(via Radley Balko)
Students of history (or like me, viewers of HBO) may recall that Roman soldiers were not permitted to wear soldiers' clothes within the walls of the city during the days of the Republic, a tradition that ended right around the time someone declared himself Emperor...
I realize that police can and do confront dangerous situations that may call for specialized training, powerful weaponry, and military-like tactics. In fact, I've been in a building that was (legitimately) cleared by a SWAT team (nothing can prepare you for having eight high-powered rifles pointed at your center of mass, let me tell you). But these are the exception, not the rule. The increasing militarization of the police as standard operating procedure should scare the hell out of you.
And now, a word from the Old Man:
There’s a reason you separate the military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.
Is it lame to quote Battlestar Galactica to reinforce one's argument? Most likely. But I don't know that I could have phrased it better in this case.