The best way to resolve a "polarizing situation" in domestic politics

From time to time "polarizing situations" arise in domestic politics.

Sometimes the "polarizing situations" arise because left libertarians, who think that Big Business pulls the strings of Big Government, act out by having non-violent marches or protests in order to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Sometimes the "polarizing situations" arise because right libertarians, who think that Big Government pulls the strings of Big Business, act out by having non-violent marches or protests in order to petition the Government for a redress of grievances..

What should be done if a responsible civil servant wants to defuse these dangerous situations?

The answer is clear.

One should calmly, rationally respond to intellectual provocations by non-violent citizen groups by…

…buying a tank.

…and by explicitly saying that you're doing this because of extremists like the Free State Project and Occupy Wall Street that provide "daily challenges".

http://www.boston.com/news/local/new-hampshire/2013/08/12/capital-city-voting-armored-vehicle

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The City Council in New Hampshire’s capital city is scheduled to vote on whether it should accept a federal grant to buy an armored vehicle.

In applying for the grant, the city of Concord mentioned groups it considers anti-government and troublesome, including the Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire. That prompted the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union to criticize the application and a Nashua woman to start a petition against it.

Police Chief John Duval says he doesn’t think the groups are domestic terrorists, but said they and others sometimes create polarizing situations. The council is scheduled to vote Monday.

Really, if you're trying to calm down citizens who are upset by the collusion of Big Government and Big Business, what could possibly be a better strategy than using a Big Government grant to buy a quarter-of-a-million-dollar armored personnel carrier with a
roof-mounted rotating weapons turret, a 300 HP engine
and multiple side gun ports from Big Business?

A quick aside: Popehat has a lot of smart readers, so surely one of you is going to go off and read the vehicle specifications and note that it comes with a CS gas injector. Said reader may also note CS gas is a chemical weapon and, by international treaty, is illegal.

Such an objection is baseless and with out merit. Not only is CS gas is the perfect tool for deescalating "polarizing situations" like non-violent debates about the confluence of big government and big business, but the use of CS gas is only illegal in war between governments; it's perfectly legal for a government to use it against its own people.

So, that issue about chemical weapons defused, let's focus on the important things:

  • Non-violent citizen groups are a threat. Because terrorism. And Patriot Act.
  • Concord Police Chief John Duval really really really wants this tank
  • Lenco president and multi-millionaire Len Light really really really wants to cash a government check for a a quarter million dollars

Note: despite looking, I could not find an image of multi-millionaire Len Light on the internet. I also can't find a list of board members, a home address, a biography. Wacky. Well, since I can't show you a picture of Len Light, I can at least show you a fun video showing how a Lenco Bearcat makes it safe for police to use fully automatic weapons fire and chemical weapons in a domestic law enforcement situation.

Feel the thunder.

Last 5 posts by Clark

Comments

  1. rk57957 says

    I am wondering if I could get one of those; my morning commute is pretty horrid and it would go a long way in de-escalating situations.

  2. Zack says

    Never heard of the Free State Project, but it sounds like Ghandi compared to a lot of political groups. No wild-ass objections, no censorious crap, no lawbreaking. Just people moving to a state to try to create a political environment that furthers their goals, interests, and desires- a populace who does not desire confrontation with other political groups, but merely a state to call their own for the purposes of having a place receptive to their ideology. Hell, it would settle a lot of damn problems if we did the same thing for the U.S.- simply reorganize into pure red, pure blue, and pure yellow (libertarian party color, apparently, according to Wikipedia) states.

  3. Craig says

    What was that about militarizing the police again? Sure, a tank like this is just the thing to make police officers seem like part of the community rather than a paramilitary organization devoted to keeping the people in line OR ELSE…

  4. Ryan says

    I confess I may have something in my quick adventure through the CWC, but 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (CS) is not listed in the Schedules (1, 2, or 3) of the CWC. Under Article 2, CS is therefore a Riot Control agent under the definition of point 7 and NOT classified as a chemical weapon.

    1. "Chemical Weapons" means the following, together or separately:

    (a) Toxic chemicals and their precursors, except where intended for purposes not prohibited under this Convention, as long as the types and quantities are consistent with such purposes;

    (b) Munitions and devices, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of those toxic chemicals specified in subparagraph (a), which would be released as a result of the employment of such munitions and devices;

    (c) Any equipment specifically designed for use directly in connection with the employment of munitions and devices specified in subparagraph (b).

    Versus

    7. "Riot Control Agent" means:

    Any chemical not listed in a Schedule, which can produce rapidly in humans sensory irritation or disabling physical effects which disappear within a short time following termination of exposure.

    If someone can find something I've missed please post it =)

    That apparent factual inaccuracy in Clark's post aside, the notion of municipal or state governments buying what are essentially APCs because of non-violent protestors is a disturbing one.

  5. Chris says

    Citing Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire is a really stupid way to try to justify this purchase.

    That said, I think some of the resistance to police use of "armored vehicles" is way overblown. The main way these things actually get used is to give officers some solid cover to stand behind during barricaded persons calls.

  6. GP says

    I feel like the slow-mo parts in that promotional video for the Bearcat should have "Like a Rock" playing in the background like those old Chevy commercials.

    Oh, and also payloaders dumping enormous loads of gravel in the back.

  7. Nicholas weaver says

    The Free State project? A small bunch of loonies who think BITCOIN! is a good idea for their silly festival that can draw, GASP, 1200 people?

    If the boogeyman you need to justify your tank includes these crazies, its clear the tank is just being bought because, hey, tanks are frakkin cool, and therefore good for officer morale because you don't have to pay to buy it and it will get driven out once in a while but otherwise collect useless dust when the SWAT team is not practicing how to be bad-A!@##es.

  8. says

    I don't want a tank: too high maintenance and those tracks will tear the _heck_ out of asphalt. But I'd love me an armored vehicle. Take _that_ Driver Who Won't Use His Turn Signals.

    I came here to say what Ryan did: CS is _annoying_ but it is not a deadly _weapon_.

  9. Tom Z. says

    I'm not sure why you diverged from your main attack on the fools running Concord to make snide comments about Lenco, its founders and governance.

    As a private company, they are in the business of selling things, and are not required to post pictures of its owner online, or even provide the public with an easy to find board of directors list. In fact, based on the tone of the article, where the company is seemingly being attacked just because one of its customers is a pack of morons, it may make sense to keep a low profile on the internet.

    Clark should stick to the main point at hand, why are they buying this thing. Because if he did stick to the point, maybe he would catch some of the misleading statements he wrote which distract from its effectiveness. Namely:

    Use of the phrase, "intellectual provocations" – While the Free-staters are almost universally non-violent, they are often aggressively non-compliant and obstructionist and generally waste the time of officers and city officials (yea civil disobedience!). While that is not criminal or violent, it is certainly different than the "thought provoking coffee house conversation" that the original phrase implies the police are responding to.

    You also say "Duval really really really wants this tank ". That's right , three "really"s. And what's the evidence for that? Crickets. Why not characterize it as "Duval sorta wants this tank, and since idiots at Homeland Security are handing out bags of cash to pay for it, he should step up to the trough before the cash is all gone". The fact that either interpretation is valid based on the evidence means that the article writer hasn't done the required level of digging to uncover any evidence.

  10. JohnB says

    The town of Lewiston, Maine (pop 30,000) just got its own tank, er, "armored personnel carrier." It is a M113 APC and they touted it as having potential use in biological, chemical, and nuclear emergencies. My question was "How?" The police spokesman gave me that tilted-head doggie look as he pondered this stumper. Well, he said, its uses are clear. "Is it airtight?" No. "Then what role could it have in a biological or chemical emergency?" We would need to move personnel quickly. "Oh, Don't those Dodge Chargers with the 5.7 V8 HEMI 345.0 cu – 370 hp go fast enough?" He went on about tactical resources and (ta da) terrorism (trumped me). I got bored jerking his chain before he totally embarrassed himself and actually referenced 9/11. So, in a state with 12 gun murders last year, one small town owns a tank! I feel so safe.

  11. Kevin says

    So, naive non-lawyer question here: isn't explicitly citing the existence of the Free State Project, who neither advocate nor engage in any criminal activity, as justification for owning weapons of warfare kind of an implicit threat of lawless violence against them? Couldn't a case be made for "making terroristic threats" or something?

  12. MEP says

    Remember, friend citizen, the police are here to protect and serve. Anyone who wishes to file a complaint about the quality of service should report to The Computer for prompt complaint processing. No fire or chemical solvents are involved in complaint processing.

  13. Tom Z. says

    Kevin,

    You state, "Free State Project, who neither advocate nor engage in any criminal activity". But of course, public declarations by a group and actions by its members are two separate things. In fact, I would not trust the declarations of may free staters which have openly declared that crimes with no obvious human victims are not crimes.

