Letters to the Editor

Ann T. Berry: Police’s bad appearances

Regarding those Ferguson, Mo., police, masks and shiny shields sadly familiar and scarily alien, confronting protests over another police killing of another unarmed black youth: Remember, their warlike equipment is mostly Pentagon overstock, given free or dirt-cheap to thousands of U.S. towns and cities.

Other reports note that most weaponry the hyper-militant ISIS terrorists used in their lightning swoop through northern Iraq was ditched by the Iraqi army, running away. From pistols to APCs, it’s stamped “Made in America.” So is much of the materiel used in eastern Ukraine. And many if not most of the bombs that Israel hailed down on Gaza and the smaller arms were U.S. aid to Egypt, smuggled to Hamas through desert tunnels. Bad-guy legions almost everywhere – drug lords, extremists, terrorists, from Central America and Mexico to Africa (both sides of the Sahara), Syria – all use loads of weaponry Americans paid for.

Much was made after World War II of Germany’s history as “arms merchant to the world.” Since then, America has made (doubtless still makes) more guns and gear than anyone anywhere needs. Concern grows about “militarizing” police: that the more they use dehumanizing SWAT and riot gear, the more alienated anyone facing these “protectors” will feel. Makes sense to me. Anywhere.

Ann T. Berry, Raleigh