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America 'Has Become a War Zone' 875

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the local-weed-dealer-mines-front-yard dept.
An anonymous reader writes, quoting Business Insider: "Eight different law enforcement agencies in Indiana have purchased massive Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAP) that were formerly used in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mark Alesia reports for the Indy Star. Pulaski County, home to 13,124 people, is one of the counties that have purchased an 55,000 pound, six-wheeled patrol vehicles, from military surplus. When asked to justify the purchase of a former military vehicle, Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer told the Indy Star: "The United States of America has become a war zone."'
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America 'Has Become a War Zone'

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  • by gweihir (88907) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:06PM (#47199079)

    If law enforcement needs this type of equipment, then it has long abandoned any pretense of serving the people and has instead reverted to its original purpose of fighting the people for those in power.

    • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:12PM (#47199123) Homepage

      the police don't actually have to protect the citizens.

      this is worth watching.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      it is also worth noting that the US is safer now than ever before.

      on the other hand, the real deal is there are a surplus of military equipment that can be useful in all kinds of scenarios. the high clearance of an RG33 would be good in a flood, and good for active-shooter scenarios. might as well snap them up if the price is good.

      • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:45PM (#47199317)
        This is the most relevant point:

        the US is safer now than ever before.

        And not just a little. FAR safer. Violent crime is less than half what it was 20 years ago. And even less compared to 30 years ago.

        The only "increasing" violence is news-media propaganda. Because chicks hatching on the farm does not sell news.

        In fact, some recent studies have concluded that it was news media coverage, and not guns, which led to copy-cat "mass" shootings on college and other school campuses. (But even so, and even though they are splashed all over the news, THOSE are way down, too, compared to 2-3 decades ago.)

        American does not have "increasing" internal violence. It has decreasing violence.

        And during the same period, it is interesting to not, per-capita gun ownership in the U.S. has gone steadily up. And also during that same period, concealed-carry laws have become much more common. [postimg.org]

        Statistics do not prove cause-and-effect. But a negative correlation can DISprove cause-and-effect.

        We have more guns. (Per person!) According to our own government's statistics. Yet we have less violent crime. This is a direct, indisputable DISproof of the idea that "more guns equals more crime".

        [Sources: U.S. DOJ, and for more recent years: U.S. Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics]

        • by mythosaz (572040) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:51PM (#47199367)

          I'm pro-gun (or at least anti gun restriction), but it's hardly indisputable disproof.

          Guns may be contributing to violent crime; other factors may just be having a greater impact the other way.

          It's not my personal belief, but the logic just isn't there for your "indisputable" fact.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I'm pro-gun (or at least anti gun restriction), but it's hardly indisputable disproof.

            Yes, it is. Leaving guns aside, it's the way logic and statistics work together.

            A correlation (we see lots of accidents involving cell phones, for example) does not imply cause-and-effect. There is often some outside factor (or even many factors) that influence the things correlated. A classic example, from Darrell Huff's "How To Lie With Statistics" is: the salary of Protestant ministers in the U.S. is strongly correlated with price of rum in Jamaica.

            Does one cause the other? Of course not. The more

            • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:46PM (#47199667) Homepage Journal

              Exceptionally good example of logic.

              Call me less disciplined, but I am convinced that increased gun ownership actually causes crime to go down. Strict rules of cause and effect be damned - empirical evidence weighs in on my side. Time and again, when cities and states make gun laws stricter, crime increases. And, repeatedly, when gun laws are relaxed, there is a short initial period of increased violence, followed by a decidedly downward trend in crime.

              Many criminals are just plain stupid, but not all. The criminal who is not outright stupid understands the risk of assaulting an armed citizen. Like any corporate shark, the common criminal is going to minimize his risks whenever possible. If he's pretty sure that 50% or more of his potential victims are armed, he is going to get very choosy about which victims to hit. Heck, even stupid people seldom WANT to be shot!

              Further, the most dangerous cities to live in today, are precisely those cities with the strictest gun control.

              The preponderence of evidence is enough for me.

              • by Arker (91948) on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:00PM (#47199753) Homepage
                Your logic is also impeccable!