    Wishful thinking != reality

    http://freekeene.com/2013/08/08/ed-burke-deems-ransom-levied-by-lesley-collier-sound-despite-inability-to-identify-victim/

    Similarly, just because it was used or developed for a war does not make something a weapon of war. Otherwise, M&Ms candies would be outlawed everywhere. In this case, the fancy overpriced truck is armored, not armed.

  14. StephenH says

    Watching that video at the end of the post, I could help but think of Tank Police. Maybe because it seems like the video ought to be a parody. Anyways, now I've got Tank Police stuck in my head.

  15. cdru says

    @Ryan, Article I.5 of the Chemical Weapons Conventions states:
    5. Each State Party undertakes not to use riot control agents as a method of warfare.

    So while the specific chemical isn't banned, the use of RCA in general is. The logic behind it is that if a country used it, it could easily be mistaken as something that was banned, escalating the situation to use more severe chemical weapons in retaliation.

  16. Kevin says

    @Tom Z

    In this case, the fancy overpriced truck is armored, not armed.

    It's equipped with a remote weapon system – a turret controllable from an xbox-style controller inside the vehicle, so that its occupants can mow down enemy combatants from the safety of the vehicle, without having to expose themselves to the danger of flying rocks, bottles, or harshly worded letters wielded by the Free Staters. Just like Call of Duty, but with more realistic blood spatter effects.

    The model of turret in question is designed to carry either a 50cal Ma Deuce, m240 (7.62) or m249 (5.56) machine gun, or everyone's favorite weapon for when you absolutely, positively have to kill every last motherfucker in a 10 meter radius, a Mk19 automatic grenade launcher.

    There is no conceivable situation in which any of these weapons would be even remotely appropriate for use in civilian law enforcement.

  17. Ryan says

    @cdru

    Thanks. So while Clark's assertion that CS is an illegal chemical weapon is false, the assertion that it may not be used in state-v-state warfare is not (which, based on what you've said, makes a great deal of sense).

  18. says

    @Ryan

    Clark's assertion that CS is an illegal chemical weapon is false, the assertion that it may not be used in state-v-state warfare is not

    So I was wrong to say that it's an illegal chemical weapon…but it's correct to say that it's a chemical weapon that is illegal to use?

    < squint >

    OK.

    Sure.

  19. George William Herbert says

    Clark –

    Welcome to the wonderful world of weapons of mass destruction treaties and conventions.

    Yes, it's not a chemical weapon. It's a riot control agent, the possession of which is not banned by the chemical warfare treaty.

    However, use of riot control agents in international warfare (by armies) is banned by the CWC, for various reasons including that they might be mistaken for lethal chemical agents.

    The CWC neither bans their posession for domestic law enforcement / riot control / etc. nor their use.

    So yes, it's a chemical agent (not weapon) that's illegal to use (in warfare), not illegal to use (in riots), not an illegal chemical weapon (that one should not possess in the first place).

    Tomorrow, for bonus points, "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in US Federal Law includes M-80 firecrackers, not just Nuclear Biological Chemical Radiological …

    The day after, for more bonus points – are 3-5 separate one-weapon plausibly to possibly accidental uses of Sarin in Syria, possibly 1-2 of which were by the rebels, an illegal chemical weapons campaign?

  20. Kevin says

    Devil's advocate here for a moment: I personally think it's pretty silly that riot control agents are illegal for use in warfare – I think doing so could have saved lots of lives in counterinsurgency situations like iraq or afghanistan. The justification that it could lead to escalation to lethal chemical weapons, already dubious in a state-vs-state conflict, is just silly when applied to these kinds of conflicts. Is the claim being made that the Taliban has access to chemical weapons, but has been refraining from using them just out of a sense of honor? But if we were to use a bit of CS to non-lethally end an engagement, THAT's what would provoke them to break out the mustard gas? They're ok with us shooting them, but if we dare to tear gas them, well then IT'S ON! That doesn't seem plausible to me.

  21. Chris says

    So I was wrong to say that it's an illegal chemical weapon…but it's correct to say that it's a chemical weapon that is illegal to use?

    Riot control agents are illegal to use in warfare. Using them for, say, riot control not a violation of the convention.

  22. Ryan says

    @Clark

    CS is defined as a Riot Control Agent, not a Chemical Weapon. The CWC prohibits the use of a Riot Control Agent in warfare. That does not make the substance itself illegal, or illegal to use outside the context of warfare. Technically, a CWC prohibition doesn't make CS use in war illegal either as the CWC is not, strictly speaking, a law.

    So yes, your assertion in this piece that CS is an illegal chemical weapon is factually false.

  23. says

    Y'know, if this conversation occurred:

    Reporter: Why do the police need a tank, again?
    Police Dude: Because tanks are frickin' awesome! It's not costing the locals anything. They've already paid their taxes to Uncle Sam, and he sent us money we can't spend on anything else, so, we got us a tank! C'mon, it's COOL! We can let kids ride in it and stuff during parades or whatever. Tank, man! It's a TANK! How is that not great? (Makes rumbly tank sounds, followed by "kaboom!".)
    Report: OK. Sounds good to me.

    I'd be perfectly fine with this. :)

  24. Tarrou says

    Can I just say? A lot of cops are vets, and the ones who aren't wish they were. The kids are playing dress-up like real soldiers, some to re-create the old days when they were hard-charging steely-eyed mofos, the others because they want to create those days. They want the toys, and Homeland Security and million companies are going to give them the business. And once they have a toy, they will always be looking for a reason to use them. And they will find one. Maybe it will even be a somewhat reasonable use, one that looks good on the news. But once that starts, sooner or later, we will all pay the price. As we already are for the Bearcat so some wanna-be hick cop can act out his soldier fantasies.

  25. Chris says

    It's equipped with a remote weapon system – a turret controllable from an xbox-style controller inside the vehicle, so that its occupants can mow down enemy combatants from the safety of the vehicle, without having to expose themselves to the danger of flying rocks, bottles, or harshly worded letters wielded by the Free Staters.

    The Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station is an optional extra (as is the CS injector, for that matter). Can you cite any source that confirms the vehicle Concord is buying is fitted with one of these?

  26. Xoshe says

    @Kevin:

    To be fair, the CWC is an agreement between major nations, and even then isn't REALLY binding (beyond the fact that if the war doesn't go all that well, someone might maybe be brought up on war crimes charges a few decades later). It was written at a time when the only kind of warfare was the major kind; one/many nation fighting another one/many nation. As a result, the ban on RCA in actual warfare makes sense, because you are dealing with another actor that has chemical weapons.

    The reason to continue to follow these guidelines when not fighting another major actor (IE: Smaller countries that were not party to the original act, or non-state actors) is pretty much because you don't want to waltz into the next World War and have the enemy start using chemical weapons against you right away because you felt it fine to flaunt the CWC when you wern't fighting against someone bound by it, and so they think you're going to try and get away with it again.

    Honestly, a lot of the rules of warfare are gentlemen agreements, that only manage to continue to survive because nation leaders don't want such things done back to them by the people who actually have the power to do so.

  27. Steven H. says

    @Tarrou

    "The kids are playing dress-up like real soldiers, some to re-create the old days when they were hard-charging steely-eyed mofos, the others because they want to create those days. "

    Career military brat here. Knew a lot of soldiers back in the day.
    Can't recall even ONE who wanted to relive those "glory days".

  28. Michael K. says

    I'm surprised at the price tag. $250K seems pretty cheap for (a) a tank; and (b) a government purchase of any kind.

  29. says

    @Tom Z.

    I'm not sure why you diverged from your main attack on the fools running Concord to make snide comments about Lenco, its founders and governance.

    Then you misunderstood my main attack.

    I was a purely right-libertarian 20 years ago. Heck, I was probably a purely right-libertarian five years ago.

    Increasingly, though, I find that I am drifting towards the intersection of right- and left- libertarianism (still purely right in cultural flavor).

    By that, I mean that:

    * I do not think that all evil resides in government alone
    * I do not think that good corporations are tempted to do bad by evil government
    * I do think that for-profit companies agressively lobby government, identify individuals and groups within government that do not have proper oversight, and target their marketing efforts to sell crap that "good government" does not need and free citizens do not want but that inflates the egos and testicles of the decision makers.

    I hold Lenco as guilty as I hold the Concord PD.

