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My father was a MAD man. “There’s only one reason Russia doesn’t attack the United States,” he’d pronounce in a heavy Hungarian accent. “Mutually Assured Destruction. Those commie bastards know if they go to war with us they can’t win.” I wish the old man had lived long enough to discuss MAD’s domestic implications. No, I don’t mean his relationship with Mom. I wonder if he would have agreed with the idea that the same balance-of-terror = peace relationship exists on the local level. In other words, the equality between privately-held arms and the firepower available to law enforcement protects our freedom from state-run tyranny.  If so, boy are we in trouble. To wit this via officer.com . . .

A Hamilton JournalNews investigation found budget-challenged Ohio departments are increasingly using military surplus to arm and equip their staff — last year acquiring a record $12 million in equipment and weapons through the Pentagon’s 1033 program.

That was more than a third of the $33 million in surplus gear obtained since the program started in the mid-1990s. On top of that, Ohio police have received more than 6,000 firearms valued at $2 million, mostly M16 assault rifles.

Readers of this website have addressed the issue of police-issued militarization in general and standard-issue AR rifles in specific for years. The general consensus is, sure, why not?

The underlying philosophy: we have them (and by “we” I mean bad guys as well as good guys) so the cops probably need them so what the hell, let ’em have ’em. Underlying that: the same operating principle that accounts for the British reaction to their burgeoning police state. If you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Yes, well, it pays to remember that We The People couldn’t buy “assault weapons” during the Clinton years. Which highlights the fact that obeying the law—however unjust—doesn’t necessarily prevent a police state. In fact, it can tip the balance of power towards the Powers That Be. More poetically, an unquestioning acquiescence to unconstitutional laws may till the soil of tyranny.

All this hand-wringing over 6,000 rifles? Yes, actually. The easier it is for police departments to obtain box-fresh M16s and the attendant clobber, the more likely they are  to form SWAT teams. The more SWAT teams in existence, the greater the likelihood that the police will use them.

But critics say the program is fueling an increasing militarization of police that has civil rights and public safety implications. They say heavily armed SWAT teams, originally formed to respond to rare events like sniper and hostage situations, now often are used for routine police work like the execution of search warrants, sometimes resulting in botched raids and even deaths of innocent residents.

A mishandled marijuana raid by a Preble County SWAT team resulted in the 2002 death of Clayton Helriggle, who was shot as he came down a stairway. The SWAT team was later disbanded, and Helriggle’s survivors received more than $500,000 to settle a civil lawsuit.

Not so disbanded. The incident described above went down in 2003. whiotv.com reports that the Preble County SWAT team raided a house in December 2011.

In any case, we’re talking about more than assault rifles and SWAT teams.

Several years ago, [Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones’] office obtained a pair of helicopters from the military and sold them after five years and used the proceeds to purchase a new one. Since then, the agency disposed that helicopter for another new one.

“Our current helicopter is being kept up by drug seizures and forfeitures from the drug dealers, which is nice of them,” Jones said.

In the main, citizens do not have helicopters. And what’s wrong with cops in choppers? They could airlift accident victims to hospital for example. Only they don’t. (Ohio already has at least 12 medical helicopters in service.) They’re used for surveillance.

And what if there’s no need for surveillance? Protecting the cop choppers’ budget demands that the whirlybirds get airborne on a regular basis. So airborne they are. Doing something—that the people they serve and protect can’t. Advantage police.

Ohio agencies in fiscal 2011 more than doubled their acquisition of surplus items like bulletproof vests, helmets, chemical and biological gas masks, military vehicles, computers and office furnishings, a JournalNews/Middletown Journal analysis of data from the Ohio Department of Public Safety found.

Police say the program helps law enforcement, especially in small towns, keep pace in an arms race with drug dealers and other criminals.

Carlisle Police Chief Mike Bruck said the program allows his small agency to obtain these weapons for emergency use.

When was the last time the Ohio po-po saw a drug dealer wearing a bulletproof vest, helmet, chemical or biological mask driving a military vehicle? And if that’s not enough to ping your cop militarization radar, ask yourself this: what kind of emergency use does Chief Bruck have in mind? A terrorist attack, presumably.

