On Veterans Day, Columbia, South Carolina became the latest of about 500 communities nationwide to add a military grade armored vehicle to its police force.  The para-military vehicle with a “U.N. blue” custom paint job seats nine people, has an armable turret, and costs $658,000.  The vehicle made its way to the department for free through the Department of Defense’s 1033 excess property program.  The tank is bullet proof, features a land mine resistant frame, and a mount rack suited for a 50 caliber machine gun.


The police department says the MRAP – short for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle – will help protect SWAT team officers and the general public during dangerous confrontations.  It’s bulletproof, armored, and, as the name suggests, can even resist landmine explosions.  A local body shop painted the vehicle for free.

The question, of course, is why a civilian police force needs or should have a military grade armored and armable vehicle, essentially a tank.  Such a “tool” makes the government much, much more physically powerful than American citizens, increasing the risk of abuse, and the damage to civilians when that abuse occurs.

This occurs at a time when people are growing more and more skeptical of police actions, and when more and more attention is being brought to abuses.  These abuses have included shooting people unnecessarily, and even killing unaggressive dogs in houses they had no right to be in.  Crime rates in America have been steadily dropping for many years now, and the chance of a situation arising in which the vehicle is actually necessary are slim.

Though the vehicle was “free” to the citizens of Columbia, they were purchased by taxpayer money.  500 surplus military vehicles costing $658,000 each adds up to $329 million dollars of surplus DoD spending (and therefore taxing) on vehicles which are so unnecessary to the military they are being given away to American cities.  Though this wouldn’t fix the debt, it is yet another multi-million dollar piece of wasteful spending by the American federal government.

The most troubling aspect of the situation, though, is the reason for obtaining such a vehicle.  Another town which recently obtained federal funding for a military armored vehicle – though this one was through the Department of Homeland Security – was Concord, New Hampshire.  When the ACLU and New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union submitted a public records request, they discovered that groups like the Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire had been cited as domestic terror threats, and their presence was listed as a reason the police department needed an armored vehicle.

Columbia’s obtaining a MRAP is part of a wave of increasing police militarization.  This wave occurs at a time in which violent crime rates have been steadily dropping for years, but when political tension, dissatisfaction with the government, and attention to political and police abuse are at a high point.  This raises questions about the motivation for arming American police with the tools used by the military to fight Al Qaida.


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Joshua Cook

Joshua Cook is a writer and reporter for Truth In Media. He has interviewed many politicians including Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Walter Jones, Bob Graham, Trey Gowdy and thought leaders who shape U.S. policy. He is a host of 'Beer and Politcs' on Truth In Media. If you have any tips please email him at joshua@truthinmedia.com. Find him on Twitter @RealJoshuaCook

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  • g.johnon

    we the people are seriously FUBAR for allowing this.

    • Keg

      Key word, we are allowing it. So, when the purges start, look into the mirror. And generations before me, I am only 23; have been allowing this to go on for a while. But we needed to! Because Terrorist!!

      • g.johnon

        I have raised children who are now old enough to be your parents. I am keenly aware of, and disgusted by what we are doing to your generation and those to come.
        what you need to understand and understand well, is that terrorism is not the reason we are losing American. terrorism is just the excuse.
        and, by the way, I am very happy to see you here participating instead of camping out in front of best buy to be among the first to get your hands on the “next big thing”.

        • Keg

          I meant the “Because Terrorist” as a tongue-in-cheek statement.

          “Taking these figures into account, a rough calculation suggests that in the last five years, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are about one in 20 million. This compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.”

          • g.johnon

            thank you, the tongue in cheek thing is what I was wondering about.
            still way too many Americans buying into how we have to destroy ourselves before the terrorists do. glad to see you are not one of them.
            you may add that you are 26 times more likely to be shot buy a cop than by a terrorist. (unless the cop fits your definition of terrorist of course).

  • Neil

    Great article, But defiantly not UN blue.

    • Christopher Joseph Highe

      And most certainly NOT a Tank.

  • Peter H Hoffman

    I’m just glad I don’t live in Columbia anymore. Apparently the crime has gotten so bad that the police need armored vehicles to go into some neighborhoods. I’d stay away from Columbia at all costs as it’s clearly too dangerous for regular people.

    The politicians who run Columbia should be ashamed of themselves for letting it get to be as bad as Mogadishu. It used to be a nice town, back in the 1970s but I heard the gangs took over in the 1990s and that places like Five Points are off-limits now to Joe Average.

