Fire sale?
September 11, 2014 5:32 PM   Subscribe

With the war in Iraq winding down, colleges are are stocking up on surplus military equipment of all kinds at bargain prices from the Department of Defense. As two schools in Louisiana each receive a dozen M-16 weapons, the newspaper asks, "Is this a good idea?"
posted by Anitanola (112 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Finally my place of work will have fun stuff to swipe. Yee-ha!
posted by Angleton at 5:37 PM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


What could possibly go wrong?
posted by Dip Flash at 5:38 PM on September 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


It depends. Can some of the student groups have some too? Might even up the odds.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 5:38 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's not just colleges, 10 Texas school districts received at least 64 M16 rifles, 18 M14 rifles, 25 automatic pistols, and magazines capable of holding 4,500 rounds of ammunition as well armored plating, tactical vests, and 15 surplus military vehicles.

But if you think about it, our policy around the world is to pass out automatic weapons to anyone who asks and hope things get better. US foreign policy is just coming home. What could possibly go wrong?
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:40 PM on September 11, 2014 [23 favorites]


Sometimes, I really wonder whether the very smart people in government and in certain institutions don't have information predicting massive social unrest in the foreseeable future. Food riots, or whatever.

Then, I think how paranoid that sounds.

Then, I think about what we thought was paranoid before Snowden, and what we think is normal after Snowden.

Then, I dive into a good book and try not to drown in despair.
posted by gauche at 5:40 PM on September 11, 2014 [62 favorites]


"With the war in Iraq winding down..."

Bwahahahaha!

-- MrJM
posted by MrJM at 5:42 PM on September 11, 2014 [30 favorites]


My Alma Mater received 4 M-16s through this program.

I guess it gives me one more thing to add to my tirade when they call during dinner to ask for donations.

It's a long tirade, starting from the point where they fired the (public) college president for not being Christian enough. Fuck them. Fuck them hard. More often than not, I find myself embarrassed by the name on my diploma.
posted by schmod at 5:43 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


San Diego Unified School District has an MRAP. But don't worry, it is stocked with teddy bears.
posted by birdherder at 5:46 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


T.D. Strange: "It's not just colleges, 10 Texas school districts received at least 64 M16 rifles, 18 M14 rifles, 25 automatic pistols, and magazines capable of holding 4,500 rounds of ammunition as well armored plating, tactical vests, and 15 surplus military vehicles."

One of those ISDs has these fine officers, who decided that a girl talking on her cell phone to find out if her sick mom was ok needed to be wrestled to the ground, kneeled on and otherwise restrained.

Yeah, giving those assholes guns, to work in areas that are primarily people of color...what a brilliant fucking plan that is.
posted by dejah420 at 5:48 PM on September 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


Students caught using phones in class are required to turn them over to school administrators and then retrieve them at the end of the school day, for a fee.

That's a special kind of bullshit right there, just starting them early these days in America.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:54 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


M14s? Who still has M14s? Did they get them from the Texas A&M ROTC in 1965?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:55 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, I really wonder whether the very smart people in government and in certain institutions don't have information predicting massive social unrest in the foreseeable future.

Pentagon bracing for public dissent over climate and energy shocks [Independent]:

In 2006, the US National Security Strategy warned that: "Environmental destruction, whether caused by human behavior or cataclysmic mega-disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, or tsunamis. Problems of this scope may overwhelm the capacity of local authorities to respond, and may even overtax national militaries, requiring a larger international response."

Two years later, the Department of Defense's (DoD) Army Modernisation Strategy [PDF] described the arrival of a new "era of persistent conflict" due to competition for "depleting natural resources and overseas markets" fuelling "future resource wars over water, food and energy."


So, yes.

Related: Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown [Guardian].
posted by ryanshepard at 5:57 PM on September 11, 2014 [16 favorites]


Our prices are so low, you'll think we're dangerously incompetent!
posted by angerbot at 6:05 PM on September 11, 2014 [21 favorites]


Fun factoids: I got this classy ad when reading this post on my logged-out mobile earlier, and this even classier ad on my computer just now.

(Personally I find the juxtaposition funny, but others here may not agree…)
posted by Pinback at 6:12 PM on September 11, 2014


"Is this a good idea?"

Well just today, a Utah teacher shot herself in the leg before school this morning when she tried to use the toilet while armed, severely injuring herself. Utah allows teachers and staff with concealed carry permits to come to work armed without telling anyone.
posted by zachlipton at 6:14 PM on September 11, 2014 [20 favorites]


M14s? Who still has M14s? Did they get them from the Texas A&M ROTC in 1965?
any sharpshooter, its preferable to the m16a2 lthough imho the swedish ak-4 is much more preferable.

also, check out the m14-ebr.
posted by xcasex at 6:15 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


If your teacher accidentally shoots him or herself, does everyone in the class automatically get an A?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:16 PM on September 11, 2014 [21 favorites]


but on another note, why the funk are weapons being provided to schools? in case of a zombie apocalypse?
posted by xcasex at 6:16 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Evacuate all the schoolchildren!

I guess the pepper spraying cop will be upgrading in lethality, then.
posted by BungaDunga at 6:17 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Let's see those little shits throw a fit at the bursar's office now.
posted by griphus at 6:18 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


"Is this a good idea?"

The only thing that can stop a bad teacher with a gun is a good teacher with gun, clearly.
posted by mhoye at 6:20 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Also I suspect whatever problem they're preparing for can be helped by investing even half the money spent on military grade weaponry generally used for fighting a war on student mental health services instead.
posted by griphus at 6:21 PM on September 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


A few decades from now I'm going to be watching The Tonight Show as Louis CK interviews some retired Pentagon general and he admits they stashed small arms weapons in Iraq, knowing full well it would give them license to continue to muck about in the middle east indefinitely.

