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Letter: Vitriol doesn’t help the BearCat debate

There has been considerable rhetoric, pro and con, on the request by the Concord police to acquire a BearCat. Most of the anti-BearCat rhetoric has concentrated on the wording of the grant application.

Recently, a Moultonboro resident accused Concord’s police chief of having shown great cowardice, having declared himself a man against the U.S. and New Hampshire constitutions, and suggesting that he is about to declare war on his neighbors (“Irrational fear from Duval,” Monitor letter, Aug. 28).

Such vitriolic comments are offensive and completely irrelevant to the merits of the police department’s request for a BearCat. The Moultonboro resident then had the effrontery to remind the police chief that he works for the residents of Concord.

As a resident of Concord, I would urge the city council to base its decision on whether to purchase a BearCat on the tactical needs for such a vehicle and not be sidetracked by what was probably a poorly worded grant request.

Unfortunately, our ineffective gun laws result in police officers often being outgunned by individuals armed with assault weapons and large capacity clips. Until politicians can agree on some common-sense gun laws, taxpayers are morally obliged to equip the police with the capabilities to protect themselves and the public from such destructive weapons.

LARRY D. THOMAS

Penacook

I agree that the decision of whether to buy this machine should be based upon the need for it, along with the cost. There is, obviously no need; as there are armored vehicles at the State Police Barracks and the National Guard in case of an attack against the city. The cost is substantial, especially when it is duly recognized that there is a cumulative effect of placing quarter million dollar pieces of paramilitary equipment in small, sleepy, safe communities all across the nation. Concord is the most heavily policed place in this country, per capita. They are certainly not outgunned. What this issue is not about is the Chief of police, or any politician's loyalty to him, or any fear the councilors may hold of needing the votes of the police to be re-elected. By the way, all those bearcats parading down the streets of Boston did nothing. A man smoking a cigarette after the order to cower in fear had been lifted found him hiding in the boat. These are toys for SWAT teams, and we are nearing bankruptcy.

Again Tillie, why not prove TCB wrong? Do they already have armored vehicles? Is this needed? After seeing how the CPD responded to the gun rally and tazzed a guy with a heart condition, one has to wonder what they would do with a tank.

The question was "Who are these Concord residents that are against getting the Bearcat? "Change the subject any which way you want, the original question has never been answered.

Vitriol doesn't help anything.

Real Americans are against the militarization of the police. Democrats and their police chiefs that LIE on the applications should tell you what is wrong with America today

Please read The Execution Channel. Good take on what "Real Americans" want.

Larry, The police being outgunned is another myth. The local police have SWAT capability and are readily backed up with other local, regional, state, and if needed, national forces. They already have armored vehicles. The BearCat is an example of the national program to militarize police and para forces not bound by the posse commatus act and so military type aggression can used against citizens.

You hit the nail on the head TCB. The police are never "out gunned" and the excuse that there are so many guns and people use them is a myth. It is the attitude of the tin horn chief in Concord that is most disturbing and how he picked two groups as examples of why he would need this vehicle. What if he had applied for that same grant and instead of Free Staters or Occupy Movement as examples used "refugees". Would progressives who support the Bearcat be outraged then? I think so!

Oh for heaven's sake. Go find yourself a compound and surround it with a moat.

