In an interview with Fox 59, a Morgan County, Indiana Police Sergeant admits that the increasing militarization of domestic police departments is partly to deal with returning veterans who are now seen as a homegrown terror threat.
In a chilling story entitled Armed for War: Pentagon surplus gives local police an edge, we learn how a Mine Resistant Vehicle (MRAP) which was once used during the occupation of Afghanistan will now be “patrolling the streets of central Indiana,” according to the report.
Sgt. Dan Downing of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department states, “When I first started we really didn’t have the violence that we see today,” adding, “The weaponry is totally different now that it was in the beginning of my career, plus, you have a lot of people who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build IEDs and to defeat law enforcement techniques.”
Downing goes on to relate how citizens approach the vehicle when it stops at gas stations to express their concerns that the militarization of police is about arming cops with the tools required for mass gun confiscation programs.
“We were actually approached when we’d stop to get fuel by people wanting to know why we needed this…what were we going to use it for? ‘Are you coming to take our guns away?’” said Downing. “To come and take away their firearms…that absolutely is not the reason why we go this vehicle. We got this vehicle because of the need and because of increased violence that we have been facing over the last few years….I’ll be the last person to come and take anybody’s guns.”
Indiana seems to be a major trial balloon for the militarization of law enforcement given that the Indiana National Guard has also just purchased two military UH-72 Lakota helicopters which will also be used by local police and the DHS for “homeland security missions”. Downing’s claim that armored tanks are necessary to deal with violent crime doesn’t jive with actual statistics which suggest that violent crime is in fact on the decrease.
Downing’s admission that the armored vehicles are partly about combating the threat posed by returning veterans correlates with similar rhetoric at the federal level.
An April 2009 DHS intelligence assessment listed returning vets as likely domestic terrorists. Just a month later, the New York Times reported on how Boy Scout Explorers were being trained by the DHS to kill “disgruntled Iraq war veterans” in terrorist drills.
The FBI has also repeatedly characterized returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as a major domestic terrorist threat.
It seems to have been completely forgotten by police departments, the media and Americans in general that having military-style tanks patrol the streets is symbolic of a collapsing banana republic or an authoritarian Communist state.
Perhaps the main reason why police officers are being trained that veterans are a major threat is because returning vets are in a perfect position to recognize that America is beginning to resemble an occupied country like Afghanistan.
Such warnings have come from people like former Marine Corps Colonel Peter Martino, who was stationed in Fallujah and trained Iraqi soldiers. Martino went before a New Hampshire city council meeting last year to assert that the Department of Homeland Security is working with law enforcement to build a “domestic army,” because the federal government is afraid of its own citizens.
Indeed, the city’s Police Chief justified the necessity for the acquisition of an armored ‘Bearcat’ vehicle by citing the “threat” posed by libertarians, sovereign citizen adherents, and Occupy activists in the region.