Sniper Teams Guard Keene, NH Pumpkin Festival

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Keene, New Hampshire is small New England town nestled in the southwestern part of the state near to the Vermont border.  There is no interstate highway access and the population is only about 23,000 people. It also would seem to be a breeding ground for dangerous terrorist behavior. We were first alerted to the high risk faced by Keene last year when the city decided to accept DHS money to purchase their very own Lenco Bearcat. While one might wonder why a town that’s had only two murders since 1999 thinks it needs a battlefield grade armored assault vehicle, you’d be foolish to let your guard down. Obviously, the peaceful small New England town facade is just a clever ruse employed by the evil terrorists to hide their agenda until they are ready to strike . . .

Some might think that I’m being overly paranoid here. But clearly, it’s a good thing I’m here to publicize the danger Keene presents to the moral fabric of the nation. Just this past weekend, for instance, Keene held it’s annual pumpkin festival. The intent was to take the world record for the most Jack ‘o Lanterns lit at one time back from the city of Boston that’s had held it for seven years. Mission accomplished. Keene beat Beantown’s record by over 400 pumpkins.

While this annual event may look like just another example of wholesome small-town America autumn fun, I’m here to warn you that it’s only the first step in a nefarious plot. Think I’m crazy? Well why don’t we just ask the four two-man sniper teams who set up on buildings overlooking the festival. An inquiry made to the police verified that these men were, in fact, police snipers working for an unnamed agency.

Apparently, at least one of the pairs must must have been the “B” team because they left the back door to their rooftop nest open and no one was watching their six. They are lucky that the Nefarious Forces of EvilTM  that infest Keene must have been taking the day off to pray to Fearless Leader, the Great Pumpkin or something.

Anyway, let this be a warning to all law abiding Americans of good character. Keene must be hiding some pretty terrible secrets to demand this sort of law enforcement response, so it would probably be prudent to avoid it if at all possible.

[h/t to JP who tipped me to this story]

74 Responses to Sniper Teams Guard Keene, NH Pumpkin Festival

  1. avatarHannibal says:

    Big deal.

  2. avatarzora says:

    Did you ever think they were there incase the Great Pumpkin showed up hmm.

    • avatarpeirsonb says:

      I know better than to drink anything while reading comments…..

      You just gave me a great image of Charlie Brown wheeling an M45 Qudmount out into the pumpkin patch…..

  3. avatarKevin B says:

    ” While one might wonder why a town that’s had only two murders since 1999 thinks it needs a battlefield grade armored assault vehicle…”

    Satire warning….

    One might wonder why a person who has never been the victim of violence needs to carry a concealed handgun.

    • avatarBDub says:

      Really? You think that’s a valid criticism of his comment on police militarization?

      • avatarJon says:

        Totally valid!!

        • avatarDyspeptic says:

          Perhaps in some alternate universe it might be valid. In this one it seems like quite a stretch. The nationalization and militarization of the police is a real danger to our civil liberties and for some of us our very lives. Terrorism at obscure rural Pumpkin festivals on the other hand … what sane person loses sleep worrying about that?

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        I certainly don’t think so.

      • avatarIng says:

        It’s the same sort of logic, applied to different circumstances. The comparison is valid.

        The truth, however, depends on the context of the statement. An armored vehicle in a sleepy small town doesn’t have the same purpose or the same connotations as an armed citizen. At least, not to us…

    • avatarDanny says:

      Only one involves personal protection. The other is an unnecessary increase in police power.

      • avatarMax says:

        Bingo.

        • avatarJon says:

          the same people who now loose sleep taking their kids to Newtown Elementary….you would be silly to think because its a small town violence could never happen.

        • avatarpwrserge says:

          Jon… Not going to happen and statistically significant enough to justify equipping every small town with an APC have quite a bit of wiggle room in the middle.

  4. avatarKY1911 says:

    Looks like they are giving Blaine, Missouri’s sesquicentennial a run for its money.

  5. avatarRalph says:

    Oh, there’s evil in Keene. Police Chief Ken Meola is a total d1ck.

  6. avatarRoscoe says:

    No pumpkin smashing in Keene this year (unless it’s by the Law)!