No question: 9/11 was the tipping point. And man have the cops tipped. Thanks to our collective desire to protect the Homeland (scary word right there), the cops got all the toys, many of which the average American doesn’t or can’t have.

The state data shows 23 police departments, from Toledo to tiny Uhlrichsville, obtained free armored personnel carriers that look like small tanks without cannons, each with an original acquisition cost of $244,844. The Allen County Sheriff’s Office in Lima has acquired more than $4.8 million in gear, including $491,000 worth of laser range finders. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office got a helicopter, and police in Delaware, north of Columbus, got a grenade launcher that can fire tear gas canisters . . .

“We’ve invested a tremendous amount of firepower among people who are not trained to use it, and of course they’re using it against our own citizens,” said Alphonse Gerhardstein, a Cincinnati attorney specializing in police misconduct cases and a lawyer in the Rush and Wilson lawsuits.

Of course? No wonder my father loved nuclear submarines. “I’d like one for myself,” the Holocaust survivor used to joke. No joke.

The only way to stop the militarized anti-MAD madness: de-fund these federal “Toys for Tots” programs and starve the cops of money needed to use all the military gear. The freedom we save will be our own.

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90 Responses to Police Militarization And You

  1. Military hardware is not equal to military capability.

    Just because these weapons are going to law enforcement units does NOT mean the police know a thing about using them. Some “SWAT” teams are just groups of local cops who volunteer to wear the gear part time just in case. These groups are a bigger danger to themselves than they are to the criminals or the population.

    Cops getting thousands of used up ex military weapons is hardly a cause for concern. The time to wring one’s hands is if the day comes when police order 10,000 Ruger Scout Rifles and millions of man hours of training. We will then have plenty of cause to be concerned about “militarization”.

    • “Just because these weapons are going to law enforcement units does NOT mean the police know a thing about using them.”

      But because they have them, they WILL eventually use them. Whether they know how to or not is besides the point…both trained and untrained users of deadly implements are dangerous, especially when the people have nothing that can be used to fight back with.

    • you could no be more wrong. the swat team doesn’t want to be laid off, and if they’re not used they know they will be.
      so If osama isn’;t reincarnated and attacking mudvill ohio , then the local swat will have to find someone else to raid. maybe those “kooks with the Arsenal” i. e. anyone who several firearms . It works even better if you call them “malitia” anytime a group gets togather to shoot they are liable to be labeled “Milita”

      be afraid , be very afraid. when you have a lot of hammers, everything looks like a nail.

      • They are using the SWAT teams for routine warrant enforcement now. The guy with a bag of pot, not the kooks with the arsenal. The kooks will shoot back, that makes things very unfun for the thugs in blue. So they kick in some family’s door at 3 am, shoot the dog and anyone who commits the crime of contempt of cop.

    • I’ve got no problem with LE having maximized weapons and tactical capabilities because just occasionally, they need them and occasionally we need them to have them.

      The problem is that they are now, no longer inclined to respect the constitution and bill of rights and increasingly view the average citizen as their charges and their enemies. Freedom cannot exist when this happens and regardless of the words and platitudes offered by government, nothing is being done to correct this, which means that it is being encouraged. Imagine that, politicians on a power trip with heavily armed assistants. Never ends well for the people on the other end but it makes great headlines and increases their power, and the media love it!

  2. The only way to stop the militarized anti-MAD madness: defund these federal “Toys for Tots” programs and starve the cops of money needed to use all the military gear. The freedom we save will be our own.

    There’s actually another option, that I know TTAG editors will despise. Follow the police’s own playbook of shoot first, ask questions later. Gun owners in the country outnumber all military, police, and federal agent personnel (I’m talking ALL, even secretaries) by around 12 to 1. In a war of attrition, they’d lose by a landslide.

    • Well… yeah. Except that the whole point is to *avoid* a shooting war where even if we win, we lose.

      • How do we lose by getting our rights back? Because we’ll lose some money in the process due to economic turmoil? Big deal. Better to not have a cozy retirement than to live in a police state.

