Those who’ve been following the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo., this week have undoubtedly seen or read commentary about the militarization of our local police departments. If you’re curious about what surplus military equipment the Defense Department has given to your county, see the excellent interactive map posted by the New York Times a few days ago.
My county is the proud recipient of 41 assault rifles, 2 night vision pieces, and 2 armored vehicles. Hardly worth mentioning compared to, say, Maricopa County, Ariz., where General Sheriff Joe Arpaio is in charge: 1,696 night vision pieces, 406 assault rifles, 128 pistols, 36 body armor pieces, 9 shotguns, 7 other armored vehicles, 5 helicopters, 4 mine-resistant vehicles (aka MRAPs), and 2 planes.
The rationale, of course, is to help your local police protect your annual pumpkin festival from terrorists who might target it. I cite pumpkin festivals because comedian John Oliver did so on his show last night. He made some other good points, too.