  7. avatarAlphaGeek says:

    That red fleece jacket: operator as fsck. I think I saw a picture of the guys in DEVGRU wearing jackets just like that while they were fast-roping onto a submarine. (snicker)

  8. avatarShire-man says:

    Hysterical somebody walked right up the stairs to the rooftop they were on.
    Small town cops trying to play big-boy games on a dinky field that doesnt want them there.

  9. avatarTheSleeperHasAwakened says:

    Very disturbing

    • avatarRobGR says:

      Agreed.

      So they spot something or someone, what, they gonna just start shooting; judge, jury, & executioner all at once? That’s not how our system works. What would militarized idiots like this have done in Boston, just started shooting random people like the NYPD?

      • avatarfanfare ends says:

        “What would militarized idiots like this have done in Boston, just started shooting random people like the NYPD?”

        I must have missed the NYPD snipers shooting random people. Got a link?

        Especially since I have seen them on roof-top posts at almost every 5th Avenue parade and large scale political street rally / march since 9/11.

        Or was that after Beslan…

        Don’t get me wrong, NYPD street officers need some serious (re) training on firearms, and I am dead set AGAINST the over-militarization of our local LEOs.

        But unless you have a link to a story of NYPD snipers shooting people randomly in the street, you’re screwing up a valid argument with your exaggeration.

  10. avatarJay1987 says:

    Hey now they are just practicing for the zombie apocalypse or had intel it would start soon. I know every horror movie I’ve seen starts out in wholesome small town USA during a local event. Next thing you know BANG!! zombie mayor eating your kid’s brain. You can never be too careful.

  11. avatarMister John Moses Browning says:

    I’m going to start calling this blog “The Truth About Cop-Bashing and Police Militarization.” Okay, we get it. Quit beating the dead horse already and start posting stuff about GUNS!

    • avatarRalph says:

      Maybe you should be reading the Ruger catalog and let the adults read this blog.

      • avatarDaniel says:

        He has a valid point. One thing I’ve noticed here is that any even slightly pro-LEO comments are drowned in chest-thumping nonsense. ALL LEOs are gun owners, and we tend to forget that police have very little say in the policies they enforce. Besides, it gives the gun owners a bad name to be anti-cop, which some posts are very close to being.

        • avatarJim Barrett says:

          Daniel, first of all, not everyone here is anti-cop. That said, some people are decidedly anti-police. Many of them have perfectly valid reasons for their feelings. Furthermore while there are lots of examples of good cops, there are way too many examples of cops abusing their authority. How often are cops really prosecuted for doing the sorts of things that would get a normal person a stay in the county jail? A cop has to really screw up publicly before they get slammed and often the punishment is suspension or termination of the job rather than arrest and jail time like any normal person would get. If the police fraternity policed their own as aggressively as they police us, there would be a lot less mistrust.

          Then you have stupid sh1t like this one. Sniper teams at a rural pumpkin festival? Really? And apparently not very good sniper teams – at least where OPSEC is concerned. If there had truly been some bad actors in town looking to do mischief, it would not have been too difficult to locate and neutralize the sniper nests. If some bloggers could do it, I kind of got to think that someone who knew what he was doing could do it better and faster.

          The point is that the whole concept of police militarization has gone way too far. It’s not just crazy right wing paranoid people calling this out. Check out my post about the ACLU looking into this a few months back. While I can understand the need for some of this tactical crap in bigger cities, smaller towns like Keene can get by with more community policing. Partnerships between people and law enforcement goes a lot farther to keep order. People who like and respect the police tend to work with them more and as a result, the police have eyes everywhere. People who distrust the motives of the police tend to be tight-lipped and the police are not as effective.

          Me – I have no problem with police and certainly would not want to live in anarchy where I had to rely solely on myself to keep the wolves from the door. That said, I don’t support giving the police unlimited power and turning my safety over to them exclusively either.

        • avatarChris Mallory says:

          “police have very little say in the policies they enforce.”

          Bullshit. They have all the say in the world. They choose to wear the government issued costume jewelry . They choose to go to work. “Just following orders” is never an excuse to do evil.