        • The point is to avoid loss of life if at all possible. I want to keep (restore) constitutional rights as much as anyone, but I also want to be around for my family and not have any harm come to them.

          Exhausting all non-violent means to achieve this should be the priority.

        • Right, because history shows that method to work out SO well….

          When your enemy is willing to kill you, you must be willing to kill them. Otherwise, you WILL lose.

        • Hey, Totenglocke, if you’re being figurative, I’m with you. But if you’re being literal, than you go suit up and attack your local PD before you tell others to do it, okay?

        • Which, Ralph, is why we’ll never get our rights back and keep losing more and more. Everyone wants to sell everyone else out to save their own skin, so anyone who does stand up will be demonized even by those who would have agreed with them, merely because they’re too scared to stand up to others disagreeing with them and discriminating against them for their views.

  3. In a war of attrition, they’d lose by a landslide.

    Really? Because I’d actually prefer not to have citizens and government shooting at each other and taking out my wife and kids into the bargain.

    Besides, back here in realityland the way deterrence works is that the government knows a) in case of open war against the people, half or more of the police and military will side with the people, and b) even if they think they’re covered for option a), it’s brutally expensive and therefore cuts way down on the set of scenarios where they’ll find it worth their while.

    So the value of our guns isn’t that they put us on equal footing with the military – they don’t – but that they place a low (compared to e.g. the UK) limit on how much the government can realistically lean on the people before the price of power starts to shoot up (ha ha)

    • in case of open war against the people, half or more of the police and military will side with the people

      I love when people suffering from Stockholm Syndrome say crap like this. These people are paid to murder anyone the government tells them to – no questions asked (hell, they can be jailed or even executed if they ask questions) and you actually think that they’ll help you? Their openly stated goal is to enslave you or kill you if you dare to think for yourself.

      • Openly stated goal? Wow, and here I was thinking “To protect and serve”, gonna have to read my local PD’s web site again…silly me

        No , the truth is that the numbers are most likely even higher. Some say 50% of police would tear of their uniforms and side with the people…I actually think it would be a much larger percentage. Police live in and are part of “the people” they are the ones most closely aligned with the people and fight for their protection every day and night. They know their struggles and experience the same struggles. I also think a large portion of the military as well would feel the same way. No, this crazy day that you speak of will most likely never come, but that doesn’t mean we should not be mindful of the warning signs. Just get the modo right kid….seriously.

        • “To protect and serve” someone against their will is to enslave them.

        • The fact they aren’t arresting their fellow officers who are already abusing citizens shows how wrong you are. The blue wall of silence means the number of “good cops” in the US can probably be counted on two hands.

          Ask Kelly Thomas about how 50% of cops will side with the people. Oh, you can’t. Fine upstanding cops stood by while their buddies beat him to death.

        • Rydak, you don’t have anything to actually support that claim – just pro-police / pro-military people claiming it so that they can justify supporting the police state. “Oh, if it REALLY got bad, the infallible police / military would turn on the government” – no, they wouldn’t.

          Try reading a newspaper and see the crimes committed against peasants citizens every day by the police or the crimes committed by the military. Look at the existence of the Department of Homeland Terrorism Security – they abuse people on a daily basis for kicks, and these are the people you claim will defend you? Give me a break. I get it, you love to fellate people who are entitled to legally kill anyone they please, but please, join the real world and see them for what they are. Worshiping them as demi-gods only makes the situation worse.

      • “These people are paid to murder anyone the government tells them to – no questions asked”

        As a former soldier, I feel obligated to point out how ignorant that comment is. American soldiers learn the Law of Land Warfare in Basic, and we are all taught to refuse to obey an unlawful order. Soldiers have, and will continue to, refuse orders from the chain of command that violate the Constitution or Law of Land Warfare.

        It’s a real shame the only ones who get media attention are the ones like those idiots at Abu Gharib.

        • Please explain the distinct lack of soldiers refusing to conduct each and every un-Constitutional military engagement since WWII.

          Article 1, Section 8.

