In another example of wasting finite taxpayers funds, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gave the University of California-Berkeley $200,000 to buy an “armored response counterattack truck” for its campus police.
According to Campus Reform, the armored truck “is used by U.S. troops on the battlefield and is often equipped with a rotating roof hatch, powered turrets, gun ports, a battering ram and a weapon system used to remotely engage a target with lethal force.” The reason given by the UC-Berkeley campus police for needing the armored truck: their erroneous belief in 2011 that an Occupy Wall Street protestor had an AK-47 on campus.
As they say, if they (don’t) bring an AK-47 to the fight, we’ll bring an armored truck.
In all seriousness, if we are at a point in the allocation of federal homeland security funds where we are buying heavily armed trucks for campus police at one of the most elite universities in the world, perhaps it is time to end the homeland security grant programs.
From 2003 through this year, the funds allocated to states and localities has surpassed $40 billion. At a minimum, we need to stop sending funds to campus police at leafy, secluded college campuses where a small proportion of trust fund students want to try to recreate the1960s protest movement.
If we must continue to fund state and local homeland security programs with federal tax dollars, can’t we at least send it to the places in the United States where the risk of a terrorist attack is high, such as New York City and Los Angeles? This grant only highlights the need to reform the DHS grant programs as we’ve recommended here, here, and here.
When Ronald Reagan was governor of California, he famously defeated protestors at UC-Berkley by simply making them laugh. Too bad this $200,000 grant by DHS is no joke.