The October edition of Harper’s Index is out.
Now here is a fascinating bit of information:
• Cost of a U.S. command center completed last November in Afghanistan’s Helmand province: $34,000,000
• Number of days it has been used: 0
And about the military equipment giveaways to local law enforcement I complained about to Rep. Tiodd Young’s office (IN-09) about a week ago, regarding which one of his representatives called and which we discussed for ten minutes? Well, check this article out. Read it and weep for the insanity and lack of rational thought governing our nation at the moment. And for the sheer waste of money and resources, not to speak of how it is militarizing our domestic police forces and contributing to the creation of a police state mentality.
MORVEN, Ga. (AP) — Small-town police departments across the country have been gobbling up tons of equipment discarded by a downsizing military — bicycles, bed sheets, bowling pins, French horns, dog collars, even a colonoscopy machine — regardless of whether the items are needed or will ever be used.
In the tiny farming community of Morven, Ga., the police chief has grabbed three boats, scuba gear, rescue rafts and a couple of dozen life preservers. The town’s deepest body of water: an ankle-deep creek.
An Associated Press investigation of the Defense Department program, originally aimed at helping local law enforcement fight terrorism and drug trafficking, found that a disproportionate share of the $4.2 billion worth of property distributed since 1990 has been obtained by police departments and sheriff’s offices in rural areas with few officers and little crime.
The national giveaway program operates with scant oversight, and the surplus military gear often sits in storage, the AP found.
Morven isn’t the only example of a giveaway program gone wild: Before his firing earlier this year for an unrelated matter, the police chief in Rising Star, Texas — the only full-time officer in the town of 835 residents — acquired more than $3.2 million worth of property within 14 months. According to an inventory obtained by the AP, the hundreds of items included nine televisions, 11 computers, three deep-fat fryers, two meat slicers, 22 large space heaters valued at $55,000 when new, a pool table, 25 sleeping bags and playground equipment.
Federal officials suspended Rising Star from the program in March after investigators discovered that many items — including 12 pairs of binoculars — were missing from police department facilities.
And as I tried to explain to Representative Young’s rep, if you put millions of dollars of gear, and high power munitions in the hands of police departments, and everyone has a SWAT team, guess what?? They want to use it. After all, those dirty f*cking hippies were growing okra. Texas Police Hit Organic Farm With Massive SWAT Raid . And the baby deer fawn in Wisconsin was clearly a terrorist germ threat, and so they had to send in a SWAT team with guns drawn to take it away from the animal rescue terrorists, throw it in a bag, and shoot it in the head. Wisconsin DNR removes Facebook page amid national outcry over SWAT-style takedown of fawn
And then there were 544 taser-related deaths in the US since 2001. After all, granny may be bedridden and immobile, but if she talks back, taser her to death.
According to Amnesty International, between 2001 and 2008, 351 people in the United States died after being shocked by police Tasers. Our blog has documented another 193 taser-related deaths in the United States in 2009-2013. That means there have been 544 documented taser-related deaths in America.
This blog has been pointing out incidents of police taser torture for quite awhile. The work done over the past few years by Patti Gillman and Cameron Ward continue to be the inspiration for our work. Gillman and Ward documented over 805 taser-related deaths in North America on their blog.
Here is the report on the tasered granny. I did not make it up. It makes for a really disturbing read.
Police Tasered an 86-year-old disabled grandma in her bed and stepped on her oxygen hose until she couldn’t breathe, after her grandson called 911 seeking medical assistance, the woman and her grandson claim in Oklahoma City Federal Court. Though the grandson said, “Don’t Taze my granny!” an El Reno police officer told another cop to “Taser her!” and wrote in his police report that he did so because the old woman “took a more aggressive posture in her bed,” according to the complaint.
Lonnie Tinsley claims that he called 911 after he went to check on his grandmother, whom he found in her bed, “connected to a portable oxygen concentrator with a long hose.” She is “in marginal health, [and] takes several prescribed medications daily,” and “was unable to tell him exactly when she had taken her meds,” so, Tinsley says, he called 911 “to ask for an emergency medical technician to come to her apartment to evaluate her.”
In response, “as many as ten El Reno police” officers “pushed their way through the door,” according to the complaint.
The grandma, Lona Varner, “told them to get out of her apartment.”
The remarkable complaint continues: “Instead, the apparent leader of the police [defendant Thomas Duran] instructed another policeman to ‘Taser her!’ He stated in his report that the 86 year-old plaintiff ‘took a more aggressive posture in her bed,’ and that he was fearful for his safety and the safety of others.
“Lonnie Tinsley told them, ‘Don’t taze my Granny!’ to which they responded that they would Taser him; instead, they pulled him out of her apartment, took him down to the floor, handcuffed him and placed him in the back of a police car.
“The police then proceeded to approach Ms. Varner in her bed and stepped on her oxygen hose until she began to suffer oxygen deprivation.
“The police then fired a Taser at her and only one wire struck her, in the left arm; the police then fired a second Taser, striking her to the right and left of the midline of her upper chest and applied high voltage, causing burns to her chest, extreme pain and to pass out.
There was a time that I only feared criminals entering my house, and figured the police were there to protect me and my family.
Not so much anymore.