Out-Of-Towners Whine About "The Militarization Of The Hamptons"

The town of Southampton, with its 55,000 year-round residents and vaunted reputation as a summertime playground for wealthy New Yorkers, now has its very own counterterrorism squad. And unsurprisingly, it’s making the out-of-towners nervous.

At least that’s what Joe Nocera, a former New York Times columnist who now writes for Bloomberg View, suggested in a recent column. Apparently, the image of police carrying automatic weapons roaming around the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival is just too gauche for Nocera’s wealthy friends to stomach.

According to Nocera, the squad was first sighted in April, when cops wearing bulletproof vests and carrying fully loaded AR-15s showed up at the Bridgehampton Half Marathon, where they spent most of their time patrolling around the finish line.

But their presence at the BCMF left an impression on one of Nocera’s friends.

“A few weeks ago, the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival held one of its occasional outdoor concerts at a nearby Long Island winery. It was well attended - 400 concertgoers came to sip wine and listen to the music of Bach and Django Reinhardt - but that wasn’t a surprise: Now in its 34th year, the music festival is one of the mainstays of the Hamptons summer season.


Here’s what was surprising, according to my friend and former New York Times colleague Susan Lehman, who was there: “Driving in,” she emailed me the other day, “it was impossible not to notice two figures with the word POLICE emblazoned in white on their spruce black costumes, and very noticeable automatic weapons in their hands.” She added that while the musicians were on stage, “two armed guards milled around in the open space in the front of the tent where the concert was being held.” Afterward, when someone inquired about the presence of these heavily armed police, he was told that the Southampton police department required the extra protection.”

Regardless of whether the terorr squad's presence is justified (as one resident informs Nocera, the town of Southampton has never suffered a terrorist attack), listening to rich white people complain about there being too many police is deliciously ironic.

“But why? It’s not as if Southampton has ever suffered a terrorist attack. Indeed, Southampton’s police chief, Steven Skrynecki, has repeatedly told the local media that there hasn’t been so much as a hint of a threat. But with so many events attracting wealthy celebrities - and with terrorist incidents on the rise in many Western countries - he felt that it was necessary to increase security.


Many of the people at Southampton events are symbols of American affluence and success and capitalism,’ Skrynecki told me. ‘At the same time, there is an abundance of freedom of expression and morals and dress. The attendees’ beliefs might be contrary to the known ideology of terrorist groups.’ He also mentioned the possibility that someone on the “ultra right” could try to commit an act of terrorism at a fundraiser attended by wealthy liberals.”

At one point, Nocera comes tantalizingly close to a breakthrough…

“We know that there will be terror attacks; that’s the world we live in. We just don’t know when or where. And the notion that there is a higher likelihood of an attack on a chamber music concert or a family fair than, say, an overcrowded Hamptons train depot on Labor Day weekend (which the police don’t patrol) seems a stretch, to say the least.”

…before blaming the town's chief of police of spreading "militarization fever."

“There’s another, more plausible reason Southampton has a 15-person counterterrorism squad. Skrynecki, it would seem, has caught militarization fever, a disease that too many of his fellow police chiefs have also come down with. It is disease that will soon spread further, now that President Donald Trump has agreed to give local police forces renewed access to surplus military equipment, something Barack Obama’s administration had restricted after the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. Police officers are being transformed into soldiers.”

Nocera’s column wouldn’t be complete without an exegesis on the post-9/11 militarization of American police departments, a trend that will no doubt continue now that president Trump has lifted a ban on surplus military equipment being repurposed by local PDS.

“The militarization of local police forces, of course, is a trend that began after the Sept. 11 attacks, when many departments added “fighting terror” to their mission statements, and when the federal government began to make money available to local police to buy military-style equipment, including automatic weapons, night vision goggles and other paraphernalia. As the security expert Bruce Schneier points out, “when they get this stuff, they want to trot it out. So now it is being used.” Counterterrorism is as good an excuse as any.


There are certainly places where police are justified in having officers hold highly visible AR-15s - Fifth Avenue in New York City, in front of Trump Tower, is a pretty good example. In his previous post, as police chief of Nassau County, Skrynecki oversaw the huge security effort at last year’s presidential debate at Hofstra University. In the Hamptons, a visiting cabinet secretary like Wilbur Ross or Steven Mnuchin probably needs to have extra layers of visible security.