        • we are all taught to refuse to obey an unlawful order. Soldiers have, and will continue to, refuse orders from the chain of command that violate the Constitution or Law of Land Warfare.

          Right, because we see that SO often. *rolls eyes*

          Private Manning who leaked information about the crimes committed by our soldiers is the only one I’ve ever seen evidence of disobeying an unjust order. Hell, just ask the family members of Americans who’ve been murdered by the military (such as the college students at Kent State) how willing the soldiers were to disobey unjust orders.

          Not to mention that, aside from fighting Al-Qaeda (and ONLY them), we haven’t been in a single justified war since WWII – yet we’ve perpetually been at war for the last 70 goddamn years. Then when there were people who disobeyed unjust orders and didn’t get selected at random to die in Vietnam, they get demonized for daring to stand up to an oppressive government instead of being a good zombie and doing whatever the government told them.

  4. Anybody still believe that the ordinary citizen matters any longer? Just go to work, fork over taxes, keep a low profile and hope for the best.

  5. I think a huge part of the problem is the asset forfeiture of assets involved in drug crimes.
    It goes like this: Cops bust drug dealer; seize assets used in the crime (car, house, cash, etc); sell those assets for cash; buy better equipment; bust more drug dealers; ad nauseum.

    Its like a business. The more people they bust, and the bigger the fish, the more money the department gets, the bigger the bonuses and expense account, the bigger the tactical setups.
    Its all about the money bro.

    • “I think a huge part of the problem is the asset forfeiture of assets involved in drug crimes that the direct beneficiaries claim were involved in drug crimes with no need to gain a conviction or even an indictment in some localities.”

      Fixed that for ya.

    • How the “conservative” Rhenquist court got around this “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;” is beyond me.

  6. One of the things that I really dislike about this is the indebtedness of the local police forces to the federal government. This is how the federal govt can get more and more involved in local forces…first its just giving/selling them gear, then it will be giving them orders….

  7. If a police department sees the need for a helicopter, then they need to look into the costs of flying one. Pilots need to be in the air to stay current and proficient (not the same thing). Since no one wants anything but a jet powered Helo, maintenance costs are sky high-pun intended. One thousand dollars an hour of flight might be a realistic cost. Jet fuel is currently running $3.30 a gallon for major airlines. The guy at the airport probably is charging at least $5.00. Turbines don’t measure fuel burn in mpg but in #/hr and a twin jet burns lots of #/hr.

    It ain’t as sexy, but you can hire a lot of additional police for the cost of one Helo.
    Or you can equip a lot of useless extra SWAT JBT’s as well.

  8. My concern with the “militarization” of police is the mindset of those sporting the helmets, black fatigues and M16 rifles. Do they drift away from the “I am an officer of the Court enforcing the law” toward “I am here to fight the enemies of my nation”?

    • Actually, they drift away from the “I am an officer of the Court enforcing the law” toward “I am here to kill your house pets.”

    • Agreed, this article is way out of context. And the references to highly equipped and poorly trained police, insinuating that the police are like Barney from Mayberry with M4s and grenades is out of hand. Nobody who has ever served in the military and then in the police would make that statement. I have seen some scary scary shit in the military. Sure they are some local-yocals in the police…but dam, you want to talk about institutionalized mass local-yocals….step into an army unit sometime. (And yes, im talking about the Big Army, …don;t even want to bring up the guard.)

      • Note to self: pair-o-dee & Rydak ride high horses and consider lowly citizens to be crazies & conspiro-nutjobs if they question the authotiy & power of the gov’t.

    • Ask Professor Gates what happens to even the supposed elites when they don’t avert their eyes and ‘yes m’Lord’ to the authorities. Then call it paranoia. Yawn.

        • Rydak, Oh, hang around. The comments section here is littered with crazies, Tim McVeigh wannabees, misogynist nutters and cracka Klansmen.

          But once you recognize the nicks you can ignore them, and find some value.

  9. The more the feds spread it around at the local level, the easier it is for us ordinary folks to get our hands on it, once the need arises.