                I would love to hear someone dispute this with logic. That I would know how to deal with. No one does that. They only dispute it with emotion, and with blind assertion, and refuse to believe it, but they can give me no rational reason to follow them.

                Now sometimes it's more concrete. Sometimes you know the crackhead idiot down the road has wanted nothing more than to beat you to death with a blunt object for over a year, but will never get the stones up to try it, solely because he knows your family are gun people and he figures there's a good chance that you kill him if he tries. Sometimes, you know. The rest of the time, you dont know, but either way, it helps society in general, by lowering the crime rate, without doing anything, simply as an intimidation factor.

                You see it even more clearly in the crime statistics when you break it down by type of crime and area. Rural areas have major economic problems that can definitely see some crime. But in areas where the typical household has what our pseudoliberal press would describe as an 'armory' the types of crimes committed are different. You see very few crimes that risk confrontation. People will sneak in and rob you when they are sure you are gone, but home invasions, muggings, etc are still unheard of. Old Grandad sleeping with a 12 gauge full of 00 next to his bed is not something the typical criminal wants to take any risks of dealing with.
                • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:09PM (#47199797) Homepage

                  Ready access to guns may not suppress violent crime but ratcheting up the gun laws certainly seems to do nothing to stem the tide. Assuming that gun laws are a reactionary, knee-jerk response to high levels of gun crime, the results don't seem very promising.

                  Perhaps something else is actually going on and fixating on guns is an easy way to avoid solving the real problem which is really hard and will make liberal busybodies squirm.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Hategrin (3579025)

                According to this Ad Absurdum logic, dropping sand-bags in an at-risk hurricane zone actually causes the hurricane. Ever see hurricanes hit where NOBODY is getting prepared? No? Well, there you go, responding to a hurricane caused that hurricane, just like responding to a flux in gun violence caused that flux in gun violence.

                PS: I don't advocate the removal of any of our constitutional rights, just the abandonment of shitty logic. Don't look so surprised, of course your regurgitated politically rhetoric is

              • Gun laws have a big problem: there are already tons of guns in the US. Guns last a long time, even a poorly maintained gun will generally still fire, just not accurately. This means that a decrease in availability of guns to criminals will lag the decrease to law-abiding citizens by decades.
              • So just a counterpoint of logic:

                Hypothesis: A increasing leads to B increasing.
                Measured: A increases, B does not.
                Revised hypothesis: A therefore does not lead to B increasing, since there is a negative correlation.
                Reality: A increasing leads to B increasing, C increasing leads to B decreasing. During the measured period, A increases and C increases. If the effect of C increasing exceeds the effect of A increasing, then B decreases.
                Result: By not measuring or accounting for C, the measured results appear to be a negative correlation between A and B.

                The difficulty in a scenario like gun control is in the elimination of outside influences in the study. Unless all of the influences are accounted for, then negative correlation can mean that there is no causal relationship, or it can mean that the causal relationship is being overwhelmed by some other factor. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
              • by Tom (822) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @03:05AM (#47200789) Homepage Journal

                The problem is that the USA has dug itself deep into a hole and getting out is hard.

                Once you have guns in the population, stricter gun control laws lead to a shift of the existing stockpile towards criminals, which probably results in higher crime. Basically: The criminals still have all the guns they used to, while the citizen don't.

                Gun control laws don't work short-term. They only work long-term, if you manage to actually remove the existing guns from the population.

            • by cgriffiths (2668515) on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:54PM (#47200037)

              It isn't an opinion. It's as scientific as it gets.

              Your post is opinion, there's some pseudo-science within your post but ultimately it is a biased opinion. By following your statistical analysis above by considering only two factors: rise in gun ownership and falling violent crime figures, you are coming to a very short sighted conclusion. There are many other arguments out there which could have been a larger contributing factor than more gun ownership such as outreach programs, changes in judicial sentencing, changes in public perception to specific factors of violent crime, heck even the BBC published an article [bbc.com] on how removing lead from petroleum/gasoline in our cars has a strong correlation with reduced figures in violent crime.

