The controversial 1033 program became a source of citizen outrage after images of police armed with military-grade weaponry, including grenade launchers and armored MRAPs, were beamed into people homes across the country during the battlefield-style police response to the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.
As many Americans noted, Ferguson, Missouri looked like a war zone, with police kitted out in Marine-issue camouflage and military-grade body armor, toting short-barreled assault rifles, and rolling around in armored vehicles — virtually indistinguishable from US soldiers.
Shortly after the American public became widely aware, and largely outraged, over the extreme militarization of their local police forces, President Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) that blocked large-caliber weapons, armored vehicles, grenade launchers and other heavy military hardware from being repurposed from battlefields across the globe to small town USA.
Obama argued at the time, that police utilization of such weapons of war cast the police as an “occupying force,” and only served to deepen the divide between police and the community.
“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like they’re an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” Obama said in announcing the ban in 2015.
This was one of very few notable pro-liberty moves by the Obama administration, however, thanks to the Trump administration, it was overturned. And now, Biden has picked up where Trump left off and has expanded it.
Despite Biden and Kamala Harris paying lip service to police brutality and riding the waves of the Black Lives Matter movement during their campaign, the president and his vice president have refused to even meet with the group. This is also in spite of the fact that BLM formed a PAC, which helped fund its ad campaigns to mobilize Black voters to go out and vote for Biden.
What so many police accountability activists are learning now is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. As fissures in their leadership begins to crack apart Black Lives Matter inside its upper echelons, talk about police reform is waning, fast.
Getting bad orange man out of the White House has effectively placated the masses and the huge movements and protests we witnessed prior to November 3, have fizzled out. Now, the police state is gaining new ground and the expansion of it is being spearheaded by the ones who ran on a platform to rein it in.
According to the folks at SecurityReform.org the flow of military gear under 1033 to police departments has increased when compared to the previous champion of the police state, Donald Trump.
As Security Reform reports:
The flow of military equipment to police does not enhance public safety. In fact, the relationship is precisely the other way around. There is a direct correlation between 1033 program transfers and the number of people shot and killed by police. Not surprisingly, having and using military equipment makes police more violent.
At least 336,863 military-grade items have been transferred to American police agencies through the 1033 program since it began in fiscal year 1997. This includes a range of weapons and equipment and spare parts and accessories for each. The most visible armaments used by police—firearms, vehicles, and aircraft—are itemized below. President Biden could order the Department of Defense to recall this matériel by executive order at any time, but has so far elected not to.
Security Reform has called on Congress to rein in Biden’s police state expansion, but they are apparently unconcerned. The standing army about which the founding fathers warned, is now here and the world’s deadliest police force is armed to the teeth to maintain their hold.
This is in spite of the fact that violence against police has gone down significantly over the last 3 decades.
Nevertheless, because there is a new old man in the White House, the masses have gone back to fighting among each other, ignoring real solutions, and failing to implement any significant change. All the while, political distractions over superficial and meaningless ideas keep them successfully distracted for the world’s deadliest and most prolific police state to continue to march on unhindered.