    • Mark

      The gang problem actually didn’t start taking shape downtown until the past five or so years. Five Points was perfectly fine back in 2003-2004. When I moved back four years ago, I noticed it going to crap. Of course it isn’t like Stephen K. Benjamin is helping in anyway. And the morons just put him back in office. On the bright side, I don’t live near downtown, and my area is nice, so I’ll let them (all the “wise” people of downtown) enjoy what they are creating there.

      • Keg

        The blacks of Columbia should be rioting in the Streets over how terrible a Mayor Benjamin is. He more or less even killed a woman on his election night a few years ago. Man is a terrible excuse for a leader. I think he was schooled by Rahm.

  • Lily Anderson
    • Asper

      Lets you come to only one conclusion: They have a plan to completely subdue the population to their tyranny.

      • g.johnon

        well duh!

  • Ward Damon Hubbard

    As the feds militarize local law enforcement and as they promote marital law
    with the U.N. mind set, is the evidence of the tyrannical forces at work within the elected leadership, just as Diane Feinstein and her husband’s USPS real estate corruption scandal in my home state of California, these forces need to be exposed for what they are, and taken out just like the cancer that kills the human body, they too are these actions are killing the liberty and freedom of our great nation, and if it is not, just like cancer it will kill the patience..

  • Mr_Oblivious

    What is the maintenance cost of an MRAP? It’s going to hurt!

  • PatrickHenry1789

    Not to worry folks, it’s an International. If it’s got that maxxforce engine in it, it’ll be in the shop more than it is on the road.

    • blert

      Yeah, could be a Cummins too though.

  • Tom

    You are drawing a connection between this and the U.N. with the paint job. How do you determine that it is “U.N. blue”?

    • Tom

      In fact, google “UN BLUE”

    • Christopher Joseph Highe

      Looks TARDIS blue to me.

  • Christopher Joseph Highe

    That is not a Tank. Not even close. That’s a gun truck. The M1 Abrams is a Tank. The M60 Patton is a Tank. The M4 Sherman is a tank. The MRAP is an oversized Humvee.

    • Nicholas Nhung

      Actually Humvee on steroids.

    • Mainstream

      Sure, but unless your packing anti-tank rockets your AR-15 is not denting this baby.

      • Christopher Joseph Highe

        You don’t need AT rockets to disable an MRAP. Don’t need anything close. But that doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t a tank, and by labeling it one they’re promoting fear mongering.

        • lol_guy


        • Keg

          All you have to do is poor fuel down the ventilation system, then light match.

    • Keg

      Actually, APC. A tank is a tracked vehicle.

      • Christopher Joseph Highe

        An APC’s primary job is personnel transportation and deployment, the MRAP’s is not. APCs are vehicles like the M113 and M2 Bradley.

        • Keg

          After re-reading the differences, the MRAP is an IMV.

          The American uparmoured Humvee, classified as M1114, is the epitome of the IMV concept. The M1114 is identical to the Humvee, in both design and function, apart from the addition of several tons of armour. The M1114 was later replaced in the role by the purpose built vehicles of the MRAP program, a series of vehicles inspired by the Casspir.

          Sorry, I just like to use the correct terms. But, you’re right it is not an APC.

          • g.johnon

            just looks like a big can of assholes to me.

          • Christopher Joseph Highe

            Well the term humvee is the cover-all term (and slang for HMMWV) because there’s at least a dozen variants including armored (M1151 being most recent) and unarmored (M998). Also a lot easier for the civilian populace to understand than to go into greater detail with nomenclatures which would simply begin confusing most.

  • BambiB

    So… is it fireproof?

    Just askin’…

    • Keg

      From what I have read, these MRAPs have ventilation systems. Fuel and a match, molotovs?

      • James

        While I’m sympathetic to that response, something that JUST targets the government overreach and doesn’t spill over on innocents or even our “heroes in blue” (tongue firmly in cheek on that one) might be more productive long-term. So, instead of a molotov, how about a Coke can filled with thermite, set on top of the front hood? Let it burn down through the engine block and the tank is just a hunk of metal. Or even better, find a way to get something really caustic or gunkifying into the fuel tank…completely non-violent, but removes the tank from use.

  • akatom3565


    • Keg

      Because, Terrorists!!!

      • akatom3565

        I am sorry but that is over kill for outfitting the Police and I am a former officer.

  • Rob Edwards

    Al Qaida doesn’t hold a candle to what the American redneck is capable of with modern technology. If I was the government I would be worried too.

    • g.johnon

      yep, and when the American redneck joins up with the American nerd, whoooeeee….one big can of whipass.

      • Tim

        Isn’t that really just what the Pentagon has been using as a team all these years?

