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How the excessive militarization of the police is turning cops into counterinsurgents
by Matthew Harwood
Jason Westcott was afraid.
One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott's handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”
by Paul Armentano
55% of those surveyed also said that they supported statewide laws seeking to tax and regulate the production and sale of cannabis to adults.
PALO ALTO, CA — Sixty-six percent of Americans believe that adults ought to legally be able to consume cannabis in the privacy of one’s own home, according to results of a recent nationwide HuffingtonPost/YouGov survey.
Seventy-two percent of self-identified Democrats and 70 percent of Independents said that the private consumption of cannabis should be legal.
Republican respondents endorsed private consumption by a margin of 50 percent to 39 percent.
Fifty-five percent of respondents — including 62 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Independents — also said that they supported statewide laws seeking to tax and regulate the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults, such as those recently enacted in Colorado and Washington.
By contrast, only 37 percent of Republicans said they supported such a plan.
by Thomas B Edsall
Americans have been pretty cynical about politics since at least Vietnam and Watergate. And key reforms that conservatives sought for decades and finally achieved have done nothing to quiet public distrust of the political class.
In fact, two of these reforms — the ban on congressional earmarks and a series of court rulings that radically deregulated campaign-finance law – have intensified the public’s hostility to both politicians and the political process.
From 2006 to 2013, the percentage of Americans convinced that corruption was “widespread throughout the government in this country” grew from 59 to 79 percent, according to Gallup. In other words, we were cynical already, but now we’re in overdrive.
The paper of record goes on the record unequivocably in favor of legalization of marijuana.
by the New York Times Editorial Board
It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.
The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.
We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.
Internet users who use online privacy tools or read certain websites may themselves become targets of NSA surveillance, according to a new investigation by public broadcasting outlets in Germany published on Thursday.
The rapid militarization of American police forces is turning our communities into "war zones" with tactics of war used disproportionately against people of color, charged a new report by the ACLU on Tuesday.
by Bill Piper/Drug Policy Alliance
A recent piece in the Washington Post highlights the growing backlog of untested rape test kits that are sitting in police storage units while rapists run free and victims suffer. Missing from the story, however, is one of the biggest contributors to this backlog, the enormous amount of police and tax resources spent targeting drug crimes, particularly marijuana possession.
The backlog is a disgrace. The total number of rape test kits that have never been sent to laboratories for testing exceeds 100,000. In some cases, the kits have been sitting in storage for decades. From the Washington Post:
10 THINGS CITIZENS CAN DO TO IMPROVE CITIZENS/POLICE RELATIONS