writer. He has essays in the Washington post and The Huffington Post as well. What I like about his style is that he honestly addresses criticism with honesty and logic.
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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby Abraham » Wed May 17, 2017 12:40 pm

I'm almost finished with the book.

Over the years, I've read a lot of horror from H.G.Wells to Stephen King to Clive Baxter and on and on...

Of all of those books, this is the MOST horrifying!

I had no idea...

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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby The Annoyed Man » Wed May 17, 2017 12:51 pm

Abraham wrote:I'm almost finished with the book.

Over the years, I've read a lot of horror from H.G.Wells to Stephen King to Clive Baxter and on and on...

Of all of those books, this is the MOST horrifying!

I had no idea...

Me neither. I mean, I knew that there have been a few botched raids over the years, but nowhere near the shear volume that actually happened. And the extreme disconnect from reality of the politicians who back these policies is stunning.......as is the top down unapologetic refusal to accept accountability for the murders of innocent private citizens in their own homes. It's insane.
"Give me Liberty, or I'll get up and get it myself."—Hookalakah Meshobbab
"I don't carry because of the odds, I carry because of the stakes."—The Annoyed Boy
"Id aegre et in omnibus semper."—Quod Homo Aegre

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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby bblhd672 » Wed May 17, 2017 6:19 pm

Just ordered it from local library
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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby Mxrdad » Wed May 17, 2017 6:36 pm

Kinda related........ I just purchased 1 second after and 1 year after. My question: I received 1 year later first and still waiting for the other. Would it be wise to wait and start 1 second before I start 1 year?

I like the book reviews here. I have several more on the way based on reviews here and a few others based on similar subjects. Good stuff.
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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby bblhd672 » Wed May 17, 2017 7:24 pm

Mxrdad wrote:Kinda related........ I just purchased 1 second after and 1 year after. My question: I received 1 year later first and still waiting for the other. Would it be wise to wait and start 1 second before I start 1 year?

I like the book reviews here. I have several more on the way based on reviews here and a few others based on similar subjects. Good stuff.


Yes wait to read One Second After first.
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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby Mxrdad » Wed May 17, 2017 7:57 pm

bblhd672 wrote:
Mxrdad wrote:Kinda related........ I just purchased 1 second after and 1 year after. My question: I received 1 year later first and still waiting for the other. Would it be wise to wait and start 1 second before I start 1 year?

I like the book reviews here. I have several more on the way based on reviews here and a few others based on similar subjects. Good stuff.


Yes wait to read One Second After first.


Thank you sir. :thumbs2:
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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby C-dub » Wed May 17, 2017 10:17 pm

I also got it and am about 10% into it and so far the most surprising things to me were MacArthur's and Patton's opinions on the use of the military with regards to its use versus citizens and then was happy about Eisenhower's views or at least his reluctance of its use during the Civil Rights era.

It's been a very interesting read so far and based on others' comments think the rest won't disappoint either.
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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby C-dub » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:26 pm

I finished it this morning. The author sure lays out a good case for how the Fourth Amendment has been pretty well trampled on and how it was done without much opposition from anyone and how the courts and politicians even helped.
I am not and have never been a LEO. My avatar is in honor of my friend, Dallas Police Sargent Michael Smith, who was murdered along with four other officers in Dallas on 7.7.2016.

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Re: Book Review.... "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces"

Postby C-dub » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:39 pm

I've been thinking about this for a couple of days now since finishing this book. One of the arguments the author makes is that illegal drugs are a victim-less crime. I would mostly agree with this were it not for the other crimes drug users commit to pay for their habit and the numbers of kids that get drawn into drug use and become addicted and or die, but that sure doesn't warrant the use of force described in this book that escalated over the past four decades in the "war" on drugs.

The author also links the jargon and sentiment to the "war" on terror today. After the attacks yesterday on London the talk is again all about what LE needs to do to prevent these types of attacks. I now hesitate when I think about what that will mean and what new power or authority LE will be given to attempt to do that.
I am not and have never been a LEO. My avatar is in honor of my friend, Dallas Police Sargent Michael Smith, who was murdered along with four other officers in Dallas on 7.7.2016.


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