        • avatarSertorius says:

          Yes, LEO are often gun people, but they very rarely object to the ubiquitous law enforcement carve-outs in anti-gun statutes. I’d be much more “ra ra go LE” if I saw some letters to the editor saying “I object to the LE exemption in the New York 7-rd magazine ban (for example) because when I am off-duty I am a citizen just like my fellow gun owners.”

          Instead, we get the Police unions in NY (as an example) going bonkers when the LEO exemption was left out, but leaving the rest of us high and dry. That does not engender good will.

        • avatarMax says:

          Ok… Nazis were gun owners too…

          Now, cops (most of them) are definitely not Nazis, but it just goes to show that being a gun owner has no relevance in this argument…

        • avatarmiforest says:

          no not a valid point that police discussion should be off limits here. . the good LEO’s are not thin skinned. Also there is a big diffrence between being issued a gun and being a gun owner by choice.
          so what should we do, pretend that because some of the LEO’s are responsable and professional that
          any police policy and action is beyond question?
          Putting snipers on the roof in a small town event borders on paranoid. Paranoid,armed,belligerant, and agressive have replaced “protect and serve” in the mission statement of too many agencies.

        • avatarTaro Tsujimoto says:

          “and we tend to forget that police have very little say in the policies they enforce.”

          Well, ain’t that cowardly as fuck?

          “Sorry, man, my hands are tied. The Chief signs my check, y’know? So, spread ‘em.”

        • avatarAccur81 says:

          Being anti-police militarization is a long way from being anti-cop. This event was 8 snipers doing over watch above a *pumpkin festival.* There are situations where I welcome sniper support (such as a formal motorcade) and a pumpkin festival in BFE doesn’t rate. Not even close. This is a plain and simple waste of taxpayer money, and these events set dangerous precedents. They further the “us vs. them” mentality between police and the citizens they are charged to serve.

      • avatarMister John Moses Browning says:

        Darn, Ralph, I would, but I done wore out that old Ruger catalog. :(

    • avatarSertorius says:

      It is “cop-bashing” to object to the continuing trend of police militarization in America, and to point out it’s silliest aspects (like a sniper overwatch of a pumpkin festival)?

      • avatarMister John Moses Browning says:

        Not at all. There are already websites dedicated to police militarization awareness. I’d go to those websites if I wanted to read about such stuff, not a blog that started out as an awesome website about firearms and firearms-related gear. Seems like all 90% of the blog posts on this site now are dedicated to informing us about which police department is the latest to get an old beat-up HMMWV donated to them by Uncle Sugar.

        • avatarMax says:

          But it’s not some beat up old piece of crap armored vehicle! These are brand new vehicles! Now granted, they weren’t being used, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have been sold to recuperate costs, or not even manufactured in the beginning as the DHS didn’t need it.

        • avatarJim Barrett says:

          And there are websites that focus exclusively on firearms and accessories reviews. TTAG splits the middle. I’ll grant you that since Newton, things around here have taken a decidedly political turn, but I suspect that if you were to count up the number of actual posts of gun and equipment reviews on TTAG, you would find we do at least as many if not more than any other site. TTAG posts 8-9 articles a day. That’s more than 60 a week. Most other blogs may have 5-7 posts a week. Even if only 1/6 of TTAG’s posts are actual reviews, its still more than other sites.

          You can always skip over the political ones. Lord knows that I certainty do from time to time when a topic strays into an area that I have no interest in.

  12. avatarCknarf says:

    Keene is just gearing up, as they are preparing to secede. They’re building their own private army. It’s not just for the police, it’s for the people of the town. Duh.

  13. avatarJahead1982 says:

    I would lay odds they were DEA and someone there was an undercover DEA agent, saw similar setup 20 years ago when there was a wedding at our church, the groom was the UA!

  14. avatarDanRRZ says:

    The red fleece is tactical fall foliage adaptive camo, and too bad the DHS grant didn’t provide enough money for claymores because that door would have been strung with trip wire and the cameraman in a world of hurt.

    • avatarRalph says:

      That cameraman has been out of work since “The Blair Witch Project,” although he may have shot a few scenes in “Cloverdale.”

