State Lawmakers in Illinois have petitioned the Governor of Illinois to bring in the National Guard to assist the police in Chicago in controlling violence. The lawmakers believe that the police department has been stretched too thin, and that they can no longer control the streets of Chicago. A recent weekend of violence, marked by one night that saw 7 murders and 18 others wounded in various incidents in Chicago.
I saw the report about this on the News last night, and have read several articles online today, and I am just amazed that there is not more uproar about it.
Is there anyone out there who believes that this can possibly be a good idea? Can it really be that the public in this country is perfectly OK with troops, albeit National Guard Troops, being deployed into a city as law enforcement officers?
I spent time in Israel while I was in the military, and saw IDF forces serving as police, and the sight of armed troops in the streets was chilling to me then, and the thought of such is chilling to me now. It is even more chilling at the thought of it happening in the USA.
If one gives these legislators the benefit of the doubt, they are asking for help out of desperation. If their pleas are to be taken at face value, they are desperate to solve a problem in their most heavily populated city that is causing bloodshed. But, even with the benefit of the doubt, the request is an unwise one. The police do not want the troops there. They feel that it would be counterproductive to have troops patrolling the city, and have cited several different constitutional issues that could come into play regarding the differences in training and rules of engagement that Police and Guardsmen are trained to follow.
Or is this what we can expect? Is this a “trial balloon” being floated up, just to see how it will play out? Is this a test to see how the people of this country will react if troops are deployed among them? Is this a test, to see how troops will react if they are deployed against the citizenry? If deployed in Chicago, will it be long before other cities with high crime rates have troops deployed there? Should we expect a USA where troops patrol the streets, and our law enforcement is done by soldiers instead of police officers? Is this the beginning of some sinister plan to ensure that the public and the military will accept a military presence in our cities and towns? Is this the acclimation period to ensure that military personnel will not balk at pointing a weapon at civilians, and that civilians will not revolt when the troops start set up a check point on Main Street?
But even ignoring the sinister overtones, and with the assumption that the request is made on good faith, with the reduction of violent crime as the only goal, this cannot be allowed to happen. It has been tried before. It failed then, and it will fail now. Troops were sent to Kent State University, and the results were, predictably, disastrous. National Guardsmen are trained and drilled to do many jobs, but civilian law enforcement is not one of them, and we only have to look at that dark day in May of 1970 to realize that this is a recipe for tragedy. Forty years later, we are heading down that path again. The lessons of the past must be heeded, for those who do not learn the lessons from mistakes are doomed to repeat those mistakes. Repeating this mistake will cost lives.
Even if this is a completely honest request, with no ulterior motives, it should not be allowed to happen. It will have a bad ending for the City of Chicago.
And if it is anything else, it simply must not happen. It will have a bad ending for us all.