There’s an old political adage — the enemy of my enemy is my friend. It certainly can be useful at times, make strange bedfellows and even generate genuine bipartisan action.
And then sometimes it’s just dumb.
As of late conservatives have become more suspicious of an increasingly militarized local police. Tales of military-grade equipment and even training have garnered attention about exactly what the relationship is supposed to be between a police department and the public it putatively serves and protects. It sometimes looks as if the police are arming to go to war with its citizenry.
The strange bedfellow here is the hard left.
For some reason I get emails about the campaign in Oakland to “stop” “Urban Shield.” Urban Shield is some kind of police exercise/trade show that takes place every year around this time. I get the emails practically year round but they intensify in August.
Looking at the Urban Shield website, it does seem to be a bit heavy on the firepower. But then one wouldn’t want the local police to be outgunned by actual bad guys rather than, say, suburbanites who know Scott Walker. It’s a tough call.
The people, er… “coalition” who are protesting Urban Shield — actually trying to get it shut down — have names like “War Resisters League, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Xicano Moratorium Coalition, and Critical Resistance.”
The email says: “Urban Shield is a county-wide war games, SWAT training and weapons expo held each year since 2007 that involves hundreds of local, federal and international agencies, with past participation of law enforcement from apartheid Israel. The event plays a significant role in militarizing police, which leads to increased violence in many communities, particularly in Black and Brown neighborhoods.”
Uh-huh… They didn’t capitalize “apartheid” but did “Black and Brown.” Interesting.
The guy sending the email is named Mohamed Shehk.
Well, so much for a temporary tactical alliance. These guys aren’t against the militarization of the police. They are against the police, any police.
I’m in the media, which is the big reason I get these emails. Everyone assumes I must be a liberal. I’ll also guarantee you that big media (I’m little ‘b-to-b’ media) gets these too. So why aren’t these fairly scary, superhard left wackos exposed to the public? In places like Oakland they are quite numerous and some of their allies are on city and county councils. Dig down and you’ll find a lot of them are university professors, public school teachers, city, county and state workers. They have taxpayer-funded jobs-for-life. Some of the groups receive city, county, state or federal grants.
These people and their wacky groups are real. They are the left-wing version of “militias,’ yet unlike the highly marginalized and wildly disorganized militias, these groups are large and well-organized. This bunch crows that it got the event shut down last year and says, “Community organizations in the Stop Urban Shield Coalition are mobilizing to ensure that Urban Shield is no longer welcome in the Bay Area or anywhere else.”
When some liberal rolls their eyes at you and insists you are exaggerating when you mention the threat of leftwing groups, remember that there are some groups for which there simply is no common ground.