Note: Normally, I wouldn’t lend any credence to the sort of “activism” depicted in the above video and I, personally, know little to nothing about “wearechange.org”. I might also add that, with the exception of the black “Jaws” figure, none of the FRP personnel appears overly threatening…still, watching the above inspired the following observations. – HT
One of the more striking trends of my adult lifetime has been to see virtually every podunk local, state, and federal agency militarize itself.
There was a point in time when it actually seemed ludicrous that even major cities were forming SWAT teams. Perhaps you remember Lt. Howard Hunter, the brundt of many jokes, who headed up the “Emergency Action Team” (EAT) on the 80’s classic, “Hill Street Blues”? Here was a fellow who was always ready for a fight, even if there was no need.
By the mid-to-late ’90’s, even small, isolated, bucolic towns (such as my own Bainbridge Island, WA) had to have their own teams of muscled-up ex-military officers riding around in black Suburbans. It was always a bit hard to imagine why, other than the pure seductive (and tre chic) aura of power that such displays must engender in our political class. (Almost makes me want to have my ‘burb repainted.)
Of course, none of these holds a candle to the Feds….and by that I mean those myriad law enforcement agencies of the Federal Government. When even today’s Andy Griffith apparently needs his own drones, you can only imagine what the Amtrak police must have in their bunkers.
According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (part of an even larger army, it seems), the total number of “sworn officers” employed by the Feds (including the various military branches) had grown from 411,000 in 1975 to 659,000 in 2001, ratcheting up the overall rate from roughly 211 per 100,000 US residents to 246 per 100,000.
Excluding the military component, civilian agency officers totalled roughly 69,000 in 1993 and had grown to nearer to 88,000 by 2000, an annual rate of approximately 4%. Since 2000, in the post-9/11 world, these numbers (which exclude the TSA by the way) had grown to 120,000 by 2008.
In the overall context, the Federal Reserve Police force…estimated in 2008 to number in the range of 140 officers, is pretty small potatoes…roughly similar to those attached to the National Marine Fisheries Service (149) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (145). What makes it a bit more interesting, however, is that the Federal Reserve Police, like the ever-expanding TSA army (now numbering near 45,000), is purely a creature of the post-9/11 world.
Then too, like Amtrak, the Federal Reserve is – as noted in the above video – a private enterprise, even if chartered by the Federal Government. Secrecy has, of course, always been a prime directive of the Fed, it’s just grown a little more hair over the past decade.