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Two armored vehicles two too many

November 9, 2013
The Marietta Times

Excuse me. I would like to file a report to the county for fraud, waste and abuse. The county is purchasing a BearCat armored vehicle for the sheriff's department, in addition to another that will be used in the region by the Army Corp of Engineers out of Huntington, W.Va., and other law enforcement. The local sheriff wants to create an elite militarized police squad capable of using their new toys in hostage situations and other emergency scenarios. That's all well and good until you actually understand what a BearCat is. A BearCat, made by Lenco, is a specialized vehicle system that is built to military specifications and made for extreme conditions and are often outfitted for civil disturbance control. These are new made-for-law-enforcement military-style vehicles capable of withstanding RPG attacks, small mines, and heavy machine gun fire, similar to the MRAP vehicles that our armed forces use overseas. Despite the concerns with the old vehicle that the sheriff's department already has (and seldom uses?), I wonder when the last time we saw a "terrorist" barricading himself in downtown Marietta with a rocket launcher, a 50 caliber heavy machine gun and planted mines under the brick streets? This timing is all very convenient as well when about 60 percent of all police and sheriff departments in the United States have already or are in the process of acquiring such vehicles, including surplus military M16 automatic rifles with grenade launchers, military specification body armor, and other various aspects of riot control gear. Yet if a citizen wanted any of this, he'd have to spend hundreds of thousands of his own dollars with no subsidies and then get his house blown apart simply because government would find his actions suspicious. You say, "that's a ludicrous idea, why would anyone need that." Well, I would counter with the exact same question back: Why does our sheriff and county need such extreme armament? How is it fair and even constitutional for my elected government officials to outgun the citizenry, no matter if it's in the name of "security" or "used only during crisis." Where is the accountability? What are they preparing for? Can I take it out on the weekends?



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