        • g.johnon

          yeah, true enough that the gummint managed to get ahold of some of em, but the best ones are still in free range status.

  • dan

    not big enough for self,family and others…in a SHTF situation…..and all things ‘UN blue’ will be destroyed by ….down home folk…just saying

  • picnicfun

    Local people need to talk to their local officials. Not much else to say.

    • Keg

      Why? They do not listen either.

      • g.johnon

        ah, but it is so much easier to make them listen.

  • Vrahnos

    Wepons to fight al-queda eh?Well well now ain’t that sweet.The U.S. can’t kill them so they have given up and trying to be friends with em.Now they want to give the stuff to the cops to get druggies and other dangerious folks too eh?Nice of them.

  • LesJC

    50 cal gun mount? Now, THAT’S scary!

  • John F Kennedy

    This is military on American soil! This is an act of war by our government! Now Americans are the enemy! Anyone who does not agree with capitalism of America is a terrorist! AGENDA 21! TIME TO WAKE UP! Or will you not wake up till this tank is firing at your home????????

    • grassy knoll

      no- they wont.

    • Keg

      First, this is not military on American soil . This is just the militerazation of the US police forces. Did you see the police of Mass. shut down Boston, all to find TWO people, one who was a teen.

      • g.johnon

        not military on American soil but the militarization of the us police force.
        and the practical difference is?

        • Keg

          One is technically illegal, the other is not.

          Liberals are very good and finding their way around the law.

          • g.johnon

            they are both technically illegal.
            neocons are good at avoiding the law as well.

        • Anglozulu

          The practical difference that I see is -0-, with the message being sent to the people is loud and clear, ”Who will be crossing he line, not if, but when the time comes.” There will be a time when the most critical question ever a LEO will have to ask himself a very serious question; ”Do I cross the line or folow orders?”

          • g.johnon

            nice and tidy, thank you anglo.

  • juan hunoz

    Uh, they can’t get enough money to protect the border with Mexico and they spend $329 million on military vehicles that they conveniently do not need so that they can be used against the U.S. citizens.

  • lol_guy

    HME, this vehicles blast rating and capabilities. that is all lol. If it comes down to it we will just do to them what we have done to us down range. to easy lol.

  • dde

    I agree that the militarization of US state and local police is a problem, but it’s misleading to cite the cost per vehicle and then label this wasteful spending. These vehicles were used in conflicts overseas for very good reason and to good effect; that they are being used domestically is, if anything, an attempt wring every ounce of utility out of them. They’ve already been paid for, they were not built and bought solely to be handed over to US police. If they weren’t they would be scrapped, sold to a foreign military, or put in storage until the end of time.

    • g.johnon

      scrap em would be my vote.

      • Robert

        … along with the Useful Idiots who think this is a good thing.

        • g.johnon


  • Freethinker

    The tools used by the police force aren’t an issue, it’s how they use them.

    • Anglozulu

      Perhaps what happened in Boston while doing a neighborhood search was the key to open the door on the willful use of such equipment; even if they are looking for only one individual.

  • Ory Browne

    : (

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    I guess next, the federal government will have some surplus water boarding tables because they bought in bulk when they were on sale, and American cities will gladly accept them because they’re “free”? One way or another, my tax dollars paid for this grossly inappropriate hardware. It’s amazing how quickly an organization can be led astray by gifts of free stuff.

    • Anglozulu

      So called free gifts from Uncle, the father of Insurgency in the United States always has a pay back requirement, not unlike, ” I do you a favor, now it is your time to do me a favor”.

  • Steve

    this not by any means “essentially a tank”

    • James

      It looks like a military vehicle, and will protect entirely from small-arms fire. Therefore, it’s a tank. Calling it anything else is specious. It’s sole purpose is intimidation of American citizens. It’s actually LESS useful for any legitimate purpose of the police than a regular truck or van, plus you KNOW it’s going to cost five times what a truck or van does to maintain.

  • Tod

    What’s with the “U.N. blue”? That is way darker than the blue the U.N. uses. The prospect of the vehicle is scary enough without THAT fearmongering tossed in.

    • peck2

      I too, know that is a far cry from UN blue. However, blue is blue, can’t miss it. And I won’t.

  • Chris Oney

    “Though the vehicle was “free” to the citizens of Columbia, they were purchased by taxpayer money. 500 surplus military vehicles costing $658,000 each adds up to $329 million dollars of surplus DoD spending (and therefore taxing) on vehicles which are so unnecessary to the military they are being given away to American cities. Though this wouldn’t fix the debt, it is yet another multi-million dollar piece of wasteful spending by the American federal government.”

