Monday, September 05, 2011

Are We Secure Yet?

On the edge of the Nebraska sand hills is Lake McConaughy, a 22-mile-long reservoir that in summer becomes a magnet for Winnebagos, fishermen and kite sailors. But officials here in Keith County, population 8,370, imagined this scene: an Al Qaeda sleeper cell hitching explosives onto a ski boat and plowing into the dam at the head of the lake. The federal Department of Homeland Security gave the county $42,000 to buy state-of-the-art dive gear, including full-face masks, underwater lights and radios, and a Zodiac boat with side-scan sonar capable of mapping wide areas of the lake floor.

Up on the lonely prairie, Cherry County, population 6,148, got thousands of federal dollars for cattle nose leads, halters and electric prods -- in case terrorists decided to mount biological warfare against cows.


"So if your chance of being killed by a terrorist in the United States is 1 in 3.5 million, the question is, how much do you want to spend to get that down to 1 in 4.5 million?"


West Virginia got $3,000 worth of lapel pins and billed the federal government for thousands of dollars in cellphone charges, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting, which compiled a state-by-state accounting of Homeland Security spending.


One effect is certain: Homeland Security spending has been a pump-primer for local governments starved by the recession, and has dramatically improved emergency response networks across the country.

  LA Times

I don’t have a complaint about states using whatever they can get to stay afloat, so if they pull in some questionable grants that help them in that regard, and maybe improve their own infrastructure and services, so be it. But, really, here is the deal that should clue us in on what’s also happening with Homeland Security money…

In the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, where police fear militants might be eyeing DreamWorks Animation or the Disney creative campus, a $205,000 Homeland Security grant bought a 9-ton BearCat armored vehicle, complete with turret. More than 300 BearCats — many acquired with federal money — are now deployed by police across the country; the arrests of methamphetamine dealers and bank robbers these days often look much like a tactical assault on insurgents in Baghdad.

Lapel pins. That'll guard against terrorists, I'm sure.

But it's the tanks on our streets I'm looking at. Your tax dollars are being used to arm the government against YOU. This is domestic policing equipment for when protests like those seen at WTO meetings, immigration protests, and possible future uprisings of a hungry underclass.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.


  1. At least they aren't wasting those tax dollars on the elderly, the disabled, the welfare queens or the out of work slackers. They will need armored tanks when those people start rioting!

    (For those of you who might not know me, that should have been typed in the "sarcasm" font)


  2. how right you are, and what a great idea ... a sarcasm font!


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