After days of violence and protests in Ferguson, Missouri following the police shooting of an 18-year-old man Saturday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has penned an op-ed piece for Time, where he says the “root of the problem is big government.”
He also says the police needs to be demilitarized.
“The outrage in Ferguson is understandable—though there is never an excuse for rioting or looting,” Paul writes. “There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response.”
Paul points out that “most police officers are good cops and good people” doing a difficult job, referencing the images we’ve seen of overpowering police forces confronting protesters, who are unarmed.
Not surprisingly, big government has been at the heart of the problem, Paul writes. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement.
“When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury—national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture—we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.”