Pentagon Suspends Giveaway Program

Monday, June 11th, 2012

I have a new piece at HuffPost on the Pentagon’s suspension of its “1033 Program,” which has been giving away weapons to local police departments for nearly 20 years.

Unfortunately, the suspension isn’t due to a reconsideration of the propriety of the program and its contribution to the militarization of domestic law enforcement, but because too many police agencies haven’t been keeping track of the weapons.

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14 Responses to “Pentagon Suspends Giveaway Program”

  1. #1 |  Mannie | 

    I’m not sure what upsets me more, that the cops are being given the military weapons, or that they are losing them.

  2. #2 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    They aren’t losing them, they are taking them home for private use, sending them to drug dealers, or selling them on the streets.

    Cops don’t lose anything, just like they never EVER tell a lie.

  3. #3 |  Deoxy | 

    Hey, they’ve suspended it, and the reason they did so is a valid one that we types complain about.

    Even if that reason is a bit down on our list of complaints, it’s still a pretty good thing, right?

  4. #4 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    but because too many police agencies haven’t been keeping track of the weapons.

    I just had a thought from underneath my tin foil hat: what if they are purposely “losing” these military-grade, high-powered weapons so that they can justify additional militarization of the state’s fist? “Bad guys now have tanks! All police must acquire a few billion $$ in weapons!”?

  5. #5 |  Pi Guy | 

    “Bad guys now have tanks!”

    That’s why I keep my Bearcat undre the camo net. If they knew what I was planning…

  6. #6 |  Pi Guy | 

    “undre” is the French spelling.

    Man I’ve had a tough time commenting here lately.

  7. #7 |  Other Sean | 

    In my town, with a core population under 500,000, the metro cops have three APC’s with various levels of meathead trim. Two are assigned to a SWAT team that has fewer than 20 members, and the other (presumably less badass) one is used simply for show-of-force purposes.

    Seriously. They just take it to different places and park it there as a token deterrent, like some Maginot Line fortress in the war against street crime.

    You just know that one day, some kid who eats a lot of yogurt is gonna climb in and take that sucker for a joy ride.

  8. #8 |  el coronado | 

    I still can’t make myself believe that SOME PD *some*where couldn’t make use of the goddam flamethrowers & anti-personnel mines. How can they possibly expected to deal with the wildfire onslaught of uppitty, camera-happy citizenry if they don’t have the proper firepower?

    “I said no pictures, prole…..or BURN!!”
    “Keep off the grass, proles….or DIE!!”

    By God, THAT’d bring back respect for the badge! They take an _oath_ after all, you know.

  9. #9 |  Dante | 

    So, the military is suspending the program to arm police officers like soldiers?

    I wonder if the FBI’s crime statistics (released today) showing yet another drop in violent crime has anything to do with it? I mean, you can’t exactly argue the need for police to have a bazooka and a tank and a flame-thrower when all people are doing is smoking pot and jaywalking, can you?

    http://www.wtop.com/289/2898285/FBI-violent-crime-down-for-fifth-straight-year

  10. #10 |  MH | 

    This sentence sounded odd/dubious: “A .50 caliber bullet is powerful enough to cut through several city blocks, and any buildings that may be in its way.”

    I understand the .50 is a powerful round, which does indeed make it risky for police to be using in civilian populated areas. But the sentence as read makes it sound like a round can go through dozens of buildings, as you would expect to find in “several city blocks.” Several commenters on Huffpo also questioned this.

  11. #11 |  SJE | 

    The “fast and furious” program criticized because they couldnt track weapons, which ultimately ended being used for illegal purposes. ’bout time the Pentagon realized the same was happening with its program.

  12. #12 |  SJE | 

    A .50 will travel with high accuracy for well over a mile and is a guaranteed kill if it hits. It will do serious damage to cars, buildings, and can penetrate metal plate. It will not go through a double brick wall.

  13. #13 |  Deoxy | 

    But the sentence as read makes it sound like a round can go through dozens of buildings, as you would expect to find in “several city blocks.”

    It does sound odd, but it really depends on what it hits. Don’t know if they’re still around, but “The Box of Truth” (or somesuch) used to post pics and videos of different calibers being put through different tests in their Box.

    A .50 cal went through… uh, 20ish? don’t remember, but a LOT of pieces of drywall, then it punched a hole in a brick wall (that they had constructed behind)… that was the end of it (IIRC), as the bullet was found in the hole (but the hole was still all the way through – it had chattered the brick it hit).

    So yeah, depending on what it hit (windows and interiors walls, primarily), a .50 cal could indeed punch through several buildings with ease.

  14. #14 |  Blaze Miskulin | 

    @ Deoxy

    So yeah, depending on what it hit (windows and interiors walls, primarily), a .50 cal could indeed punch through several buildings with ease.

    That’s why I’m building my house out of watermelons.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KcaDYsAudo

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