The most depressing part about this feeling of premonition is that's the best case scenario. The alternative timeline is me eating a can of beans in a cave in the Sierra Nevadas, since the radiated wastelands exposed to the feeble rays of the day star are uninhabitable after Israel, Iran, and the New Soviet Union had a slight misunderstanding after troll level: 9000 brinkmanship got out of hand.

How this bizarre nonsense of "automatic weapons for everyone with a badge" fits into the lizard people's grand scheme, I'll never know. But I'm sure Alex Jones has some ideas.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 6:23 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


any sharpshooter, its preferable to the m16a2 lthough imho the swedish ak-4 is much more preferable.


Oh, so it's just the modernized M1, not the pray and spray full-auto variant from the '60s.

Still wholly inappropriate for a school district, though.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:23 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


For those of us disgusted and offended at this, I can only say this.

We lost. Rights? You have none. Freedoms? You have the freedom to accept your fate. Revolution? Fuck no, have you seen how well the government is armed?

14 years ago, this country shit itself and said "OMG FUCK RIGHTS SAVE ME!!!" Well, hope you're saved, because your rights are fucked.

Enjoy Ferguson. Because everyone lives there now.

Oh, and NEVER FORGET!!!
posted by eriko at 6:25 PM on September 11, 2014 [48 favorites]


You know, if we're going to go down this path anyways... Can anyone explain to me what the actual point of having cops at schools non stop during school hours is? A lot of schools that aren't of the "omg dangerous we have and totally can justify and need metal detectors!" variety have them, to the point that it's just regarded as a normal thing now i guess.

My school didn't have cops or shitty rent-a-cop security guards and we were fine. And this was in the "bad part of town" and stuff.

I've never heard a story that was "and fortunately, the school service officer was right there and saved the day!". Just tons of stories that weren't worthy of the news or posting online about asshole, swinging dick behavior and abuse of authority like some of the stuff that came up in the ferguson threads and elsewhere on here recently. Like that whole "parading the kid in cuffs around the whole school before actually taking him out" thing.

At my school at one point, a mentally ill kid barricaded himself in a classroom and held a teacher hostage. Not with a weapon really, except maybe a letter opener or something... but mostly just because he was like 6'5 and basically sat on her. It turned into a huge deal where they locked down the school and all this crap happened, and then the whole thing got swept under the rug(everyone who went there with me remembers this clearly, but i can't find a single record of it online).

All i can imagine, especially after that video of the cops just rolling up and shooting that mentally ill guy, is that they would have just shot him after he screamed at them or threw stuff or whatever(and he was doing shit like that). I mean he's a big scary guy, and they have guns and they feel "threatened". Bam.

I'm just worried we wont hear about it when it happened. Some justification for not spreading it in the media will be drummed up and it'll all be hushed other than student accounts being posted, and that even will likely be punished. What a fucked future we're walking into.
posted by emptythought at 6:25 PM on September 11, 2014 [12 favorites]


Does anyone have a more positive association between "college campus" and "armed police" than Kent State?
posted by griphus at 6:26 PM on September 11, 2014 [18 favorites]


I started out to say this as a joke, but at this point I would not be surprised if at least some colleges somewhere actually did such a thing:

Call me when the admissions exam includes a section taken on the firing range.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:32 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


It seems a bit improvident to start giving these things away when the USA is about to enter a new war in Syria. It's like dumping your fat clothes when you go on a diet; you always say you won't need them, but in your heart you know better.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:35 PM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Am I right to assume the military is just unloading all this equipment as part of that nonsensical thing they're always doing where they rush to waste whatever they haven't used up in order to justify a larger budget to replace all the stuff they've wasted?

'Cause, I mean, the Army is still gonna need guns, right?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:35 PM on September 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


My alma mater, University of Virginia, got 14 M-16s. My guess is that they are still out numbered by student owned M-16s by about 10 to 1.

Maybe one day you can check them out of an armory just like checking out a book at the library.
posted by 724A at 6:38 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


I understand all the surplus goodies -- who, like El Camino College, couldn't put 40 new undershirts to profitable use?

But the guns?

Unless ROTC, maybe?
posted by notyou at 6:49 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Huh. One of my local community colleges looks like it's doing well. They got goggles, tools, emergency rescue kits, medical supplies, and some free clubs. I feel pretty good about that overall.

My other local community college got a mine resistant vehicle. Which seems excessive for Orange County. I guess it's the only way to one-up all the SUVs around here?

A lot of the colleges have pretty tame lists though. The most menacing thing Michigan State U took home was 50 catheter and needle units.

My favorite one on the list though has to be Naugatuck Valley Community College. They received two chinstraps. Nothing else.
posted by Garm at 6:50 PM on September 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


M14s? Who still has M14s? Did they get them from the Texas A&M ROTC in 1965?

Probably the Marine Corps.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 6:51 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


So glad my alma mater's not on the list. We can't even handle pepper spray here.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:51 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know, if we're going to go down this path anyways... Can anyone explain to me what the actual point of having cops at schools non stop during school hours is? A lot of schools that aren't of the "omg dangerous we have and totally can justify and need metal detectors!" variety have them, to the point that it's just regarded as a normal thing now i guess.

School has mostly been about socialization, and education second. It used to socialize us for industrial work. Now kids are being socialized for the police state.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:53 PM on September 11, 2014 [22 favorites]


griphus: "Also I suspect whatever problem they're preparing for can be helped by investing even half the money spent on military grade weaponry generally used for fighting a war on student mental health services instead."

