From the streets of Fallujah to Franklin, Indiana, heavily armored military vehicles have been rolled out for one and the same reason: many police officers in the US believe there’s a war going on.
Franklin, Indiana is by all accounts the idyllic Midwestern American town. Eponymously named after one of the founding fathers and “the first American,” Franklin’s small town bona fides provided Life Magazine with a Norman Rockwell-esque scene for a bit of village life utopia in the heart of the Great Depression.
But if you were to talk to local law enforcement, a battle is raging in the streets of Mayberry.
Franklin is the county seat of Johnson Country, Indiana. Speaking with Mark Alesia from The Indianapolis Star, Sheriff Doug Cox described the 139,000-strong administrative district as a place where officers’ old-time policing just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Leading Alesia to a pole barn in Franklin, Cox shows him a MRAP – a 55,000 pound, six-wheeled Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected armored-fighting vehicle with the word “SHERIFF” emblazoned on its flank.
“We don’t have a lot of mines in Johnson County,” confessed Sheriff Doug Cox, who acquired the vehicle. “My job is to make sure my employees go home safe.”
Cox isn’t alone in believing his deputies have something to fear. Johnson County is one of eight Indiana law enforcement agencies to acquire MRAPs from military surplus since 2010, according to public records obtained by The Indianapolis Star.
All across the state, and the country, the trend is similar. From picking up military surplus to using to $35 billion in grants from the Department of Homeland Security to acquire the most advanced weapons, police forces across America are armed to the teeth.
And as Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer puts it, the effects are not only tactical, but psychological.
To put it bluntly: “It’s a lot more intimidating than a Dodge.”
(keep reading at rt.com)
“The future is already here. It's just unevenly distributed.”
~ William Gibson, Neuromancer
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