Printed in the Herald-Times, April 20, 2018.
To the Editor:
April 19, 2018 was twenty five years since the Clinton Administration used military force, including tanks, against American citizens on American soil. About 80 people, including about 20 children, died during that raid. The original paramilitary raid in February 1993 that started the standoff was also foolish excessive force.
I wish that conservatives who are rightly angered over the botched siege on the Branch Davidian cultists would recognize the dangers of militarizing domestic police. David Koresh was an evil man, but this excessive force cannot be justified.
Let’s remember other victims of overly aggressive police raids. Kathryn Johnston was 92 when she was gunned down in her own home. Bounkham Phonesavanh was horribly maimed when a flash-bang grenade was tossed into his crib. Isaac Singletary was killed by police posing as drug dealers on his own front lawn. The 80 year old man tried to chase them off.
This has local implications. Several years ago, the city of Bloomington applied for a Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) military vehicle from the Obama administration. Bloomington did not get the MRAP, so they are instead purchasing a BearCat armored vehicle, also raising concerns about police militarization. We must oppose police militarization.