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It's Not Just the Police -- The Feds are Also Militarizing Public Schools with Grenade Launchers, M16s and Tanks


September 22, 2014
Michael Krieger / Liberty Blitzkrieg & Ben Kesling, Miguel Bustillo and Tamara Audi / The Wall Street Journal

A federal program that has drawn criticism in recent weeks for supplying surplus military gear to local police has also provided high-powered rifles, armored vehicles and other equipment to police at public schools, some of whom were unprepared for what they were getting. In Texas, near the Mexican border, the sprawling Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District has 34,700 students and operates its own SWAT team, thanks in part to military gear it received in recent years from the Pentagon.

http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2014/09/17/its-not-just-the-police-the-feds-are-also-militarizing-public-schools-with-grenade-launchers-m16s-and-tanks/

It's Not Just the Police -- The Feds are Also Militarizing Public Schools with Grenade Launchers, M16s and Tanks
Michael Krieger / Liberty Blitzkrieg

(September 17, 2014) -- Events last month in Ferguson, Missouri … forced Americans to confront the frightening reality that many of of the nation's police departments have been quietly, but consistently, militarizing over the past couple of decades. It's one thing to intellectually understand that this has happened, it's quite another to see cops deploy tanks and point sniper rifles at peacefully protesting US citizens.

Just as disturbing as the scenes themselves, is the fact that this has been happening for so long under the 1033 transfer program with only muted criticism. The program was originated in the late 1990′s under the National Defense Authorization Act of 1997 (recall that the NDAA is also being used to allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial), and it allows for the transfer of excess Department of Defense equipment to domestic police. In other words, it has been public policy for almost two decades to militarize the police.

With the issue squarely still in the public consciousness, it would behoove us to understand that this program is not only arming police with weapons of war. In fact, public schools are also receiving such items, including grenade launchers, M16s and MRAPs.

The Wall Street Journalreports that:
A federal program that has drawn criticism in recent weeks for supplying surplus military gear to local police has also provided high-powered rifles, armored vehicles and other equipment to police at public schools, some of whom were unprepared for what they were getting.

In the wake of school shootings in Newtown, Conn., and elsewhere, some school security departments developed SWAT teams, added weapons and called on the federal government to help supply gear. But now, the program is facing renewed scrutiny from both outside observers and schools using it.

The Los Angeles Unified School District stocked up on grenade launchers, M16 rifles and even a multi-ton armored vehicle from the program. But the district is getting rid of the grenade launchers, which it never intended to use to launch grenades or use in a school setting, said Steven Zipperman, chief of the Los Angeles Schools Police Department. The launchers, received in 2001, might have helped other police in the county disperse crowds by shooting rubber munitions, he said.

In July, the district received a massive MRAP armored vehicle. Mr. Zipperman said his department thought it could be useful for evacuations and to save lives in a "sustained incident."
[See complete report below – EAW.]

Just in case you aren't aware, this is an MRAP:



Makes you wonder how schools survived in America for over two hundred years without tanks. More from the WSJ:
In Texas, near the Mexican border, the sprawling Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District has 34,700 students and operates its own SWAT team, thanks in part to military gear it received in recent years from the federal program.

The gear included two Humvees and a cargo truck, as well as power generators, said district Police Chief Ricardo Perez. The district applied for weapons, too, but wasn't given any, so instead purchased its own M4 and AR-15 assault-style rifles, he said.

The weapons are given to schools through the 1033 Program, created by Congress in the early 1990s to allow law-enforcement agencies to obtain excess Defense Department supplies, paying only for shipping. The program has transferred $5.1 billion in items, including $4.5 million worth in 2013.

Among recipients are more than a dozen school police departments, according to a spreadsheet from the Defense Logistics Agency, which runs the program. But for security reasons the list excludes districts that received only "tactical" gear such as weapons, as opposed to other types of supplies. That means the list likely understates the number of districts that participated.

California is one of few states that provides a list of participating school districts and what they received. Its state website shows that two school police departments received armored vehicles, others added M-16s and grenade launchers to their armories, while one district took in televisions, projectors and a podium but no weapons.


What I find most interesting about all of this, is where have all the "gun control" politicians and hysterics been on the dangers of the 1033 for all these years?

Indeed, while politicians in D.C. appear determined to invade half the countries on earth, while simultaneously arming the other half, from terrorist groups in the Middle East to police departments and school districts domestically, it appears the only group being singled out for disarmament is the citizenry itself.

Makes you wonder doesn't it…






Federal Program Supplies Surplus
Military Gear to Schools

Ben Kesling, Miguel Bustillo and Tamara Audi / The Wall Street Journal

(September 17, 2014) -- A federal program that has drawn criticism in recent weeks for supplying surplus military gear to local police has also provided high-powered rifles, armored vehicles and other equipment to police at public schools, some of whom were unprepared for what they were getting.

