Thursday, May 15, 2014

Superior Police Dept. Prepares for War?

The Superior Police Department has just acquired an MRAP armored personnel carrier. MRAP stands for Mine Resistant Ambush Projected. With a armored, v shaped hull, they're designed to be able to not only withstand small arms fire, but also mines and other improvised explosive devices. The concept and design was pioneered by the white supremacist regimes of Rhodesia and South Africa in the 1970s and 80s for use against protesters and guerilla freedom fighters. 

Superior's MRAP was gotten on the cheap ($4,500, down from an original price tag of $733,000, according to the Duluth News Tribune). The U.S. military is unloading surplus military equipment on the cheap in the wake of the end of the Iraq war. But as with any military vehicle, its sticker price is only part of the financial picture. It will costs much, much more to maintain, train and use this thing. Several years back Douglas County received a basically free armored car from the Department of Homeland Security, but that had to spend $100,000 to build a place to store it, fuel it, install communications equipment and train people to use it. And then there is the question of use it for what?

At a time when social services are being cut to the core, when our basic infrastructure is deteriorating, and the so-called economic recovery continues to elude the working class, is this really what our community needs? A mine proof armored car? It's time we re-ordered our priorities. Say no to the militarization of the police! Say no to misallocation of our public resources! Lets sell this damn thing for scrap and build a homeless shelter with the proceeds!

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