But the experts I spoke to thought that most of the time, such measures were counterproductive. It meant that the 15 members of the Southampton counterterrorism unit weren’t doing more productive policing. With both their hands needing to be on the gun, it was far more cumbersome to respond to less extreme situations that might arise. Most real terrorism prevention takes place before “the moment of contact” -- when the intelligence community scopes out a planned attack and stops it before it begins. There were, after all, Capitol police guarding the congressional baseball game in June, but they couldn’t prevent James Hodgkinson from nearly killing House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. You could even make the case that the presence of the Southampton police at high-end galas increases the likelihood of an attack by drawing attention to the events.”

Shame on the Southampton PD for having the audacity to force wealthy gala attendees to acknowledge the unfortunate reality that terrorism represents in the dangerous modern world in which we all live. Does he have any idea how this might impact home prices?

Luckily, anyone who’s been “triggered” by the terror squad this summer has at least one alternative: Maybe next year, they can vacation in Easthampton – one town over. Their police department doesn’t have a terrorism unit.

At least, not yet.   


Storm-Clouds Sep 2, 2017 11:53 AM Permalink

The Hamptions used to be great from Quogue to Hampton bays! Dune road chicks & parties!!!!!

Montuak Highway Biker Bars Hard Rock! The Cave with wall to wall ludes & lsd made those Monday Morning Margin Calls interesting!

South Hampton & East was always a showy dull fart enclave like a Florida pre funeral....

The Jersey Shore rocked the same tune....just more rent a cops....faster bail!

Lot of the dead are still wearing road rashes they think they are special...

Think of it this way a lot of those NY/Nj guys went right from hot LZ's to the trading pits ina matter of days...

Trades? Risky? Fuck you & your money pass the blow!

Ivy League bite my clank!

Yeah the dead don't care.....

pparalegal Sep 2, 2017 4:06 AM Permalink

Good progressives hate the cops (catching them), until they don't get there fast enogh to fix their personal problem with barking dogs or terrorists.

RevIdahoSpud3 Sep 2, 2017 12:29 AM Permalink

If the residents are nervous when not close to their safe holes then they should report these incidences to their congressmen or the governor to have it stopped!! 

Aussiekiwi Sep 1, 2017 10:24 PM Permalink

He also mentioned the possibility that someone on the “ultra right” could try to commit an act of terrorism at a fundraiser attended by wealthy liberals.” He is a bit confused I think, doesn't he mean anarchist, violent fascist groups with political motivations....that would be the Ultra LEFT, eg: ANTIFA, but still politically incorrect to brand them as such at the moment since most of Hollywood, the upper class, democratic Congressmen and the MSM have been cheering them on for months. It will take a little time to create sufficient distance before they can start condemning the domestic terrorist group they have been supporting, will be so very funny to watch the MSM's verbal gyrations in the coming months.

Rebelrebel7 (not verified) Sep 1, 2017 9:43 PM Permalink

Holy shit! That is not something to look forward to! Its been a bottom up to top down police militarization and for those of us caught in the middle, our time is near. Baltimore, St. Louis, South Hampton pretty sure that Augusta is next! 

Faeriedust Sep 1, 2017 9:32 PM Permalink

The problem is that wealthy white liberals are absolutely terrified of military weapons.  They know of them only from sensationalized killings, and have never been trained to use and respect firearms properly.  Thus, the sight of a Man With A Gun causes them excessive anxiety.  They lose sight of the fact that he is there to protect them in their terror of anything resembling War.  And above all, it's just gauche.  Servants are supposed to be low-key and invisible, not obviously stalking around a high-class event in black armor.  Tuxedos over the body-armor, small but efficient automatic pistols, and nearly-invisible earbuds.  This is just not the sort of policing that the 1% expect -- it's what you find downtown before a riot, not at a Nice Party.

AurorusBorealus Faeriedust Sep 2, 2017 12:01 AM Permalink

The police here are regularly equipped with surplus military gear.  We have little choice, actually.  We have so many police (far, far too many) and nothing else to give them.  It is not uncommon to see police with shotguns, assault rifles, and body armor walking the streets here.  Of course, they do things like help little old ladies across the street, call everyone "sir" (señor) or "madam" (señora), and have not fired a shot, to my knowledge, in my town for years.  They also write a lot of tickets for every little thing to pay for themselves, because there are so many of them.It is not the equipment that makes the police dangerous.  It is the mentality, and in my experience, the police in the U.S. are brutish thugs more interested in extortion than serving the popuation.  The police here... well... they do spend a lot of time running an extortion racket, but at least they are polite and kind when not pilfering the local community.

