What in the world does the University of California at Berkeley need with an eight ton armored personnel carrier, commonly referred to as a "Bearcat"? One does have to wonder since this vehicle is used by U.S. troops on the battlefield, has a rotating roof hatch, and powered turrets, gun ports, battering ram and a weapon system that engages targets with lethal force.

A police spokesman said the UCPD received a $200,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase this "Armored Response Counter Attack Truck." Lt. Eric Tejada, the spokesman, said that the university plans to use it along with neighboring counties in dangerous situations that could involve heavy weapons.

While Tejada cannot name a single incident in the 144 year history of the university, he does say that the police department would have liked to have used the vehicle when they mistakenly believed a man had an AK-47 assault rifle.

So this guy wished he would have had one of these for a guy who they mistakenly thought had an AK-47. One guy with one rifle. Does anyone else have a problem with this? I sure do. This would have been an utterly stupid thing to send one of these types of vehicles on a call where one man had one weapon. The vehicle is for battle, not the take down of one man. I wonder what the maintenance cost on this puppy is.

According to Josiah Ryan at Campus Reform,

University of Virginia Professor Dewey Cornell, an expert in violence prevention and school safety, told Campus Reform on Friday that with approximately 4800 four-year colleges in the U.S., and an average of 10 homicides per year on college campuses, the average college can expect a homicide about once every 480 years.

"With all we hear we hear about the federal deficit it’s a shame there is money available for things like this but not for prevention," said Cornell. "If a university has to resort to a Bearcat that means there is a failure somewhere else."

A June 19 log of a Berkeley City Council meeting, however, suggest that that UCPD also intends to use the vehicle for "large incidents" including university sporting events and an annual street festival called the Solana Stroll.

In other words "large incidents" means that they want it to project themselves as "looking tough" at sporting events and a street festival. California is bankrupt and they nearly a quarter million dollar grant from Homeland Security (by the way, that's your money, not DHS') for a playtoy.

Americans and Californians should be outraged at the militarization of police on this scale and especially during a recession, such as we are currently in.

Back in March Keene City Council accepted a similar grant for the purchase of one of these armored vehicles, only their grant was closer to $300,000 and is set to be used as a regional vehicle. While many affiliated with that little endeavor claim that it is something they cannot do without, one has to wonder how in the world they got along without it to begin with. I mean seriously, is New Hampshire that bad? I don't recall rocket launchers being used in the state myself. I don't recall mines laid out in the roads of an invasion of troops.

This is more government waste on parade dressed up as though it is making us safer, but the only thing it is doing is driving us deeper into debt, militarizing local police and giving us a sense of security, which is no security. In effect, it only tends to build tyranny.

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