Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Police

Demilitarization of the Police Requires Demilitarization of Civilians

The recent clashes between demonstrators and police forces in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police forces has many calling into question the slow, steady rate at which police forces in the United States have become militarized. If we want to stop and potentially reverse this trend, we need to understand its underlying cause–the simultaneous militarization of the civilian population.

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The Internet is like a Road

There’s a lot of disagreement about the extent to which the state is entitled to take metadata on whom people communicate with on the internet and over the phone. I’d like to make a broad argument, one that I think ought to hold no matter what kind of state you live in, whether you’re in the US or Europe or China or what have you. This argument relies on our conception of the “public network”. What do we understand to be a public network, and what can the state do with public networks? Once we have determined what a public network is, we can apply the same moral and legal principles to every  public network. I think that roads, rails, phone lines, power lines, pipes, the internet, and mobile phones are all in an important sense public networks, and that the laws and principles governing surveillance of any one of these networks should apply to all of them.

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Police Prejudice

I ran across an interesting old Supreme Court decision today from the mid-2000’s. It was a 7-2 decision and if I remember it didn’t get much play at the time in the press–though that was eight years ago, and I may just be forgetful. The court ruled that the police do not have a legal duty to protect any given citizen. The decision justifies a whole slew of first principle injustices–it was wrong, and we are worse off for it. Here’s how.

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