Last week I posted on how our states are being militarized by our government gifting heavy
armored vehicles, weapons, battle gear, and ammo to police and sheriff departments from sea-to-shining sea, or at the very least, to city and state law enforcement bodies that might be favorable to the Obama administration’s version of ‘justice.’ In February, a WSJ article said “residents in some towns” are resisting. I used a photo from Salinas, California in my earlier article, and this morning a reader alerted me to Gateway Pundit’s story on 13,000 MRAPs being distributed to police in places we may or may not hear about. The Salinas police posing in the photo above is one of those 13,000. Take a closer look at the beast below, read more about resistance to this trend and few an excellent video if you have the time.
NOTE: Corrected to reflect 13,000 MRAPs not 1300. Apologies
In November 2013, Reason ran an article saying that 500 cities “Get Free Tanks,” but taxpayers bought them for the DOD initially at $658,000 for each.
The vehicle came as part of the infamous “1033 program,” through which Defense gets rid of excess stuff it didn’t need in the first place by putting it into circulation via local police departments (it’s like a gun giveaway in reverse and with tons more firepower). Read Reason on that…
No journalist has done more to highlight the militarization of police than former Reason staffer Radley Balko (archive here), now at the Huffington Post (archive here). Watch this interview about his recent book Rise of the Warrior Cop. Source: Reason
From Wall Street Journal, February 2014:
Residents in some towns have begun standing up to the large armored vehicles that local police departments are receiving from the federal government.
Six-figure grants from the Department of Homeland Security have been funding BearCats and other heavily fortified vehicles in towns and cities nationwide since soon after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Beginning last summer, the government also has handed out 200 surplus vehicles built to withstand mines and bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is considering requests from 750 more communities.
Most police and citizens welcome the extra protection, saying recent mass shootings show any local force could find itself facing an extremely violent or dangerous situation. But antipathy has grown in some pockets of the country—from New York to Ohio to California—which see the machines as symbols of government waste and a militarization of law enforcement, including the growth of SWAT teams and high-tech gadgets in recent decades.
In libertarian-leaning New Hampshire, a state lawmaker just introduced a bill that would ban municipalities from accepting military-style vehicles without approval from voters. That came in response to the Concord City Council’s vote in the fall to accept a $258,000 federal grant to buy a BearCat, despite intense opposition from citizens who submitted a 1,500-signature petition and rallied outside City Hall holding signs that said, “More Mayberry, Less Fallujah” and “Thanks But No Tanks!”
“This seems over the top and unnecessary to have this level of armament,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. J.R. Hoell. He said police in 11 communities in New Hampshire now have armored vehicles.
Peter Kraska, a professor in the School of Justice Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, believes recent revelations about federal surveillance programs are helping drive the discomfort with outfitting police departments like the military. The armored vehicles are “a pretty visual example of overreach,” he said. He also noted that the passage of time since the 2001 attacks may have eased worries about terrorist events…
In 2012, Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) complained that more than $35 billion had been spent since 2003, some of it on “questionable items.” He specifically criticized “tank-like” BearCats for local police, noting that the grant application from one small New Hampshire town cited “protecting the town’s annual pumpkin festival” as a reason why the armored truck was needed. Read more.
How do we know who received the ‘gifts?’ Those other 400+ cities and towns not mentioned her – who are they? A list would be a good thing. The DOD and Homeland Security are both involved in this program, and maybe other departments as well.
This is a must see video talking about the transformation of your local policeman to Warrior Cop.