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How big a threat are our veterans?

Published: Fri, June 27, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Jim Hightower


From 1776 forward, Americans have opposed having soldiers do police work on our soil. But in recent years, Pentagon chiefs have teamed up with police chiefs to circumvent that prohibition.

How? By militarizing police departments.

Through the little-known “military transfer program,” the Pentagon now ships massive amounts of surplus war equipment to local cops. This reflects a fundamental rewiring of the mindset now guiding neighborhood policing.

Police chiefs today commonly send out squads brandishing heavy arms and garbed in riot gear for peaceful situations. Recruiting videos now feature clips of SWAT-team officers dressed in black, hurling flash grenades into a home, then storming the house, firing automatic weapons. Who wants anyone enticed by that video working their neighborhood?

As a city councilman in rural Wisconsin commented when told his police were getting a nine-foot-tall armored vehicle: “Somebody has to be the first to say, ‘Why are we doing this?’”

The town’s police chief responded that, “There’s always a possibility of violence,”The New York Times reports. Really? Who threatens us with such mayhem that every burg needs a war-zone armory and a commando mentality?


Astonishingly, a sheriff’s spokesman in suburban Indianapolis offered this answer: veterans.

The sheriff’s department needed a mine-resistant armored vehicle, he explained, to defend itself against U.S. veterans returning from the Afghanistan war. War veterans, he said, “have the ability and knowledge to build (homemade bombs) and to defeat law enforcement techniques.”

That’s lame, loopy, insulting, shameful, and just plain stupid. Maybe he just forgot to pack his brain when he left for work that day. But I’m afraid it’s a window into the altered mindset of police chiefs and trainers.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.


1Photoman(1249 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

To imply that veterans are a threat to our nation is absurd at best. Our biggest threats come from our own self-serving politicians who lack the courage to serve the nation first. They put self and political party before the people they are supposed to serve. They ignore and claim ignorance of major problems such as protecting our borders.

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2dmacker(541 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

The simple minded Sheriff in the Hoosier state can thank veterans that he can speak his mind no mater how ridiculous and that he isn't speaking in Japanese or German. Perhaps if we required all persons to serve two years in the military as a condition of enjoying freedom our veterans would be more appreciated.
The more immediate threat comes from the IRS being used by the Administration to punish foes and reward friends.
As a veteran I am appalled at the lack of medical care provided to those injured protecting our freedoms. When they do get care surgery is performed by interns learning their skills on the veteran "lab rats". The most modern prescription medicines are not approved or authorized by the VA administration for vets.
In spite of their treatment the veteran still loves his country and proves it with his blood.

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3steivo(540 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

You are, by far, the goofiest commentator I have ever encountered. Why on earth would anyone have a problem with the police departments having surplus military equipment to help them do their jobs. Who cares if it is overkill, how does it hurt anything. Do you want to give the thugs a fighting chance. I would rather they be overwhelmed with the force of the police department.
The better question here is why the city councilman in Wisconsin would ask the police department such a stupid question!

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