That's exactly what I don't understand. Wouldn't it be much better to simply get the economy going again and ensure your population is healthy both physically and mentally? Maybe the masses won't rampage if they have the ability to meet their most basic needs.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 6:55 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Then again, if all of this stuff is actually true, it does show that the elites are getting scared.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 6:56 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


If your teacher accidentally shoots him or herself, does everyone in the class automatically get an A?

Well, if they're fast, one of them might be able to pick up an automatic.
posted by 445supermag at 7:03 PM on September 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


I want Community to do a bottle episode inside an MRAP now.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:11 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


U. of California at Berkeley Police M-16 14

History repeating as farce, everyone.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:13 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


> The most menacing thing Michigan State U took home was 50 catheter and needle units.

They got 100 gun cleaning kits. So either they already have guns or plan to get some.
posted by ardgedee at 7:14 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Does anyone have a more positive association between "college campus" and "armed police" than Kent State?

As it was with Ferguson, it's important to not paint campus cops with so broad a brush when a lot of them are most likely decent people who do their job without such abuse. However, when it comes to furnishing these guys such heavy ordinance, Maslow's hammer applies.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:17 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


In related news, FEMA camps are real. This is America's solution to the Civil Rights Movement, which never really ended but was suppressed like Reconstruction.

They've read The Atlantic, they've read Paul Krugman. It doesn't matter, defense of the Homeland is priority.

“[The thesis] is actually against racial prejudice,” the spokeswoman continued. “It just is trying to figure out, that when the system breaks down, like Ferguson, what the Army’s response should be.”

I hadn’t mentioned Ferguson.

posted by gorbweaver at 7:18 PM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


In related news, FEMA camps are real.

In related news, I don't think "real" means what you think it means. Yes, I read the links.
posted by Behemoth at 7:23 PM on September 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


This article has a good quote:
“Our idea is ‘How can we get in and pull out a classroom at a time of kids if there’s an active shooter?’ said Florentino. “‘If there’s a fire [or] if there’s an earthquake, can we rip down a wall?’ Stuff like that.”
I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that MRAP isn't going to help you do either of those things. It's not a rescue vehicle! You could drive it through a wall, I guess, but you're just as likely to bring the roof down on you and kill everyone than do any good.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:24 PM on September 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'd love to see colleges use this equipment. Give a mine-resistant vehicle to the automotive engineering department. Let an engineering design class tear apart one of the combat rifles, and send the others downstairs to a basement range for a marksmanship class/extracurricular. I think giving this stuff to schools is a fantastic idea. Not to school police.
posted by cribcage at 7:26 PM on September 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


I did not know the war in Iraq was winding down...thanks for telling me this.
posted by Postroad at 7:29 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


With the war in Iraq winding down

<img src="professor_farnsworth_good_news_everyone.gif">
posted by tonycpsu at 7:35 PM on September 11, 2014 [15 favorites]


Ohio State's material mostly makes sense. Chemiluminescent lights, pandemic kits (we're a big university, and have already proven that we can't handle disease). But a mine resistant vehicle??? Maybe in anticipation of the next game vs. Michigan?
posted by ChuraChura at 7:48 PM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that MRAP isn't going to help you do either of those things.


Well, that's why they need a god-damn LAV-25!

That 25mm Bushmaster will take down a cinderblock wall lickity-split!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:58 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I did not know the war in Iraq was winding down...

It's winding down in the sense that the USA will no longer be as involved. You know, the way kids wind down as their parents let them do more things for themselves.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:14 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Kent State

That was different though, the Big Government National Guard came in and did that one; now the Big Government has dispersed arms so that college kids can get gunned down at the state level, where all domestic gunning-down truly belongs. Unless it's brown peoples / terr'a. State's Rights 4 Lyfe!
posted by aydeejones at 8:16 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Anitanola: "the newspaper asks, "Is this a good idea?""

What? No. The answer to your question is no.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:17 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Tangentially, I think it's odd how we're talking about blowback and the wisdom of arming rebels and selling arms to shady governments and their enemies and all of that jazz like it's some new revelation when it was the same deal back in 2001 when people like Richard Clarke pointed out the blowback created by arming mujahadeen soldiers against Russia.

We keep hearing about how ISIS is stealing American-made weapons from the Iraqi army but one wonders how much of their Made-in-the-USA stash was directly provided to them when they were Good Guys Fighting the Assad Regime. Now they look all scary and we're remembering why we like having puppet dictators like Assad around. Well, the people with the power don't really forget, the cycle has a certain cleansing property to it, and keeps the economic wheels turning.
posted by aydeejones at 8:18 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


There is never any reason for police officers to have automatic weapons, nor do cops have any reason for traveling around in armored vehicles, but only a murderous psychopath would give police grenade launchers, especially campus police.

We've got the DHS’s mythology about the Boston Marathon bombing too :

In congressional hearing on police militarization, DHS officials falsely claim police used federally-funded spy gear to locate one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing when, in reality, a private citizen found him in his backyard.
(I heard talk about someone making an fpp on that story, but afaik nobody did)
posted by jeffburdges at 8:19 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


My solution to this problem:

Have alumni that normally give to their universities offer a 2 to 1 unmatching program. For every dollar that the university gets in military armaments the alumni pledges to *not* donate 2 dollars that they would have ordinarily donated.

I have a feeling that if my proposal was implemented, this shit would stop pronto.
posted by el io at 8:19 PM on September 11, 2014 [11 favorites]


caveat: let them keep the chinstraps.
posted by el io at 8:20 PM on September 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


There is never any reason for police officers to have automatic weapons, nor do cops have any reason for traveling around in armored vehicles, but only a murderous psychopath would give police grenade launchers, especially campus police.

