Rand Paul asked some interesting questions during a hearing on Tuesday. Say what you want about Paul, he is one of a few willing to hold this administration’s feet to the fire. Just why do the police need bayonets? Anyone recall Kent State? Bayonets were at the ready on that day. Just saying.
Tuesday in Washington D.C. at a Senate Hearing from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on the Department of Defense selling military grade weapons to local police forces, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) grilled Alan F. Estevez, the Assistant Secretary of Defense and from Homeland Security, and FEMA Brian Kamoie, over local police being suppliedwith armored personnel carriers and thousands of bayonets.
Partial transcript as follows:
But confronting those with armored personnel carriers is thoroughly un-American and for 150 years, we’ve had rules separating the military, keeping the military out of policing affairs. But you sort of obscure that separation if you allow the police to become the military.
In FEMA’s authorized equipment list there’s actually written descriptions for how the equipment should be used and it says it’s specifically not supposed to be used for riot suppression. Mr. Kamoie, is that true, that it’s not supposed to be used for riot suppression? And how do you plan on policing that since the images clearly show us large pieces of equipment that were bought with your grants used in that riot suppression, or protest suppression rather?”
KAMOIE: Sen. Paul, that is accurate. The categories of personal protective equipment that include helmets, ear and eye protection, ballistics, personal protective equipment. There’s a prohibition in the authorized equipment list not to be used for riot suppression.
So I think by supplying all of this free equipment, much of which is, frankly, inappropriate, really shouldn’t be on anybody’s list of authorized equipment. Mr. Estevez, in the NPR investigation of 1033 program they list that 12,000 bayonets have been given out. What purpose are bayonets being given out for?
ESTEVEZ: Senator, bayonets are available under the program. I can’t answer what a local police force would need a bayonet for.
PAUL: I can give you an answer: None. So, what’s President Obama’s Administration’s position on handing out bayonets to the police force? It’s on your list. You guys create the list. Are you going to take it off the list or are we going to keep doing it?