This is the future that the continued militarization of the Keene Police Department holds for the citizens of Keene. One only needs to watch the news or read a newspaper for further proof that a BearCat truly has no proper place in a peaceful society. As a government accountability activist in Arizona, I have closely witnessed the development of several up close and personal examples of police militarization and high level “government” corruption. One such instance took place when infamous Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio teamed up with reality actor Steven Seagal for an extra special episode of Steven Seagal: Lawman, the actor’s current A&E gig. They raided the home of Jesus Sanchez Llovera because, as a chicken farmer, he was suspected of “cockfighting”, which is illegal in the state of Arizona. Seagal drove the MCSO tank into Llovera’s home, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage. The Llovera family’s dog was executed in the raid, as were the chickens the raid was supposedly executed to protect.
Another example of the effects of a growing police state on a community was the murder of two time veteran and father Jose Guerena by the SWAT team in Tuscon, AZ. On the morning of May 5th, 2011, Guerena’s wife Vanessa saw men dressed in all black standing outside her home with automatic weapons. She screamed for her husband, who subsequently woke up and grabbed his gun, telling his wife to take their four year old son and hide in the closet. Unfortunately, the armed gang of thugs surrounding the Guerena’s home shot at him 71 times and left him there for dead; after surviving Iraq and Afghanistan, Jose Guerena bled to death on the floor of his own home, at the hands of his own government, as his wife and son watched in horror. The safety on his weapon had never even been deactivated.
Finally, one only needs to look at the violence initiated against the peaceful people at Occupy protests across the country for proof that militarization of police has no place in peaceful society. On the first night of the Occupy Phoenix protests in October, I along with a few hundred other protestors were directed to an enclosed park where we were told we could spend the night. As the evening wore on, we began to notice that the park was surrounded by hundreds of police vehicles and that police were setting up a tear gas truck. They had decided that we could not spend the night after all, and the incident ended with an army dressed in full black military gear and face masks turning off all power to the park and kidnapping 45 individuals in the dark. It was just as intimidating as they intended it to be and an experience I won’t soon forget.
Sadly, this is the reality of police militarization. It is also worth mentioning the question of who is paying for all of this? One only has to look at each and every one of their tax records to answer that. A large portion of the federal tax you pay goes to national defense, and is trickling down from the federal government to protect from “enemies foreign and domestic” thus initiating a war against anyone who is tired of having their rights violated, their freedoms stolen, and their property “repossessed” by the United States Government. The irony lies in the fact that we as a people are actively participating in our own destruction through both the legitimization and funding of our own slavery. As free human beings we have a moral obligation to withdraw our support of and consent to tyranny. I moved to Keene to escape the effects of police militarization and we must not allow this in our city. Personally, I neither support nor consent to a BearCat being driven through my backyard nor through that of my peaceful neighbors. I genuinely hope that the entire city of Keene will serve as an example for the rest of the country and have the courage to say “Thanks, but no tanks”.