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Almost certainly the most famous military gambit in history is the story of the Trojan Horse. The Greek army, seeing that a siege of the city of Troy was getting them nowhere, pretended to give up the effort and sail off into the Aegean sunset, leaving behind a "peace" offering, an immense wooden horse on wheels. The horse was the political and religious symbol of the Trojans. The Trojans, prone to arrogance, having watched the Greek ships slipping over the horizon, confidently decided to roll the jumbo equine admission of defeat into the city.
That night forty Greek warriors climbed silently down out of the wooden horse and began unbarring the gates of the city. At the same time the Greek fleet reversed course and headed back to Troy under cover of darkness. Troy was sacked ruthlessly by the Greeks. Only one citizen of Troy voiced any suspicion of the Trojan Horse. His immortal words were: "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts."
The Federal Government of the United States has a juicy military equipment giveaway program for local law enforcement agencies. Department of Defense Program 1033 was initiated in 1997 as a response to the "war on drugs" and the "war on terror". For a small city or small town police department it’s pretty much a "kid in the candy store" fantasy. Guns, ammunition, ballistic vests, armored personnel carriers, boots, helmets … you name it … is up for grabs. Why Bull Frog, Oregon would need an armored personnel carrier is perhaps a bit unclear. But if they really want one? They can have it! Come on down! Here’s Wisconsin’s wake up call to its state Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs).
Quite understandably civil liberties groups on both the left and the right are casting a jaundiced eye at this intriguing Federal cornucopia of firepower, armor, and other groovy SWAT/Commando type stuff. "Tear gas! Aisle three! Grenade launchers! Aisle six!"
Liberals and conservatives who would usually not say a civil word to each other are asking, in rare harmony: "Excuse me, but why are we turning our cops into soldiers?"
"Why are we turning our cops into soldiers."
And, added to this trend is the disturbing suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus for American citizens passed by Congress recently. In short, the military can come and get you in the middle of the night, not charge you with anything, and keep you locked away indefinitely. No, I didn’t make this up from under my tinfoil hat. Just read the law. Start here.
And this Police State (and that’s all you can accurately call it) travesty is again being jointly and loudly questioned by people who usually wouldn’t pull each other from a burning automobile. The question they ask?
"Excuse me, but why are we turning our soldiers into cops?"
"Why are we turning our soldiers into cops?"
With the understanding that there is no free lunch, and that the Federal Government never surrenders a molecule of power, local Sheriffs and police chiefs should think about the motivation for this giveaway that will have reportedly topped 2.8 BILLION dollars in hardware by the end of 2012.
The naïve amongst us might ask the local cops to not take the freebies. To "set an example". But this request is starkly impractical. No one ever passes up "FREE". Never, nowhere, ever. Ain’t gonna happen.
Additionally, it’s money that the local taxpayers aren’t going to have to pony up. Every cop shop from NYC to Bull Frog, Oregon is cash strapped. Wave a hundred … or a dozen … free M-16s under their noses and you’ve got a feeding frenzy.
Claims from both the right and the left that the military gear will make the cops want to use the stuff on somebody should trigger logic alerts. What these folks are saying is that cops are so gear-crazy that they simply cannot help themselves when they get around the latest weaponry. Remember, the gun confiscators project this emotionalized response upon gun owners all the time. If I were a cop I’d be pretty insulted if the citizenry started seeing mass murders and gulags in my future behavior just because my guys just got a free truck load of horse power and fire power from the The Great Oz in D.C.
(Albeit, we did see some pretty over-the-top behavior from the cops during the "Occupy" demonstrations of late. Was that military grade pepper spray from Program 1033 that was used to douse the kids in Davis, California?)
But, at the same time, we should ask ourselves what we would do if we were a U.S. Senator, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or the President. The entire globe is stumbling into economic confusion. Any intelligent person, regardless of political slant, would be remiss to not see the obvious storm clouds brewing in America’s future.
I can actually see the most liberal Senator sitting down with the most conservative Senator and watching the recent London riots. It was a pitiful lack of response from British law enforcement, and the completely disarmed British citizenry could do nothing but cower in fear. Either the liberal or the conservative American would utter: "We simply cannot let that happen here. We cannot let it happen." There would be no disagreement.
So let’s quit trying to talk our local cops out of taking the free stuff. My mind was turned around on this issue (as it was on the matter of abolishing the BATFE and turning over gun registries to the FBI or Homeland Security) by the clear thinking blogger/journalist Mike Vanderboegh. (Vanderboegh and his pal David Codrea broke the "Fast and Furious" scandal and were given JPFO’s "David and Goliath Award" for their history changing efforts.)
Vanderboegh has an all-too-rare capacity to see the "wheels within wheels" in a situation. Mike’s view on Program 1033? He advises local cops to grab everything they can get. Send every single thing the DOD wants give away!
You see, Mike sees the gear not as primarily cop gear, but as Militia gear. However, unlike the Mayor of Troy, who simply had the horse rolled into the city, I get the feeling that maybe our local small city and small town cops should accept the gift, but maybe just take a look "inside" first.
Are Federal "advisors" part of the package? Is "information sharing" part of the package? Are blurred jurisdictional lines part of the package? Again, remember that the Federal Government never has, and never will, surrender any power whatsoever.
So all of us should call our local police chief or sheriff and make sure they know about Program 1033. Tell them to flood the Department of Defense with a bulging wish list.
Get on board the gravy train!
And citizens, what should you do about all this? Read the operations manuals. Learn to drive an APC. Learn how a tear gas launcher works. Make sure you familiarize yourself with a "three click" M-16 (single shot, three shot burst, full auto). And get close to your local police officer and sheriff’s deputies. "Better the armored personnel carrier driver you know." Right? After all, you might need to shag a ride in one of those bad boys if things get hot in your neighborhood.
Webmaster Note: (6/27/12) We originally had an embedded video displayed below, but unfortunately since the page was built it appears the video owner has made it private, thus unfortunately no longer available.
Frequent JPFO contributor and strategist, Kirby Ferris, collaborated intensively with Aaron Zelman over the last two years of Aaron’s life. Ferris is currently the Research Director of JPFO.
See all of Kirby Ferris’ articles.
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