It’s never really surprising to hear of reality thoroughly inverted in the mind of your average Fox News viewer; in fact, we’ve come these days to treat 364 days of the conservative calendar as Opposite Day. Things work out best that way. And it shouldn’t be surprising that police/military forces (is there a difference anymore?) have begun to think the same way. But every once in a while…well, you get a story like this.
Every year, SWAT teams (this year numbering 35) from around the country gather together to see who’s the absolute best at shooting civilians, and using hardware leftover from Bush’s War on Terror to terrorize Americans. And the results are always interesting, if you dig the whole “let’s see which domestic ‘police’ force can out-military the other” sort of thing. But a few interesting inversions have happened lately, particularly during this year’s even in the San Francisco Bay area.
One is that, much as it beggars belief, police have become so militarized that they are no longer emulating the Marines — the Marines are showing up to emulate them. One Marine attendee of the annual SWAT war games, reporting to Mother Jones, said they come:
“To learn different tactics. You have some of the best guys out there, and they give their input and we take that back with us and teach our Marines.”
The U.S. Marines aren’t alone either; groups from as far away as Singapore, Bahrain, South Korea and Israel show up to learn the best of the best military techniques from America’s police.
And that’s pretty disturbing.
But not as disturbing as the actual scenario of this year’s exercise — the final war game to decide the winner of the overall event.
This year’s scenario was a hostage situation; not unusual in itself. But the hostages were Christians, held at gunpoint inside of a church. Okay…a little iffy. But the group they were being held by?
“Militant atheist extremists.”
And SWAT’s job…to kill them all, and rescue the Christians.
And lest we think that this was only the result of a little out-there fantasizing from a private group (specifically Urban Shield) which organized the event, it’s worth noting that the police war games are paid for mostly by the Department of Homeland Security, as part f the $1.6 billion it gives out annually to militarize police officers. But DHS wasn’t alone — it was joined by about a hundred corporate sponsors, who paid for a seat to sell their goods at the day-long weapons expo beforehand.
These, by the way, were the same companies that supplied the hardware you saw pointed and fired at the protesters in Ferguson.
But, back to the religious killings.
As Patheos pointed out, this scenario would be offensive if it were any assigned group, be it atheists, Muslims or circus clowns. Or, God forbid, Jews…especially with Israel in attendance. In fact, there was no real reason at all for the SWAT planner to assign any label to the terrorist group. The fact that it was in a church is probably justifiable, since it’s a public gathering place like any other. But why assign a name to the “terrorists” unless there’s a psychological motive behind it?
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that atheists are less trusted in America than Muslims, gays, rapists and child molesters. If ever there were a group rife for demonization, it’s people who don’t believe in a god.
Of course, the grand irony here, the utter inversion of reality is…what group does the FBI now consider its top domestic terrorist threat?
That would be right-wing Christian extremists.
In fact, it’s statistically FAR more likely that a gathering of atheists would be taken hostage (or slaughtered outright) by a Christian “patriot” group than the other way around.
But, you know…that scenario might not play well among the military/police.
Then again, the trump card of any persecutor is always to play the besieged and persecuted. Murder is never murder when it’s “self-defense.” Apparently, that goes for all heavily armed domestic terrorist groups — Christian and police alike.