Yeah, first and foremost automatic small arms / "assault rifles" (in the "I know it when I see it" sense like the M4A, M16, AK-47) are made for laying down suppressing fire, in a war zone. Like, intended to unleash hundreds of rounds that most likely don't hit anybody. I remember some apocryphal count in the many thousands regarding the "bullet to dead Viet Cong" ratio in Vietnam. They don't work out the same way in civilian settings.

And the bullets are made to zip through walls and such, or more accurately made to zip across a battlefield in open warfare. No, keep your 8-round 12-gauge shotguns and shit, but not every cop needs to be a SWAT officer and the SWAT team doesn't need to handle every minor altercation all of the sudden, either.
posted by aydeejones at 8:24 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I absolutely love the donation unmatching program idea, el lo, maybe the ACLU, etc. could promote it. I agree with offering marksmanship as extra-curricular activity too, cribcage, but (a) the community collages and inner city high schools need that more than universities and (b) automatic weapons aren't that useful really, train kids to use sniper rifles. See my anarchist scouts proposal.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:26 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Giving cops .223 weaponry, especially full auto M-16s, is such a spectacularly bad idea that I'm getting the vapors. Cops don't give a shit about backstops when they open up. Evidence shows how many innocent bystanders get shot up by cops during shoot-outs. And then give them something that will spray 30 bullets out in one second, with a lethal range of 1.5 MILES. Brilliant. What could go wrong...
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 8:30 PM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


That was different though, the Big Government National Guard came in and did that one; now the Big Government has dispersed arms so that college kids can get gunned down at the state level, where all domestic gunning-down truly belongs. Unless it's brown peoples / terr'a. State's Rights 4 Lyfe!

Actually the National Guard is state level. It was the governor of Ohio that sent those troops to Kent state.
posted by MikeMc at 8:30 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


You can bet your sweet patootie I am going to be buying an ARMY GOLF CART
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:33 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


But... but... these Universities are bastions of Liberal Radical Political Correctness! Not the people we want to give guns to!

In other news, Randy Paul has come out against providing formerly-Army equipment to FEMA, because... well, because FEMA! (and gorbweaver's "FEMA Camps" were the idea of the director under Ronald Reagan... I wonder how many Reagan-lovers might change their minds now... wait, those were supposed to be Camps for the uppity black people, no big deal)

And my local free weekly has an article where they got all the info about all the "1033 Program" military paraphernalia that has gone to local police departments in my 260K population county... County Sheriff: 25 bayonets, City of San Luis Obispo (home of Cal Poly U.): 50 bayonets. Of course, Cal Poly could always borrow some guns from U.C. Berkeley.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:34 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


We should limit states to one SWAT team trained officer authorized to use an automatic weapon per million residents, so about 20 for NY or 40 for NYC or 3 for Wyoming, Montana, and the Delawares combined. Allow Governers to borrow an SWAT team from the FBI by asking the President. Also let states could train at least 2x that many SWAT team snipers. Just use a helicopter if you need to get the state's SWAT team somewhere unexpected quickly.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:35 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is insane. I'm sitting inside a Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle and wondering if at some point in this vehicle's life span will it have a SWAT team riding inside of it.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 8:56 PM on September 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


The normalization of militarization is truly terrible.

But it's very much what Humans do. Humanity is *evil*. Maybe what surpasses Homo Sapiens won't be, provided that Homo Sapiens doesn't kill it first, but we're evil.

Our answer to dissent, for 10,000 years, has been violence. Dissent against the ruler? Violence. Dissent against the male? Violence. Dissent against the parent? Violence. Dissent against god? Violence!!!

It's what we do. It's why we're the apex predator. And it's why we are -- by our own definition -- evil, and we will never change, because evil *works*.

You want hope? Sorry. I have none to offer. Martin Luther King did. That's why we killed him.

The worst part about being human is realizing that your are evil, and you don't have a chance in hell of stopping it.
posted by eriko at 9:01 PM on September 11, 2014 [18 favorites]


James Madison U., VA:
Shotgun, 4
Mortuary Wrap, 12
posted by Condroidulations! at 9:04 PM on September 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


Thank goodness the good people of Yale's campus police will be able to clothe themselves with 63 pairs of trousers. What with Yale's mere 20 billion dollar endowment, its officers were previously forced to patrol the campus pantsless until the feds came along.

If this stuff is truly surplus (and how can pants be surplus, they're either useful or they're unwearable?), why don't we give the clothes to the needy?
posted by zachlipton at 9:29 PM on September 11, 2014 [6 favorites]


zachlipton: "If this stuff is truly surplus (and how can pants be surplus, they're either useful or they're unwearable?), why don't we give the clothes to the needy?"

What are you, a communist?
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 9:43 PM on September 11, 2014 [10 favorites]


In related news, FEMA camps are real.

I've just read a fair amount of this PDF. It's an odd duck. He spends most of it looking at past internment operations and the logistics, for the army, of a potential, unlikely and theoretical, interment of black militants.

It's a research thesis for the US Army War College, and feels to me like he was tasked with coming up with a project that looks into the logistics of something the army might do. He took up an extreme case, to be sure, and that, on its surface, make him out to be a pretty terrible dude.