    As a private company, they are in the business of selling things

    Agreed.

    are not required to post pictures of its owner online

    Agreed. But the fact that you even bring up the fact that they are not required to do so as a defense makes me think that you are making a mistake about my entire tenor and direction.

    the company is seemingly being attacked just because one of its customers is a pack of morons

    This is exactly the right-libertarian perspective that I'm distancing myself with. The company is not an innocent victim of a one bad customer. The company went out looking for idiotic customers, and when it didn't find them, created them with slick marketing, expensive videos, and a sound track licensed from AC/DC.

    it may make sense to keep a low profile on the internet.

    If by "it may make sense", you mean "the best way for this company to continue selling stupid militaristic crap to police departments that don't need it and will use it to intimidate citiziens and thus making profits for the owners", then we are in complete agreement. That is absolutely the best strategy.

    The issue, though, is that those are ends I do not care about.

    It's not that I wish Len Light to be poor. I want him to be a millionaire. I just want him to achieve that by selling useful products to customers who want to buy them, instead of buy exploiting the principal/ agent problem to take taxpayer dollars in return for useless crap.

    Clark should

    FYI: Clark doesn't take well to sentences that begin this way.

    stick to the main point at hand, why are they buying this thing.

    That is not my main point. It is one of my two main points.

    Free-staters are aggressively non-compliant

    One of the reasons I respect them.

    and obstructionist

    Oh noz!

    and generally waste the
    time of officers and city officials

    Given that I am an anarchist and think that officers and city officials at best accomplish nothing and at worst do active evil, than anyone who wastes their time does positive good, in my book.

    While that is not criminal or violent, it is certainly different than the "thought provoking coffee house conversation" that the original phrase implies the police are responding to.

    You also say "Duval really really really wants this tank ". That's right , three "really"s. And what's the evidence for that? Crickets.

    Are you new to my manner of rhetoric?

    I serve Philly cheese steak subs here. If you like Philly cheese steak subs, you're going to enjoy hanging around. If you don't, you won't.

  30. says

    @Chris

    So I was wrong to say that it's an illegal chemical weapon…but it's correct to say that it's a chemical weapon that is illegal to use?

    Riot control agents are illegal to use in warfare. Using them for, say, riot control not a violation of the convention.

    I still don't see any single way in which what you are saying differs from what I said in the original post.

    I said that

    1) it's illegal to us CS gas in war
    2) it's legal for a government to use it against its own citizens

    If you think I made an error, please cite the specific sentence.

  31. Shane says

    Welcome to the Police State, with sound track by AC/DC!!

    Fuck me what the hell does a piss ant state that has a total population of fucking 1.3 million need with that. Ok really fuck me, the total population for Concord is 42k … FUCKING 42K. That is 1/3 the population of Boise ID … FUCKING REALLY FOLKS!!! REALLY???????

    Maybe Mr. John Duval needs a stump out of his yard?

  32. Tom Z. says

    @Clark

    "Are you new to my manner of rhetoric?"
    Why yes, I am. I find it lacking. You start by assigning motives to those that you dislike and then vilify them for those motives. I am not impressed.

    "I serve Philly cheese steak subs here. If you like Philly cheese steak subs, you're going to enjoy hanging around. If you don't, you won't."
    I am sorry, I didn't realize that you were Dear Leader Obama, and may not be criticized for even the most blatant mistake. I shall report to the coal mine immediately.

    What I was trying to do was provide constructive criticism. Let me explain:

    You attacked and ridiculed Lenco. I think that was silly because you provided no reason for them to be attacked or ridiculed first. Apparently you had a little conversation in your head about their inherent evilness, but you never told us about it. Therefore your ranting is not convincing. Entertaining yes, but convincing no.

    Consider this, you are walking down the street and a man is frantically shouting on the street corner about government thought control. Is he a lunatic or a whistle blower? Depends. Does he have proof and does he explain in a reasonable way WHY he thinks what he does?

  33. Shane says

    @Tarrou

    … some to re-create the old days when they were hard-charging steely-eyed mofos, the others because they want to create those days.

    I am a vet. Vets like me I am pretty sure make up a majority of vets. I have only one phrase for vets like me "In the rear with the gear". Any vet that thinks he is steely eyed bad ass mofo, probably didn't see any time in any capacity that was combat. Because most of the true vets (not like me) come back not really wanting anything to do with armed conflict, or have a much greater respect for what it means to be a true bad ass.

  34. Kreshon says

    I was against Concord getting an armored troop carrier until I saw the video. All the boys busy playing army got distracted by their new toy and started playing lumberjack by pulling around a small log. This is great! If we keep the police busy cutting down trees maybe they will be too distracted to bother law abiding citizens.

  35. says

    @Shawn:

    Len Light is the CEO of the Neomada Group

    It's possible that more than one person goes by that name. In fact, I think it's almost certain. I found pictures of the kiwi Len Light, just not of the Masshole Len Light.

  36. Andrew S. says

    Always love it when conservative tone trolls show up in these threads. It's always fun seeing how long until their love of statism becomes obvious. Didn't take very long at all this time.

    There is no possible scenario in which this kind of thing should be used by any civilian police department. None. You cannot convince me of one, because none exist.

  37. En Passant says

    Note: despite looking, I could not find an image of multi-millionaire Len Light on the internet. I also can't find a list of board members, a home address, a biography. Wacky.

    No pix, but see

    http://corp.sec.state.ma.us/CorpWeb/CorpSearch/CorpSummary.aspx?FEIN=042719777&SEARCH_TYPE=1

    Or search for "Lenco Industries, Inc." here:

    http://corp.sec.state.ma.us/corpweb/CorpSearch/CorpSearch.aspx

    tl;dr:

    Lenco Industries, Inc., Principal Office:

    10 BETNR INDUSTRIAL DRIVE
    PITTSFIELD, MA 01201 USA

    PRESIDENT LEONARD W. LIGHT
    TREASURER LEONARD W. LIGHT
    SECRETARY DIANE M. LIGHT
    DIRECTOR LEONARD W. LIGHT

    Addresses for corporate officers and board elided. They're all the same, but different from the corporate address.

    When you can grasp the folded dollar bill as it falls between your forefinger and thumb, Grasshopper, you will be ready to leave the monastery.

  38. Shane says

    @Tom Z.

    Apparently you had a little conversation in your head about their inherent evilness,

    @Tom Z. this isn't helpful to advance your argument.

    You attacked and ridiculed Lenco. I think that was silly because you provided no reason for them to be attacked or ridiculed first.

    I will help spell it out for you:

    Lenco president and multi-millionaire Len Light really really really wants to cash a government check for a a quarter million dollars.

    R-E-N-T S-E-E-K-E-R

    Note: despite looking, I could not find an image of multi-millionaire Len Light on the internet.

    R-E-N-T S-E-E-K-E-R, using public funds, but lacking transparency.
    As a counter-point – Another company that feeds at the public trough, but seems to be a bit more transparent.

  39. Ryan says

    @Clark

    Allow me to answer since Chris has not yet had a chance. You said (which linked to the CWC definitions):

    Said reader may also note CS gas is a chemical weapon and, by international treaty, is illegal.

    This statement is false on two counts:
    1. CS gas is not a chemical weapon as defined by the CWC. It is a riot control agent, which has a separate definition.
    2. It is not in any way, shape, or form illegal. It is not illegal to possess. It is not illegal to manufacture. It is not illegal to use in any way other than a very specific context. It is, in fact, only prohibited for use in war between nations by the CWC (which does not make CS an illegal chemical weapon either).

    You later added:

    but the use of CS gas is only illegal in war between governments; it's perfectly legal for a government to use it against its own people.

    Which doesn't address the previous errors. Your blog post at present lives incautious readers with the mistaken impression that CS use is an illegal action when nothing about it is at all illegal in this context.

    This does not negate the very valid point that domestic law enforcement probably does not need an APC to deal with protestors who, general speaking, are non-violent.

  40. Tom Z. says

    Apparently you had a little conversation in your head about their inherent evilness,

    @Tom Z. this isn't helpful to advance your argument.

    That IS my argument. Basically the story here is
    1. Something in the news.
    2. …
    3. Profit (They're EEEEVVVVIIIILLLL!!!)

    All I'm asking is that somebody inserts something in step 2 to show how we got to the conclusion.

  41. 205guy says

    Clark wrote: "The company is not an innocent victim of a one bad customer. The company went out looking for idiotic customers, and when it didn't find them, created them with slick marketing, expensive videos, and a sound track licensed from AC/DC."

    By gosh, I agree with Clark on something. I also wish to add: the officers and perhaps even owners of all registered business entities should be public and made easily searchable by the registering parties.

    Also: tank companies registered in MA, I'm surprized they weren't "purged" after the Dukakis debacle.

    For all you citizens who want their own tank, how about showing some American ingenuity (instead of just wishing the gov't would buy you one too): google killdozer.