In reply to by Faeriedust

redmudhooch Sep 1, 2017 8:18 PM Permalink

If the folks you're bringing oover are so dangerous that you need to burn the Constitution and violate everyones rights, and spy on them 24/7, basically destroy everything that makes America great, then maybe we should stop bringing them in?Simple as that. But we all know why they're really bringing them here don't we?

AurorusBorealus Sep 1, 2017 7:57 PM Permalink

You can equip a military unit with all sorts of gear: satchel charges for fortification demolition, flame-throwers, anti-tank missiles, light and heavy machine guns, smoke and high explosive grenades, bayonets, entrenching gear, body armor, light mortars, and so forth.  If the morale and experience of the unit is effectively zero, however, that unit is combat ineffective regardless of their equpment.I would not worry too much about these "militarized" police, unless you are a harmless motorist.  They may beat and intidimate, or even shoot, harmless motorists who violate a minor traffic law, but in a serious firefight, they will break, retreat to their APCs, and drive back to police central to claim their work-related disability for PTSD.  It is only when they have the ability to cower and call in air and artillery support that they will be a real threat.

NumbersUsa Sep 1, 2017 7:41 PM Permalink

By the way, George Soros's real name is Gyorgy Schwartz, another jew supremacist hiding behind a gentile name.SIGN THE PETITION HERE:  https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/declare-george-soros-terrorist...Quote from Thomas Jefferson (not THE TJ)"While I am glad to see there are people among the Jewish community who denounce the actions of the Zionist agenda, far more needs to be done publicly to spread the knowledge about these Satan worshiping atheists being humanities most dangerous enemy. We must declare war on the bankers who gave us the most destructive monetary system ever conceived. This system is designed to bankrupt world governments and their respective countries via compound interest that is impossible to repay. It has already transferred the vast majority of global wealthy to the bankers as governments struggling to pay off bank loans are forced to sell assets/utilities owned by the public.It is time to confiscate all bank stocks, liquid assets and the power of currency creation must be taken away from the banks and returned to the commonwealth of the people of each country and their official governments. This is the Achilles heel of all banks and where the Zionists have obtained ALL their power. All bank loans are to be cancelled globally. All immigration needs to cease immediately to defy the Zionist agenda to assimilate and dilute the purity of our racial nationalities. Our history needs to be re-written to expose the guilty for their lies and deception. Crime tribunals must be constructed to hold the Zionists/Mossad accountable for their belligerent, murderous and savage acts committed against humanity especially for their brutality and decimation of the Palestinian people."SIGN THE PETITION HERE: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/declare-george-soros-terrorist...

just the tip Sep 1, 2017 7:36 PM Permalink

likelyhood of hampton's terrorist attack = likelyhood of ISIS attack on tel avivok, ISIS did attack and IDF outpost near the golan, but ISIS apologized for that, so it doesn't count, and it wasn't tel aviv.

kbohip Sep 1, 2017 7:31 PM Permalink

400 concertgoers came to sip wine and listen to the music of Bach and Django Reinhardt..Oh doesn't that just make you want to hop in the Rolls and have Jeeves get you there as fast as he can! 

Dougs Decks Sep 1, 2017 7:26 PM Permalink

K'mon,,, We all know that terrorists don't target the Rich Bastards, Uhmm, Social Elite,,, They target us poor bastards, the common folk,,,, If they would target the Rich Bastards, Uhmm again, Social Elite,,, The social elite would put a stop to it real fast,,,

ItsAllBollocks Sep 1, 2017 7:15 PM Permalink

um... I hate to point out the obvious but if you clowns prevented your government from bombing the shit out of everybody there would be no reason for 'terrorists' to attend chamber music festivals except to enjoy the music.

passerby Sep 1, 2017 7:00 PM Permalink

Militarizing the police is purely for the protection of the deep state's projected narrative of making everyone else appear to be guilty of terrorism instead of themselves. Even a 5 year old knows "whoever smelled it, dealt it."

