Scenes From Militarized America

Monday, June 18th, 2012
  • Deputies in Richland County, South Carolina will get “Navy SEAL” training. You remember Richland County. It’s the county where Sheriff Leon Lott put out a press release a few years ago to celebrate the new tank from the Pentagon’s 1033 program—one with a turreted, belt-fed, 360-degree rotating machine gun that shoots .50 caliber ammunition, and that he charmingly named “The Peacemaker.” He’s also the one who sent his SWAT team into the homes of University of South Carolina students whose only transgression was to have appeared in the same photo where Michael Phelps was pictured smoking pot.
  • Portland, Maine gets a Bearcat, courtesy of DHS. The press release announcing/justifying the acquisition apparently cited Coumbine (in which the SWAT team didn’t go in, because it was too dangerous), and the infamous North Hollywood shootout, a 15-year-old story that has become the go-to incident to justify new military gear. It also cites two local incidents, one in which the suspect turned out to have been holding a pellet gun, and another that didn’t result in any criminal charges.
  • The thumbnail to your right is from a series this photographer took of the Aventura, Florida SWAT team. Aventura is a town of 35,000 people, described on various blogs as a haven for shopping malls and country clubs.  The town has recorded one murder in twelve years. (Link via Random Pixels, via the commenter “Bystander.”)
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51 Responses to “Scenes From Militarized America”

  1. #1 |  Agammamon | 

    Ok, you know better. An APC is not a tank. Its still not appropriate for use in a police agency, but its still not a tank.

  2. #2 |  Radley Balko | 

    It has tracks, armor, and a turreted machine gun. It isn’t a people mover.

    What more does it need to call it a tank?

  3. #3 |  nigmalg | 

    Remember that the whole concept in Aventura is to avoid a murder, don’t-cha-know. That way when there’s a mall shooting, they’ll all wait behind their “people mover” hoping their show of force is enough to scare the murderer into submitting — or until it’s safe to count the dead bodies.

    What was the line?

    these guys do things that would almost make the Navy Seals jealous.

    Oh yea.

  4. #4 |  Marty | 

    it’s reassuring that that we have these weapons to deal with neighborhood poker games and college kids smoking dope…

  5. #5 |  Marty | 

    wait… I play poker and we have a college kid…

  6. #6 |  EBL | 

    Radley: You missed New Jersey…

  7. #7 |  EBL | 

    Excuse me New Jersey off duty cop in Pennsylvania.

  8. #8 |  fred | 

    You missed that Boulder getting one also,
    I’m guessing It’s to put a stop to collage kids
    having a sofa on the porch. (no I’m not joking)
    http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-news/ci_20856056/boulder-county-sheriffs-office-buys-new-armored-vehicle?IADID=Search-www.dailycamera.com-www.dailycamera.com

  9. #9 |  Andrew S. | 

    Now, now Radley. Aventura totally needs a SWAT Team. Don’t you realize the problems they’ve had with teenagers hanging out at the Aventura Mall? How do you expect them to deal with terror like that without a SWAT Team?

    Avenutra is about halfway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. It’s pretty well-off, and nothing happens there. Thought about getting a condo there when I moved down to South Florida, but decided to live the life in the suburbs instead. Seeing that article, I’m very glad I did.

  10. #10 |  Toonhead | 

    Leon Lett? Didn’t he play football for the Dallas Cowboys?

  11. #11 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    All these self-important GI Joes with million dollar kill toys.
    Now I just want to play with them, like setting up mock crime scenes in the woods and calling 911. Do they sell dummies at Home Depot? Or ketchup?

  12. #12 |  Stephen | 

    YES! I am totally for it. Send all cops to BUDS training now!

    The 1% that survive might actually be good cops.

  13. #13 |  Stephen | 

    Oh, and we would be rid of the other 99%.

  14. #14 |  Sharon Helriggle | 

    You hit the nail on the head Stephen! I’d love to see our overweight wannabes try and make it through BUDS!