  10. When there is an imbalance of power, the person or entity that has the upper hand is tempted to use it at the expense of others. As it is, I mistrust the U.S. military. Sadly, I mistrust local law enforcement even more. Between the “good old boys” covering for each other and qualified immunity, local law enforcement officers have been committing a lot of serious crimes. I firmly oppose more firepower in their hands.

  11. No question: 9/11 was the tipping point. …

    What good would all that hardware have done on 9/11? What good will it be for the next terror attack?

    I got this hammer here, and I’m ready for any nail that comes along.

    • I agree 10,000% Blammo.

      No one seems to grasp that citizens are everywhere and if most citizens were armed, that would go a long way to preventing large scale attacks. For example the terrorists would not have been able to takeover the planes if most of the passengers were armed. At the absolute worst there would have been a shootout and several wounded/killed passengers, but the terrorists would not have been able to fly the planes into any targets and I doubt the planes would have even crashed. That outcome is far more desirable that what actually happened. And the best case scenario: the terrorists would not have even tried figuring their attempt would have been futile.

      Why do so many people think it is awful for several citizens to be armed?

  12. By the way the only instance I know about (and I am by no means an expert but these sorts of things tend to be in the news) where a helicopter was very useful for law enforcement was an incident at Manley Hot Springs, Alaska, in 1984. A spree killer had killed several people and fled into a rural, forested area along a river. I suppose there have been a few other instances across the entire U.S. in the 28 years since. One or two helicopters per state (and maybe three or four for Alaska, Texas, California, and Montana) would be plenty. It is silly for several local police departments to have their own helicopters.

    And I hate to say it but an expensive surveillance drone would make a lot more sense. The primary role of a helicopter is surveillance; they make a horrible sniper platform. A drone with both a visible light and infrared camera is more than capable of finding a fugitive on the loose. I suspect a drone costs very little to operate — both in terms of fuel and maintenance.

    • I would agree on the drone thing,….but then again… your feeding the conspiracy guys with that one “Unmanned drone” is too much for them to swallow.

      There is also another practical use for a chopper to consider, especially in mass urban environments like big cities, or even large country areas… Rapid transport of resources to and from an incident location. Which is , after all, the most commonly used purpose of choppers.

      But hey, if the reader is a conspiro-nutjob, then its purpose to conduct surveillance and para-military nighttime ops on childrens day care centers by the government.

  13. I am not concerned about what SWAT has, although I maybe a little nervous about what SWAT does. I am very concerned about what the street cop has. He does not need a “patrol rifle” to do his job. An 870, 1100 or a pistol caliber carbine is enough firepower to properly do his job. I had a talk with my neighbor, who is the local LEO SWAT commander. He told me that the longest shot in the DC area was less than 200 yards. In suburban Virginia it’s 58 yards. You don’t need a rifle for that.

    • A pistol at 58 yards? Good luck with that. I call it a good day when I can get 4″ groups at 50 yards with my POS Mosin Nagant, and I’m not shooting in the dark, under stress and with a pack of lawyers breathing down my neck.

      I think my top preference would be that the police avoid shooting at greater than pistol range, but if they’re going to, let’s have them use something they can actually hit their intended target with.

      • Read what I said. Shotgun or pistol caliber carbine for street cops. Pistol caliber carbines are good out to about 75 yards, well inside the range for 9mm carbine. If you are a patrol officer and you need an AR then you need to call SWAT pronto. That’s what they are suppose to be for and not Stasi-like take downs when you serve a warrant.

    • “I am not concerned about what SWAT has, although I maybe a little nervous about what SWAT does.”

      Now there is some common logic. Thank you sir.

      Pretty much everything you wrote after that is crap and can be dispelled by simply reading up a bit on the topic. Shotguns, ironically called “riot guns” are going out of style in patrol work and with good reason…can you imagine using a shotgun against a large group of rioting people…haha, enjoy that federal prison sentence afterward. Or oh.. oh I know a better one “It can stop a car by taken out an engine block”..lol

      A patrol rifle gives an officer the same thing it gives a citizen…an accurate and shoulder fired weapon. Much more likely to hit a target than miss and hit someone else, thereby less liability and more probability that the suspect will be hit. Distance is not the issue, although it can be. And anyone familiar with ballistics can tell you that a 223/556 cal round has less penetrating power in an urban environment than a 00 buck or slug round and in many cases than even the officers pistol round. Not talking about green tips from the military or even ball ammo of course, those aren’t/shouldn’t used by police. The idea of a high velocity small cal round is that it almost always shatters upon impact with anything solid. This is further helped buy using frang ammo, like many LE agencies do. LE concerns about injuring innocents is big in this area, as it should be.

