Oh, Come On

Monday, September 1st, 2008

This is just ridiculous:

The Richland County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Department has acquired an armored personnel carrier complete with a turret-mounted .50-caliber belt-fed machine gun for its Special Response Team.

Sheriff Leon Lott told the Columbia State newspaper that he hoped the vehicle, named “The Peacemaker,” would let the bad guys know that his officers are serious.

“We don’t look at this as a killing machine,” Lott told the paper. “It’s going to keep the peace. We hope the fact that we have this is going to save lives. When something like this rolls up, it’s time to give up.”

Who wants to set an over under on the first time they use this thing to bust a pot dealer?

UPDATE: Pete Guither found a photo of the thing, and the weird origin of the name the sheriff gave it.

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58 Responses to “Oh, Come On”

  1. #1 |  Josh | 

    Or the over/under that a dog gets killed on its first deployment??

  2. #2 |  Kelly | 

    It will be like the scene in Die-hard. If the cops bring a tank, the bad guys know to bring an antitank gun.

  3. #3 |  Andrew | 

    Can someone tell me the difference between what law enforcement in this nation has become and a standing, occupying army?
    Military uniforms. Check.
    Military organizational structure. Check
    Military tactics. Check.
    Military personal weapons. Check.
    Tracked armored vehicles. Check
    Wheeled armored vehicles. Check.
    Aircraft. Check.
    Elite Special forces. Check.
    Snipers. Check.

  4. #4 |  Ken’s Weblog » Blog Archive » As long as they’re declaring war on us… | 

    […] Oh, Come On. […]

  5. #5 |  Andrew Williams | 

    “Who wants to set an over under on the first time they use this thing to bust a pot dealer?”

    Bet $5 they’ve already done it. Trigger-happy nimrods.

  6. #6 |  (yet another) Andrew | 

    What’s the over/under on when a trigger happy cop “accidentally” shoots someone with the thing?

  7. #7 |  Bob | 

    They just need to paint “Send Ex” on the side so it won’t stand out when they deliver boxes of dope to innocent victims… er… “Drug trafficking suspects”.

  8. #8 |  absence of something | 

    “Elite Special forces” erm, not quite. How about trigger happy wannabe special forces?

    It’s about time “the onion” run a campaign to get a police department somewhere a small, tactical nuclear missile – because, you never know when it might come in handy, and gosh, you can’t have the police being out-gunned by some Iranian backed terrorists or something

  9. #9 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    How do you tell who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?

    Well, there is a simple way to identify some of the bad guys and exclude all of the good guys. If they identify themselves as the good guys then they certainly are not good guys. Good people do not label themselves as good.

    If they label others as bad guys then they are probably bad guys themselves. They probably need to see others as evil so they can recieve the ego benefits of fighting evil. And if you though willful blindness see evil when it is not there then you are evil yourself.

    So yes, I think we can trust these people to abuse their APC. I think we have the all too common group of self-righteous, reckless, irresponsible thrill seekers with delusions of heroism.

  10. #10 |  Dubber308 | 

    They got a new toy. Of course they are gonna use it. As soon as possible. Why? For the same reason a dog licks his balls. Because they CAN!

  11. #11 |  chance | 

    I could almost see the argument for some type of armor protected vehicle (I said almost). But the .50 cal is ridiculously powerful, and primarily an anti-material weapon. There isn’t any legitimate use for it in civilian policing I can imagine.

  12. #12 |  random guy | 

    Heres my odds:

    5:1 It first gets used on a pot dealer.
    3:1 It kills a dog on first use.
    2:1 It kills a police officer on first use when a friendly firefight breaks out during a no-knock raid.

    I gave low odds on the pot dealer because i feel that they’re far more likely to drag that thing out for a meth lab, you know turn the whole trailer park to swiss cheese. I’d take bets but then they’d use it on me for the highly dangerous act of illegal gambling.

  13. #13 |  perlhaqr | 

    Random guy: If there are police inside the house and they open up with that .50, it’s bad odds for anyone in the direct line of fire, whether or not there’s a house in the way. .50 BMG is no joke.

  14. #14 |  Red Green | 

    The 50 cal is no joke ,but this country has a lot of police that are. There should be a law against this kinda thing. Special Response Team…WTF? All this proves,is that the police are more afraid than we thought.

  15. #15 |  Pete Guither | 

    I did a little looking and found a picture of it, along with an explanation of how they named it:

    Sheriff Lott stated that the name selected from the entries will be “The Peacemaker” because that is the APC’s purpose and the bible refers to law enforcement in Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”.

