While Hurricane Harvey dominates the headlines, President Trump on Monday, August 29th, quietly rolled back Obama-era restrictions on local police buying and using military gear. Obama's executive order from 2015 prohibited "the transfer of a host of equipment, including armored vehicles, grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons and camouflage uniforms following controversy over the 'militarization' of the police response to unrest in Ferguson, Missouri." President Trump apparently disagrees with this stance, and has lifted the ban. MAD Magazine published a piece of cover-art inspired by both Norman Rockwell and Donald Trump:
It's so well done, especially the alarmed expression of the counter man, I couldn't help laughing.The reality, though, is no laughing matter— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) August 29, 2017
We've seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there's an occupying force as opposed to a force that's part of the community that's protecting them and serving them. It can alienate and intimidate local residents and send the wrong message.
These guidelines were created after Ferguson to ensure that police departments had a guardian, not warrior, mentality. Our communities are not the same as armed combatants in a war zone.
We are fighting a multi-front battle: an increase in violent crime, a rise in vicious gangs, an opioid epidemic, threats from terrorism, combined with a culture in which family and discipline seem to be eroding further and a disturbing disrespect for the rule of law...The executive order the President will sign today will ensure that you can get the lifesaving gear that you need to do your job and send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence and lawlessness to become a new normal.
At times like these, it's important for the artists and satirists at publications like MAD to continue giving us perspective. Otherwise, who knows where we may end up.