              I'm not educated enough in social policy to comment on what changes in society would have had an impact on violent crime levels but you can't state that guns do not cause crime from the figures mentioned previously. Causation of crime comes in many forms, some that we understand and some we are yet to discover. For all we know other factors may have been more influential in reducing crime during that period than the impact of guns in circulation on increasing crime.

              You also have to consider that many crimes wouldn't exist or wouldn't be so accessible if it weren't for gun ownership such as school shootings [1] , armed robberies [2] and homicide [3] .

              I'm neither pro- nor anti- gun ownership, I live in a country without firearms and that's fine by me. I do see merit in firearm ownership when regulated properly to the extent where any person who has taken a test in firearm safety, is of a stable mind and hasn't committed a violent crime [4] in the last 5-10 years can own a firearm but this I will tolerate only with strong regulation.

              ---

              [1] How else would you go on a rampage in schools or other buildings? Sure you could use a knife, sword, axe or whatever else you choose but ultimately your attack range is gonna be a lot less allowing a lot more people to escape unharmed and a lot easier for people to overpower you if they so dare.
              [2] I mean armed in the sense of being with a firearm. A quarter of robberies of commercial premises in the U.S. are committed with guns. Fatalities are three times as likely in robberies committed with guns than where other, or no, weapons are used.
              [3] In the U.S. in 2011, 67% of homicide victims were killed by a gun. There is little doubt that many of these victims would have been murdered if there no were no guns about since those who have the intention to do so and have planned it will do it without firearms. However having ready access to a gun for an enraged, unstable individual wanting to harm another because of a form of dispute is definitely going to have an impact on crimes which weren't planned.
              [4] Obviously murders, attempted murders, brutal assaults and the like will prevent them ever owning a firearm and the time frame can be varied depending on the severity of the crime.

            • by iserlohn (49556) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @02:58AM (#47200751) Homepage

              First of all, the level of firearm ownership in an area does have an effect on the firearm homicide rate. It correlates -

              http://ajph.aphapublications.o... [aphapublications.org]

              Violent crime has gone down in most of the industrialized world over the past 3 decades, regardless of whether a country restricts firearms or not -

              http://rgambler.com/2013/11/03... [rgambler.com]
              http://jpo.wrlc.org/bitstream/... [wrlc.org]
              http://www.economist.com/news/... [economist.com]

              However, America's violent crime rate is much higher than most developed countries -

              http://www.rawstory.com/rs/201... [rawstory.com]
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

              The growing consensus (in public policy circles at least) these days is that it is not gun ownership that is causing this violence, but the American gun culture -

              http://www.businessweek.com/ar... [businessweek.com]
              http://world.time.com/2012/12/... [time.com]
              http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/t... [www.cbc.ca]

              The problem is that we keep looking at gun ownership rates The Swiss has high levels of gun ownership, but they also have a very strict culture of gun safety and training. Men are required to undergo military training and be in the reserves for 10 years, keeping their sealed army-issued firearm at home or in the Zeughaus, for use in case of invasion. Thus, they have lots of guns, but little gun crime.

              Now, the question is how do you measure gun culture? In America you have this issues with two main groups poisoning the culture - the gangs and the "don't tread on me" types. How can you design a study to measure the effect of this culture on gun crime?

          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:44PM (#47199659)

            This is where the USA gets it WRONG.

            Its the attitude which is the problem, not the gun.

            In the USA it is acceptable to buy a gun with the intent to use it to kill someone (self defence, stand your ground, what ever you call it)
            and the large number of hand guns posed for this purpose makes the attitude clear, " It is OK to kill people"

            Other countries who have large numbers of guns dont have this attitude, in fact if authorities even think you want a gun for "self defence" you will be denied ownership and the use of a gun "for self defence" can see you charged with murder/man slaughter, because the idea of killing another human being is considered abhorrent .

            Hence in these countries gun crime is lower, murder rates are lower and mass murder is pretty much unheard of.

            The US population is paranoid, delusional, and frightened.
            Freedom is not expressed by ones ability of own a gun and be able to shoot someone (in defence or what ever),
            it is not needing one, knowing you are safe with your family, neighbours, fellow citizens.

            • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:15PM (#47199835) Homepage

              There is nothing wrong with the attitude.

              There should be a place that a man and his family don't have to retreat from. This what makes you a man rather than a peasant. This is what makes you something other than property.

              The idea that you aren't allowed to defend your family is what is really abhorent here.

              • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@@@world3...net> on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @08:11AM (#47201739) Homepage

                Macho bullshit. The best way to protect your family is to be a pragmatist. If someone points a gun at you or your family it's best to just co-operate and wait for them to go away. Your stuff can be replaced, lives cannot be. The statistics are quite clear. In cases where two people are armed and pointing weapons at each other one usually ends up being shot, in cases where only one is armed both usually live.

                Most criminals don't want to murder innocent people. Aside from anything it draws a lot more heat from the cops than a simple robbery. By drawing your own weapon you turn a situation where they just want to get away quickly into one where they want to kill you first.

                Of course, the most pragmatic thing to do is live somewhere where most criminals are not armed, but the US is locked into an arms race now so I'm afraid you are screwed.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:45PM (#47199993)

              Self defense is a human right (see Locke). Any government that tries to take that right away from you needs to be removed from power.

        • by s.petry (762400) on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:04PM (#47199449)

          Well, I certainly agree with most of your points (I normally do) but have to debate one particular omission from yours and GPs comments. Violence by Police departments has escalated drastically in the same time as criminal violence has gone down. Police brutality is close to a daily occurrence today, and not just the cops manhandling a suspected felon but outright killing people.

          Sure, some of this happened in the past but not to the extremes we are seeing today.

          This has a potentially rubber banding effect on society. Oppressed people surely don't take the same chances as a "Free" public, bottled up it becomes rather explosive.

          When police are increasingly violent I have more concerns about them receiving this type of equipment. They surely don't need an MRAP for stopping people speeding on the freeway, so why have this type of gear?

          Since this is not a new phenomenon (militarizing police that is) I have done a bit of homework. The first reason for them to gear up this way is that DHS is selling us back equipment that the military purchased for Iraq and Afghanistan. It's a boost to the MIC, and a nice way to double tax us for the same equipment. Yes, DHS sells them for less money but still are selling them to local police. The next reason is obviously a Rambo effect, where cops think they are "cool" in this type of gear. Lastly, and more of a concern than the two previous is that a majority of police training today is geared toward attacking the public. There have been ample leaks from DHS training materials showing this to be true. Military and Law Enforcement agencies are using material claiming that "Patriots" and "Tea Party" type groups are potential terrorists.

          There are many good links to find in this page here [theblaze.com], pay special attention to the retired Marine Colonel in the 2nd video. Enjoy.

          • by Shadowmist (57488) on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:51PM (#47200019)

            Lastly, and more of a concern than the two previous is that a majority of police training today is geared toward attacking the public. There have been ample leaks from DHS training materials showing this to be true. Military and Law Enforcement agencies are using material claiming that "Patriots" and "Tea Party" type groups are potential terrorists.

            This is not an unfounded concern. America has had periods where every now and then it became fashionable for whackos to gather in para-military groups put together frequently in reaction to progressive strides the country had made. In the post Civil War period it was the Klu Klux Klan drawn originally from Ex-Confederate troops. In more modern times there were Fascist and Nazi-Sympathizer BUNDS that would form for pretty much the same motivation only with anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism spiced with a good deal of anti-immigrant hatred. When you put this together that the largest recent surge in gun ownership was not driven by a reasonable fear of crime, but the unreasoned fear by the election of a Black President, lots of things tend to add up. These studies aren't targeting the Tea Party, they are a recognition that the Tea Party DOES draw in a lot of the extreme whacko type among it's members. Gun ownership and crime are harder things to track, but what we are seeing in a new wave of shootings is a rise of impulse shootings, which have no real clear end to them... not even the survival of the shooters. So when it comes to trying to correlate trends in gun ownership, the real question to be asked is who's now buying guns in greater quantities than before. If the rise is that of the impulse, especially fear or angst-driven buyer than the decrease in crime is DESPITE the increase in gun ownership, not because of it.

          • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:00PM (#47200059) Journal

            Well, I certainly agree with most of your points (I normally do) but have to debate one particular omission from yours and GPs comments. Violence by Police departments has escalated drastically in the same time as criminal violence has gone down. Police brutality is close to a daily occurrence today, and not just the cops manhandling a suspected felon but outright killing people.

            I would question this conclusion.
            I'm inclined to think that the police have always been brutal, the only difference now is increased reporting (and video recording).
            As a point in case, the proliferation of cell phone video has led to a proliferation of lawsuits against police who have confiscated phones or arrested the videographer.

            It's something of a society wide problem, where in the past we didn't have a grasp on the extent of many problems, either from willful blindness or unintentional ignorance.

        • by dala1 (1842368) on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:09PM (#47199489)

          A negative correlation does not disprove causation any more than a positive one proves it. To see why, consider a simpler example: Town A has 5 police per thousand people, and 3 crimes reported per thousand people every day. The next year, they increase the number of police to 7 per thousand people, but crime rates go up to 5 crimes reported per day.

          Despite the negative correlation, this doesn't disprove the idea that having a greater police presence reduces crime. It could be that poverty rates went up due to recession, resulting in more crime and prompting politicians to increase police funding. It could be that the police are corrupt or inept, or that legislation changed such that committing crime is more profitable or less risky. There could be any number of explanations for that data that don't require causation.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          In fact, some recent studies have concluded that it was news media coverage, and not guns, which led to copy-cat "mass" shootings on college and other school campuses.

          Nobody ever said guns lead to mass shootings, they are the means. You dont need fully automatic assault weapons, you just want them in fact no mass shooting has every been prevented by a private citizen who was coincidentally carrying an assault weapon and happened upon a mass shooter. Yes the NRA likes this fantasy and idiots buy into it to justify feeling like a big man carrying a big gun! And everybody likes to feel that if they had a big gun then they could stop anybody else that had a big gun.

          More to t

        • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:06PM (#47199783)

          USA is still pretty shit with a homicide rate of 5.2 per 100,000.
          It's second-equal with Chile, beaten only by Mexico in the OECD countries.

          The unsolved murder rate is pretty shit too.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by gandhi_2 (1108023)

            take out the 5 most left-wing anti-gun cities and we around the 5-10 safest countries in the world.

            Ahh.. Mexico. Where private gun ownership is forbidden.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Police shootings are not violent crime. The prisons are full. The sooner local government bands of thugs can wipe out a city block at a time, the sooner the National fascists can back to the job of not caring. You Americans really deserve this. You have your armies acting like police and your police acting like armies. How is THAT for a relevant point?

      • by overshoot (39700)

        might as well snap them up if the price is good.

        And as Joe Arpaio has so beautifully demonstrated, once you've bought a toy like that, you have to find a use for it. Even if it's busting into a chicken coop with a light tank.

      • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:58PM (#47200055)

        might as well snap them up if the price is good.

        That's what I noticed about the list of things they bought at the end of the article. They're getting M-14 rifles for $120 each, .45 pistols for $58.71, M-16s for $120, etc. Hell, if I was getting discounts like that I might buy an armored vehicle also.

        That being said, a sheriff saying that America is a war zone when it is clearly not and using that as an excuse is pretty damn worrying. If you want better equipment, fine, say that. But when I walk outside my house, a war zone is not what I see. Sort of makes you wonder that, if America is a war zone, who are the police fighting against?

    • by rmdingler (1955220) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:15PM (#47199143)
      OR

      The Police are the civil servant equivalent of the 40ish divorced guy driving a Corvette.

      Big weapons? Tim Taylor grunt...we have big weapons.

      • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:33PM (#47199249)

        OR

        The Police are the civil servant equivalent of the 40ish divorced guy driving a Corvette.

        Big weapons? Tim Taylor grunt...we have big weapons.