  16. #16 |  Mike T | 

    Article I, Section 10 US Constitution:

    No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace

    Of course it is just a G-d damn piece of paper…

  17. #17 |  Highway | 

    Nice find, Pete. I wish they were just kidding us. And with that picture, again, they’re pointing their guns at US, supposedly the people they’re supposed to ‘protect’.

    This is just unbelievable. And again, there’s not a single politician coming out and saying publicly “This is going too far, this has got to stop.”

  18. #18 |  chsw | 

    I can understand a police dept having a water cannon for riot control. However, what sort of threat does the Richland PD reasonably anticipate to justify the expenditure of taxpayer dollars acquiring this? Unruly creationists and ACORN nuts joining forces to overthrow the city council by armed insurrection? What justifies this?

    chsw

  19. #19 |  Dan Z | 

    Last I checked even in actually military combat you cant use a .50 caliber against people I think it has something to do with the fact that it makes people explode. Pretty sure its an anti vehicle/structure and light armor weapon as well as one that can tear through any structure standing on a city block. To serve and protect indeed.

  20. #20 |  harlequinjester | 

    I am in the Army national guard, and just came back from helping the training of soldiers on that exact weapon. In the army, if you direct that agenst enemy personnel, not agenst vehicles, you will go to jail for a very long time. It is a breach of the Geneva convention, and is a war crime. I guess the police should be vary careful about how and when they use that, or else they may find themselves in jail too.

  21. #21 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    Based on the fact they think this is good law enforcement, I have to wonder if the Special Response Team isn’t perhaps ‘Special’ in the short-bus sense.

  22. #22 |  J Mo | 

    I don’t know much about guns but I couldn’t help think of that gun Stallone uses in the new Rambo flick to mow down Burmans. By what Dan Z and harlequinjester say it sounds like this gun is very similar. That could be a good piece of propaganda, show Rambo mowing down people and point out that this gun is effectively the same thing and then ask if anybody thinks a law enforcement agency really needs something like that.

  23. #23 |  Mister DNA | 

    I guess the police should be vary careful about how and when they use that, or else they may find themselves in jail too.

    As long as the cops use the thing on people who are suspected of dealing drugs and/or running poker games out of their homes (and the black women who choose to associate with suspected drug dealers and/or gamblers), the general public won’t see a problem with it.

  24. #24 |  Roberta X | 

    “Peacemaker?” Perhaps in the Roman sense — Tacitus, quoting a captured Celt anent Roman troops: “They make a wasteland and call it peace.”

    Oh, holy cow. I won’t take your bet — too much blood on the payoff. But any weapon too terrible to use, it’s just a matter of time ’til somebody does.

  25. #25 |  Greg N. | 

    I haven’t studied the Posse Comitatus Act well enough to know, but I wonder if it could be used to mount a challenge to this kind of militarization. I understand the primary purpose of the law is to separate the military chain of command from the enforcement of U.S. laws.

    But – and maybe there’s some dicta somewhere in some decision about the PCA that might shed some light here – there’s probably some secondary or tertiary point to the law about the dangers of militarization of routine police work.

    I guess my point is: when the cops become a military (helicopters, tanks, auto/semi-automatic weapons), does it matter whether they’re commanded by a U.S. general or the the Drug Czar (thinks, Biden!)?

    I’m sure courts will be hesitant to put limits on the executive’s ability to enforce laws, but surely there’s some point at which the enforcement techniques become unreasonable.

    Sorry for the rambling.

  26. #26 |  Edintally | 

    What an asshat. WTF are you gonna shoot with that thing? Where is the back story where drug dealers attacked this town with prop planes, light tanks, armored personnel carriers, or small attack boats?

    What’s the over/under on how many houses a .50 will rip through before it stops?

  27. #27 |  claude | 

    Oh my. I just saw that pic. I always thought cops were overcompensating for something, i just never realized how small it really was until now.

  28. #28 |  claude | 

    “I guess the police should be vary careful about how and when they use that, or else they may find themselves in jail too.”

    Yeah see, in theory this is true. However, for some odd reason, it never seems to quite work out like that. More than likely should your scenario ever occur and they open up on a person with this piece of equipment, the cops buddies and dept will stand by them saying they did what they were trained to do. The officers will then get the customary 2 weeks paid vacation followed shortly after by a pay raise, promotion, and an award.

  29. #29 |  The_Chef | 

    Try picking one of those up at your local General Dynamics dealership…

    Asshats.

    “…blessed are the peacemakers”?!

