Tanks in Small Towns
By James Fallows

Thanks to many, many people who have written in about the ongoing militarization of the police, and the ramifications of police over-reaction to the Occupy movement in Davis, Berkeley, and elsewhere. Will format* and share some of these tonight or tomorrow. For the moment, here is just one, from a U.S. Army veteran:

If you liked the wheeled APC in Galax Virginia, you’re gonna love the M113 with a cupola mounted .50 cal machine gun that Richland County SC picked up [ a few years ago].

Note the SWAT team posing around the vehicle with submachineguns. Lovely.

As a former US Army Cavalry soldier, I have to say I am astonished and horrified that anybody in law enforcement would think that an M2 .50 cal machine gun has any place at all in a police force. It is a weapon made to destroy vehicles (like light tanks, APC’s and helicopters) and unreinforced buildings. A single round can literally tear a person in half if hits him in the abdomen. It will go through your house and the house after that and then continue blithely along for another mile or more until it hits something else.

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