        Pretty much this. Their thought process is "so, what cool shit can we spend taxpayer money on that we couldn't normally get?". Now, I have no problem with a large or metropolitan police force buying a few surplus M-4s (even though, as police, they have access to better, new weapons for the same price), comm gear, or load-bearing harnesses to equip their SWAT team. But the average beat cop on traffic duty doesn't need a surplus M-4 sitting in his trunk. And they don't need a mine resistant vehicle. And if a major police force doesn't need one, a county sheriff certainly doesn't. I don't think you need an MRAP to do a raid on a methlab, or operate speed traps on that road where you randomly drop the speed limit 20mph so you can get ticket revenue to pay for your toys. If you are really concerned about officer safety in SWAT situations then buy one of these [texasarmoring.com].

        I remember once, about 3 years ago, I was officiating a high school football game on theoutskirts of a major metro area. On the sidelines were a couple local sheriff deputies watching the game and (I am assuming) working security for the game. One of them had to be a good 280lbs (and not muscle) loaded out in a tactical vest and harness, gloves, and sunglasses. He just wanted to look bad-ass (but looked like an idiot).

        • by chihowa (366380) * on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:00PM (#47199757)

          I got pulled over for speeding through a notorious speed trap in a little town with 400 residents and the cop walked to up me with no less than four 30 round magazines for his M4 strapped to his belt. There is quite literally no crime in this town besides people speeding on the stretch of highway that runs through it and he feels he must have immediate access to 150 rounds for a rifle. The mind boggles.

          I couldn't help but actually laugh out loud at him when he waddled up to the window (which didn't help my suave talk-myself-out-of-the-ticket routine at all). It was almost comic in an over the top disturbing way.

    • by Sir Holo (531007)

      If law enforcement needs this type of equipment, then it has long abandoned any pretense of serving the people and has instead reverted to its original purpose of fighting the people for those in power.

      Indeed. "To protect and to serve..." has been perverted into "To protect (ourselves) and to serve (those in power)..."

    • by fche (36607) on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:05PM (#47199451)

      Not just that. A key quote from TFA: "My job is to make sure my employees go home safe." Police leadership whose priority is on their own safety is more likely to view the populace as a problem instead of as the recipient of service. They are more likely to do no-knock night-time raids ... because if it saves just one [police] life, sure it's worth burning that baby with a flash-bang.

    • when the riots hit LA people were surprised that the rioters stuck to their own neighborhoods and basically trashed their own communities. What nobody mentioned was the reason why. Large numbers of armed police cordoned off the wealthy neighborhoods and kept the looters from spilling over.

      It's not so much the ruling class here, as the upper class. Even the upper middle class. Basically, if you're going to abandon the poor the their fate you need to build walls to keep 'em out...
    • by vux984 (928602) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:06PM (#47200079)

      If law enforcement needs this type of equipment,

      RTFA. They don't need it. They KNOW they don't need it. They freely agreed they'd prefer a smaller, lighter, more practical civilian police vehicle like a BearCat but that costs $200,000 to $300,000. That 55,000 lb MRAP listing north of $700,000 only cost them a measly $5000 as army surplus.

      Hell, even a police issue dodge ram, with typical law enforcement upgrades is going to cost an order of magnitude more than $5000.

      OTOH, although they got the MRAP for $5k, its going to be a beast on gas, and god help them if or when they need to replace any parts on it.

      I guess if they actually need something even lightly armored, if this thing runs for a year or three and they can turn around and sell it for 55,000 pounds of scrap metal after that they probably actually saved the taxpayers some money vs operating something else.

      The news here isn't that the police are looking to arm themselves with military gear, its that they are on tight budgets and military surplus is overkill specs, but is a lot cheaper than suitable civilian gear.

      • by Pseudonym (62607)

        If I had mod points, you would have them all.

        This is the flip side of the military-industrial complex. Wasting money in pointless wars results in a crapload of military surplus gear. Savvy cash-strapped police departments are buying them, using bullshit excuses about safety (which everyone knows are bullshit, but who's going to argue with officer safety) when what they're actually doing is using taxpayer money wisely.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:08PM (#47199095)

    The United States of America is a war zone, the government is at war with its citizens.

    • by reboot246 (623534)
      And that is why they're so desperate to take our weapons. Disarm the citizens and the rest is easy.

