Where are the Tea Parties when we really need them? (Chasing after welfare moms, voters without photo IDs, and Mexican fruit pickers, as usual.....)
By Radley Balko
February 16, 2012 | Huffington Post
"We're going to have our own tank."
That's what Keene, N.H., Mayor Kendall Lane whispered to Councilman Mitch Greenwood during a December city council meeting.
It's not quite a tank. But the quaint town of 23,000 -- scene of just two murders since 1999 -- had just accepted a $285,933 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to purchase a Bearcat, an eight-ton armored personnel vehicle made by Lenco Industries Inc.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the war on terror has accelerated the trend toward militarization. Homeland Security hands out anti-terrorism grants to cities and towns, many specifically to buy military-grade equipment from companies like Lenco. In December, the Center for Investigative Reporting reported that Homeland Security grants totalled $34 billion, and went to such unlikely terrorism targets as Fargo, N.D.; Fon du Lac, Wisc.; and Canyon County, Idaho. The report noted that because of the grants, defense contractors that long served the Pentagon exclusively have increasingly turned looked to police departments, hoping to tap a "homeland security market" expected to reach $19 billion by 2014.