Balko put together a very interesting (and disturbing) quiz of photographs and let’s you see if you can guess which are pictures of soldiers and which are pictures of cops.
Since I have experience in both fields I tried to take the quiz as quickly as possible to minimize the amount I could ‘game’ the system. It still happened (there aren’t many mud walls like you see in Afghanistan here in the states and one or two of the photos got national attention and were recognizable) but I was only able to score 16 out of 21 correct. That’s shocking given my time with the military and I’d have to assume that for citizens without that familiarity and forced to make a quick determination the distinctions would be almost impossible to make.
Forget about getting any real discussion about the pros and cons of creating police forces with military grade equipment in the U.S. News that law enforcement deaths are on the increase will be seen as a reason to escalate (we need bigger guns! drones! tanks!) rather than reevaluate current methodologies.
The best comment on all of this was over at BoingBoing:
When I was a kid, the tough one was telling cops and postmen apart.