The problem with cops and soldiers

From Harper’s Weekly Review:

The Philadelphia police union demanded a 5 percent “accountability pay” salary increase in exchange for agreeing to wear body cameras, and a Beverly Hills police officer was accused of playing music by the Nineties ska-punk band Sublime while being filmed by a civilian so that the video would be subject to copyright infringement charges if it were posted on social media.

These two items reminded me: post-Capitol assault articles have cited numbers of the rioters are or were cops and ex-military. (I just heard that one-fifth of the Capitol assaulters were ex-military/ex-police.)

It’s easy to say what the police and military have in common. Weaponry and uniforms. But I think it’s more than that and if I’m right, reforming our armed and uniformed officials will be difficult.

Public services that offer weaponry as a major attraction are going to get applicants whose eyes gleam at the idea of carrying guns. No use to call such services “peace keepers,” when the reverse of “peace” is part of the uniform.

The more I read about ex-military people involved in the Capitol attack, the more I realize how psychologically warped they are, how unfit to function within a normal life, i.e., without weapons, without heightened expectations of violence.

Military and cops are pre-selected and trained to be hypervigilant, i.e., paranoid, and then they’re given weapons. Not good.

So what can be done? A rigorous series of psych tests are, I believe, already part of the police process. (I don’t know what the military does.) Clearly, though, this testing is not weeding out applicants with violent superhero fantasies: some of them are being chased down by the FBI, et al, for rioting at the Capitol.

So what can be done? I’m not sure but I’d like weapons not to be such a potent draw for military and police candidates. They attract the wrong kind of people. And once you train those people to use weapons, how do you de-program them? Can they be de-programmed?

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