    • In suburban Virginia it’s 58 yards. You don’t need a rifle for that.

      Yeah, you do. But you don’t need a helo or a tank.

      • 100% agreed. I have zero problem with patrol rifles. Frankly, they’re a good idea. It’s the OTHER hardware that causes me concern.

  14. I live right next door to Newport Beach and the cops here have a @#$%^%$# helicopter that circles pretty much endlessly day and night. I dream about that f-er exploding into a ball of flames at least twice a night as the local yokels seem absolutely incapable of conducting the most minor traffic stop without air support. Complete and utter waste of money, but every time the subject of curtailing operations comes up law enforcement starts whining like a baby. It’s even more ridiculous because John Wayne Airport has some of the most stringent noise abatement measures I’ve ever dealt with, but the cops are free to circle endlessly at 500 f-ing feet all g-damn night long.

  15. Did you know that the Israeli Mossad is training our small-town cops now? The Posse Comitatus act has prevented the military from being used as law enforcement, so they’ve found a clever way around it: make the police INTO the military! This is just one piece of the bigger picture showing that the US is headed for martial law… Check out Martial Law USA. It explains it all pretty well.

    • I’m sure that is a reliable site./sarc.

      The Mossad does covert ops not law enforcement. US military trainers are available for local LEO. The National Guard can do it legal under pure state authority or federally funded under Title 32.

    • Last time I spoke with my relative who works, worked with them I never heard anything about them training local officers here.
      To that end though, MOSSAD and also the Israeli Military intelligence can teach our departments a lot about surveillance, spotting lairs, or situational awareness overall. There is a lot of work that we all can do to become better at it. It is even more important for folks who carry. Being able to avoid or back out of a situation is just as important as dealing with one head on.
      For SWAT as many posts on this site have pointed out, their tactics, well… Suck! They need to work on that as well. The IDF, at least my platoon trained a lot in entering and controlling urban spaces. Homes, office buildings, schools. We got good at it.
      I am very concerned about this drone thing. I don’t see a problem with helicopters. Yes they are expensive, and they don’t fly them around all day, but they can be a valuable tool for high risk warrants and also for searches for fleeing suspects. Drones on the other hand, at least the military class ones which require the FAA approval can stay aloft for hours, and have much better imagery systems than your average police heli.
      To that end there are smaller drones, remote control aircraft really, which are cheap, have limited flight time and don’t require any FAA approval. These can be bought today and for things like high risk warrants can be deployed quickly, no heli needed, and flown within a small radius.
      As far as firepower the LA bank robbery in 97 we saw what happens when our officers are out gunned. I do admit they seem to like to use SWAT for everything now.

      • “As far as firepower the LA bank robbery in 97 we saw what happens when our officers are out gunned.”

        Once this has happened. Once. And it could have been stopped in 2 minutes with a 30/30 lever gun. No need for APCs,helo’s or automatic weapons. It’s just stupid to waste so much time and so many resources to combat a problem that statistically almost never happens.

        • True.. A good sniper shot even with a 223 round would have done the job. Actually I blame training as a large part of the issue in that incident.

  16. I have Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones’ signature on my carry license and the guy’s a lot like Joe Arpaio in Arizona. If Rick needs a helo, it’s because it’s going to be used to persecute criminals, period. His organization is armed civilian friendly and I appreciated it the night I responded to a couple of guys pounding on the front door after dark and sneaked up behind them with a .45 stuffed in my jacket pocket. Only after challenging them did I discover they were uniformed deputies. No one drew and it was a very professional encounter.

