Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell thinks the use of unmanned aerial drones for domestic law enforcement is—his word—”great.” As he told WTOP radio in Washington recently, “[It] cuts down on manpower in the air, and also [is] more safe. That’s why we use it on the battlefield.”
Well, yes. But there is a slight difference between Baltimore and Basra or Kansas and Kandahar: We’re not at war in Baltimore or Kansas. We’re not trying to vanquish enemy forces in Washington, or repel an invasion inNorth Dakota.
Admittedly, you might not know that by looking at today’s hyper-militarized police forces. In recent years they have been stocking up on body armor, flashbang grenades, assault rifles, and armored vehicles like the Lenco BearCat G3—an 8-ton, quarter-million-dollar behemoth that is all the rage in burgs both big and small. (Among the localities that have bought a BearCat G3 is Warren County, Va., a bucolic place of 40,000 that averages one homicide every three years. If that.)