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The Free Thought Project

Jay Syrmopoulos

Aug 5, 2014

Muhlenberg, PA- In the small town of Muhlenberg, PA, a call to the local police about a man threatening suicide with a kitchen knife was met with by a highly militarized police response.

The police response to the suicide threat highlighted the increasing militarization of police across the US.

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Residents of the home had already vacated the property when police arrived. According to police, the suicidal man was a frequent houseguest of the homeowners.

The police entered and cornered the man into a bedroom. The man then barricaded himself in the room. It was at this point that the Berks County Emergency Response Team was called in to take over.

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Rather than de-escalate the situation using mental health professionals, the police doubled down on their high-pressure tactics and militarized response.

A man threatening to take his own life with a knife was reason enough to put into action a SWAT response, a sniper in a ghillie suit and an MRAP armored personnel carrier.

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The response was more akin to that of a battlefield in Afghanistan then a mental health crisis in small town America. Sadly, this type of police response is becoming more and more frequent as the police state grows.

Later the police confirmed that the man had a history of mental illness.

Luckily, the man agreed to come out of the house prior to being killed by officers, such as what happened to Michael Blair in a very similar incident in Fort Bend, Texas earlier this year.

Blair was not so fortunate, as he was shot and killed by the officers responding to the call of him threatening suicide with a knife.

Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has previously been published on and You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis and on Facebook at Sir Metropolis.