  17. My only problem with police militarization is that they shouldn’t need all that firepower because the badge is supposed to mean something. One shouldn’t refrain from shooting a cop because he or she lacks more heat, it should be because he or she is part of the Serve and Protect club. If our respect for them—by which I mean “wise deference”, not “personal adulation”—stems from fear of their superior power rather than acknowledgment and appreciation of their public service, we’ve cast them as nothing more than thugs.

    I get it. Drug dealers are heavily armed, and they don’t give two shits about shooting cops, but the way arms races work is that one side builds up in response to the other. If every police department has an APC, you can be damned sure the cartels are going to find ways to put APCs in the hands of their distributors. I think police departments generally want to think of themselves as so righteous that their actions never affect that arms race—that somehow every one of their actions is a reaction to the bad guys in some sort of magic causality where only all reactions are equal, but some reactions are more equal than others.

    Law enforcement shouldn’t feel like it has to keep the peace with military force; if there is no respect for the force of law, they have already lost every altercation. All that’s required for evil to triumph is for enough good men to take up evil tactics.

  18. I don’t mind that some officers arm themselves with AR-15s; if I was an officer I’d probably do the same. What I do mind is the fact that Law Enforcement seems to be using their SWAT teams to run routine warrants; even more so when they don’t even have a warrant. I’ve also heard of more than a few instances in which the SWAT teams busted into the wrong houses and held people at gun point.

    • To be fair, most PDs have a warrant squad, and it’s considered a very dangerous type of police work. Officers who volunteer for the warrant squad like it because of the action and potential for rapid advancement.

  19. I read this blog reliougsly, and agree with 99% of the arguments, viewpoints,poliitacal view points, sentiments. Im a red blooded Active Duty Marine combat vet, Im a firearm owner, weapons and tactics enthusiast. Had to get that out of the way before i get labeled something or another. Look Im an Ohian and we do have some really bad dudes that our LEO’s face every single day. Cops are at an extreme disadvantage tactically from all but the dumbest of criminals, it continues to amaze me that more of them arent killed or seriously injured ea. Year than already are ( thank God thats still the case) when you are going to serve a high risk warrant you dont want to be on equal footi ng with the bad guys! Its that simple. Policce depts arent buying this stuff so they can take over the state they are doing it to save lives! Yes mistakes happen, yes there ARE bad Cops, just like there are bad people in every single other profession. This post has its truths but we the American people will. E strictly to blame if and when America is ever brought to its knees from an inside assault. Now if swat teams were buying surplus no shit tanks helos with miniguns and rockets sending cops to tier one special ops schools AND trampling the vast majority of peoples rights that is when i could see this post having more than a sprinkling of relative substance for our time. Yes we must all stand, vote, speak out , and act against trryanny wherever it rears its ugly head but its not time to start demonizing ALL the Police based on actions of a few. Semper Fi!

  20. Is this a joke? The comments in here are the reason people think gun owners are nuts. You guys are rambling about the cops enslaving people and how we shouldn’t let them have the tools they need to do their job, which by the way, is to protect our sorry asses.

      • actually the joke is on you phil, feel free to kiss any leo butt you encounter, there is no reason that regular or swat cops need select fire capability, period.

        swat is not supposed to be doing “normal” police work, yet this is not only regular, but documented on tv now.

      • Their job is to enforce the law, but also to protect people. That article just says that the constitution doesn’t require them to do so. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t part of their job description

        • phil, the police are not legally obligated to protect you. that is what people bitch about, legitimately. I dont want a police state.

    • their job, which by the way, is to protect our sorry asses.

      If we’re lucky, cops make arrests — sometimes — after the BGs have done what they do. We protect ourselves.

      If you’d like me to post a few dozen references to cops going off the reservation and killing, raping and stealing from innocent people, or fabricating evidence, I’d be happy to do so.

      • Ok, but you could find significantly more articles about similar things that civilians do. Cops are people too, so there are going to be bad apples

        • Parthenon, I never said it was OK, just that Ralph’s offer to find documented cases of police officers breaking the law is insignificant because civilians do these things too, so its unfair to say that cops shouldn’t get these weapons because sometime they do bad things. By that logic, we shouldn’t have guns either because there is a chance we might kill someone

    • Their job is supposed to be to enforce the law (which they routinely break) – even the government has stated officially that police have no duty to protect you. This isn’t 1910 anymore, the police are not your friend from down the street – they’re the high school bully looking to get his kicks.

