How Tan Was My MRAP

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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24 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    The incentives are *SOOOO* screwed up.

    I mean, if someone asked me “Jaybird, do you want an MRAP? For free?”, I’d think about it and ask if I could sell it as soon as I had it delivered. (Look at those tires! You could get a couple hundred bucks for each one of those! Easy!)

    If I ran a company and someone asked me “CEO Jaybird, do you want an MRAP? For Free?”, the answer would again be “yes” and, depending on my company, I could see using it or selling it (maybe not personally, but assigning someone to do that (look at those tires!)).

    And if I ran a law enforcement agency and someone asked me if I wanted one? Of course I do. Because you never know what’s going to happen. Maybe there will be a bad thing. Like, a really bad thing. A terrorist attack or something. I’d rather have an MRAP and not need it than need it and not have it. I have a responsibility to the people in my jurisdiction. If I needed this tool on the day that phone rang and but I said “nah” when it was offered to me? I would have been derelict in my duties. If I couldn’t go into an awful situation because I felt scared and an MRAP would have allowed me to overcome my fear? I’m just another Scot Peterson.

    I *NEED* the MRAP.

    Oh, wait. I have to pay for it out of the budget? Nah. We can do without.Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    I had yet another person yesterday tell me that they are not qualified to judge police actions/decisions.

    This is a lie that police love to encourage, so that their citizens just nod along and pay their taxes.

    We need a PSA campaign of questioning the decisions of the police as a civic duty.Report

  3. Avatar Turgid Jacobian
    Ignored
    says:

    We actually left a huge number of early gen MRAPs in Afghanistan rather than pay to transport them home and store, track, maintain them. We literally cut them to pieces.Report

  4. Avatar Slade the Leveller
    Ignored
    says:

    This is the reason I don’t buy a Mercedes or BMW. I could probably swing a used one, but the upkeep is way more than I want to spend.

    As Mr. Donaldson so ably points out, free isn’t always free.

    (Eds., I think we need gluttonous instead of glutinous herein.)Report

  5. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    The FV603 Saracen was the armoured personnel carrier of Alvis’s FV600 series. Besides the driver and commander, a squad of eight soldiers plus a troop commander could be carried. Most models carried a small turret on the roof, carrying a Browning .30 machine gun. A .303 Bren gun could be mounted on an anti-aircraft ring-mount accessed through a roof hatch and there were ports on the sides through which troops could fire. Although removed from active service,[when?] it saw extensive use into the 1980s in Northern Ireland and was a familiar sight, nicknamed ‘sixers’, during “The Troubles”. At times, they appeared on the streets of Hull, a less-hostile atmosphere for driver training in a city of similar appearance to Belfast, and only a few miles from the Army School of Mechanical Transport
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvis_Saracen

    I remember seeing these roll down the streets of Belfast back in the eighties. I don’t want to live in a world of LARPing the Troubles.Report

  6. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    My county’s (pop ~600,000) sheriff’s department has an M113. They borrowed it from DoD back in 2005. So far, DoD has not asked for it back. If they did take it back, they’d have to repaint it:
    https://kdvr.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2014/04/apc-e1397153696294.jpg?w=957&h=499&crop=1

    When used, the APC is taken near the site by truck — because tracks play pure hell on typical asphalt paving — and used for the final approach. The only situations it has been used in were barricaded active shooters, either to allow EMTs to treat/recover injured persons or to bring a negotiator close enough to communicate. I admit that there’s a certain irony to a negotiator arriving in front of the house in a black-and-white APC and saying, over the sound system, “Come, let’s talk like reasonable people here.” TTBOMK, they have a good record of talking the shooter out.

    In discussions one topic that comes up is, “But what if the next sheriff uses it more aggressively?” My answer is that sheriff is an elected position, subject to recall, so can be removed. Also, if a majority of the voters think aggressive use of the APC is a fine thing, perhaps I’m living in the wrong county.Report

  7. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    I think the best way for us citizens to push back against this is to refuse to be afraid.

    Because fear is the fuel that drives militarized policing. All those urban legends, all the rumors and scare stories told so matter-of-factly about armed marauding gangs menacing people like you and me that a friend of a friend heard on Twitter.

    And this is the perfect time to have such a pushback, where people are questioning the basic concept of what police are for and why they should exist.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    First: A plus for the title of the post.

    More substantively: I don’t understand the need for this but the departments continue to procure these things and the reporter reports on it to cheerily. I think it shows how tough reform is. Even in this day when there is heightened scrutiny. The police of a small town decided to get an expensive toy that it does not need and found a courtier willing to do free PR for them.Report

  9. Avatar Doctor Jay
    Ignored
    says:

    Like many of you, I think this is a problem. I think the Moundsville PD is not going to need this, and they will soon find it to be an expensive white elephant, never mind an incitement to overreaction.

    At the same time, I’d like to describe what living in a small town is like, and what kind of impact this sort of event has. It represents acquisition of a major resource for the nominal benefit of the town and its citizens. I grew up in a place like this.

    There are folks everywhere stockpiling items that might have some future undefined use. That’s because they have little money, but lots of space, which is the opposite of how it works in the city, where folks may have some money, but not much space to keep things, so they are likely to winnow furiously. That’s the style I have learned, but it’s not what I grew up with. My father and my uncles had sheds full of odd equipment that hadn’t been used in 10-20 years.

    So, the Chief brings in some new equipment that would normally be super expensive and everyone, and I do mean everyone in the town is buzzing. To be sure, there will be some who think it’s dumb and a waste of time. But everyone is talking about it, thinks its interesting, and wants to get a look at it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Doctor Jay
      Ignored
      says:

      I thought about it for a second and, you’re absolutely right. This thing is going to be in every parade between Saint Patrick’s Day and Thanksgiving. The Elks Lodge, The Shriners, This Thing, The Women’s Auxiliary, The Firetruck, then, finally, The Mayor.

      Welp, that’s the parade.Report

  10. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    I think the MRAP could be handy for working with Eastern European special forces teams who train in inusrgency warfare in West Virginia, learning how to plant IEDs, blow bridges, and ambush armored Russian patrols. They’re also handy when police have to drive up narrow hollows to break up a feud. My home town could probably have used a few.Report

  11. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Is someone who flees by backing away in one of these a chicken PARM?Report

  12. Avatar Steve Casburn
    Ignored
    says:

    Wasn’t “How Tan Was My MRAP” the B-side to the Bee Gees’ single “How Deep Is Your Love”?Report

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