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Now that's a bad idea - Ed Brock

When I heard it on the news I literally sat up straight with surprise.

I had been lying on the floor tickling the baby's feet when the newscaster said something about President Bush considering asking for a change in the law to allow the military to have police powers in time of emergency. So I sat up straight and said "What?"

The baby didn't answer. She had no idea what I was talking about.

Indeed, I'm not sure exactly about the details of Bush's idea except that in general he wants to increase the military's role in responding to emergencies like Hurricane Katrina. But I do remember them saying something about giving the military police powers, and that is one bad idea.

First, I'd like to make it clear that I don't consider this a bad idea just because Bush is doing it. It's a bad idea no matter who is president.

It's a bad idea because it opens the door to all kinds of abuses. Of course, it seems like a good concept on the surface.

The military, or at least the National Guard, is often called in to help at such times. They have the equipment and training for such things.

However, once the law is changed it becomes easier for somebody inclined toward dictatorship to use the military against us. On the other hand, I haven't seen any other reference to giving the military police powers in any other news report on the issue, so hopefully I'm just wrong about that.

That still leaves the issue of state's rights that seems to be causing others concern. Also, it seems that the military has enough to worry about right now, so perhaps a better plan is in order here, like reforming FEMA and encouraging every state and municipal government to review its evacuation plans.

Here's a brief, unconnected note. A few weeks ago I was bad-mouthing a company called Tweeter, the owner of Hi Fi Buys, over their mishandling of my order for a camera battery. I want to go on record now that the company is taking steps to correct the problem and to satiate my anger. Customer service does exist in this country, it seems, you just have to complain a whole lot before you get it.

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipal governments for the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or at ebrock@news-daily.com .