The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article in August of last year that caught my attention. It focused on the militarization of the US police force. “Rise of the Warrior Cop“, which showcased the exponential increase in SWOT teams across the US.
Book image below with same title/name.
From the article in WSJ …”the country’s first official SWAT team started in the late 1960s in Los Angeles. By 1975, there were approximately 500 such units. Today, there are thousands. According to surveys conducted by the criminologist Peter Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University, just 13% of towns between 25,000 and 50,000 people had a SWAT team in 1983. By 2005, the figure was up to 80%.”
In today’s NYT, they show a very captivating photo on the home page of NYT.com of three armed SWOT type commandos rushing a protestor in Ferguson, MO. The article suggests this man was protesting a shooting. If so, why all the use of force? Curious to learn more.
The question that starts to form could be…how many police officers do we need carrying sub machine guns, bayonets, or transporting in armored personnel carriers? This question can be viewed through the prism of (a) number of violent crimes committed over the last 30+ years and (b) number of crimes committed by assault rifles (and their ilk) vs smaller handguns and less powerful “force multipliers”. Thus, maybe SWOT style responses are warranted in some cases, others possibly not (see Deterrence Theory as a possible organizing principle).
Anecdotal evidence suggests there is love affair with all things commando in the US, from navy seal books such as The Trident to modern day films such as Act of Valor or Hollywood blockbusters like Lone Survivor.
Presumably this love affair has a direct implication on how we staff our domestic policing forces and/or is a direct outcome of the much talked about “military industrial complex” in the US.
Last, night, I attended the Webby Awards (11th annual) at Cipriani Wall Street on behalf of WSJ.
The WSJ.com received and award for Financial Services, beating out CNNMoney, American Express Red, MoveOutMoveUp, and the Vanguard Liberty Campaign. CNNMoney also won an award….the People’s Choice Award.
The evening had an Oscar-esque aire…with a red carpet, swirlling paparrazi, candle lit tables and a multi media extravaganze. The event was quite long…..4+ hours in total…but the mandatory five word speaches were amusing (and often risque) at times. It was not a crowd I anticipated attending….very corporate..alot of suits and a formal affair…but then again, NYC always seems to be stiff when I am visiting. Probably spent too much time in SF.
The WSJ team hosted a table which included two of our esteemed bloggers, Gordon McLeod – the president of DJO, Raanan Bar-Cohen – Director of Product Strategy, Jane Kratochvil – Asst Director of Investment Newsletters, and Rich Knopke from Ad Sales. Wine was poured, desserts were delicious and a few of us cracked smiles with the various short films and clips shown overhead.
The gala was hosted by Rob Corddry of Fox’s The Winner and former correspondent of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. There were awards for David Bowie, Meg Whitman, president of Ebay and an award to the Beastie Boys and the founders of YouTube.
Overall….i thought it lacked a certain “internet” flair…none of the award recipients web sites or creatives were shown? Odd for an internet event? Where was the social media? The UGC? The “voice from the crowds”?
I cant (and dont want to) comment on the recent news of DJ’s proposed acquisition by News Corp. But, in today’s Op Ed section of the WSJ…i enjoyed the quote and thought I would share.
On January 2, 1951, William Grimes wrote a memorable editorial, “A Newspaper’s Philosophy,” that summed up our [WSJ] worldview this way:
“On our editorial page we make no pretense of walking down the middle of the road. Our comments and interpretations are made from a definite point of view. We believe in the individual, in his wisdom and his decency. We oppose all infringements on individual rights, whether they stem from attempts at private monopoly, labor union monopoly or from an overgrowing government. People will say we are conservative or even reactionary. We are not much interested in labels but if we were to choose one, we would say we are radical.”
Recent comment in Paidcontent.org on Bud.Tv. What is the issue here? Make a site where people can upload videos of their friends when drunk. Make a site that a person can send pictures from their camera phone. Have people rate them “hot or not” or something more bucolic like “drunk or just stupid”… I mean, you have some of the best user generated content available! Make a site where fraternities can also create profiles, upload pictures of the frat guys chugging (in a very irresponsible way [ he says tongue in cheek] and have a go). This shouldnt be THAT difficult. There are a myriad of ideas that come to mind when thinking about possible avenues…and the one below….is not a recipe for success!
“A-B Not giving up on Bud.tv yet; will revamp instead” by Staci KRamer of paidcontent.org.
“Last week’s negative review by Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV during a session with analysts raised expectations that the brewery was ready to pull the plug on money-sink Bud.tv. ($15 million and counting.) Not gonna happen. Instead, the site will be overhauled with the help, according to the WSJ, of its own employees ages 21-26. They’ve been going to focus groups for the last few weeks and the result will be an edgier site, Tony Ponturo, VP-global media and sports marketing, told the Journal. Ponturo: “It’s clear to us that the consumer wants more interaction, more conversion and more of a social community.” One result: a switch in video philosophy. Bud.tv will produce shorter videos instead of the six-minute shows and will import content from other sites rather than rely only on original programming. ”
“But one of the biggest impediments to the site appears to be sticking around-the cumbersome age-verification system. Perhaps the idea is people will be so interested in the content (the new goal “is to become an aggregator of cool information for beer drinkers”) they won’t care how long it takes to register. “