That beat cops so often look like troops is not just a problem of “optics.” There is, in fact, a “positive and statistically significant relationship between transfers [to police of military equipment] and fatalities from officer-involved shootings,” according to recent research. In other words, the more militarized we allow law enforcement agents to become, the more likely officers are to use lethal violence against citizens. The corollary of more police-involved killings, of course, is more protests in response. That sets up, for some, a convenient “law and order” pretext to occupy American streets—or “dominate” them as President Trump remarked in a recent news conference.
On Aug 15th, the day Kabul fell to the Taliban, Basir and his family made their first attempt to get into the airport and onto a plane. It would be nearly a month before they escaped into Pakistan. Over the next weeks they would be beaten at Taliban checkpoints, endure crushing crowds and be threatened and sworn at by soldiers from around the world.