      • I think that can be true in some places, but may be an overgeneralization. The cops in the town where I grew up and where I live now have all been really cool. I’ve ridden with half of the sheriff’s department here and they have all been outstanding at what they do

  21. I like cops. My dad was the chairman of the police personnel board when I was a kid. His friends were all cops. Cops would stop by the house nearly every night to talk to my dad. I was a volunteer fireman and cops ate all their meals in the fire station. I was a reserve deputy sheriff. 99% of the cops I know are good guys.

    What I don’t like is the militarization of the police. When I read about stuff like cops in Prince George County MD shooting two dogs and zip tying kids when they raided the wrong house over a pound of marijuana it makes me sick to my stomach. When I was stationed in California a no knock warrant on the wrong address in Riverside resulted in a 60 year old man being killed when he reached for the gun in his night stand because ninjas knocked his door off the hinges.

    There are bad people in the world. I know this. I’ve spent 23 years in places like Panama City, Mogadishu, Baghdad and Afghanistan hunting them down. When the Killeen Texas PD has armored cars (the same ones that MPs used to patrol in Iraq), I question whether we’ve gone too far in militarizing our police. When you have a toy, you want to use it. So we have deputies shooting the family dog and zip tying twelve year olds because the FEDEX guy delivered a pound of pot to the wrong address. Do our police really need drones and armored vehicles to serve the average warrant? I just don’t think so.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. Men never really grow up and we are amazed by things that go BOOM and make pretty colors when doing so. I admit it. Any excuse to tool up.

  22. @ LTC F
    “What I don’t like is the militarization of the police. When I read about stuff like cops in Prince George County MD shooting”

    yep, this is my area, and it was completely outrageous when it happened. and guess who settled out of court over that one?

  23. There’s never been a law, constitutional amendment, constitution, or anything else that said there is supposed to be parity between police and civilian weapons. And if the federal government goes south, which it seems to be trying to do, the local cops will be the least of your worries. By that time you’ll be bitchin’ about the M1A1 Abrams tank in your front yard.

  24. Police say the program helps law enforcement, especially in small towns, keep pace in an arms race with drug dealers and other criminals.
    They have got to be kidding!
    Yeah, small town drug dealers are really packing the ordnance.

  25. “Our current helicopter is being kept up by drug seizures and forfeitures from the drug dealers, which is nice of them,” Jones said.

    Yeah, those choppers are badly needed to take down the local two bit drug dealer.
    Drugs need to be legalized anyway.

  26. “We’ve invested a tremendous amount of firepower among people who are not trained to use it, and of course they’re using it against our own citizens,”

    The War on Drugs is a War on People according to the Libertarians.

    Oh no…I am posting at blinding speed.

  27. In other words, the equality between privately-held arms and the firepower available to law enforcement protects our freedom from state-run tyranny. If so, boy are we in trouble.
    Push comes to shove, we might want to re-visit some of the tactics used by the VC in Vietnam. Nathaniel Greene is an inspirational character and so are North American Indian Tribes. Afghans and Iraqis are smarter than what we give them credit for. Raw firepower, the state always wins. Stealth, infiltration, numbers, concealement, citizens win.

  28. Of course the government hates it when private citizens have guns… I personally think this whole Treyvon Martin debacle is being exploited by the government to give them an excuse to take more of our guns away in preparation for martial law. If you want to see their whole plan for a dictatorship in America, look at Martial Law USA. Scary stuff!

    HOLD ON TO YOUR GUNS!

  29. yeah are mighty and powerful superpower army hasnt been able to defeat thousands of insurgents in iraq and afghanistan…or even in Pakistan despite CIA spook ops. The citizens have the strength in numbers, as they will rely on asymmetric warfare to beat a more technologically enhanced army. I like the idea better of just slashing a big fat line across their budgets…including the military ones.

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