  15. #15 |  Durrrrrr | 

    I live in Portland, ME. Most of the people here seem to be aware of how silly the bearcat is. The cops in Portland are some of the most overbearing in the state, which is funny because Maine cops are typically really easy going.

  16. #16 |  celticdragonchick | 

    It has tracks, armor, and a turreted machine gun. It isn’t a people mover.

    What more does it need to call it a tank?

    Perversly, the M113 is a people mover, since it is meant to transport troops on a battlefield with some degree of protection. It is a APC as noted above, although it may generously also be called an AFV or armored fighting vehicle since it does carry a large calibre machine gun and can carry a number of other weapons. A true tank is a tracked armored fighting vehicle usually armed with a (relatively) large calibre main gun and usually tasked with destruction of other vehicles or sometimes high risk battlefield recon.(In WWII for instance, the PzKpfw III usually only mounted a 50 mm gun and was initially meant to be the main anti armor tank until the need for the 75 mm KwK 40 gun on a larger platform gradually relegated the Panzer III to a support and recon role. Today, a 50 mm gun would not even remotely be feasible for a true tank and would only be considered in an infantry carrying AFV or an anti aircraft platform if it were a rapid fire weapon)

    There are some confusing exceptions:

    We can all agree that the M1A1 MBT is, in fact, a tank. MBT means main battle tank. The T-80 is also an MBT. No real confusion there. What do you make of the British Alvis Scorpion and Scimitar family of vehicles? They are recon armored vehicles that are not really supposed to go toe to toe with enemy armor, but the Scorpion has a 76 mm gun (same calibre as found on the classic Sherman tank, but not as powerful) while the Scimitar mounts a powerful 30mm rapid fire RARDEN cannon. Sort of tanks, since they can be used as direct fire combat vehicles and they do not carry troops, but they are really meant to be recon platforms. They generally get classed as light tanks, but sometimes get classed seperately since they have a mission similar to that of armored cars. How about the old Soviet BMP-1? It is an armored fighting vehicle that carries 8 soldiers, but also has a 73mm main gun which tends to get it noticed real quick by opposing MBT’s. In Afghanistan, it was used as a tank for all intents and purposes, although it was not designed as one as such. The relatively large calibre gun was a valuable supplement to the infantry unit the BMP was supporting and the HE rounds were highly effective against dug-in Mujahadeen fighters and mud-brick buildings. Despite that, it is still classed as an AFV and not a true tank.

    To make matters even better…anti aircraft tracked vehicles are usually also called tanks, but self propelled howitzers usually are not (but sometimes are…)

    Anyways, an M113 is almost never called a tank because it does not have the armament of a tank and does not serve in the battlefield role of a tank.

  17. #17 |  Sean | 

    I wonder if the Navy Seal-style training for the SC deputies will include a block of instruction on dog shooting techniques and how to tase 80 year-old women?

  18. #18 |  SInchy | 

    Look at how the chief of the Minneapolis SWAT team spent his Father’s day:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/06/18/man-on-life-support-after-minneapolis-cop-punches-him-for-talking-loud/

  19. #19 |  Juice | 

    #15 – Like this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xq_RvJ7CtOw

  20. #20 |  ChicagoSucks | 

    @Radley, “It has tracks, armor, and a turreted machine gun. It isn’t a people mover. What more does it need to call it a tank?”

    C’mon Radley, calling the M113 a “tank” is the same as calling an M4 an “assault rifle”. Can of worms…open sesame.

  21. #21 |  Ohio | 

    HOLY CRAP! Check out comment #22 from 2009. Either Sheriff Lott is reading your website or CHRISC is a psychic.

    http://www.theagitator.com/2009/02/13/the-michael-phelps-witch-hunt-gets-surreal/

    #22 | CHRISC | February 13th, 2009 at 6:42 pm
    maybe the sheriff can take this opportunity to lobby for some stimulus money so he can train several deputies in Navy/SEAL tactics too. You know, just in case they have to take down Michael Phelps in the water…

  22. #22 |  Dand | 

    ot: Erik Loomis rips Glenn Greenwald for working with libertarian on the drug war and civil liberties http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2012/06/my-challenge-to-glenn-greenwald

  23. #23 |  AlgerHiss | 

    The people involved in all of this ‘roided up nonsense need to become very, very uncomfortable holding these jobs.