    Jesus was talking about conflict resolution among the christian brethren, and not the kind of conflict resolution solved with weapons!

    Holy shit what an ignorant fuck. This is not the kind of shit our tax dollars should get spent on. $1000 says that those SWAT officers have no training in how to move as dismounted infantry with armor cover.

  30. #30 |  Mark Z. | 

    Can someone tell me the difference between what law enforcement in this nation has become and a standing, occupying army?

    The Army has physical fitness standards.

  31. #31 |  claude | 

    “The Army has physical fitness standards.”

    And in the military there is a chance u may actually be held accountable if u do something wrong, a concept not found in police departments today.

  32. #32 |  The_Chef | 

    claude | September 1st, 2008 at 2:42 pm
    And in the military there is a chance u may actually be held accountable if u do something wrong, a concept not found in police departments today.

    Thin Blue Line FTL!

    Farkin’ cops.

  33. #33 |  claude | 

    “Thin Blue Line FTL!”

    Thats part of the problem. Another large part of the problem is police unions make it near impossible to get lousy cops off the force.

  34. #34 |  Rick Cain | 

    I can see “wrongful death/injury lawsuits” written all over this thing.

  35. #35 |  Gabriel | 

    War machines are peacemakers. End of story.

    In other news, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.

  36. #36 |  SJE | 

    According to Wikipedia, Richland County has an est. 357,000 people. Forget about the APC, do they even need a SWAT team?

  37. #37 |  claude | 

    Well SJE, one can always “create” need.

  38. #38 |  James | 

    The most pertinent question ignored by this news item is the source of funding for this acquisition. Could it be a Federal (Homeland Security) grant?

  39. #39 |  Cappy | 

    Sooo, who here has an armored vehicle?

    That’s about the only purpose for a .50 caliber belt-fed, vehicle-mounted machine gun.

    These rounds will penetrate an M113 no problem because that’s what they are designed to do. Bounce off of M1’s though.

    Or the .50 cal can be deployed against large quantities of things that scream and bleed…namely humans. Granted, pretty much nuttin’ will live through it.

    So, if these rounds can go through another APC with little to no problems, how well will they go through a house, into another house and into another house? Kinda like a white hot poker through melted butter? Thought so.

    But remember, if you can by chance get your hands on an anti-tank RPG, aim for the top of the APC, that’s the weakest part of the armor. Climb high, aim, fire, duck and run.

    Mebbe that one guy said it right when he said, “Aim for their heads”.

  40. #40 |  Jimi G | 

    “Leon Lott”

    That asshole still owes me $50 for the time in that Super Bowl when he was running in for a sure TD, he decided to celebrate like a douche and Don Beebe stripped him of the ball. I was in the money for the pool if he scores. Asshole.

  41. #41 |  Greg N. | 

    I think that was Leon Lett.

  42. #42 |  TGGP | 

    Via Billy Beck a military man points out just how horrible the idea is.

  43. #43 |  Brad Warbiany | 

    “It is a breach of the Geneva convention, and is a war crime. I guess the police should be vary careful about how and when they use that, or else they may find themselves in jail too.”

    Nah… Drug dealers don’t wear uniforms*, therefore they’re “enemy combatants”. Geneva doesn’t apply.

    *Unless you count gang colors.

    “What’s the over/under on how many houses a .50 will rip through before it stops?”

    It shoots through schools.

  44. #44 |  Windypundit | 

    Sheriff Lott sounds like a pussy. If he had any balls, he’d put an M198 Howitzer in the parking lot of every Sheriff’s office, and have the deputies spend their patrols calling in fire missions on crack dens and meth labs.

  45. #45 |  Observant Bystander | 

    “I am in the Army national guard, and just came back from helping the training of soldiers on that exact weapon. In the army, if you direct that agenst enemy personnel, not agenst vehicles, you will go to jail for a very long time. It is a breach of the Geneva convention, and is a war crime.”

    I found this claim a bit hard to believe. A Google search of “geneva convention .50 caliber” results in lots of discussion of the question, with some people saying it is a violation of the Geneva Convention and others saying it is not. For the most part, none of the sites I found on either side looked very reliable and no one provided a link to anything reliable, but the anonymous posters arguing it is not a violation at least sounded more persuasive.

  46. #46 |  Police militarization « A Record: My Time at MIT | 

    […] Published September 2, 2008 Uncategorized Holy shit, police departments have started acquiring APCs (via The […]

  47. #47 |  Mark Z. | 

    Incidentally, here’s an example of the sort of thing Sheriff Lott is likely to do with his new penis substitute. Complete with Lott’s pompous grandstanding about his victim selling drugs to “our kids”, and photo of “authorities at the scene” illustrating my earlier statement about physical fitness standards.