  42. says

    Tom Z:

    Basically the story here is

    3. Profit (They're EEEEVVVVIIIILLLL!!!)

    Yes, that's exactly my argument. You nailed it precisely. I hate profits and the free market and I love communism and redistribution, and that's why I call myself an anarchocapitalist.

    All I'm asking is that somebody inserts something in step 2 to show how we got to the conclusion.

    I went into it in depth several comments back. Please see here.

  43. perlhaqr says

    a sound track licensed from AC/DC.

    Y'know, with all the hell that the RIAA gives people, I wonder if that's actually true, and if we could sic the RIAA hellhounds on Lenco, if not.

  44. wgering says

    @205guy: Awww, you beat me to mentioning the Killdozer guy.

    @Clark:

    …slick marketing, expensive videos, and a sound track licensed from AC/DC.

    Wait, when did we start talking about Stark Industries?

  45. perlhaqr says

    Clark: I'm not sure that this shift necessarily makes you a more-left-libertarian (centrist-libertarian?) because I'm not sure that it's against right-libertarian principles to decry this sort of rent seeking.

    At least, I don't think it's against right-libertarian principles to rail on companies selling crap not in the free market, but rather the "tax dollar market".

  46. Tom Z. says

    @ Clark

    3. Profit (They're EEEEVVVVIIIILLLL!!!)

    Yes, that's exactly my argument.

    NO! That's not an argument! Its a conclusion.

    I went into it in depth several comments back. Please see here.

    Read them already. The comments explain a lot and make the article more understandable.

    I hate profits and the free market and I love communism and redistribution, and that's why I call myself an anarchocapitalist.

    Communism and redistribution mean that those with the resources will have them taken from them and given to those without. Those with the resources will want to keep theirs, so those without will need to band together to take them. Voila! Your anarchy has just formed a government.

  47. Tom Z. says

    @Jonathan

    Are you claiming that I should have thought that Clark was sarcastic about communism and redistribution because he is fighting against a corporation that effectively markets is products, claiming the
    "company went out looking for idiotic customers, and when it didn't find them, created them with slick marketing…"
    or that I should have thought he was sarcastic about being an anarchist because he says "I am an anarchist and think that officers and city officials at best accomplish nothing and at worst do active evil"

  48. jb says

    This is a very good Clark post, one of the best I've read.

    He's absolutely right, the nexus of corporations selling (wilfully) ill-informed politicians expensive crap that will be used to infringe people's liberties in exchange for no actual benefit, but with absolutely worthwhile claimed benefit, is the true threat to this country.

    You could easily substitute "for the children!" and internet censorship, or "stop bullying!" and hate speech legislation, for this post's "terrorism!" and a police tank, or "stop bullying!" and hate speech legislation.

  49. Jonathan says

    Tom Z,

    I'm jus sayin, if "I hate profits and the free market and I love communism and redistribution, and that's why I call myself an anarchocapitalist." didn't register as two–by-four over the head sarcasm, you might want to re calibrate.

    It's almost is if your spoiling for a fight rather than seeking dialogue.

  50. George William Herbert says

    Andrew S writes:
    There is no possible scenario in which this kind of thing should be used by any civilian police department. None. You cannot convince me of one, because none exist.

    A barricaded violent person shooting weapons out at all in sight is a reasonable scenario for the use of armored vehicles. This sort of thing DOES happen.

    The problems come when people start thinking "Oh, I'm just serving this warrant… WAIT, I HAVE A TANK, I'LL USE THE TANK FOR THAT!" and "Occupy New Hampshire have camped in my town square! Oh Noes! … WAIT, I HAVE A TANK, I'LL USE THE TANK FOR THAT!".

    The question of what type of armored vehicle is appropriate to have around for the rare but non-zero times some kook starts shooting effectively, is a very good one. Things like this are arguably a poor match to that and encourage the "…I HAVE A TANK!" response.

    I would note, it looks like they're asking to buy the model just with chemical and radiation sensors and an armored truck chassis, not the excessive remote weapons turret or a bunch of tear gas dispensers.

    This is not that unreasonable a match to the "drive up to the house with the guy shooting out of it" need, and putting the detectors on it isn't dumb; if you need them (even for a reactor leak or chemical factory accident), would you rather be deploying them from a sealed truck or a poor guy in a yellow suit wandering around in the open?

    The real question is, is a police chief who phrases his budget request like that excessively likely to "I'VE GOT A TANK!".

    I believe survey says…. Yes.

  51. perlhaqr says

    George William Herbert: The question of what type of armored vehicle is appropriate to have around for the rare but non-zero times some kook starts shooting effectively, is a very good one.

    "Whatever the National Guard Armory up the road has running" is a pretty good answer, IMO.

    You are correct, there are "run amok" scenarios in which such a tool is the appropriate response. But they are so vanishingly rare that it just doesn't make sense for a police department to own one.

    So, if you take the line you quoted, and substitute "owned" for "used", we're probably on the same page, and I think an argument could be made for "used" even, in that in the scenario you're envisioning, that may actually be a legitimate use of the National Guard.

  52. Tarrou says

    @ Stephen H. and Shane,

    11-B, CIB, PH, ETSed E-5 out of the 11th. And the both of you are correct, in large part. Most soldiers who have seen the elephant have no desire to recreate it. Unfortunately for all of us, there are a whole lot of soldiers who through either the vagaries of time, sheer chance or the choice of MOS never see the real face of war. Anyone who has served knows just how few soldiers actually fight anything more than bureaucracy. And some of those lads liked the gear and bragging to the civilians about how "hardcore" their job was. We've all seen the Fobbits posing with their thirty-pound M4s for the gullible civvies back home, the Facebook commandos and the DD-214 exaggerators. When you take one of those pricks, slap a badge on them and cut 'em loose back here? They're almost as bad as the straight wanna-bes. Worse in some cases.

  53. Chris says

    This is a very good Clark post, one of the best I've read.

    I generally like Clark's posts, but the last two have been distinctly subpar. Maybe he's having a bad week.

  54. says

    I generally like Clark's posts, but the last two have been distinctly subpar. Maybe he's having a bad week.

    I'm trying to grasp this.

    I'm not the most socially adept person, given. But this puzzles me. There's something sort of non-neurotypical about it. It's not a substantive comment. It doesn't offer any specific criticism. It doesn't suggest a method for improvement. It's not in the context of a general comparative discussion. It's just sort of "huh, here I am on somebody's blog, I'll just say 'that sucked' without saying how or why, just as if I were contributing something."

    I mean say what you want about the people who show up to call us glibertarians or fascists or gaybois or whatever. At least they have an ethos.

  55. Trebuchet says

    "CS gas is illegal for warfare, but legal for riot control." (From multiple posts.)

    Oh, I'm SO relieved. If I ever get involved in a war at my advance age (just signed up for Medicare), they won't be able to use tear gas on me, like the US Army did some 40 years ago in basic training. Or shoot me with expanding bullets, which might kill me immediately instead of just wounding me so I live in agony for a few hours.

    Fortunately, the police ARE allowed to use CS and hollow points. I'm so relieved.

  56. George William Herbert says

    Perlhaqr:
    "Whatever the National Guard Armory up the road has running" is a pretty good answer, IMO.

    You assume that national guard units uniformly have armored vehicles deployed in a geographically useful manner.

    I can't find any in the SF Bay Area. I may be missing some, but the closest I located were at Fort Hunter-Liggett, some distance to the South. There used to be a lot more around, but no longer, apparently.

    There are a lot of NG trucks and Humvees, a few armored Humvees visible. Armored Humvees would more or less be it, plus the few Police / Sheriff armored vehicles in the area.

    Again, I could be missing something, but I've inspected every location listed in the DOD ANG / USAR locations list in California plus anything else I knew about. No go.

    The good news is that if you really *really* need armor, Hunter-Liggett seems to have a handful of Abrams tanks, and they'll do the speed limit on a freeway. If you don't mind destroying the freeway.

  57. says

    @Ken White:

    people… call us glibertarians or fascists or gaybois or whatever.

    True fact: if you watch The Road Warrior with sub-titles on, you get to see some of The Humungous's lines shouted over the PA system on his car that aren't quite audible on the sound track.

    …and he references gayboi beserkers.

  58. Chris says

    I'm not the most socially adept person, given. But this puzzles me. There's something sort of non-neurotypical about it. It's not a substantive comment. It doesn't offer any specific criticism. It doesn't suggest a method for improvement. It's not in the context of a general comparative discussion. It's just sort of "huh, here I am on somebody's blog, I'll just say 'that sucked' without saying how or why, just as if I were contributing something."

    You never turn to someone and say, "Man, that sucked" without engaging in substantiative criticism?

