” I write often about the paramilitarization of American law enforcement, while always vaguely assuming it will never get too near my own corner of rural New Hampshire. But who knows? Reid Smith writes today about his particular hometown in Pennsylvania:
Haverford straddles the border between Delaware and Montgomery Counties, some ten miles west of Philadelphia. According to Wikipedia, it’s most notable for being home to the renowned Haverford College and the Merion Cricket Club. The former is best known for its intellectual rigor and Quaker antecedents; the latter for its beautiful grass tennis courts.
The local geography gets a little tricky, but a portion of the unincorporated town of Haverford is part of greater Haverford Township in Delaware County (affectionately known as “Delco”).
Today a friend sent me an article from a local webzine. This is the sort of digital publication that usually leads with headlines about “Cast-Iron Cookware Restoration with Apple Cider and Elbow Grease” and heartfelt features on do-gooding business leaders.
But not today. Instead The Haverford-Havertown Patch’s editor Alison Smith is enthusing over the local constabulary’s purchase of a 2014 Lenco “BearCat” ballistic-engineered, armored-response vehicle (see picture). Everyone’s happy. The County Council:
” As businesses continue to expand here in Delaware County, we are continually committed to making sure that our police have the ability to address new threats,” said Delaware County Council Chairman Thomas McGarrigle.
Who knew a thriving business community presented such a threat to the security environment? Hey, it’s not just businesses, it’s also the local grade-school:
” We now have the ability to protect our police officers as they approach homes, businesses and schools while taking direct fire,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan.
The SWAT ONE can “carry up to ten people, and has night-vision optics, a gas-injection system and a battering ram. It can withstand hits from a .50-caliber projectile”. Why would anyone buy anything so superfluous? Ah, well:
The vehicle, a 2014 Lenco “BearCat” ballistic-engineered, armored-response vehicle, was purchased with Homeland Security grants under FEMA’s Urban Area Security Initiative program.”
Oh, right. Maybe the Afghan war only makes sense if you look on it as a dry run for Pennsylvania… As Laura Rosen Cohen says:
“This is not a police force, it’s a bloody army and the guns are being turned against you.”