Hamtramck gets an armored military assault vehicle… One wonders how long until they find a reason to use it


I was alerted today, by friends in Hamtramck, that their police force had just taken possession of an armored military assault vehicle, and I was reminded of a good conversation we had here about a year ago on the growing militarization of American police forces. If you have time, I’d encourage you to go back and read it. Assuming you won’t do that, though, here are two of my favorite quotes from that post.

The first comes from Battlestar Galactica’s Commander William Adama:

“There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.”

And the second, regarding possible solutions, comes from the end of the 2006 report by the CATO Institute:

…End the Pentagon Giveaways. The primary reason so many police departments across the country can afford SWAT teams is the Pentagon’s policy of making surplus military equipment available to those departments for free, or at steep discounts. The Pentagon used its defense budget to buy that equipment, a budget given to it by Congress on behalf of American taxpayers for the purpose of defending Americans from threats from abroad. It’s perverse to then use that equipment against American citizens as part of the government’s war on domestic drug offenders…

If you haven’t done so already this year, please consider making a donation to the ACLU Foundation. They’re one of the only organizations in our country willing to take on the fight against a government putting tanks on the streets and drones in the sky against its citizens.

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  1. John Galt
    Posted May 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Chances are, if one if these Freedom Enforcement Vehicles comes after you, you’ve done something wrong. You may not have committed a crime right then, but chances are, if you were in a bad neighborhood, you were guilty of something.

  2. anonymous
    Posted May 24, 2014 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    According to Facebook, 72 people liked this post. I wonder why. Are there criminal masterminds in Hamtramck that can’t be apprehended with conventional weapons?

  3. Eel
    Posted May 25, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    I won’t feel safer until there are men with machine guns on every corner.

  4. EOS
    Posted May 25, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    A large number of conservative organizations have been opposed to the militarization of local police since the early sixty’s. Glad the liberals have finally noticed. Support Rand Paul and we’ll return to the constitutional foundations of our government. He would enact changes that both conservatives and liberals would agree on. We need a new paradigm.

  5. Dirtgrain
    Posted May 25, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    “Glad the liberals have finally noticed.”

    Ignorant and condescending–such a powerful combination.

  6. dragon
    Posted May 25, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Paul told Fox the following:

    I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him…

    If there’s a killer on the loose in a neighborhood, I’m not against drones being used to search them out, heat-seeking devices being used, I’m all for law enforcement. I’m just not for surveillance when there’s not probable cause that there’s a crime being committed.

    Nothing says “constitutional foundations of our government” like using multimillion-dollar drones to kill a guy who might have stolen 50 bucks or maybe an innocent guy running from the guy trying to steal 50 bucks.

  7. alan2102
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    The spectacular Dredd Blog System, composed of:

    http://blogdredd.blogspot.com – dredd blog
    http://powertoxins.blogspot.com – toxins of power
    http://ecocosmology.blogspot.com – ecocosmology

    see especially:

    not to be missed

  8. Posted May 26, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    There is nothing in the Constitution about drones or assault vehicles and there is absolutely nothing to suggest that Rand Paul or the Republicans will do anything at all to contain local police departments.

  9. alan2102
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    “There is nothing in the Constitution about drones or assault vehicles”

    Yes, there is. The Constitution explicitly forbids the establishment of “standing armies”; hence the whole of the military-industrial complex, since WWII, is unconstitutional. Armies, according to the Constitution, are to be composed for a period limited to two years; i.e. to accomplish a specific purpose, THEN DISBANDED. No standing army/military. Drones and assault vehicles are extensions of a “standing army”, i.e. a standing military establishment, at least in terms of the spirit in which the Constitution was written.

  10. alan2102
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    But then, who cares about the Constitution? As Dubya wisely remarked, it’s just a goddam piece of paper.

    I stand with progressive elements everywhere, calling for arms of all kinds to be kept exclusively in the hands of the proper authorities — the only ones who can be relied upon to use them wisely. These dangerous implements should be OUT of the hands of ordinary schlubs like you and me. Anyone who questions this obvious truth should be detained for questioning regarding possible terrorist activity or sympathy.

  11. EOS
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Mark’s post is the same as the John Birchers:


  12. alan2102
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    As an American and a taxpayer, I’m just grateful that the authorities are doing what needs to be done in the most economical way possible:

    Homeland Security Explains Plan To Purchase More Than 1.6 Billion
    Bullets: Buying In Bulk Is Cheaper 02/14/13

    …. now, if only they would enact a comprehensive BAN on ammo sales to unauthorized individuals, we could all sleep sounder and safer.

  13. Meta
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Who, like me, is shocked to learn that EOS reads John Bircher sites?

  14. Meta
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Assuming the Bircher article is correct, this vehicle we’re discussing in Hamtramck is one of 150 “mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles” (MRAP) used by U.S. forces in Iraq to be given to local police forces.

  15. EOS
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Don’t deflect. Mark could be their ghost writer. Now that’s a shocker.

  16. Meta
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    “War Gear Flows to Police Departments” from the NYT:

    (A)s President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.

    During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

    The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”

    Read more:

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