In the wake of school shootings in Newtown, Conn., and elsewhere, some school security departments developed SWAT teams, added weapons and called on the federal government to help supply gear. But now, the program is facing renewed scrutiny from both outside observers and schools using it.

The Los Angeles Unified School District stocked up on grenade launchers, M16 rifles and even a multi-ton armored vehicle from the program. But the district is getting rid of the grenade launchers, which it never intended to use to launch grenades or use in a school setting, said Steven Zipperman, chief of the Los Angeles Schools Police Department. The launchers, received in 2001, might have helped other police in the county disperse crowds by shooting rubber munitions, he said.

But the district never used them, and the technology is outdated, said Mr. Zipperman.

In July, the district received a massive MRAP armored vehicle. Mr. Zipperman said his department thought it could be useful for evacuations and to save lives in a "sustained incident."

But the district is considering dumping the MRAP as well, in part because of its unwieldiness, but also after media and community members began asking questions about why the district had such a vehicle.

"We have to balance the need for a vehicle that can save lives and what's best for our department, with what perception is and what community expectations are," Mr. Zipperman said.

In Texas, near the Mexican border, the sprawling Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District has 34,700 students and operates its own SWAT team, thanks in part to military gear it received in recent years from the federal program.

The gear included two Humvees and a cargo truck, as well as power generators, said district Police Chief Ricardo Perez. The district applied for weapons, too, but wasn't given any, so instead purchased its own M4 and AR-15 assault-style rifles, he said.

The Humvees, he said, are helpful because they can travel off road and quickly reach remote elementary schools surrounded by ranch land, but the chief said they haven't been used to stop a crime or threat to schools. The 12-member SWAT team, in fact, hasn't dealt with a school shooting or any other major incident, he said.

"We just want to be prepared for the kind of things that have happened elsewhere in the country, Sandy Hook and earlier before that, Columbine," said Mr. Perez, a 30-year law-enforcement veteran and former SWAT officer, referring to two of the most notable US school shootings. "These officers are trained in tactics. Some are former military."

The weapons are given to schools through the 1033 Program, created by Congress in the early 1990s to allow law-enforcement agencies to obtain excess Defense Department supplies, paying only for shipping. The program has transferred $5.1 billion in items, including $4.5 million worth in 2013.

Among recipients are more than a dozen school police departments, according to a spreadsheet from the Defense Logistics Agency, which runs the program. But for security reasons the list excludes districts that received only "tactical" gear such as weapons, as opposed to other types of supplies. That means the list likely understates the number of districts that participated.

California is one of few states that provides a list of participating school districts and what they received. Its state website shows that two school police departments received armored vehicles, others added M-16s and grenade launchers to their armories, while one district took in televisions, projectors and a podium but no weapons.

Images of police toting military-style rifles and using armored vehicles on the streets of Ferguson, Mo., captured the nation's attention in August in the days after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager.

Officers wearing combat fatigues confronted peaceful protesters -- and clashed with violent looters and rioters -- prompting questions about the appropriateness of the police response. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing last week to debate the wisdom of the 1033 Program.

"We saw at our hearing a real gap in training for police departments receiving equipment through the Pentagon's 1033 program, which is even more troubling when we're talking about the potential for misuse of these military-grade weapons and MRAPs in a school setting," said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) in a statement.

Now, some say the Defense Department should stop supplying schools with weapons. The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Texas Appleseed, two civil-rights advocates, wrote an open letter signed by nearly two dozen other groups calling on an end to the program.

"Adding the presence of military-grade weapons to school climates that have become increasingly hostile due to their overreliance on police to handle routine student discipline can only exacerbate existing tensions," the letter said. "We write to urge you to end the Department of Defense 1033 Program's transfer of military weapons to local school districts."

A spokeswoman for the Defense Logistics Agency said in a statement that 95% of the equipment provided to law-enforcement agencies through the program isn't weapons, and less than 1% is tactical vehicles. She said "each state is visited biannually for a program compliance review to further look at records, property and usage."

At the Granite School District in Salt Lake County, Utah, spokesman Ben Horsley said the security department carefully thought out its request for a handful of M16 rifles. "It would be irresponsible to send our officers into an active shooter situation with just a handgun," he said. Each officer has a rifle, which is kept locked up, Mr. Horsley said.

He said he understood concerns people have about the military-style weapons, but added they were needed and that the department has a fully-developed training regimen for them. "When concerns have been expressed, we simply outline that civilian-type weapons like these are being purchased every day," he said. "Adam Lanza had one of these when he stormed Sandy Hook," he said.

But Mr. Horsley noted that the three M-16s the school police were provided are from the 1960s and unable to mount high-tech rifle accessories such as scopes. He said the department probably will buy new rifles on its own eventually, bypassing the Defense Department program.

Write to Ben Kesling at benjamin.kesling@wsj.com, Miguel Bustillo at miguel.bustillo@wsj.com and Tamara Audi at Tammy.Audi@wsj.com

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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