The Posse Comitatus Act is the United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152) that was passed on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction and was updated in 1981. Its intent (in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807) was to limit the powers of Federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce the state laws.
The Act, as modified in 1981, refers to the Armed Forces of the United States. It does not apply to the National Guard under state authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state’s governor. The United States Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, is also not covered by the Posse Comitatus Act, primarily because the Coast Guard has both a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission.” – Wikipedia
It should also be mentioned that the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) also has a clause in it that allows the Federal government to deploy soldiers under certain circumstance. But those provisions aside, it’s the training and equipping of the police to do battle that’s really killed the spirit of Posse Comitatus.
Yes, we should fix this – but until then we should simply take note and reflect on how this could affect us directly – then prepare.
In a nutshell, we essentially have law enforcement officers trained as soldiers on our streets. Normally they ride around incognito, in clean-cut uniforms and black & white cars – but if the shit hits the fan in any way, we can expect them to don their tactical duds and mount their MRAPs, ready for battle.
It’s not the cops fault, federal policies and programs have made this happen. Without federal funding and free & virtually free training & gear our local police wouldn’t be where they are today. So when the President stands up there at the podium and says all the right things, remember that it was the Federal Government that set the stage.
We could complain all day long about how we got here and who’s at fault. We could also start to try and change things. But the most practical thing might be to simply be to prepare for living in a police state – as a backup plan.
I’m an idealist, but also fairly practical, and not half bad at multitasking. Consider this a two-pronged approach. While you busy yourself working to change things, also build a plan in case the shit hits the fan. Think of it like buying cheap insurance.
Photo from Business Insider.