Based on my own experiences from serving as a commissioned officer in the Armed Forces for ten years active duty and ten years reserve duty, and serving twenty years as a civilian law enforcement officer, I have to take exception to most of the assertions in TCB's response to my letter to the editor. Historically, police officers, particularly first responders, with their standard issue .38 revolvers have often found themselves outgunned by semi-automatic pistols and shoulder weapons. This has led to police departments forming Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) units. Over time, semi-automatic side arms, protective vests, and shoulder weapons for cruisers have become standard issue for officers, and armored vehicles have become necessary for SWAT units. The last couple of decades have seen a surge in the availability and use of sub-machine guns (pistol size ammo) and assault rifles (rifle size ammo) with large capacity clips. From my own combat service, I can attest to the destructive power of those weapons. In addition to common criminals, Americans are now facing threats from politically and religiously motivated terrorists, both foreign and domestic, who possess such destructive weapons. So, unless we choose to equip and train all our patrol and first responder police officers with SWAT capabilities, they will often find themselves outgunned. That's not myth, that's reality. The Greenland tragedy showed us that. New Hampshire is still a relatively rural state with mostly small police departments. Thus our SWAT capabilities have been regionalized. The greater Concord area is one of those regions with several departments contributing personnel to the SWAT unit. As the largest department in the area, Concord bears most of the costs, and the decision on the BearCat will be up to the Concord City Council. Apparently the grant request was submitted by the Concord Police and was considered by some to be poorly worded. The purpose of my letter was to urge the Concord City Council to base their decision on the tactical needs for a BearCat and not on any complaints about the wording of the grant request. I personally believe it would be irresponsible to send police personnel into "harms way" without providing them the best protection possible, and for reasons stated above, armored vehicles are becoming more and more necessary for SWAT operations. Your suggestion that SWAT units can be "readily backed up with other local, regional, state, and even national forces" is simply unrealistic. The key word is "readily". Two schools that I attended during my police service were high-risk operations and hostage negotiation, and both emphasized rapid deployment of resources and establishing sufficient perimeters to contain the problem. New Hampshire has limited SWAT capabilities, and based on the analysis of the Greenland tragedy, SWAT units will likely be called out more regularly for potentially high-risk operations, such as drug raids. Thus, multiple SWAT operations may be going on at the same time and individual SWAT units may well find themselves without readily available backup. I would suggest that we should leave evaluation of SWAT needs to the SWAT professionals. Your assertion that "the BearCat is an example of the national program to militarize police and para forces not bound by the posse comitatus act and so military type aggression can be used against citizens" seems rather far-reaching. Posse Comitatus, under common law, allows a county sheriff to conscript any able-bodied male within his county to assist him in keeping the peace and apprehending criminals. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 simply exempts members of the Armed Forces from common law Posse Comitatus and further prohibits the Armed Forces from being used to enforce state law. In subsequent revisions to the act, the Coast Guard and the National Guard (when under state control) are not prohibited from assisting civilian law enforcement. The Coast Guard enforces maritime civil law and regulations, and the National Guard (when under state control) can be used by the governor to enforce state law. You are correct that The Posse Comitatus Act does not address how local and state authorities can utilize their police agencies; however, the U.S. and state constitutions along with numerous federal and state laws do address any abuse of police power issues. You assertion regarding a national program to militarize the police is rather untimely. Since Sir Robert Peel organized the London Metropolitan Police in 1829, police services throughout the world, including the United States, have evolved into para-military organizations. They are organized along military lines, use military style rank structures, and have standardized training, uniforms, internal discipline, and rules of conduct similar to the military forces of their respective countries. Finally, while there have certainly been instances of abuses of police power by law enforcement officers in this country, there have been no instances of "military type aggression used against citizens." If you're alluding to the tragic events at Waco, Ruby Ridge, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles where some military type tactics were used, I would remind you that those events were not military type "aggression", but were responses by the police to heavily armed and barricaded individuals resisting lawful arrest. Analyses of those events did show that the law enforcement officers involved were not that well trained in the tactics used, and this has lead to better training of SWAT personnel.

To begin with, I don't care what Concord decides to do about the BearCat. That is up to the people of Concord, and I don't live there. With that said, what I find interesting in this line of discussion is that the folks who support an armed citizenry routinely remind us that when seconds count, the police are mere minutes away. The fact is that this also applies to the police, who are often outgunned. I live in a small town in a remote part of the state, where owning firearms is completely normal - nearly every homestead is armed, and many folks have large collections. When our police chief is out on patrol (he's our only full-time officer), he has a taser, his sidearm and a shotgun in the cruiser. That's it. Unfortunately, in my town, crime is not unheard-of. It is not difficult to imagine our police chief responding to a situation where he could be at a life-threatening disadvantage. Now to the part about help being minutes away. Our town is covered by a State Police division that is headquarted nearly an hour away. So the thought that our Chief could simply pick up his radio and have the cavalry immediately come riding over the hill is simply not realistic. So saying that the police are never outgunned may be true in the macro sense is definitely not true in the micro sense. And I have a couple of other disjointed thoughts. By all reports, the BearCat is a defensive vehicle - it is armored but not armed. It seems to me that people who may be contemplating an offensive action would be the ones most concerned about defensive tactics. And I wonder what the folks in Greenland think about the concept that the police are never outgunned.

"And I wonder what the folks in Greenland think about the concept that the police are never outgunned"..according to the DOJ, Mutrie used one .357 magnum handgun. The 9mm was not used. The police were not outgunned. They made a series of tragic mistakes. ;;; ; ;;;;;;;http://doj.nh.gov/media-center/press-releases/2012/documents/20121214-greenland-nhsp.pdf

Sorry..thats wrong.....http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121215/GJNEWS_01/121219444/-1/FOSNEWS ...he did use the 9mm...so if the police had more than one .357 and one 9mm handgun, they were not outgunned.

You may want to re-read the report you linked to. 4 rounds fired from the 9mm, one striking the Chief. Still, my point was that police are frequently outgunned and your comment does nothing to rebut that.

I see my mistake...and I corrected it. Still, you made the statement "and I wonder what the folks in Greenland think about the concept that the police are never outgunned."...it certainly didnt help to make your point, did it?

I agree that, most often, it is better to avoid making it "personal." In my mind I am fighting "City Hall" and not any individual. sadly though, the Grant Application was not "poorly worded", it was clearly, in my layman's opinion, defamatory. Here is the offending statement, "The State of New Hampshire’s experience with terrorism slants primarily towards the domestic type. ... the threat is real and here. Groups such as the Sovereign Citizens, Free Staters and Occupy New Hampshire are active and present daily challenges.” Really? OWSNH disbanded like a year ago, and the Free Staters live by a creed known as the Non-Aggression Principle. Exactly what "_daily_ challenges do these groups present? Finally, I ask what you would think if I made up stories to get your money on a government grant program?

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