But he spends a lot of time talking about the problems of prejudice:
Difficult as it is to build and ·maintain a group prejudice, it obviously can be done and has been done. The results have invariably been devastating, not only for the agitators but for the rest of the
population: intellectual and moral bewilderment, divisiveness, acrimony, and violence.
Both in how Europeans viewed (and killed) native americans:
The Spanish rulers and colonists operated on the thesis that the discovery and military occupation of a territory constituted legal sovereignty. The conquered territory was considered abandoned land (res nullius) and, since no sovereignty had existed before possession by conquest, rightful ownership went to the conquering military forces. The inhabitants of the conquered territories, since their rights were not defended by the force of a civilized law, were considered as comparable to beasts of burden, ergo born to be enslaved. According to the doctrine the Indians were obviously inferior to the Spaniards physically,
morally, and intellectually, and they ought to be regarded by the Spaniards "much as children are regarded by adults, women by men, the savage and cruel by the clement, and monkeys by their masters."
And in how America viewed the Japanese during WWII, leading up to the Japanese internment:
The more than fifty years of anti-Japanese sentiment, the bias-building activity of certain minority groups, the race-baiting of some unscrupulous politicians had built a racial prejudice which, fanned by the attack on Pearl Harbor, quickly became mass hysteria and the prime motive for what has been called "the most serious and dramatic governmental manipulation to which an American population has been subjected in recent times.
His chapter on black Americans is (to my eye) a relatively clear-eyed look at the state of racial tensions in the US at the time of writing.

And his conclusion is clear:
Prejudice, conflict, and violence need to be replaced by more effective day-to-day negotiations, with visible results. Not only prejudice but poverty, social isolation, and discrimination must be vigorously attacked with a great commitment of our total resources; not with fragmented, partial effort, but with national programs specifically designed to bring social peace. It will not be easy but it can no longer be delayed.

Though he does go into the logistics of how mass internment could work, calling this an argument in favor of said internment seems pretty off-base. This reads like the thesis of a left-leaning person in the Army War College laying out the terrible history of prejudice in the US and the potential cost of increased racial disharmony.
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:44 PM on September 11, 2014 [9 favorites]


Then, I think about what we thought was paranoid before Snowden, and what we think is normal after Snowden.

honestly if you think anything revealed by snowden would have sounded paranoid in 2012 it's only because you don't pay attention to what was publicly known
posted by p3on at 10:03 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is this the Hunger Games? Am I being prepped to watch Battle Royale again?
posted by Hermione Granger at 10:29 PM on September 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


We should limit states to one SWAT team trained officer authorized to use an automatic weapon per million residents...

That's a really good idea. Also, most of the rest of the police should switch back to revolvers, since that's adequate for the vast majority of police situations, and the rest are legitimate jobs for a SWAT team.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 11:09 PM on September 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


> The worst part about being human is realizing that your are evil, and you don't have a chance in hell of stopping it.

More like you have a capacity for selfish, evil behavior that can be hard for some people to resist engaging, especially if they perceive no consequence for their actions.

Maybe it's just the types I encounter, but there is an undeniably clear-as-day difference between people who show absolutely no remorse or regret for doing harm to others and people who genuinely care about the well being of others. So, as long as you keep fighting the good fight, the people who are truly responsible for Martin Luther King's death haven't completely gotten away with it yet.

Which is why I'm inclined to say America doesn't have a gun problem; America is a gun problem. Some of the apocalyptic fetishists literally just want a consequence-free or socially-justified measure of killing people (or humanoid figures), hence the obsession with zombie fiction. But it's already been mentioned several times on MeFi that a lot of people don't expect society to immediately collapse into such lawless destruction in the face of national crisis.

Still, all the evidence points to the idea that the mere presence and availability weapons increases the likelihood of their use (necessary or not), and I believe that's where the fulcrum of human nature lies in this situation. It's kind of like a spice.

Or the TL;DR version: With great power comes great responsibility.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 11:37 PM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


oh good, a mine resistant vehicle for NMSU

because you know Cruces, just, you know, chock full o' mines

also while militarization of the police is indeed horrifying, I'm kind of numb to it, but I am not numb to the horror of the idea that these university PDs are buying TYPEWRITERS

WHY
posted by NoraReed at 12:41 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


> It's why we're the apex predator. And it's why we are -- by our own definition -- evil, and we will never change, because evil *works*.

You can try to use that strength and cleverness to find ways to flourish in the course of helping others, or at least while causing them the least harm.

And you find people who believe like you do, because even our primitive ancestors figured out that acting collectively got everybody farther than acting alone. Then you hope that outsiders can be influenced by the better example you set.

We've managed to pull ourselves pretty far above the our basest selves over the past few millennia. Our beliefs, speech and conduct have evolved so much that commonplace opinions expressed on TV and in print from fifty years ago are considered beyond the pale now. It feels like we're backsliding lately. But giving up on your better self is the surest way to undermine our progress.
posted by at by at 12:50 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


School has mostly been about socialization, and education second. It used to socialize us for industrial work. Now kids are being socialized for the police state.

...says the (likely) graduate of public schools who is (likely) doing just fine. It's easy to shit on the education system; it's not so easy to roll up your sleeves and improve what we've got, and there are uncountable numbers of educators who are doing just that every day who would view your quasi-conspiracy theory with puzzlement if not contempt. To extend an apt analogy: it's easy to launch spitballs, but some of us are working over here.
posted by zardoz at 1:12 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


As a foreigner I am dangerously naive. I read the post and thought, well, my alma mater has the Sydney University Regiment and others have similar, I suppose the US colleges with their ROTC programs need up to date materials for training.

Then I read the articles and realised these were for campus security to be used for shooting the students.

Where I went to uni the security guy drives a golf cart and is armed with a walkie talkie, so I suggest it wasn't a ridiculous mistake to make.
posted by bystander at 1:42 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


even our primitive ancestors figured out that acting collectively got everybody farther than acting alone.

