Concerning news out of Cleveland for those invested in the future of American democracy: city police have begun to stockpile riot gear in advance of hosting the Republican National Convention in July. The news bodes ill not only for those interested in maintaining a civil discourse both within, and between, political parties, but also for those distressed by the increasing militarization of municipal police forces across the country.
A little over two months ago last night, John Oliver* — in a segment on the phenomenon of police militarization, prompted by then-recent events in Ferguson — poked fun at the Keene Police Department for having cited the tiny town’s annual pumpkin festival as justification for its purchase of a Bearcat** (which looks like this):
So when this year’s festival erupted in riotous disarray, a whole mess of people gleefully and predictably gloated that those events somehow served to vindicate the Keene PD. Here’s a brief sample: