Armored personnel carriers prowl the streets as bulky stormtroopers with automatic weapons and body armor batter down doors. Light aircraft and drones cruise the skies above, monitoring the movements to and from individual dwellings 24/7. Afghanistan? Nope, this is the troubling image of white-picket-fence America presented in director Craig Atkinson’s documentary “Do Not Resist,” where every small town needs an IED-proof armored vehicle.
Armed with surplus Iraq War gear under a federal giveaway, paramilitary SWAT teams are suffering from mission creep, increasingly being used for things like crowd control (see Standing Rock) and domestic search warrants. The film notes that in the 1980s there were only about 3,000 SWAT team deployments annually, but in recent years it’s swelled to around 50,000-60,000.