Metaphors and weapons of war : a conceptual metaphor analysis of police use of war metaphors and militarized equipment
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The 'War on Drugs' exemplifies one way in which policing is metaphorically compared to war. As conceptual metaphor theory demonstrates, metaphors shape attitudes and behaviors toward the concept they are used to understand. It is then perhaps unsurprising that war metaphors for policing have become more common alongside the militarization of police. Still, no research has examined the link between police use of war metaphors and acquisition of military equipment. Using ecological and social media data, the study began to examine this link. Specifically, 241,084 social media posts from police departments (N = 80) were coded for the presence of war metaphors, which were then used to predict the amount of military equipment acquired through the federal 1033 Program. Building from conceptual metaphor theory, it was hypothesized that police use of war metaphors would be positively associated with their department acquisition of militarized equipment. The results did not support this hypothesis; potential reasons for this are considered. Exploratory analysis generated potentially interesting findings regarding police usage of war metaphors following acts of police violence and associations between death-related words and militarized equipment acquisitions.