I recently tweeted this:
Unbeknownst to me, Steve M. was thinking the same thing (boldface mine):
The “left” and “right” in this debate will be: do we get rid of the MRAPs and BearCats and keep the rest of our usual tactics? Or do we keep it all?
It would be lovely to think that Rand Paul, by joining liberals in condemning the racial inequities of our justice system, has helped move the discussion to the left. But as I told you on Thursday, even Paul stressed the military hardware rather than the racism in his Time op-ed. And now those of his conservative brethren who are willing to acknowledge any problems whatsoever in how we deal out criminal justice are going to limit themselves to talking about tanks. So, outside MSNBC, that’s all we’re going to talk about.
What is increasingly being left unsaid in the whole discussion about the transformation of our security forces into forces of occupation is that it has two main targets: minorities and left-of-center non-violent dissent–and, yes, opposition to police brutality, especially against minorities, has historically been a liberal, not conservative, cause, though there are exceptions. You haven’t seen any anti-abortion protestors teargassed, and the Bundy Ranch white riot (in which high-powered rifles were aimed at government officials) was met non-violently. At some point, if this is not gotten under control, someone will get it into his head to react with organized violence.
So I’m glad conservatives are joining in. Not only will that make it more likely that something might be done, but it will help the usual targets of police violence. But we need to remember that it’s not just the particular methods used, but that it is considered acceptable to treat some groups differently than others.