    In any event, I've already offered more substantive comments on both his recent posts, but if you'd like me to expand on those:

    His previous post contained an obvious factual error that I thought substantially detracted from it. This post plays fast and loose with the facts in several areas: the extensively debated issue involving the status of CS under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the fact that the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station and CS injector that Clarks makes so much of are not standard equipment and he offers no citation or evidence that Concord is in fact planning to procure these. In addition, and I will admit that this is much more subjective, I find the sarcasm in this post so over the top that it looses effectiveness (over the top sarcasm can be effective, but it is a delicate art and I do not find it to be so in this case).

  59. En Passant says

    Andrew S. wrote Aug 12, 2013 @2:37 pm:

    There is no possible scenario in which this kind of thing should be used by any civilian police department. None. You cannot convince me of one, because none exist.

    When equipped with that "gas injector" proboscis thingamajig, it could be very effective for collecting overdue library books from children who have locked themselves in their room.

    But I expect that anyone schooled in serious resistance could find plenty of vulns to exploit, many of which wouldn't even require explosives or firearms.

    Perlhaqr's suggestion at 3:14 pm would make a nice preemptive strike, if that particular vuln is true.

  60. Shane says

    @Tarrou

    When you take one of those pricks, slap a badge on them and cut 'em loose back here? They're almost as bad as the straight wanna-bes. Worse in some cases.

    On this, I agree whole heartedly.

  61. Shane says

    @George William Herbert

    I can't find any in the SF Bay Area.

    It's because they are painted in pink rainbow camo. Sorry couldn't help myself.

  62. GreenKnight says

    Tanks are like crack cocaine: The pusher gives you your first dose free to get you addicted.

    Once one police chief has one of these tanks all the others will want one too.

    Then they'll be as addicted to tanks as crack cocaine addicts are to crack cocaine.

  63. Scott P says

    At this point I no longer see a justification for calling them police. Municipal soldiers seems more apt.

  64. George William Herbert says

    Green knight:

    Old internet joke goes like this:

    "Buy this tank!"
    "How can I afford a tank?"
    "This is America! You have a credit card, right?"
    "Right…"
    "So buy it on the credit card."
    "But how do I pay the credit card bill next month then?"
    "Don't be Silly. You'll have a Tank."

  65. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels says

    @Chris

    "and the fact that the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station and CS injector that Clarks makes so much of are not standard equipment and he offers no citation or evidence that Concord is in fact planning to procure these."

    He did offer evidence – about the CS gas injector anyway – in the very first link provided. Click that link ("explicitly saying") and you will find a copy of Concord's grant application prominently displayed. Under section I subsection D (3rd page) Concord cites the need for a Bearcat to safely deploy gas. Evidently, they had to borrow some other town's tank to deploy gas last year. They list that incident as an immediate reason they need to be given their own tank.

    Granted, I am assuming "gas" refers to CS gas – that is the *least* worrisome meaning I can come up with.

  66. Castaigne says

    Welp. Their government. Their business. If someone doesn't like it, they can vote the suckers out.

    @Zack: Never heard of the Free State Project, but it sounds like Ghandi compared to a lot of political groups.

    The Free State Project is a group who are in the process of trying to convince around 20,000 libertarians to move to New Hampshire. The goal is to achieve enough influence to make New Hampshire a model libertarian society. It is one of the few hopes there is for a libertarian short of moving to Somalia or some random patch of woods. They get mocked a lot; most of the derision stems from the impracticality rather than the underlying idea; the United States is much, much larger in the 21st century in both area and population than it was during the times in which visionaries like Joseph Smith or Stephen F. Austin could build a political demographic from scratch and requires a larger human wave these days to do so. Libertarians would be better served trying to grow their numbers first rather than wasting members' resources in projects like this.

    What I think is funny is Kenneth "Boston T Party" Royce who has declared them to be traitors to libertarian for selecting NH and who has started the rival Free State Wyoming.

    But really, they're all no better than Christian Exodus.

    @Chris: You never turn to someone and say, "Man, that sucked" without engaging in substantiative criticism?

    Generally, the intelligent and the practical stop doing that shit after they stop being brosefs in the frathouse. If they ever were.

    I never say that anything "sucks" without being able to provide specificity on WHY and HOW it sucks, because visceral gut feelings are bullshit and should be discarded. If you don't KNOW why something sucks, figureit out.

  67. Anthea Brainhooke says

    There is no conceivable situation in which any of these weapons would be even remotely appropriate for use in civilian law enforcement.

    But what if one of those nasty Occupiers asked a question you didn't want to answer? Surely they'd have it coming!

    Fun fact: CS gas is not as effective a riot squasher as many people think. It doesn't work on Pacific people (Hawaiians, Samoans, Māori etc) very well. Nor does it work well on some Native American people.

  68. says

    @Castaigne

    Welp. Their government. Their business. If someone doesn't like it, they can vote the suckers out.

    This is 110% confused.

    First, in a regular consumer business people can, in fact, vote with their feet.

    I fully support people making choices with their own wallets. In fact, it's pretty much the only kind of activism that I really like.

    The problem with Lenco is that if a taxpayer doesn't like it, he can't vote with his feet. He has to pay his taxes or men with guns come and inform him of the error of his ways.

    Second "vote the suckers out" is not an effective remedy to a violation of civil rights if a majority doesn't care.

    What was wrong with Jim Crow? If the blacks didn't like it, they could vote the suckers out.

    What's wrong with anti-homosexual laws in Russia? If the gays don't like it, they can vote the suckers out.

    What's wrong with Japanese imprisonment in the US in World War II? If the Japanese-Americans don't like it, they can vote the suckers out.

  69. Anne says

    One material item and an update:
    1. The City of Concord received this grant to replace the Central NH SOC's AF Peacekeeper (Cadillac Gage Ranger) that they picked up from AF Surplus and is now more than 30 years old. So apparently the regional SOC has been lightly armored for years.

    2) The matter was tabled until the September meeting.

    ps. My favorite sign from the meeting, "More Mayberry less Fallujah"

  70. Owen says

    @Clark:

    Second "vote the suckers out" is not an effective remedy to a violation of civil rights if a majority doesn't care.

    What was wrong with Jim Crow? If the blacks didn't like it, they could vote the suckers out.

    What's wrong with anti-homosexual laws in Russia? If the gays don't like it, they can vote the suckers out.

    What's wrong with Japanese imprisonment in the US in World War II? If the Japanese-Americans don't like it, they can vote the suckers out."

    That analogy doesn't really work in this context. You've pointed out three examples of when laws or procedures were enacted which targeted a specific minority, and therefore the majority had no reason to care because they weren't affected. That is certainly a failing of "majority rules" democracy. But, in the case at issue, everyone is affected by the police force, and the rules, procedures, and equipment that they use, because everyone is subject to the police. There is no targeted minority (at least in a theoretical sense), so there is no democratic imbalance.

    The fact that people don't seem to care despite being affected is politics or preference. The majority doesn't care because they don't care, not because they aren't affected.

  71. Dave says

    But, in the case at issue, everyone is affected by the police force, and the rules, procedures, and equipment that they use, because everyone is subject to the police.

    Being subject to the police is not necessarily the same as being subject to police militarization. You don't need to worry about a police tank rolling up to your house unless you're involved in illegal drugs, live in a poor neighborhood where you might be mistaken for your druggie neighbor and raided, or we transform the rest of the way into a police state. No one in those three groups is really in any position to vote the bums out.

  72. Dave says

    And I just failed at tags. "Being subject to the police is not necessarily the same as being subject to police militarization. You don't need to worry about a police tank rolling up to your house unless you're involved in illegal drugs, live in a poor neighborhood where you might be mistaken for your druggie neighbor and raided, or we transform the rest of the way into a police state. No one in those three groups is really in any position to vote the bums out." was supposed to be separate.

  73. Rich Rostrom says

    I object to the description of "Occupy Wall Street" as "non-violent".

    In its very name, OWS proclaimed its intent: to seize by forcible invasion public and private spaces, and deny them to their normal users.

    Other "Occupy" groups went further. In Oakland and Seattle, "Occupy" groups tried to shut down operations at port facilities by force.

    An armored vehicle may seem like "overkill" for police operations. However, there are good reasons for apparent "overkill". The best nightclub bouncers are men so large and intimidating that even combative drunks rarely challenge them; and are so large and strong that they can subdue a combative drunk without getting hurt or hurting the drunk.

    When subduing and removing a group of wannabe rioters, an ordinary police vehicle is a target; a potential rioter may be tempted to smash its windows or lights, or set it on fire.

    An armored vehicle is immune – and the potential rioters give way without a fight.