    These vehicle were designed and fielded because the media and the public were screaming for protection of our troops, during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, from IEDs. Before this if it was not a tank, it was a soft skinned vehicle that was easily destroyed and the crew injured or killed.

    Now that we have withdrawn from Iraq, and operations in Afghanistan are drawing down there is an excess of these vehicles. The DOD is maintaining a certain number of them for possible future operations. These vehicles were designed with a specific purpose, they are not tanks. In a conventional force on force scenerio, they have certain pluses, but in no way replace a tank. The DOD do not want to store all of them because even in storage they require annual service and maintenance. Maintenance on these vehicles (parts/manhours) is very expensive. And they might sit for years before ever being called into service again.

    The Media is going nuts because a few Police and swat teams are getting a few from the excess. But, did you know, we are also selling them to our allies that have a need for them. Therefore, we are recouping part of the initial cost of the vehicle. And, we have to send teams to teach the drivers and crew, and teach their mechanics how to work on and trouble troubleshoot them; all of which is paid for by the country buying them. And where are they going to get parts? From The US government! That keeps the factory workers in the plants that produce these and the repair parts in a job. Otherwise, they would sit in a “Bone Yard” and rust away, and the taxpayer would still pay for it.

    Now as to why to police have them: I see multiple views.

    If I were on a SWAT team and got called out to an active shooter/shooters in and open space, I would much rather get to or close to my objective in this than a police cruiser, or a 1980’s model unarmored Ford pannel van.

    Within a minute, the rear seats can be folded, a few poles installed and be able to transport 1-2 litters (This is standard on the model shown). This is good if you have to evacuate people during a gunfight.

    And, the police are just like anyone else, they like to have the latest and greatest gadgets and technology. Even though it might not get used much, if at all, it is great PR. They can put it parades, let the local elementary school it see when they do their field trips.

    • Cat Hughes

      Then put them on the border.

    • dde

      Well said.

    • ceanf

      but in reality, it will be used to serve routine drug warrants. and you know it.

  • Prepper Ideas

    Fear monger b.s.

  • Tim

    The weapons they practiced on the Iraqi’s with being rolled into America. Well isn’t that special….

  • BubbaGump

    I’ll bet it isn’t “flame retardant”. I wonder at what temperature police officers cook (or at least what temperature their rounds cook off)…

  • jollyroger

    Two weeks ago one hundred of these vehicles were delivered to Camp Grayling in Grayling, Michigan. The armored vehicles were covertly delivered under cover of night so they wouldn’t be noticed.They are at this time parked outside the camp in a large gravel pit. This has been absolutely confirmed.
    America, get ready. Obomber is going to drop the hammer on us and we will need to be prepared for what is coming. There will be no time for cowards and apologists.

  • Junglist For-life

    north augusta south carolina got a tan one used in the desert a few months ago. what i read said it was 1 of 8 that being passed out to south carolina.

    • Cicero

      Right, and since there are no incidences of mines or IEDs there, their justification for having such a vehicle is that it would come in handy during floods…Even if it would be legitimately used to stop crime, the crime problem in North Augusta is nothing compared to the crime across the river in Augusta, Georgia, and yet Augusta doesn’t have one.

  • peck2

    My scoped Model 70 in .270 cal. or my scoped HK91 in .308 cal. will take out that .50 cal operator and he will never know it. These guys have no clue how many of us “domestic terrorists” exist and how pissed off we are….at them.

  • conspiracygirl

    I think there needs to be better attention paid to correct nomenclature. MRAPs are not tanks. While both are armored, tanks are tracked vehicles with large guns.

  • LocalHero

    Painting it just makes it a highly-visible target. Well done.


    Moncks Corner, SC is governed by the Berkeley Shrine Club Den Of Thieves and all of the Satan worshipping masons/eastern star witches and warlocks in the lowcountry who have sold their souls to the G lodge coven, conspire against us “profane” non members, for their personal financial benefit. The attached photo is 1 of 20 pics of shotgun damage to my home which was delivered as a warning to me by a former Berkeley County, SC Sheriff deputy, enforced / condoned / and said stalking approved by the local corrupt sheriff who personally showed up at my self defense bond hearing in order to support his masonic scum brothers financial gain scheme to seize thhe property I paid his disabled and dying mother for…but never got.. There IS a special place in Hell for this scum.

    Ive been here, done that.. been punished for standing up to these liars, cheats, and theiving oppportunists WHO VOW IN THEIR SECRET SATAN SOCIETY MEETINGS TO CONCEAL THE CRIMES OF THEIR brethren. Do the research on masons for yourself and then understand why our once great country is now a whorehouse.