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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Yo Winter Park, can you not trot out the military stuff for MLK Unity Fest?

Posted By on Sun, Jan 19, 2020 at 4:48 PM

  • Photo by Jessica Bryce Young
"Kids love it," said a Winter Park Police officer of an armored vehicle in Hannibal Square this morning.

Police and this cartoonishly militaristic tank-car were in Shady Park Sunday morning during preparations for Monday's 18th Annual Unity Heritage Festival, a city-run event to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black people in Hannibal Square, a historic Black Winter Park neighborhood.
  • Photo by Jessica Bryce Young
WPPD officers told Orlando Weekly editor Jessica Bryce Young that this vehicle – known as an armored personnel carrier or APC, by the way, but who cares what its fucking official, military abbreviated, acronym-ass name is, stop thinking murder things are so cool – is rolled out for community events as part of "outreach."

That term, I swear.

Thinking even a little about the specific community at this event with even a dollop of earnest consideration would make most people second-guess the notion that the police strutting their deadliest gear for a Black community would help in bringing Black people closer to the people they say hunt down, lock up, disenfranchise and kill them.
No, showing off toys is not the worst thing. Sure, they named it D.O.R.I.S. and made a cute Facebook video with it.

But heritage festivals, aside from being times of inspiration to learn or respectfully engage with a new culture, are largely ceremonial and symbolic. Ceremony and symbolism are important; they can go a long way in making a certain people feel welcome.

The symbolism of brute force from the police at a Black event is just the wrong message.

Of course, this outrageous death-whip is cool. I'm an American man, part of me will be a 12-year-old forever, which is why Star Wars will never die and every other bro-bro I talk to about The Squad must firstly address which is most fuckable. No doubt I, at 8 or 12 or, you know, right now, would geek out over this giant military truck.
  • Photo by Jessica Bryce Young
What purpose the things have outside of being really cool, providing wannabe Rambo police – which should be everyone's nightmare – with the military cosplay props of their dreams, or unintentionally intimidating Black and other people enjoying a barbecue in remembrance of MLK (a man surveilled by the FBI and gunned down, let’s not forget), has hardly been justified. There aren't many reports of local police fighting off militias. There are reports that militarization does not lower crime. It may, a study has found, primarily impact police reputation.

Cool murder-whip, tho, bruh.

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