Law enforcement agencies are turning to the Department of Defense, more and more, for their tactical policing needs, requesting such items as Mine Resistant Ambush Protection (MRAP) vehicles, surplus Humvees, rifles, and other assorted military-grade hardware. While some can be used in special operations, such as protecting officers from active shooters, or gaining entry into heavily fortified buildings, the sheer audacity of one Oklahoma Sheriff goes far beyond this.
Sheriff Randall Edwards, of the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, located on the western edge of Oklahoma City, has failed miserably in his attempt to soften the image of these war machines by stenciling, “Protecting Your Constitutional Rights“, on the sides of his new MRAP and Humvee.
How does a 50,000 lb. vehicle, capable of shielding occupants from rocket propelled grenades and AK-47 fire, protect American Rights?
Does this vehicle serve to protect protesters exercising their First Amendment right? Will the Sheriff deploy this armored beast to aide in citizens wishing to vote, or perhaps, to shelter his fellow Oklahoman’s who decide to use their Second Amendment right? I’ll bet that Sheriff West had some grand ideas of using this war machine in order to prevent soldiers from being quartered in peoples’ homes or to resist any future attempts at alcohol prohibition.
While there are many arguments on both sides of the fence for potential, legitimate uses of such hardware, this author can not come up with a single Constitutional Right that might be “protected” by six heavily armed soldiers – err, law enforcers – riding around in an RPG-proof weapon of war, tearing open walls or serving as a sniper platform.
Instead, they are quickly deployed when small groups of angry citizens hold up signs and exercise their First Amendment right to protest and petition for a redress of grievances, often being answered with a volley of tear gas and rubber bullets.
These armored vehicles are typically used in serving drug warrants, which do nothing to protect the average citizen’s rights. How many headlines must we read in which a seven year old girl is shot and killed while she slept because law enforcement raided a home over a small amount of marijuana, or perhaps the countless family pets who are indiscriminately shot and killed, merely for greeting those rushing through the front door in the middle of the night?
Undersheriff West claims the vehicles will be used to protect his deputies, respond to natural disasters, and assist citizens in need, but with a carrying capacity of only five officers, plus the driver, it’s not going to do much. Instead, the plentiful, surplus M35 cargo truck could be much more effective, with the same ground clearance, and rescue at least a dozen, if not more.
If this law enforcement agency was aiming for public relations points, Sheriff Edwards and Undersheriff Chris West, has failed, miserably, and I say that as a former police officer. It’s no longer shocking news, with the widely publicized Ferguson, Missouri riots, that police agencies are utilizing these vehicles, but to paint that on the side is just a slap in the face and a clear indication that the approaching Police State no longer cares to hide itself.
Kevin Hayden is a former New Orleans police officer-turned-truth seeker. He endured Hurricane Katrina’s chaos and societal collapse in the days following and after 5 years in New Orleans, moved to Oklahoma. Kevin currently runs www.TruthisTreason.net and promotes education regarding our monetary, food, and foreign policies while building an off-grid shipping container homestead. He is a former investigator for Big Oil, has appeared on numerous radio shows, and enjoys helping people become better prepared for disasters.