  74. Owen says

    Dave:

    Being subject to the police is not necessarily the same as being subject to police militarization.

    I don't see the distinction in your argument between police (meaning, a properly equipped and directed police force) and militarized police (meaning, an excessively equipped and aggressively directed police force). You argument would apply to delegitimize ANY police force.

    A police force necessarily deals with a minority of the population. This is because 1) the effects of the police are, by design, only directed toward people suspected of criminal conduct, 2) and people suspected of criminal conduct comprise only a small fraction (well, less than a majority…) of the populace. So ANY police action, even some mythical perfectly equipped, perfectly behaved, and perfectly directed police action, will only affect a small proportion of the population in practice. Your argument would apply equally to a militarized police force and a non-militarized police force. Is it your position that no police force can ever be responsive to voting?

    Additionally, I'd be hard-pressed to find any criminal law that would be responsive to voting under your logic. A law outlawing murder will only apply to murderers, those suspected of murder, or those mistaken for murderers – a very small portion of the population. Is it your position that the majority has not consented to outlawing murder because the law against murder only affects that small group in practice? Are criminal laws as a whole completely unresponsive to voting? If not, what is your distinction between the application of police force in practice and the application of criminal laws in practice?

  75. The Man in the Mask says

    One riot, one ranger

    One riot, one pants-wetting militaristic whining snivelling trigger-happy fiscally-irresponsible fascist-leaning over-reacting hick town sherriff with a massive inferiority complex.

  76. 205guy says

    George William Herbert wrote: "You assume that national guard units uniformly have armored vehicles deployed in a geographically useful manner. I can't find any in the SF Bay Area."

    Here's one in San Bruno, you get your choice of tan or green Humvees:

    http://goo.gl/maps/kcYBw

    I couldn't find who operates that facility. The CA Nat'l Guard also has an armory in San Bruno, but it appears to be the 2632nd Transportation Company, so only trucks: http://goo.gl/maps/35WBI

    On the one hand, I really like the idea of the police borrowing military equipment instead of owning it. But really, that's not practical from a training and operational point of view. And next thing you know, the military is operating on our city streets.

    Of course, what really needs to be asked in this whole discussion is: why do police departments need tanks? Because of guns, guns, and more guns. Yay!

  77. George William Herbert says

    205guy:

    Yes, I did note a few armored Humvees are visible (in Dublin, at San Bruno, at Moffett Federal Airfield, Petaluma, I think I am forgetting one). San Bruno is the transport group I think; truck units also have a few Humvees attached to the trucks for utility and command functions.

    Those might be a legitimately "less intimidating" answer to the question than the purpose built truck sized armored vehicles.

    Part of the point of all these is as light armored personnel carriers, though, so the SWAT team can move around and get in/out fast if they have to raid bad guy shooting. You can't get in or out of a Humvee fast, if you're a big guy.

    It does provide "the vehicle to walk behind that will stop bullets" and "the vehicle to drive up to the front door and hit the building hard enough to knock the door / wall open" in the case of the active shooter who's barricaded. But you can't transport many people, so the entry team will have to be on foot.

    In terms of the "likely to be mistaken for A TANK by SWAT commander or the chief of police" factor, it's probably a winner, though. They're not tall enough or intimidating enough; they provide a carefully limited role if need be.

    So I guess we should be encouraging police departments to get surplus uparmored Humvees.

  78. George William Herbert says

    Rich Rostrom wrote:
    I object to the description of "Occupy Wall Street" as "non-violent".
    In its very name, OWS proclaimed its intent: to seize by forcible invasion public and private spaces, and deny them to their normal users.
    Other "Occupy" groups went further. In Oakland and Seattle, "Occupy" groups tried to shut down operations at port facilities by force.

    Ok. There is range for diversity of opinions, but this is factually incorrect.

    The Occupiers did not try to "deny them to their normal users" in any case I am aware of. People unaffiliated with the occupiers moved freely in the Oakland and SF Occupy areas at all times that the police weren't actively raiding them. I walked through each and friends walked through either or both repeatedly, no hassles or issues whatsoever. There is a difference between "I am here" (the point and unarguably true) and "You cannot be here" (which was NOT the point and not to my knowledge true at any Occupy site at any time).

    Regarding the "shut down port operations by force", the "force" in Oakland was armed with signs with california-legal thin 1/4"x1" sign sticks or small diameter PVC pipes, which are intentionally too small to be useful as a weapon. The "force" did not attempt to penetrate police lines at the port of Oakland, did not do any more violence than stand in front of trucks at the entrance, and harmed nobody and no property other than small amounts of paint.

    This is not sufficient force to establish a riot nor to justify, much less demand violent police response.

    Look, I've been in real riots, with things burning and people breaking into stores and looting stuff. I went to UC Berkeley. I've stood for hours in front of a computer store whose window was smashed in, with a big stick, keeping anyone from looting anything else. The Berkeley police did deploy a bit of tear gas that day, but only a very small amount. When they finally rolled the crowd back past the block I was on, they took one look at me and said "just stay back, thanks", not even a request or order to put the stick down.

    Not every riot needs tear gas. Very very few need armored vehicles. I don't recall ANY of the Occupy events in my area at any point being as violent as that riot was in Berkeley that I was at, and Berkeley PD only had to tear gas the two idiots who rushed them with sticks, not the crowd as a whole.

    Overreactions CAUSE violent riots, in the US. Other countries have different crowd behavior dynamics, but around here, overreactions by police cause more damage than they prevent.

  79. perlhaqr says

    George William Herbert: The good news is that if you really *really* need armor, Hunter-Liggett seems to have a handful of Abrams tanks, and they'll do the speed limit on a freeway. If you don't mind destroying the freeway.

    Up the 101? How could anyone tell?

  80. perlhaqr says

    George William Herbert: You assume that national guard units uniformly have armored vehicles deployed in a geographically useful manner.

    I can't find any in the SF Bay Area. I may be missing some, but the closest I located were at Fort Hunter-Liggett, some distance to the South. There used to be a lot more around, but no longer, apparently.

    It is also true that you tend to keep your National Guard armor in a lot better shape and more available if you don't ship it (and your National Guard) halfway around the world.

    But at any rate, I concede your point. I was thinking of the context of New Hampshire, and all those tiny little states over thataway, and not TX, NM, AZ, CA, etc.

  81. Steven H. says

    @George William Herbert:

    "It does provide "the vehicle to walk behind that will stop bullets" and "the vehicle to drive up to the front door and hit the building hard enough to knock the door / wall open" in the case of the active shooter who's barricaded. But you can't transport many people, so the entry team will have to be on foot."

    Who cares? One bad guy in building with rifle. He can only watch two sides at once, so come in one of the other two sides.
    Alternately, he sticks his head out to shoot at cop(s) running across street toward his building, SWAT sniper teaches him that that's a very bad idea.

    Try as I can, I can't think of any really good reason for police to have an APC other than riot control. And I can't imagine a riot in New Hampshire that's worth the trouble of bringing out the APC, even if you have one.

  82. George William Herbert says

    Steven H:
    Who cares? One bad guy in building with rifle. He can only watch two sides at once, so come in one of the other two sides.
    Alternately, he sticks his head out to shoot at cop(s) running across street toward his building, SWAT sniper teaches him that that's a very bad idea.

    Disclaimer: I don't do this for a living.

    However, I have some modicum of tactical …

    I've both done some stuff, and seen detailed post-mortems of incidents in which many civilians got shot and killed, and/or police trying to storm the gunman's location got shot and killed.

    An APC is not always useful, by any means. But your view of what the teams can and can't do, and what snipers can and can't do, is pretty naive. Rules of engagement are pretty nonsymmetrical, even for SWAT teams; they can't just light up a building without having a specific target inside they're aiming at. A number of officers have died with bad guys shooting at (tentatively IDed) police through walls and doors. Once they're shooting through the wall / door, the SWAT can shoot back, but I don't know of any situation that they can preempt and just blast the building, even if the suspect has previously fired at them.

    The "line up against the wall of the building, ready to enter the door" is one of the situations that's led to fatal shots through walls.

    For this, the Military use hand grenades, but SWAT don't get do do that except if it's a counterterrorism incident (if then).

  83. Anony Mouse says

    @George William Herbert

    Occupy The Farm most certainly took over property that wasn't theirs and denied its use by the rightful owners (UC Berkeley).

  84. grouch says

    You'll probably take an hour or so to get civilians out of the firing zone and cordone off the building. During that time, gimme 1 sacrificial pickup truck, 1 steel supply store, a handful of 6011 welding rods and some jumper cables and I'll supply you with an armored vehicle suitable for assaulting that building. If you need it faster, just ask the onlookers if there's a professional welder or hotrodder in the bunch.

