'We're Going to Have Our Own Tank'

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Radley Balko highlights my old stomping ground, (sorta) Keene, New Hampshire, the sight of only two murders since 1999, and finds the cops adopting the Lenco Bearcat (pictured above.) I love the logic from the arms merchants:


Jim Massery, the government sales manager for Pittsfield, Mass.-based Lenco, dismissed critics who wonder why a town with almost no crime would need a $300,000 armored truck. "I don't think there's any place in the country where you can say, 'That isn't a likely terrorist target,'" Massery said. "How would you know? We don' t know what the terrorists are thinking. No one predicted that terrorists would take over airplanes on Sept. 11. If a group of terrorists decide to shoot up a shopping mall in a town like Keene, wouldn't you rather be prepared?" 

Massery said Keene's anti-Bearcat citizens deliberately mischaracterize how the vehicle would be used, and pointed to incidents he said have saved police officers' lives. "When you see some Palestinian terrorist causing problems in Jerusalem, what do you usually see next? You see a tank with a cannon show up outside the guy's house, and the tank blows the house to smithereens. When a Lenco Bearcat shows up at a crime scene where a suicidal killer is holding hostages, it doesn't show up with a cannon. It shows up with a negotiator. Our trucks save lives. They save police lives. And I can't help but think that the people who are trying to stop this just don't think police officers' lives are worth saving."

Basically. If you don't buy turn your police force into an army, the terrorists win.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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