the police response in fort lauderdale appeared deranged and incompetent, even more than usual: one poor sucker, already in custody, and a military invasion of the entire region: armored vehicles rolling in; squads of armored men with automatic weapons dashing here and there. there were hours of absurd panic long after the situation was resolved, as people would suddenly start running, usually because some squad of swat started stampeding somewhere as they chased phantom shooters. as always, one shooter multiplies to three. and i just want to remark: you bring overwhelming bulletproof force to the whole region, and still, you panic. that you have panicked is one reason that the response is absurdly disproportionate. they'd like to praise the courageous police response. i'd like to condemn it as an expression of cowardice and incompetence. one of these days, the response is going to be worse than the event.
the other thing i want to point out is that many of these shooters have been armed and trained with weapons by the u.s. military. yeah we can talk guns and we can talk mental illness. but perhaps we should also talk about who is training whom to kill.
a feature of the 'war on terror' is that it engulfs 'the homeland': it has led to a militarization of our society in myriad aspects. really, we're all supposed to be soldiers. but every town has an occupation force that can quickly invade that town itself with massive military force. (oh, also the 'wot' has imposed universal surveillance.) it's extremely disturbing when brought to bear on protesters; it is embarrassing when it is brought to bear on some mentally ill person with a gun. they want overwhelming annihilating force to deal with everything. they lurch with incredible incompetence into a dangerously or absurdly assymmetric response. then they want credit for their service and physical courage. one thing i'd credit them with: the end of american liberty.
paradoxically but obviously, these huge and panicky systems are extremely vulnerable. i'm telling you any chump could stop any major city with a few lumpy backpacks. anyone who chooses to can essentially freeze aviation over the whole country. law-enforcement consultants seem grim and implacable on television; they preside over systems that are way too big to be smart or fast; they're jammed in a million procedures. every attempt to make themselves so huge and so armored and so armed that they are irresistible makes them more vulnerable to the pinprick and more liable to make a terrible mistake somewhere.