Pine Bluff, for some reason, has a homicide rate that trails only Detroit's, primarily as a result of increased gang activity. So it makes sense that they may have acquired out of necessity more law enforcement tools and equipment than might ordinarily be found on a city of less than 50,000 people.
But what comes with the enhanced capabilities is a heightened tendency to use those tools and response mechanisms across the board. SWAT teams used to be only for extreme circumstances, not for an angry codger waving a gun. Now they have the toys, so it would be silly not to use them, right?
Police used to know the citizens they serve and protect, and proceed accordingly. I mean, really -- unless Monroe Isadore had just moved to Pine Bluff for some reason, there wasn't anyone in a position of power there who knew what has to have been the most senior resident there, no one who could talk him out of his tree?
No. That's just not how it's done anymore. Police departments apparently think nothing of invading citizens' homes now, terrorizing their families, if said citizens choose not to let their homes be used to stake out domestic violence allegations at the neighbor's house. (A commenter at Volokh helpfully provides more detailed information about the fascist pigs who pulled the Henderson job, if any of you happen to be in that area and want to drop by and say hi.)
The upshot is that persons in a position of authority no longer feel the least bit obliged to explain or negotiate with lesser mortals, and that all problems can be resolved by applying overwhelming force on the target. This is also clearly true at the foreign policy level as well, as the Obama administration seems to think that seeking and acquiring congressional approval for a poorly-considered tactical strike in Syria automatically legitimizes it.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but perhaps the current reliance on drones for tactical application has dulled the senses of policy-makers in this instance. The default assumption that such strikes are "surgical" in nature obscure the realities of the situations in question. In the Af-Pak region, the overall result appears to be a hardening of the hostility of the populace, automatically delegitimizing any benign efforts we might undertake or sponsor in the region.
In Syria, the results appear to have little or no tangible upside, and many likely opportunities for escalation and regional catastrophe. The notion of using American military force on an identified target, yet explicitly not having removal of that target as an overarching goal, is as lame-brained and unimaginative as one might conceive of.
"We're going to pimp-slap Assad because he's an asshole, yet leave him in power because his opposition is even worse" is not only not a plan, it undermines the credibility of using military force. Imagine our reaction if Putin chose to unilaterally undertake such a move, or the Chinese decided to engage in that sort of thing. (In fact, we did, if one recalls, strenuously object to Russian military actions in and around Georgia in 2008, even though there was a plausible case for Russia intervening to protect Russian citizens in the region.)
The temptation to resolve disputes with aggression, under the guise of "law enforcement," becomes greater with the availability of more and more overwhelming tools of force. Untouchable superiority in weapons, technology, training, and organization should allow such entities to negotiate more, if they choose to do so. More and more, though, it appears that it simply grants the powerful carte blanche to do whatever the hell they want, whenever they want, without having to answer for it.