      Oh, and it's not all semiautomatic hunting rifles like AR-15s. There are a LOT of .45 submachine guns floating around this country, plus other heavy weapons like Browning Automatic Rifles (BAR). You would truly be surprised what Americans are hiding.
  • $5k (Score:5, Insightful)

    by reanjr (588767) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:10PM (#47199109) Homepage

    For five grand, I'd be tempted to buy one, too.

    • Re:$5k (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:50PM (#47199361)

      This. The sheriff said he'd rather have a more police-oriented armored vehicle for his SWAT team, but they cost $300,000, and this only cost $5,000. It's bigger, slower, and uses more gas, but it's cheaper overall. He's working within a budget and it's budget-effective.

      The rest is window dressing and statements to appease the press.

      • by rsilvergun (571051) on Monday June 09, 2014 @10:14PM (#47199829)
        Yep, it's a by product of the military industrial complex that's been propping up our economy since the end of WWII. Since we couldn't have socialism we just built lots of army vehicles. And that means lots of surplus and a heavily militarized police force. I don't think anyone really planned it, it's just one of the twisted distortions from our way of keeping the economy going...
    • Re:$5k (Score:5, Funny)

      by mythosaz (572040) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:54PM (#47199385)

      Are they still for sale?

      I've got a teenager who needs a car he can't wreck :)

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:14PM (#47199137) Homepage Journal

    needs to go to a war zone for a few months.

    Violence has been trending down for decades. This dumb ass just get a hard on with driving around in the military vehicle.

    Plus he is in Johnson county doing Sheriff duties. Not anything close to a war zone. Using a few stories from the news to claim America is a war zone is so fucking stupid this guy should be fired. Clearly he can not do basic statistics within his field. Someone anyone making purchasing decision should be able to do.
    Tell me what crime you deal with the requires this?
    http://www.jocosheriff.org/ind... [jocosheriff.org]

    AND it's going to be more expensive to maintain, and the police should never use military anything, ever. They are NOT the military. Too many people are loosing touch with what the difference is.

  • Ob (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:17PM (#47199159) Homepage Journal

    Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer told the Indy Star: "The United States of America has become a war zone."'

    And then when he thought the mic was off he added "...and if it isn't, we'll soon make it one!"

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:19PM (#47199175)

    You'll have to forgive Sheriff Gayer, after all it must feel like a warzone when you spend all you're available time and money engaged in the war on drugs because it's so damn profitable for the cops.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/... [pbs.org]

    Nineteen eighty-four was the year that Congress rewrote the civil forfeiture law to funnel drug money and "drug related" assets into the police agencies that seize them. This amendment offered law enforcement a new source of income, limited only by the energy police and prosecutors were willing to put into seizing assets. The number of forfeitures mushroomed: Between 1985 and 1991 the Justice Department collected more than $1.5 billion in illegal assets; in the next five years, it almost doubled this intake. By 1987 the Drug Enforcement Administration was more than earning its keep, with over $500 million worth of seizures exceeding its budget.

    The numbers are only worse now. States like Minesota that are average size take in around 8 million dollars and almost every penny of that money is given right back to the cops.

  • Junk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:21PM (#47199185)

    Most of the MRAPs are junk. The only thing they're really good at is absorbing a blast coming from under the vehicle. They're unstable and they guzzle fuel because of their weight and lack of aerodynamics. The citizens should be more concerned about how much of the municipal budget is going into fueling these pieces of shit.

    • by Sir Holo (531007)
      How many Roadside Bombs did we have in the USA in 2013?

      None? Well, how about 2012?

      None? Well, how about 2011?

      None? Well, how about 2010?

      Continue, ad infinitum.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:24PM (#47199197)

    "There's violence in the workplace, there's violence in schools and there's violence in the streets. You are seeing police departments going to a semi-military format because of the threats we have to counteract. If driving a military vehicle is going to protect officers, then that's what I'm going to do."

    Uh, yeah, except violent (and property) crime has fallen to levels we haven't seen in 50 years (police-involved shootings, however, have gone up - in part, I'm sure, because of all the war vets getting preferential hiring in police jobs.)

