Oops! Police Claim They Have 'No Idea' Where Those Military-Grade Guns Are
It's bad enough that police departments have been armed with military-grade weaponry and other Pentagon cast-offs, which they use against citizens (especially people of color). Now a thorough and jarring investigative piece on Fusion.net has revealed that local police departments are losing these weapons at an alarming rate. Losing them as in, "duh, can't find them anywhere."
Fusion reports that 184 state and local police departments have been suspended from the Pentagon's trickle-down weapons program for losing weapons like M14 and M16 assault rifles, .45-caliber pistols and shotguns. Dunderheaded police departments have even managed to misplace two Humvees. Two Humvees! How do you misplace a Humvee?
That lovely Pentagon 1033 program, which helped bring you the disturbing recent images and events in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as numerous unnecessary SWAT raids and police overreactions around the country, has distributed $4.3 billion worth of weaponry to 8,000 police departments nationwide. The states that boast the most careless police departments in terms of keeping track of those weapons include Mississippi, Arkansas, Arizona, California and Georgia. (That's where one of the Humvees was misplaced. If anyone finds it, please call 1-800-IDIOTS.)
"[The program] is obviously very sloppy, and it's another reason that Congress needs to revisit this promptly," Tim Lynch, director of the CATO Institute's project on criminal justice told Fusion. "We don't know where these weapons are going, whether they are really lost, or whether there is corruption involved."
One particularly frightening scenario is that the weapons are being sold on the black market.
For some unknown reason, the entity that "oversees"—and we're using the term loosely—the Pentagon program is the Department of Career Education, which also oversees things like technical programs in high schools. Obviously, bookkeeping and any job that involves keeping track of things are not specialties.
After Ferguson, the Pentagon program which has reportedly been in place since 1990 has been placed under White House review.
Read more and check out Fusion's data visualizations.