Local police departments are beginning to look more like branches of the military as surplus equipment such as Mine Resistant Vehicles are seen on the streets of small towns across the country.
A report on Infowars.com
ties the purchases to what police see as a growing domestic terror threat, specifically war veterans with the knowledge of how to make improvised explosive devices.
"When I first started we really didn’t have the violence that we see today," Sgt. Dan Downing of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department told Fox 59 in Indianapolis for a story titled "Armed for War."
Story continues below video.
"The weaponry is totally different now that it was in the beginning of my career, plus, you have a lot of people who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build IEDs and to defeat law enforcement techniques," Downing said.
Downing tells the station how people were concerned about the vehicle when he was helping take it home from a military base.
"We were actually approached when we’d stop to get fuel by people wanting to know why we needed this … what were we going to use it for? 'Are you coming to take our guns away?'" he said.
"To come and take away their firearms … that absolutely is not the reason why we got this vehicle. We got this vehicle because of the need and because of increased violence that we have been facing over the last few years … I'll be the last person to come and take anybody’s guns."
That answer doesn't satisfy Infowars' Paul Joseph Watson, who writes, "It seems to have been completely forgotten by police departments, the media, and Americans in general that having military-style tanks patrol the streets is symbolic of a collapsing banana republic or an authoritarian Communist state."
Police insist no nefarious motives are behind the equipment, which it gets free from the federal government. Such innocuous things as pickup trucks are part of the program, they note.
But so are assault rifles that police say they need to avoid being outgunned by some criminals.
Infowars notes that the FBI has long characterized returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq as potential terrorist threats
, along with white supremacists, and "militia/sovereign-citizen extremist groups."
Vietnam veterans have also been tied to acts of violence recently. The New York Times came under fire after it published a commentary linking veterans to white supremacy after fatal shootings at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement home in Kansas earlier this year.
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