Militarized Police

What's going on in Ferguson really shouldn't surprise anyone.

Could you have guessed that these were cops?

Could you have guessed that these were cops?

Even if things turn around quickly, though, it won't erase the memories from this past week or end the debate about tactics. Chief among them are decisions like deploying heavily armed officers and using military equipment, which some experts say helped to make a bad situation even worse.

"The tactics they are using, I don't know where they learned them from," [Retired Lt. Gen. Russell] Honore said Thursday on CNN Newsroom. "It appears they may be making them up on the way. But this is escalating the situation."

This is just a real-life demonstration of the Law of the Instrument, aka Maslow's Hammer -- "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

Strategy is shaped by tactics and tactics are shaped by tools, i.e. your weapons' capabilities dictate what you can do. So if you arm your police with military-surplus weapons and equipment, why is anyone surprised when the police start using military-style tactics?