Preemptive Offenses

Saturday, March 16, 2013

That National Conversation You Wanted To Have, Senator Feinstein?

Courtesy of this extremely nice lady comes a semi-sarcastic reflection on the recent stockpiling by the Department of Homeland Security:

The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice. It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month. Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years. In America.

Add to this perplexing outré purchase of ammo, DHS now is showing off its acquisition of heavily armored personnel carriers, repatriated from the Iraqi and Afghani theaters of operation....

Remember the Sequester? The president is claiming its budget cuts will inconvenience travelers by squeezing essential services provided by the (opulently armed and stylishly uniformed) DHS. Quality ammunition is not cheap. (Of course, news reports that DHS is about to spend $50 million on new uniforms suggests a certain cavalier attitude toward government frugality.)...

Meanwhile, Senator Diane Feinstein, with the support of President Obama, is attempting to ban 100 capacity magazine clips. Doing a little apples-to-oranges comparison, here, 1.6 billion rounds is … 16 million times more objectionable.

There are more armed federal agents than you'd imagine in your wildest dreams, sports fans. It's bad enough that IRS agents routinely go armed, though it's a tad more understandable than, say, the armed state of agents of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture. ("Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors -- and miss." -- Robert A. Heinlein) DHS might seem to have a prima facie case for arming at least some of its personnel, but I've been unable to learn how many field-qualified agents it employs. What's the number? 10,000? 100,000? It had better not be more than that; the Marines top out at 105,000.

Postulate that it's 100,000, though the number seems high. Let's see, now: 1.6 billion rounds divided by 100,000 armiger agents is 16,000 rounds per agent. Quite a lot of lead, eh? Costly, too, as DHS doesn't buy the cheap stuff.

I wonder how many people apply for employment by a government agency because so many such jobs come with the privilege of going armed. I'd bet it's a non-trivial percentage. So I have a suggestion for a new Civil Service rule:

To apply for a job as an armed federal agent,
Other than for the U.S. Marshals or the Secret Service,
You have to donate a kidney.

What's that? You only have one kidney? Sorry, a career in federal thuggery is not for you. Try one of the state-level agencies. They only want a cornea.

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