    If the town under attack by that hypothetical crazed gunman is too small to have the above materials, they still don't need the tank. 1 medium sized farm tractor, 1 chainsaw, half a dozen 8"-10" diameter trees, some volunteer muscle and some log chains yields 1 rolling fortress suitable for at least 1 bulletproof assault within the time it takes to set up crowd control. Bonus benefit: fewer ricochets.

    How often do cops need armored urban assault vehicles?

    The military's primary purpose is to eliminate a threat as quickly and efficiently as is practical, whether it takes just showing up and rattling a saber or making radioactive craters. A police force is supposed to protect citizens by upholding (presumed sane) laws those citizens have established as societal bounds. Cops need tools to contain, de-fuse, de-escalate rather than eliminate.

  85. Castaigne says

    The problem with Lenco is that if a taxpayer doesn't like it, he can't vote with his feet. He has to pay his taxes or men with guns come and inform him of the error of his ways.

    Sure he can. The taxpayer can always move to another municipality/county/state/country. People do it all the time; I don't like the taxes in this area, off to AL or wherever I go.

    Second "vote the suckers out" is not an effective remedy to a violation of civil rights if a majority doesn't care.

    I find it completely odd that an AnCap would give two damns about a violation of civil rights. The appropriate answer an AnCap would give to that question, according to the Holy Texts of AnCap [1], would be that the free market would correct all such violations…insomuchas civil rights "exist" in a free market atmosphere.

    But that's getting off the subject at hand.

    The whole problem with your statement there is the term "violation of civil rights". You are attempting to call a value-neutral economic decision the same thing as a civil rights violation, which is a lie. And it doesn't wash. [2] You are attributing what you believe the "tank" will be used for [3] with the purchase itself.

    So, to turn it back:
    – The purchase of a "tank" is not the violation of civil liberties by hosing down innocent protesters.
    – The purchase of a rubber hose is not the enforcement of Jim Crow.
    – The purchase of paper to write the law down on is not the savage beating of homosexuals in Russia.
    – The purchase of chainlink fence and barbed wire is not the internment of Japanese Americans.

    Stop confusing the acquisition of an item which may or may not be used for the purpose you imagine with an actual violation of civil rights. Because right now you are guilty of argument by assertion, the association fallacy, presupposition, reification, and emotional appeal.

    (Did you know local governments get mad federal funds when they purchase something like this? And tax breaks to the Feds? I did. In fact, it's why GA towns are buying this shit. FOR THE BENNIES. You seem to ignore this little bit of motivation, which makes me question if you're an AnCap at all.)


    [1] "The Market for Liberty", "Power and Market", "The Machinery of Freedom", and the lectures of Galambos and LeFevre.

    [2] OK, we'll be kind. We'll call it hyperbole.

    [3] Solely for the purpose of hosing down protestors and bystanders with CS gas, followed by the opening up of a fusillade of .50 machineguns, all while Lenco and other police officials stand by skullfucking young children and drink the blood of their enemies.

  86. Castaigne says

    @205guy: Of course, what really needs to be asked in this whole discussion is: why do police departments need tanks? Because of guns, guns, and more guns. Yay!

    Because Colombian drug lords and Jamaican Voodoo Posses. Ever seen Predator 2? Yup, that.

  87. George William Herbert says

    Grouch:
    During that time, gimme 1 sacrificial pickup truck, 1 steel supply store, a handful of 6011 welding rods and some jumper cables and I'll supply you with an armored vehicle suitable for assaulting that building. If you need it faster, just ask the onlookers if there's a professional welder or hotrodder in the bunch.

    Because every welder has a good idea how thick standard A36 plate steel has to be to reliably stop 30-06, and small to midsized steel supply stores stock large quantities of such thicknesses routinely, and typical pickups drive so well with 13 to 15 thousand pounds of steel box around them, and are easy to navigate without any armored vision blocks whatsoever.

    I have designed vehicle armor systems before and at least somewhat can weld (I have five to ten pounds of 6011 rods and a 50 A Lincoln Electric AC/DC/DCRP stick welder unit in the garage, plus 6013 and some other rods). I had to look up the A36 / 30-06 pen data, and it's like 1.5 inches for the AP rounds. Seriously, that's six to eight tons of plate steel. Your pickup is going to bust its frame.

    There are better steels to choose from, but you won't find 4340 / RHA / etc. plate around your typical city, in useful quantity… And even that will still squash the pickup.

    The uparmored Humvee is 12,000 lbs, with the good armor, and isn't 30-06 proof.

    You probably used half inch plate out of ignorance of the actual penetration; you probably got 2-3 police officers killed, and their bodies are stuck inside a burning steel box in the middle of the street, on live national TV, and the nutcase still has the area under fire so the other officers can't even put the fire out and retrieve their bodies. Good job. Call a professional next time.

  88. Anthea Brainhooke says

    Sure he can. The taxpayer can always move to another municipality/county/state/country. People do it all the time; I don't like the taxes in this area, off to AL or wherever I go.

    Not everybody has the wherewithal to just pick up and leave on the grounds that their police force bought a tank.

    To blithely tell them "don't like it, move to where you do" is a bit of a slap in the face.

  89. George William Herbert says

    Anony Mouse wrote:
    Occupy The Farm most certainly took over property that wasn't theirs and denied its use by the rightful owners (UC Berkeley).

    And a bunch of hippies in a (singular) field justifies some heightened level of outrage or violent militarized police response?

    At worst, it was a six to twelve month delay in three or four professors' research projects and a few Masters and PhD thesies. (Note: one longer term study was also affected, that I saw listed; with not entirely clear but potentially more serious losses of data / value).

    That is surely a sad thing for people benefitting from better crops, the students and professors in question, and their pocketbooks (tuition, grants, etc).

    Again; I went to UC Berkeley. I have seen actual semi-violent riots (not Egypt grade or Watts grade, but looting and burning). Up close. Occupy was nothing at all serious in comparison. UC and the UCPD didn't rush the farm or tear gas people because that would have been a disproportionate, dumbass militarized cop response, and UCPD and Berkeley PD are too experienced and calm to do that.

  90. V says

    Do they need an armed armored vehicle or can they suffice with merely armored?
    Is a supply of ballistic shields insufficient and/or more expensive than a whole vehicle?

  91. azazel1024 says

    As someone who does work for the gov't, I find it increasing offensive that LEO are called "civil servants". With the general militarization of local police forces, I think they have to get bumped to the "military personnel" category.

    They certainly seem to think they are under life and death threat all the time, are the front line of defense of America, etc, etc, etc.

    Just my 2 cents.

  92. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels says

    @ Castaigne

    "Sure he can. The taxpayer can always move to another municipality/county/state/country. People do it all the time; I don't like the taxes in this area, off to AL or wherever I go."

    "Did you know local governments get mad federal funds when they purchase something like this? And tax breaks to the Feds? I did."

    How, exactly, does moving to AL help you to avoid paying for those mad federal funds and tax breaks?

    @George William Herbert

    Do you think the various protests at Berkeley would have turned out differently if the UCPD had received the Bearcat armored vehicle they applied for? Better, worse, the same? Even if the UCPD is the most responsible and non-agressive police force on the planet I would think their possession of such an asset could have a chilling quality on protest by students.

  93. Castaigne says

    @George William Herbert: You probably used half inch plate out of ignorance of the actual penetration; you probably got 2-3 police officers killed, and their bodies are stuck inside a burning steel box in the middle of the street, on live national TV, and the nutcase still has the area under fire so the other officers can't even put the fire out and retrieve their bodies. Good job. Call a professional next time.

    Damn. I saw that pillar of flame all the way down here in GA.

    @Anthea Brainhooke: Not everybody has the wherewithal to just pick up and leave on the grounds that their police force bought a tank.

    Repeat after me: That's a personal problem, not anyone else's problem. If you're not going to vote the suckers out or if you can't get the support to do so, then that is your option.

    Or a suit.

    To blithely tell them "don't like it, move to where you do" is a bit of a slap in the face.

    Yet, this is the standard libertarian answer I have received on asking similar questions in the past. I'll stick with my standard position: If it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander.

    @Mark – Lord of the Albino Squirrels: How, exactly, does moving to AL help you to avoid paying for those mad federal funds and tax breaks?

    It doesn't, but that's not the point of moving.
    If I want to do something about the federal funds and tax breaks, that involves the requisite mechanisms involved in challenging those things in the federal government.
    And hey, if I don't want to do that either, then I can always relinquish my citizenship and hie off to Uruguay or some shit. I am absolutely free to do so; there's a mechanism for that as well and all it requires is that I pay the cost/penalty for doing so.

