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Unwrapping the MRAP Problem

Unwrapping the MRAP Problem

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We all have witnessed the militarization of our local police forces over the years and most of you have probably felt a growing sense of doom. What used to be a man in a uniform you could depend on to at least care and try to “protect and to serve”, has turned into a quasi military goon who shoots first and then asks questions. This trend stinks and you have to add this on top of the giant steaming pile that already lingered from countless other movements the government has made in the face of the American people. There have been numerous posts, articles and hand wringing associated with your friendly neighborhood SWAT teams and how they are increasingly used to perform basic law enforcement tasks. I am not going to preach about how I agree that this slide into a militarized mindset of these departments and agencies is dangerous; well, at least not in this post. What I did want to talk about briefly is the latest escalation it seems in the war between law enforcement and the regular citizens. The most recent upping of the ante comes to us in the form of surplus military trucks called MRAP’s that the government is literally giving away to anyone who seems to want one. Everyone, that is except you and me.

The Pentagon is giving away 13,000 of these Mine-resistant, ambush-protected trucks because they have outlived their purpose according to someone, so they have “notified our friends and allies that we have MRAPs available and if they want them they can have them,” said Alan Estevez, deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics. Isn’t that special.

The MRAP vehicles aren’t old at all and most it seems were built as recently as 2004. The government is cutting costs they say and rather than keep these vehicles that protected our troops, or scrap them, they have decided that local law enforcement, Universities and even our allies should get these to take care of their own people. I can’t even fathom how these vehicles are so urgently useless as to warrant giving them away. When I was in the military we had equipment that was easily 40 years old and we still used it daily. I know I drove a jeep that was used in WWII. You can drive past any national guard armory today and see ancient, or at least three times as old as the MRAP trucks parked in nice rows, ready for action. Aren’t HUMVEE’s still in service? I guess our troops as well as the National Guard are too good to take these MRAPs so we need to give them away. Something smells fishy.

Seeing these heavily armored vehicles have been rolling into small towns everywhere, this has understandably created a huge buzz with people who worry that these vehicles will be used to wage war on the American people. I can see that angle. What I don’t share exactly is the panic that I think some are experiencing. While I agree that overall this is one more troubling development, I don’t see these on the surface as that much of a threat; at least not so much to tremble if the local constable wants to get one of these.

What is the MRAP designed to do?

The MRAP by the very definition of its name is Mine Resistant and Ambush Protected. It is really a beefed up troop carrier. This vehicle is certainly tough and I am glad our troops had it in places like Afghanistan and Iraq and wherever they are going next. For our local police, Sheriffs and Universities, they will undoubtedly roll around in these heavily protected vehicles as often as they can, showing up at the State Fair, schools for show and tell, parades and busting down the doors of some poor old lady who didn’t pay a $5 fee for an overdue library book. They are daunting, but the MRAP isn’t perfect. They have several weaknesses that maybe the people who believe the government is coming for us should consider before we get too upset. I know there are others who are already planning to capitalize on these weaknesses and maybe that is one reason why Uncle Sam is giving them away.

 For starters, these MRAP vehicles can’t drive themselves. They require a crew of at a minimum, one person. They also do not yet have a transporter beam that I know of so the crew will need to use doors to enter and exit the vehicle. I don’t see a local police force for the average town with one of these using them to round up people or offensively attack large numbers unless the citizens are foolish, disarmed or incarcerated first. The people using this vehicle are safe from small arms fire so there is no point shooting at it. They are also presumably safe from mines so no point in trying to blow it up.

What they can’t do is fly. They also have a very large turning radius so it would be very easy to block them into a box and close the box so they couldn’t escape. What kind of box? This could be a roadblock hastily set up with vehicles too heavy for the MRAP to move. It could be that a tree is dropped behind them blocking their escape or some additional vehicles. You could also dig a pit if you had enough time. The MRAP can’t climb out of a box so if you make one long enough and about 4 feet deep, the MRAP and everyone in it would be stuck. You don’t even have to make the hole too big (see below) to get one of these heavy vehicles stuck.

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The MRAP also doesn’t have a grocery store so if the occupants are trapped inside, you don’t have to do anything. If left in there long enough, they may die of starvation. They will come out on their own, or die trapped in that can. Once they run out of gas, that AC will stop working too.  Again, the doors have to open for people to get in or get out.  My point is, that these vehicles are again glorified troop transports. Can they be upfitted with arms, sure but not likely at this point. Local authorities who are foolish enough to engage an outraged citizenry could be easily outwitted and this heavy behemoth could become a trap.

I am not advocating violence. All I am trying to illustrate is that even if the local police offices are getting these vehicles and have plans to use them against citizens, they aren’t unstoppable. Should things get so bad that you are forced to flee from the people who are supposed to protect and serve you, it could be that we the people would be in charge of these MRAPs before it’s all over.


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