      • avatarDanRRZ says:

        Yea, terrible camera work. I was trying to see whether they were tooled up with a legit rifle setup or an off the shelf Rem 700, but I felt like I was riding a rodeo bull trying to focus.

  15. avataruncommon_sense says:

    Now here’s an interesting question. If a criminal or terrorist did start harming people, who is most likely to respond first? An armed citizen carrying concealed near the terrorist? Or the guys on the roof who:
    (a) are standing around with their hands in their pockets
    (b) laid their sniper rifle on the roof below the parapet
    (c) do not have a shooting table or surface set up for their rifle, and
    (d) do not have appropriate seating ready

    Second interesting question. If the guys on the roof take a shot at a criminal/terrorist with their sniper rifle, how likely is the bullet to go through the terrorist and injure/kill an innocent bystander next to the criminal/terrorist?

    The more I look at this, the more I like the idea of LOTS of armed citizens carrying openly and/or concealed.

    • avatarMax says:

      Well, lots of armed citizens is ideal. And to your point: who the hell shoots a .50 BMG into a crowd of people when over-penetration is a huge concern?!

  16. avataruncommon_sense says:

    Which is worse? The fact that they forgot to secure the door? Or the fact that a cameraman was able to stand behind them for 20+ seconds without them noticing?

    I think they need a sniper team to protect the sniper teams.

  17. avatarDaniel says:

    They were on the lookout for a man with long hair, a mustache, who wears a hat and carries a sledge hammer. Goes by the name Gallagher.

  18. avatarChris Mallory says:

    Citizens should be armed, not cops.

  19. avatarPaul53 says:

    Only 4 teams? Keene being the social, economic, and jack o lantern center of the universe I would have expected at least a dozen gunships over head for such a high value target. Throw in a few drones and Abrams M1A2 tanks to protect the main cow paths into town. Keene even has a smallish airport. What if some terrorist hijacked a hang glider and flew over the town dropping cherry bombs! Such carnage! Oh the humanity!

  20. avatarTomM says:

    Can’t believe no one has mentioned the Free State Project in here yet.

  21. avatarFederale says:

    Can you say Westgate Mall? Don’t worry, it will never happen here…It’s like someone would fly airplanes into buildings.

    • avatarpwrserge says:

      Because such an incident justifies deploying armed troops at every public venue at all times? Really?

    • avatarJus Bill says:

      See, that’s Risk Avoidance, not Risk Management. I’ll bet you never cross the street because it’s too dangerous – you might get hit by a bus. Driven by Jihadists. Go back to hiding under the bed.

  22. avatarVB says:

    I see a pretty low key pair of guys observing a town event. Yea the SA could be greatly improved but i doubt that green berets came with the bearcat. I give the dept an A for effort and creativity and a C- on the execution.

  23. avatarJeh says:

    I guess they expect the Headless Horseman to come early this year.

  24. avatarAnonymous says:

    Sniper Rifle…Gotta stop those pumpkins.

  25. avatarBob4 says:

    Are you kidding me!!! I spent 7 plus years in the USAF enforcing law and protecting priority resources including nukes. Not once was it deemed appropriate to deploy snipers during a public event during peacetime. Sure, the EST team was always nearby, but they were always out of sight. And four teams!!! Jeez, if I am not mistaken, a pumpkin fest is not a freakin war zone. It is not Mogadishu for Gods sake.

    • avatarTJ Anderson says:

      Bobby-Boy, “service” in USAF counts as time spent in the Boy Scouts. Be more discreet about your shortcomings.

      • avatar4thInfantryStephens says:

        And what branch did you serve in, TJ? How long? How many deployments?

        Just saying you seem to be just a local cop ragging on a veteran at this point. Be aware of your own shortcomings.

        In full discretion I was in the US Army for 5 years and deployed to Sadr City, Iraq in ’08 and B’aqubah, Iraq in ’06 before I was wounded by an enemy mortar shell during a firefight.

  26. avatarJohn Fritz says:

    Those snipers were there to fvck with the Free Staters. That’s the only real reason they were there.