Currently I think the human race collectively are stupider than they are individually, like the opposite of a bee hive or an ant colony. We have the capability to act intelligently, but it is much easier to destroy than it is to create. Most of the limiting factors that would restrict our capacity for destruction have been overcome we (as a species) are taking advantage of our position.

Whether or not we can start acting intelligently as a species before we degrade the environment to a level where we are constrained so that is the only method of survival remains to be seen.

Campus police/security being supplied with military weaponry doesn't fill me with confidence that we are on the way to sorting this out. The list in the Chronicle in the linked article spans 1988 to present, so it isn't clear how much of this is historical purchasing.

MRAPs and grenade launchers though? 0_o
posted by asok at 2:49 AM on September 12, 2014


It depends. Can some of the student groups have some too? Might even up the odds.

Speaking of which.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 5:24 AM on September 12, 2014


Military surplus, eh? DARPA must have some stuff they're not using anymore. Welcome, Class of 2018! Here's your jet pack!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:34 AM on September 12, 2014


Five or six years ago the glorified hippy commune that is The Evergreen State College went through a whole big debate about this after one of the more enterprising campus police officers decided to get around to writing the active shooter response plan the college had been required by State law to have for a few years up to that point. In writing up his pretty detailed and sensible assessment of what could then be assembled as a response, he pretty fairly assessed how manifestly useless the campus police would be with their .22 pistols, criticized the local city cops as strongly as he could for being the plainly bigoted and incompetent shitheads that they were, and lamented how far away the more professional county sheriffs department was. Realizing that the college has always pretty actively selected for emotionally disturbed students as well as been a cultural magnet for the racism and conservative rage of the rural community surrounding it, he figured that this was inexcusable. So he then worked out a plan by which grant money would pay for assault rifles and body armor to be kept secured in the campus police cars, the county sheriffs department committed to train them for free after hours, and all the College would be on the hook for would be overtime pay for the after hours training, which was a couple thousand dollars that could be paid out of their entirely separate budget.

I ended up supporting the plan in the student government after the campus police chief committed to never using the weapons to raid a dorm, where if the need ever arose they would coordinate with the county sheriffs, because the only things worse than a response by campus police were all of the other options. My experience with campus police departments is that they pretty heavily select against the racist incompetent shitheads who staff small town departments and would never want to deal with college kids all day as well as the more competent but detached big city cops for the same reasons. They seem to instead select for more lefty cops who liked their college experiences and cops who did poorly on some qualification or another. Fundamentally different from the bigoted shitheads in Ferguson.

Really, whether assault rifles are appropriate tools for campus police to have is a question that will be incredibly idiosyncratic to the contexts of specific campuses; the professionalism of specific campus departments, the quality and distance of other local law enforcement, and the relative likelihood of an event. We don't need to climb up our own asses in search of FEMA Camps and Alex Jones' unique brand of narcissistic paranoia to see why campus police might in certain contexts need a semi-automatic long rifle available to be prepared to do their jobs. Looking through this list, aside from the occasional ridiculous vehicle that clearly no one is thinking about needing to repair, this all looks pretty sensible to me.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:45 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I ended up supporting the plan in the student government after the campus police chief committed to never using the weapons to raid a dorm...

How does something like that get guaranteed, especially past the tenure of the chief who made the promise?
posted by griphus at 6:54 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


We don't need to climb up our own asses in search of FEMA Camps and Alex Jones' unique brand of narcissistic paranoia to see why campus police might in certain contexts need a semi-automatic long rifle available to be prepared to do their jobs.

I feel like this involves a redefinition of what campus security's job is.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:35 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


School has mostly been about socialization, and education second. It used to socialize us for industrial work. Now kids are being socialized for the police state.

...says the (likely) graduate of public schools who is (likely) doing just fine. It's easy to shit on the education system; it's not so easy to roll up your sleeves and improve what we've got, and there are uncountable numbers of educators who are doing just that every day who would view your quasi-conspiracy theory with puzzlement if not contempt. To extend an apt analogy: it's easy to launch spitballs, but some of us are working over here.


It isn't much of a conspiracy theory. Well the police-state part could be, but it's looking less and less lizard-people-ish
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:42 AM on September 12, 2014


"How does something like that get guaranteed, especially past the tenure of the chief who made the promise?"
Realistically, it doesn't, particularly for example once you start thinking a decade ahead. However, what eased my mind was walking the police chief who, bless his genuinely sweet heart, never really understood the campus through why having campus police anywhere near such an event would be a really bad idea in ways that should be obvious to anyone familiar with the scent of patchouli - even aside from questions of capability. While in a lot of ways the primary reason why the Evergreen campus police slowly transformed from pensioners with walkie talkies and smiles into a small professional department was never to police students more but to ensure that students were policed by the local cops less, where there is a long history of them coming on to campus and colossally fucking up, this would not be an instance where that would make sense.