    This reminds me of the firefighters in our city. Fires have become extremely rare, thanks to better standards/code for electrics, building, appliances, etc...as well as education, etc.

    Instead of laying off firefighters, they started sending them out to respond to medical calls. So we have giant ladder trucks responding to grandma saying her chest hurts, instead of spending that operating expenditure on ambulances that can respond quicker, or, say, pivoting the "fleet" towards much smaller, faster SUVs that carry high-tech equipment. Everyone thinks they're still really busy fighting fires. Win-win, except for citizens, screwed by both unnecessary expenditure and ineffective utilization of budget...

  • How Many (Score:4, Insightful)

    by overshoot (39700) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:51PM (#47199371)

    police (deputies, etc.) over the past five years have been attacked with IEDs?

    Alternately, how would something like this have helped the cops in Las Vegas this weekend?

  • by sk999 (846068) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:56PM (#47199395)

    How much extra per month do I get?

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday June 09, 2014 @08:56PM (#47199401) Homepage

    Just read the statistics for the sheriffs department involved. [jocosheriff.org] 133 "crimes against persons" so far this year. But that includes a lot of bad checks, which they list as a crime against a person. It also includes telephone harassment, and "criminal threats". Some assaults, some rapes. No murders. About 63 drug offenses, mostly from traffic stops. Nothing for which an armored vehicle would be useful. It looks like a cop shop that has some real business maybe a few times a day.

    They don't need an MRAP. They need a collection agency for the bad checks and a social worker for the domestic disturbances.

  • War on terrorism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by manu0601 (2221348) on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:14PM (#47199513)
    This is the war on terrorism logic. Even the cops are afraid and see military grade enemies everywhere now.
  • This is bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rigel47 (2991727) on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:26PM (#47199573)
    > "The United States of America has become a war zone," he said. "There's violence in the workplace, there's violence in schools and there's violence in the streets. You are seeing police departments going to a semi-military format because of the threats we have to counteract.

    You are no longer an officer of the peace.

    You are a new armed wing, a great example of the militarization of the American police force. As part part of the Deep State you see yourself as being on one side with the quarrelsome public and their whining on the other.

    Violent crime in the US is at a multi-decade low.. and yet you seek tanks to patrol the streets of US cities.

    It is any wonder that people freak when the DHS tries to buy 3 billion bullets?
  • crime rates (Score:5, Informative)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday June 09, 2014 @09:50PM (#47199693)

    Violent Crime rates are the lowest they've been for decades: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi... [wikimedia.org]

    Yet "Justifiable Homicide" by the police when attacked has almost doubled: http://tacreports.org/storage/... [tacreports.org]
    (i.e. their response is more violent)
    While the number of citizens killed by police in general has remained the same despite the reduction in violent crime.

    Police murdered while on duty is at a 50yr low, so it's not like they are in some new mortal danger.
    https://www.techdirt.com/artic... [techdirt.com]

  • This is the result (Score:4, Interesting)

    by markdavis (642305) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:17PM (#47200113)

    This is the result of the militarization of the police:
    http://www.cato.org/raidmap [cato.org]

  • by tquasar (1405457) on Monday June 09, 2014 @11:44PM (#47200207)
    I drive through "Check Points" on major roads and highways in San Diego County staffed by mostly friendly agents who wave me to proceed on my journey. But I am scanned by an array of sensors, maybe as many as fifteen, two miles ahead of the choke point and another array near their location that is kind of intimidating. By the time I get to their station they know more about me than I do! The sites have "Stadium Lighting" at night that is blinding and destroys night vision. There is no "opt out". But I enjoy the attention, thank you for protecting me, I guess....
  • by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar@noSPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @02:06AM (#47200627) Homepage Journal

    I got waterboarded by the CIA because of some science fiction I posted on the Internet. It was deleted and my account was banned.

    I am constantly monitored for what I post on the Internet now.

    Maybe not a war zone yet, but certainly a police state even if crime is low.

  • by potpie (706881) on Tuesday June 10, 2014 @09:52AM (#47202411) Journal
    Any place becomes a war zone when you march an army through it.

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