    Even if the UCPD is the most responsible and non-agressive police force on the planet I would think their possession of such an asset could have a chilling quality on protest by students.

    Really? I think it would be the opposite; you'd get more protesting. Protesters love that whole "DEATH & GLORY!" bullshit; I'd think most of them would charge a .50 machinegun screaming "FOR THE DOLPHINS!" or whatever is on the cause list that week.

  94. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels says

    @Castaigne

    "It doesn't, but that's not the point of moving."

    Then what is? How is moving to another state, county or municipality – where you must financially support the policy you oppose – but without local representation or vote to counter it in a political manner – voting with your feet?

  95. Dan says

    Regarding using National Guard vehicles:
    It's always easy to come up with reasons why something can't be done, and others have come up a few good ones, but here are two that I came up with.

    1) What's the legality of involving National Guard, or even Reserve or Regular Army assets and personnel in law enforcement actions? I would think that would be a posse comitatus issue.

    2) Even Regular Army units don't have their vehicles ready to go at all times. Try and scramble a mechanized unit and ask if you can borrow an armored vehicle and see how long it takes; rounding up crews (sure hope it's not Saturday night in which case it may take a while), getting the fuel point open and fueling up, not to mention getting authorization from what I can only imagine would be a General Officer. I'm assuming that ammunition is being supplied by the local police agency, because those Ammo Supply Points keep a pretty strict 9-5 schedule, and can be a pain to get ammo from even when you have all the right paperwork. Unless there was some sort of standing assistance agreement between local agencies and the local Guard unit, I imagine it would take even longer to get help from them. Assuming of course that the local unit even has armored vehicles in their motor pool.

    That's assuming of course that there is a bona fide need for armored vehicles in your local police force. Wouldn't that be a role that could be filled by State Police? Sure, it may take several hours for them to mobilize and respond, but I suspect it would be faster then using military assets, wouldn't potentially violate posse comitatus, and would be easier to integrate with local agencies. And if you have a barricaded shooter it'd be not too difficult to set up a cordon while you wait for the cavalry to show up.

  96. grouch says

    Sorry for the delayed response. Been busy in my garage.


    Because every welder has a good idea how thick standard A36 plate steel has to be to reliably stop 30-06, and small to midsized steel supply stores stock large quantities of such thicknesses routinely, and typical pickups drive so well with 13 to 15 thousand pounds of steel box around them, and are easy to navigate without any armored vision blocks whatsoever.
    — George William Herbert

    Because small towns are frequented by deer hunters and farmers who have a pretty good idea of what a .30-06 will do and what a typical pickup will handle for a short haul and would therefore make trapazoidal boxes with 1/4" plate on the outside and 1/2" plate on the inside at a different angle with sand between and therefore allow the round to penetrate the outside and be captured between the plates and not squash the pickup by using half as much weight as you propose.

    (Yes, I can do run-on and snark as well).

    The pickup truck will not be a speed demon, but you can look down as well as being coached via cell phone or police radio. Bottom and back not needed. Gun ports via rectangular tubing with heavy plate plugs on the inside.


    I have designed vehicle armor systems before

    I haven't and will take you at your word.


    and at least somewhat can weld (I have five to ten pounds of 6011 rods and a 50 A Lincoln Electric AC/DC/DCRP stick welder unit in the garage, plus 6013 and some other rods).

    Sure about that 50A? Even my little HF MIG that I use for sheet metal does 30A – 170A. It claims to handle up to 1/4", but anything over 3/16" I prefer stick — 6011 followed by 7018. I've been welding over 30 years and never had a weld fail. Yet, in a mixed crowd such as you'd find rubber-necking around that crazed gunman scenario, you'd probably find quite a few who are much better at it than I.


    I had to look up the A36 / 30-06 pen data, and it's like 1.5 inches for the AP rounds. Seriously, that's six to eight tons of plate steel. Your pickup is going to bust its frame.

    I'll take your word for the single plate thickness needed; I've seen deer hunters "playing" when not hunting. That should stop even a straight on, 90 degree shot.

    I won't accept the assumptions you make about the pickup, the weight or the construction of the temporary armored vehicle. Even if the hypothetical police force in that hypothetical small town don't realize the penetration power of a .30-06, somebody in the crowd will.


    The uparmored Humvee is 12,000 lbs, with the good armor, and isn't 30-06 proof.

    It's probably capable of highway speeds and not a one-use throw-away vehicle.


    You probably used half inch plate out of ignorance of the actual penetration;

    You probably assumed too much;


    you probably got 2-3 police officers killed, and their bodies are stuck inside a burning steel box in the middle of the street, on live national TV,

    You probably assumed a steel box, incapable of stopping such a round and without egress.


    and the nutcase still has the area under fire so the other officers can't even put the fire out and retrieve their bodies. Good job. Call a professional next time.

    Don't think I'd want to call you. You assume too much.

    I'd rather call on the knowledge, skills and experience of those in the area, whether pro or amateur.

    And I still don't think cops need tanks. Even the crazed gunman scenario doesn't require one in order to contain the threat and protect the citizenry.

  97. George William Herbert says

    Grouch wrote:
    Because small towns are frequented by deer hunters and farmers who have a pretty good idea of what a .30-06 will do and what a typical pickup will handle for a short haul and would therefore make trapazoidal boxes with 1/4" plate on the outside and 1/2" plate on the inside at a different angle with sand between and therefore allow the round to penetrate the outside and be captured between the plates and not squash the pickup by using half as much weight as you propose.

    Dry sand is about 1/30 as effective per unit distance at stopping bullets as good armor steel, perhaps 1/20 as A36; it has a density of about 1.6 vs 7.8 for steel, about 1/5 as much. On a pound for pound basis its 1/4 as effective as the single A36 plate.

    How thick a sand gap were you thinking of?…

    Spaced armor may well help, but I have seen 30-06 and 308 non hollowpoint ammo that didn't mushroom or yaw over a foot behind 0.25 A36. Tilted plates spacing will help, but the armor box geometry gets to be a PITA.

    The Bradley AFV lower side armor is two 0.25 extra hard spaced steel layers over … 1.00 of … 5083-H131? From memory (check online… Seems to agree but my paper sources are better, will validate later). I can't find the standoff distances well documented.

    Sure about that 50A? Even my little HF MIG that I use for sheet metal does 30A – 170A.

    K1297; output is 125 A rectified DC or 225 A AC ; input is 50A 230 V. Enough for 3/16 sticks on AC.

    I'm not professional with welding, I tend to think of tools as their shop wiring power draw (50A@230) rather than output amps as welders use in that vernacular.

  98. grouch says


    How thick a sand gap were you thinking of?…

    I had in mind 12" at the top, tapering to 6" at the bottom for front and sides. The top would need to be a minimum of 12" throughout with variations due to the desire to make certain the round penetrated the outer layer without breaking up. The sand would add roughly a ton to the overall weight (assuming ordinary builders' sand at about 100 lb per cu. ft.).

    I don't have any scientific data (it's probably out there somewhere) but I've been told by quite a few people over the years that 2 ft of sand will stop NATO and deer rifle rounds. That seems close to your 1/20 ratio and the 1.5" A36 you mentioned earlier — 24" sand would be equivalent to 1.33" mild steel by that ratio — and may be a partial explanation of why the army still likes to see privates stacking sandbags 3 layers wide.

    Our slightly less aerodynamic sacrificial pickup truck should be able to creep forward with its fine new suit of a little less than 3 tons of steel and 1 ton of sand. Should be an attractive nuisance for our hypothetical crazed gunman, thus keeping him too occupied to shoot at soccer moms and deputies.

    All of this is a purely shadetree academic problem to ridicule the purchase of a tank or APC by a small town or city police department.


    K1297; output is 125 A rectified DC or 225 A AC ; input is 50A 230 V. Enough for 3/16 sticks on AC.

    Best I can tell that's the same as my M15784, only newer. :) Same little red "tombstone". There's a little gold sticker on the front of mine proclaiming "3 years warranty parts and labor". It's been trouble-free for over 10 times that period. May yours provide you fun and utility at least as long. Mind the fumes -cough- and the rays. DC to daylight can make a mess of eyes and exposed skin. Keep a potted aloe plant nearby for the minor burns.

  99. Michael Price says

    It's not a tank. Tanks carry at least one cannon and have armor useful against cannon. This is an Armored Personel Carrier. It's armor is rated at Level IV which is good against .30 calibre bullets, which is most hunting rifles. Against a terrorist with time to prepare for it that thing is a deathtrap. It can't stop .50 calibre bullets and a .50 calibre rifle isn't that hard to make. An easily portable one is, but mounting it on a car is easy. It certainly can't stop IEDs, homemade rockets or anything else a serious person could make.