  27. avatarMatt says:

    I’ve spent a lot of time in Keene, my ex went to Keene State College. There are lots of free staters, libertarians, and open carry advocates, activists, the civilly disobedient, etc. in Keene NH so I wouldn’t be surprised if they make the town nervous enough to buy that kind of stuff. Nothing makes a government more nervous than people exercising their constitutional rights and exercising civil disobedience.

    To the towns credit though, their police force and the locals see this kind of stuff enough that they generally respond to it better than most other places on the planet.

    While it is comical to think anyone would target pumpkin fest, a event the town threatens to cancel every year, you can understand their concerns about wanting extra security given terrorism, blah blah blah etc etc. Just for some perspective, I don’t know if any of you have been, but it is basically throngs of people mingling around main street, which is closed down, pushing through crowds and eating fair food.

  28. avatarTJ Anderson says:

    I’m a libertarian AND a police officer, and I can tell you that given what happened at the Boston Marathon, police MUST take a more vigilant approach whenever there are such massive gatherings of people. Keene PD did that very discreetly. There were police in civilian attire – NOT police SWAT uniforms on the rooftops, and guns weren’t conspicuously displayed on the rooftops. Now, it’s time for immature, Free State imbecile-anarchists to pull their heads from their collective arses and GET REAL! Local police are NOT your enemy!

  29. avatarJason Woodson says:

    Being a current Keene resident for a number of years and having volunteered this year, I’m very grateful for the police presence. We have a huge college population from Keene State that treats this event like some kind of massive concert. If you what this looks like check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I90WeyyFZ9s I love Pupmkin Fest and think it is an amazing thing for our community, but there are 70,000 plus people in our very small downtown area. This is supposed to be a family friendly event and for the most part it is, but each year this somewhere between 150-200 arrests made. As to the bearcat, I don’t think it is such a horrible, society is coming to end, piece of equipment. The area has a very prevalent drug problem as well as other issues; just because it’s a small town doesn’t mean there isn’t crime. It must be great to be able to blog about whatever comes into your mind without actually having done any research as to why these precautions may have been put in place…..don’t be that guy Jim Barrett

    • avatarJoAnn says:

      I agree. I’ve been to Pumpkinfest and you can not keep track of anything from ground level. Having the extra eyes looking down would be a great help watching for problems.

    • avatarMikeP says:

      There is a big difference between a law enforcement presence to keep drunk college kids in check and rooftop sniper teams. What were the rules of engagement? Head-shot for a BAC of 0.25?

  30. avatarbontai Joe says:

    When I go to a Little League baseball game, a founders day parade, any large craft show, most events at the local fairgrounds, I almost always see an ambulance parked on site. Odds are no one will need it, but it’s nice to have it there should someone get hurt. Maybe 4 sniper teams is excessive, but I don’t know that. I don’t know how good the visibility is from each vantage point. And the original post did not mention that the town’s population more than quadruples for this event. I agree that a genuine terrorist attack would be extremely unlikely, but a nut job off his/her meds that decides to listen to the voices in his head that say set off a bomb or shoot up main street is a real possibility when dealing with more than 70,000 people crowded in the streets.

    • avatarMikeP says:

      Joe. Precaution is fine and dandy, but there is a point when escalation becomes a threat in itself. Which is more concerning to the citizen in the crowd with a child in hand? A) a nut job intent on harm or B) law enforcement overreaction and a stray bullet in a crowd. Frankly, B happens far more often. Putting armed teams on a roof top should be a scary situation for any citizen. These are not observers only, but rather were given the tools to deal violence into a crowd of civilians from a distance. In what world is that appropriate? What threat level existed for the need to escalate from a ground level police presence in the crowd to ‘protect and serve’ to multiple rooftop sniper teams that can do nothing except deal lethality from afar? Shouldn’t a citizen expect to have known about such a threat before attending the event with their family?

  31. avatarMichaelTwohig says:

    You all think Keene, NH doesn’t have a cult presents? There is evil in your beautiful city, pull those weeds before its to late. I lived in and around Keene for a long time and have seen some things and met many people I would red flag! And if you don’t think the KPD or NHSP are not aware and think they bought that vehicle for joy riding, your the fools.

  32. avatarAlphadog says:

    You forget that Keene is right down the road from Brattleboro Vt. That is psycho central. plenty of Jihadi types there.

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