This morning, while perusing the news about Ferguson, MO, a thought provoking editorial surfaced. You may not generally agree with Rand Paul, but his thoughts regarding justice and the militarization of police activity are worthy of your consideration.
The Constitution’s third amendment addresses a similar topic —
No soldier shall, in times of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of War, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
For some early American leaders, their distrust of military power went far beyond the outlines of the third amendment. These luminaries opposed a permanent US army altogether. Standing armies, they contended, endangered liberty. Times have certainly changed.
Given how often local SWAT teams look like soldiers, and ride in surplus military vehicles, perhaps it is time to lengthen the third amendment —
No soldier shall, in times of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of War, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. Nor shall surplus military vehicles or heavy armaments be used for security purposes in a state, city, town, or rural area unless an official state-of-emergency or military invasion shall require it.
America’s founders believed thoughtful cynicism was healthy, particularly since humans lack god-like perfection. Therefore the third amendment prioritizes caution over expediency. Today citizens must do the same – the militarization of local police must be carefully reconsidered. Expediency is the enemy of liberty.