    They, their spouses, their children, their parents and siblings… need to be shunned, ignored, laughed at….don’t use their worthless kids to mow the lawn or babysit….don’t sit next to them in church….and whenever possible, without the risk of being arested, give them the finger and tell them to go fuck themselves.

  24. #24 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “When we come back, these guys and girls will take what they learned and it will spread through the sheriff’s department,” he said. “These guys and girls who survive this can lead any group and survive any situation

    Oh my. Pot smokers and crack heads beware. They will survive any situation, but will fear for their lives at the sight of any canine. Bad boys bad boys, whatch gonna do…

  25. #25 |  Aresen | 

    RE: ‘Tank’ vs ‘Armored Personnel Carrier’

    Does it make any difference when they’re driving it through your living room because you toked a joint?

  26. #26 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Does it make any difference when they’re driving it through your living room because you toked a joint?

    No, but then it doesn’t make any difference if someone clocks you in the head with a chunk of biotite augen gneiss or a chunk of quartz monzonite. That doesn’t mean they are the same thing.

  27. #27 |  Aresen | 

    @ celticdragonchick | June 18th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    “… with a chunk of biotite augen gneiss or a chunk of quartz monzonite…”

    I KNEW you were a stoner! ;P

  28. #28 |  EH | 

    Sinchy: Rawstory is serving malware ads from newnotice.org to mobile browsers.

  29. #29 |  EdinMiami | 

    Shoutout from Aventura!!

    I had no idea the swat team here was so well equipped. Nothing in this town but overpriced shops and restaurants (read very affluent; hell our Goodwill store looks like Macy’s). Road Rage seems to be the biggest threat down here given the traffic, especially in the winter when the snowbirds come down from New York and Canada; damn you Snowbirds!!

    I guess I’ll stop jaywalking.

  30. #30 |  demize! | 

    I now want to marry @celticdragonchick

  31. #31 |  celticdragonchick | 

    @Aresen

    LOL! I actually just graduated with a degree in geology.

  32. #32 |  celticdragonchick | 

    @demize!

    Unfortunately, my spouse is the jealous type… :)

  33. #33 |  Whim | 

    Amazing how police daily enter people’s property and immediately shoot dogs that allegedly react aggressively (as dog’s are in fact bred to do).

    Yet, USPS mail carriers, utility meter readers, UPS and FED-Ex deliverymen, lawn care personnel, lawn fertilizer personnel, and swimming pool maintenance people seem to never need to shoot dogs that they encounter.

    Is it that policemen are generally more poorly educated, and more cowardly than these other occupations?

    Or do they just have a more militant police union to defend their cowardly, trigger-happy actions?

  34. #34 |  Durrrrrr | 

    @19
    Yup, that’s about right.
    “If you don’t pick this up I’ll fine you for littering”
    That cop is hilarious.

  35. #35 |  Bob | 

    #12 Stephen

    YES! I am totally for it. Send all cops to BUDS training now!

    That would be the best reality show ever.

  36. #36 |  Other Sean | 

    Celticdragonchick #16,

    Your other admirers failed to make clear whether they were impressed by your knowledge of military vehicles or rocks. For me, it’s definitely the armor.

  37. #37 |  mad libertarian guy | 

    Is it that policemen are generally more poorly educated, and more cowardly than these other occupations?

    Or do they just have a more militant police union to defend their cowardly, trigger-happy actions?

    Yes.

  38. #38 |  Anthony | 

    @ APC/Tanks

    To Soldiers, armchair generals and recent geology graduates there is a significant difference between an APC and tank. To laymen there isn’t.
    In the hands of the police an M113 will be used in a similar fashion as a tank in battle: shock action. Saying a police M113 isn’t a tank is like saying flash bang grenades don’t throw shrapnel; technically, they don’t. But the debris that is projected that would be called “shrapnel”

    @12,
    If the police were using the training to select the best people for the job then I’d agree with your premise. However, they’re not. The wash outs will still be on the force and more dangerous to the public.