Evergreen goes through a truly epic amounts of weed, mushrooms, and acid by dollar value and especially by mass, which has always been ethically sourced and then distributed by a succession of enterprising students since the college was founded in the 60s - the oral history of which is incredibly interesting and for obvious reasons not for writing down. The very rational concern was that at some point in the future, and remember we're talking about rapidly rotating teenagers here, some set of dealers would get guns or attract the kind of attention that brings guns, and cause a kind of problem that can't be safely ignored. If at some point in the future there are paranoid armed students in a dorm who need rousting out at 4am, it did actually make too much professional sense for the campus to ask the county to do it. Legalization in Washington State has, I'm sure, changed the whole conversation into a much healthier one since I've left.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:03 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


"I feel like this involves a redefinition of what campus security's job is."
There are a lot of campuses that, for a variety of reasons, need more than just mall cops; whether its because they are basically themselves small towns, or they're geographically separated from other local law enforcement, or local law enforcement is just bad enough to convince a university to remove itself from their jurisdiction. What makes sense for a college in the middle of a city with a local precinct that can be taught how to deal with college specific problems will not make sense for a university with multiple zipcodes.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:42 AM on September 12, 2014


I'm both positively pleased and a tiny bit disappointed to see the entire state of NY missing from the table of acquisitions. Good for us - but, but, other states are getting free pork ...?
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:42 AM on September 12, 2014


Evergreen goes through a truly epic amounts of weed, mushrooms, and acid by dollar value and especially by mass, which has always been ethically sourced and then distributed by a succession of enterprising students since the college was founded in the 60s - the oral history of which is incredibly interesting and for obvious reasons not for writing down. The very rational concern was that at some point in the future, and remember we're talking about rapidly rotating teenagers here, some set of dealers would get guns or attract the kind of attention that brings guns, and cause a kind of problem that can't be safely ignored.

The idea that we need guns to defend against nonexistent Weed Gunmen is kind of deeply paranoid.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:46 AM on September 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


The very rational concern was that at some point in the future, and remember we're talking about rapidly rotating teenagers here, some set of dealers would get guns or attract the kind of attention that brings guns, and cause a kind of problem that can't be safely ignored.

Wait, was there any actual intel that this would be the case? If the system has been chugging along for 50+ years without incident, what made them pick now (or whenever it is you were still there) as the time to militarize the campus security against a threat that didn't yet exist?
posted by griphus at 8:48 AM on September 12, 2014


I'm both positively pleased and a tiny bit disappointed to see the entire state of NY missing

Scratch that, they just didn't return the paperwork in time. That's more like it!

... The Chronicle has requested but not yet received complete data from Alabama, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington D.C.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:54 AM on September 12, 2014


We're trapped in a fear spiral, trying to solve every imaginary threat that captures public attention by force and dominance while in practice making ourselves less safe and our communities less democratic and free. It's a negative feedback cycle we're locked in, and unless we disrupt it, it only leads to more fear and more danger.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:13 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


What makes sense for a college in the middle of a city with a local precinct that can be taught how to deal with college specific problems will not make sense for a university with multiple zipcodes.

Sure, but that still isn't translating into Needs Assault Rifles To Hold Siege to Rampaging Students.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:13 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Wait, was there any actual intel that this would be the case? If the system has been chugging along for 50+ years without incident, what made them pick now (or whenever it is you were still there) as the time to militarize the campus security against a threat that didn't yet exist?"
This was the student government's concern, that campus police would use the guns for a task that the county sheriffs would be clearly better suited for, which was then addressed by a commitment to letting the county sheriffs do that if it ever came up. The Campus Police only wanted the guns in order to deal with the kind of active shooter event that the State mandated they plan for, and then committed to only using them that way.
"The idea that we need guns to defend against nonexistent Weed Gunmen is kind of deeply paranoid."
Did you just scroll down to the bottom of the thread and start reading there?
posted by Blasdelb at 9:16 AM on September 12, 2014


The greatest tragedies ever to occur on college campuses in US History were not situations involving stand-offs with weed dealers, Blasdelb. They were incidents like Kent State in which lawful student protesters were slaughtered by heavily armed officials. There's no historical track record or social need to defend universities as if they were occupied territories in need of defending. If anything, political protest should be given the widest latitude possible on college campuses.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:20 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's not unreasonable. I'd be curious to see the actual mandate, but it would be weird if the state's requirement could be met by just having the campus police say, "In the event of an active shooter, we plan to call the county sheriffs."
posted by cribcage at 9:21 AM on September 12, 2014


Did you just scroll down to the bottom of the thread and start reading there?

No?
posted by Greg Nog at 9:30 AM on September 12, 2014


The greatest tragedies ever to occur on college campuses in US History were not situations involving stand-offs with weed dealers, Blasdelb. They were incidents like Kent State in which lawful student protesters were slaughtered by heavily armed officials

The National Guard killed four students at Kent State. That is dwarfed by the various crazy gunman shootings on campuses over the years, from that UT clock tower shooting almost 50 years ago to those of the past few years.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:30 AM on September 12, 2014


The Campus Police only wanted the guns in order to deal with the kind of active shooter event that the State mandated they plan for, and then committed to only using them that way.

Wait, what do the potentially-armed drug dealers have to do with the situation then? I'm not sure why the necessity to defend against a heavily-armed and organized drug ring (that exists only theoretically and even then rather tenuously) even figures into the equation as to whether campus security is to have high-powered armaments.

AFAIK, an "active shooter" is generally a school shooting situation where you have a small number of people (generally one) with a number of arms limited to what they can carry on their person unless they really went out of their way. Did the State mandate an upgrade from the .22s or did campus security decide that the .22s weren't good enough and upgraded to arms that the police would have to train them to use? Because, if Ferguson shows us anything, it's that local police who got arms from the 1033 program were not remotely trained to proficiency with them for, among other reasons, never having an actual reason to use them or the facilities to do training with arms that powerful.
posted by griphus at 9:31 AM on September 12, 2014


The National Guard killed four students at Kent State. That is dwarfed by the various crazy gunman shootings on campuses over the years, from that UT clock tower shooting almost 50 years ago to those of the past few years.

Those aren't incidents that call for riot police or large scale paramilitary operations, though, as they aren't mass uprisings. The kinds of gear and training we're talking about is basically training and gear for large scale situations like Kent State and other protests.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:34 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


That is dwarfed by the various crazy gunman shootings on campuses over the years, from that UT clock tower shooting almost 50 years ago to those of the past few years.