  48. #48 |  Alex | 

    “I found this claim a bit hard to believe.”

    I was in the Army in the late 90’s and the M2 .50 cal was a standard crew-served weapon. Also, the Geneva Conventions did NOT deal with weapons. There are some older Conventions that addressed BC weapons, but I’m not aware of any international treaties that deal specifically with rifle calibers. I too am extremely dubious of that claim. In fact the whole idea of preferring to be shot by a SAW or M16 than an M2 is pretty silly.

    And Sheriff Leon Lott (not to be confused with Leon Lett, DT) is a complete douchebag and a damn unoriginal namer of his douchebaggy toys.

  49. #49 |  Alex | 

    I just checked the link TGGP sent to Billy Beck’s (dipshit) site. He claims there’s nothing in a dowtown area that will protect you from an M2. That is a ridiculous overstatement unless you’re willing to stand in one place while someone fires belt after belt, but that’s true of pretty much any military weapon.

    Is it overkill? Yes, and it’s not remotely close. Will it kill you through a conrete wall? No.

  50. #50 |  Jimi G | 

    Leon LETT. Ah, I feel much better now. Thanks for clearing that up.

  51. #51 |  Billy Beck | 

    “Will it kill you through a conrete wall? No.”

    Look, asshole: my SKS can do that. Shut the fuck up.

    “TGGP”: after I posted that at my place, an e-mailer rang in with convincing credentials (U.S. Army) cagily but very clearly alluding to techniques for destroying an M113 and all its content with common household chemicals.

    Do you understand? There are people who are able, not afraid, and who are watching developments like this.

    None of this is going anywhere good.

  52. #52 |  t. reed | 

    Give the cops a howitzer if they want one–at least the cops won’t be able to put the howitzer on full auto. What were these cops thinking??

  53. #53 |  Alex | 

    Billy, no. Your SKS (for those who don’t know, a $100 POS version of an AK) will not do that. I used to shoot the M2 regularly and I’m quite sure of its capabilities. In 5 minutes of googling I found proof: 2″ penetration into a concrete wall and 300 rounds to penetrate a 2′ wall. http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/infantry/mg/50_ammo.html

    Also, congratulations on knowing a ninja spy terrorist who can MacGyver his way through a tank.

  54. #54 |  Billy Beck | 

    When was the last time you saw a two-foot thick concrete wall in the “middle of a downtown city block”?

    From the very page that you linked, asshole: “The .50 caliber round can penetrate all of the commonly found urban barriers except a sand-filled 55-gallon drum.” You’re not very good at this. As for my “POS”: it’s a genuine Tula with the milled receiver. I could shoot you a photograph of the arrow. And I punch 7.62x39mm rounds right through concrete blocks in my back yard all day long. They go straight through the Franklin 65hp. aircraft engine block out there. Of course, you can whinge about concrete blocks not equaling your two-foot blockhouse, and that’s about what I would expect from you.

  55. #55 |  Alex | 

    You left out the next sentence: “Continued and concentrated machine gun fire can breach most typical urban walls. Such fire cannot breach thick reinforced concrete structures or dense natural stone walls.”

    This is what I said to begin with. “Continued and concentrated fire” Get it? Also normally 4 out 4 for buildings on a downtown corner are constructed of natural stone or reinforced concrete, which means cement with rebar not concrete blocks.

  56. #56 |  FreedomSight » Blog Archive » New Toys and Wretched Excess | 

    […] Radley Balko asks, “Who wants to set an over under on the first time they use this thing to bust a pot dealer?” Well, it’s an open question as to whether that or destroying god-only-knows what in a wrong-house raid happens first. […]

  57. #57 |  Adam | 

    Hey, that’s my sheriff. I talked to the cop next door about this and asked him why in the hell RCPD bought this. The argument is basically that there could be a situation where this could be useful such as a barricaded in shooter or hostage situation, and hey it only cost us $2000 so who wouldn’t buy one for that price. I could see a situation where it could be justifiably used maybe one time in the next fifty years, and that’s still a fairly big maybe. I’m just hoping they don’t deploy it during their next no knock drug raid at a house on a parallel street and blow through it, my house and the middle school behind me. That is after all what it was designed for.

  58. #58 |  Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-09-19 – No, seriously, I could swear the water in this pot is getting a little hotter… (#6) | 

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