Kagemusho Sep 1, 2017 6:57 PM Permalink

Ohfershitsake, the militarization of police began back in the 1960's, and got a boost from Tricky Dick Nixon and his 'Law Enforcement Assistance Administration'.And how many of those rich fat cat 'libruhls' gave political support to the War on Drugs, which led to the recent bout of police militarization? It got started with that, not the so-called 'War on Terror'. That just shifted what was already in gear into higher revs.Just goes to show that inherited wealth does not equal inherited intelligence.

mc888 Sep 1, 2017 7:29 PM Permalink

now that President Donald Trump has agreed to give local police forces renewed access to surplus military equipment, something Barack Obama’s administration had restricted after the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. Police officers are being transformed into soldiers.”

The Pentagon program for militarization of police began in 1997.And I'm already sick of hearing the Pravda MSM try to spin this issue as if Obama was some kind of saint for restricting it. That's total BS.

A recent study show that, under the Pentagon’s 1033 program, enacted in 1997, the value of military weapons, gear and equipment transferred to local cops did not exceed $34 million annually until 2010, the second year of the Obama administration, when it nearly tripled to more than $91 million. By 2014, the year that Michael Brown was shot down – and when the full Congress, including 32 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, rejected a bill that would have shut down the 1033 program – Obama was sending three quarters of a billion dollars, more than $787 million a year, in battlefield weaponry to local police departments. In other words, President Obama oversaw a 24-fold (2,400%) increase in the militarization of local police between 2008 and 2014. Even with the scale-back announced in 2015, Obama still managed to transfer a $459 million arsenal to the cops – 14 times as much weapons of terror and death than President Bush gifted to the local police at his high point year of 2008.https://blackagendareport.com/obama_reinforces_militarized_police

...Radical Black Leftist Outrage over a Radical Black Leftist President behaving like a Banana Republic Dictator.FUCK YOU Nocera. You're a liar. 

silverer Sep 1, 2017 6:15 PM Permalink

It's like going to the movies. This is what you pull out of the closet when the country is invaded. The enemy they supposedly face is internal, but really not in any great numbers among the general civilian population. Where's peaceful Nancy Pelosi to speak out in protest when you need her?

Tiwin Sep 1, 2017 6:01 PM Permalink

And for you BLMers who have infiltrated this board or for youall racists who dont care if nignogs are the victims.For every black a thug in blue kills , they kill two whites.White Lives Matter too

Tiwin Sep 1, 2017 5:59 PM Permalink

More militarized cops - just what we need.As if 813 supposedly 'presumed innocent before trial by jury' Dead Americans so far this year aint enough.Cops are the terrorists. Police have killed more than four seperate 9-11 attacks worth of Americans since 9-11Good guys dont wear black.Police dress like the enemy. YOUR enemy.The only good cop is a dead cop.Every time a cop gets killed , an Angel gets her wings. 

peippe Sep 1, 2017 5:58 PM Permalink

Don't they want to be protected from terror?Why do they love Al Qaeda?Do they want to turn Muslim? Because they will if the police don't have automatic weapons to prevent it. Why do they hate america?///bonus sarc

New_Meat Sep 1, 2017 5:54 PM Permalink

Paul Kelley wouldn't let 1/8 MAR have loaded magazines in their weapons nor rounds in the chamber, even for guards on duty.Does anyone think that these "cops" have been loaded-out?- Ned

There Sep 1, 2017 5:51 PM Permalink

Just watch the confusion when one of the bodyguards of the "let them eat cake crowd" pulls a gun, shoots and is mistaken for a terrorist.Every one will be shooting everyone. President twitter waffle will declare martial law.Or, there will be an indecent when a private helicopter ferrying the rich folks to and from Manhattan is shot down.Ordinary citizens in the path have been outraged for years at the level of noisy low flying traffic.

Disgruntled Goat Sep 1, 2017 5:47 PM Permalink

Security Theater. Just there for the optics, thats all.In Times Square, there are multiple police with automatic weapons. I have often wondered how many civilians will die at the hands of the police should there actually be some type of attack. 

Anteater Disgruntled Goat Sep 1, 2017 5:54 PM Permalink

When they start wearing bandanas it will be too late to flee.You will be apprehended at the airport, 'incriminate' will befound in your luggage, then all your 1s will be turned to 0sas 'police evidence', and you'll be turned out onto the streetto find your way 'home', without a phone or credit card, lol.DoD/DHS/CIA-NSA - Turning Americans into Invisible Zeks.95,000,000 and counting! You deserve arrest today!E pluribus no hay comidas, no hay nada, todos!MAZEL TUV! WINNING!! NADA!!!

In reply to by Disgruntled Goat