How do you imagine those incidents playing out differently had the campus police at those locations been heavily armed with the kind of weapons we send people abroad to fight wars with? Especially considering that campus police will never at any time receive even 1/10 of the training of the people who usually use those weapons?
posted by poffin boffin at 9:35 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Can I declare myself an educational institution to get in on some hot cheap M16 action?
posted by corb at 9:35 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I mean presumably the reality of it would be different than how I see it potentially playing out, only because I realize the chances of every single one of the campus police firing celebratory rounds into the air while whooping excitedly at the thought of getting to shoot at a live target are probably not as high as I'm imagining.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:38 AM on September 12, 2014


Can I declare myself an educational institution to get in on some hot cheap M16 action?

"I am.. University... of Education. Of Students. Who Are Learning Knowledge."
"Oh man, I'm a UESWLK Alumni! Go Knowledgers! Here, have a couple of rifles!"
posted by Greg Nog at 9:39 AM on September 12, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'd also like to point out that on the list you'll find that College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL received 14 M-16s. DuPage County is one of the 100 wealthiest counties in the US. This isn't, like, a remote outpost in the Black Hills where campus police are the only thing between order and Jonestown.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:39 AM on September 12, 2014


Those aren't incidents that call for riot police or large scale paramilitary operations, though, as they aren't mass uprisings. The kinds of gear and training we're talking about is basically training and gear for large scale situations like Kent State and other protests.

I agree. I was just pointing out that very few people get killed by the police or National Guard on US campuses, contrary to what was claimed in a comment.

it would be weird if the state's requirement could be met by just having the campus police say, "In the event of an active shooter, we plan to call the county sheriffs."

Best practices have changed -- the days of waiting for the SWAT crew to arrive and then storm the building are over. Current practice, as I understand it, is for the very first officers on a scene to go in with what they have on hand and count on later responders to bring up the rear. In the unlikely event that there is a mass shooting situation there, those campus officers will be the first through the door regardless of whether or not they have been given assault rifles or body armor or whatever.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:52 AM on September 12, 2014


Can I declare myself an educational institution to get in on some hot cheap M16 action?

I work at a SUNY and could totally use a free MRAP. Or even just the trousers because, hey, free trousers.

Dunno that I'd bother with an M-16. I've never had a gun but can't see any reason to fuck around with anything less than a Parrott gun, and those haven't been in surplus for a while now.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:54 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yale could use an international airport a howitzer, Mr. Burns.
posted by griphus at 10:06 AM on September 12, 2014


agree. I was just pointing out that very few people get killed by the police or National Guard on US campuses, contrary to what was claimed in a comment.

My mistake in that comment was in focusing so much on Kent State, specifically, when I really had the broader history of campus protests and police crackdowns more generally in mind. Kent State has just sort of become synonymous with crackdowns on student protesters in the US. In the bigger picture view, I doubt more people have died or been injured in university campuses around the world due to random mass violence than due to brutal state crackdowns on protesters, but I have no idea if there are any statistics I could use to confirm that hypothesis. (But since this is the internet, here's a listicle!) I concede the original point though. My earlier comment, as it reads literally, was inaccurate.

Thing is, universities traditionally play a special role in the democratic process as natural incubators of populist activism, so it's especially important we don't adopt policies and cultural attitudes that threaten the greater freedom and more lax security American universities have traditionally enjoyed in the US even if that means feeling less safe.

The only real price we pay for freedom is security. Security always comes with some cost in terms of practical freedoms, so the more we pursue it, the more we undermine the freedom and openness of our society. There's no such thing as absolute security in a free society.

The terrorists are winning by targeting gaps in our security apparatus and legal systems that were put there by design as necessary to maintain a free society. Al Qaeda exploited the freedom of mobility, autonomy, and privacy we all enjoy to orchestrate and pull off an attack that killed thousands. ISIS is exploiting the freedom of the press to try to lure us into more direct military entanglements by targeting journalists, knowing enough about human nature to realize that if you want people to spread a message for you, you've got to make the issue personal to them (hence targeting journalists), and knowing that in our system, the press is independent and can be manipulated independently of the state to bring political pressure on the state to act.

The devilish trick is that this puts us in a double-bind of choosing between feeling safer or preserving the institutional openness that makes the freedom we're supposedly protecting possible in the first place. The conventional wisdom in the US used to be that lack of perfect security in daily life was an acceptable cost for freedom, but we seem unwilling to make that trade-off anymore. I can understand and sympathize that no one wants to make choices that could result in their kids being less safe, but as a parent, I don't just want my kids to be kept alive, I also want them to have something to live for, and I'm not sure that's possible for the majority of people living in a police state.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:10 AM on September 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


My state's university system only gave permission for Campus Security to carry guns in 2007. Before that time, there was considerable controversy about whether they should even be allowed to carry handcuffs. And this is at a university system that was notorious for a mass murder.

When I went to college, those Campus Security "officers" were merely security guards, with no more legal authority than mall cops. If they wanted to arrest someone, they had to call real cops. If they tried to detain someone on their own, they did it as a citizen's arrest. Students all knew they had no legal authority, so you were entitled to tell them to get lost.

But now they have guns and every Barney Fife who wants to be taken seriously, but couldn't get a job in a real force, is now a Campus Cop. Even the real police and sheriffs don't take them as seriously as they take themselves.

Now get off my lawn.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:32 PM on September 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


And now public school districts are getting in on the fun.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:10 PM on September 15, 2014


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