  39. #39 |  celticdragonchick | 

    To Soldiers, armchair generals and recent geology graduates there is a significant difference between an APC and tank. To laymen there isn’t.

    I actually taught threat identification when I was in the army. That was some time before I got my geology degree. I guarentee that there is no faster way to put a classroom to sleep then one and a half hours of pointing out road wheel and glacis plate differences between Warsaw Pact and Nato armor.

  40. #40 |  Rob | 

    The North Hollywood Shootout could have been ended by one guy with a deer rifle. While the police were under-gunned, they weren’t THAT under-gunned. All they needed was something that could penetrate a bullet proof vest, which most rifles will do.

    They sure as shit don’t need an APC.

  41. #41 |  Anthony | 

    celticdragonchick,

    As a person who sat through threat ID briefings, I can confirm that there is no greater sedative.

  42. #42 |  marco73 | 

    #18, The Minnesota SWAT cop.
    Wow, the off duty cop was upset that the man was using foul language on a cell phone, so he goes over and sucker puches the guy, and the man is now on life support.
    They’ve suspended the cop.
    No way can they cover up this one with a 2 week vacation and a verbal reprimand.

  43. #43 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    No way can they cover up this one with a 2 week vacation and a verbal reprimand.

    I’ll take some of that action.

  44. #44 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Explanation: He’s facing a 3rd Degree Assault charge. Even though he fled the scene like a pussy. Even though he sucker punched the guy like a pussy. Even though the victim has had two brain surgeries and is still in intensive care. Even though the victim is the father of 4 and ended up nearly dying on Father’s Day. And, this SWAT punk-ass did Personal Security Details when in the military, but that just means he’s trained to be violent and think of others as meat. THIS is what we’ve deployed at home…with high powered weapons and virtual licences to kill citizens.

    This quote gets me:

    “I think he realized now, I don’t think he realized how serious it was last night,” Archambault explained. “And now that word got out — that Brian is in the condition he’s in — that he better do what’s right.”

    Yeah. I’m sure “doing what’s right” was at the top of his mind—and not that he was positively identified by witnesses.

  45. #45 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Update of irony: Clifford the SWAT thug was at the bar to discuss National Night Out plans. That’s a crime prevention program. Again, the police prove to be the biggest threat.

    Clifford’s account of the events doesn’t match up to video at the scene or any witness accounts.

    Clifford was part of an excessive force lawsuit stemming from an arrest in April of 1995.

  46. #46 |  Personanongrata | 

    “When we come back, these guys and girls will take what they learned and it will spread through the sheriff’s department,” he said. “These guys and girls who survive this can lead any group and survive any situation.”

    What will they have learned?

    How to operate within the local community in a militaristic fashion?

    To what benefit of the local community?

    A law enforcement officers (LEO) problem solving skill set needs to be differnet than that of a special forces operators (SFO) skill set (eg SFO would decide to kill the target whereas a LEO would look to arrest the suspect).

    Military training and law enforcement training are wholey incompatible they are like water and oil, they do not and should not ever mix.

  47. #47 |  burgers | 

    ” Military training and law enforcement training are wholey incompatible they are like water and oil, they do not and should not ever mix.”

    Military vets should not become policemen. There I said it!

  48. #48 |  Igneous Slag | 

    I like the pic of the swap team guy rappelling down the garage while aiming his machine gun up the rope. I wonder if he’s planning to shoot his own line, or is the guy on the roof just checking if it’s the right rope to cut…

  49. #49 |  Militant Libertarian » Scenes From Militarized America | 

    […] Posted: June 23rd, 2012 by Militant Libertarian by The Agitator […]

  50. #50 |  Before It's News | 

    […] by The Agitator […]

  51. #51 |  FreeWestRadio.com » Blog Archive » Scenes From Militarized America | 

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