Small Town Militarization: Keene, NH Gets a Freaking Tank

Readers may already be familiar with the tiny town of Keene, NH despite its population of some 20,000 people in rural New Hampshire. The town has been a major site for the Free State Project and radio advertisements mentioning Keene are heard regularly when listening to Antiwar Radio on LRN.

You may or may not be familiar with Lenco Industries, a Pittsfield, MA-based company that manufactures heavily armored vehicles for government agencies. But even if you are familiar with both, you might not have imagined that the twain should ever meet.

But the Department of Homeland Security is seeing to it that they have, throwing $285,933 in grant money at the Keene city government to buy what their mayor referred to as “our own tank.”

Not exactly a tank, the Lenco Bearcat is a Armored Personnel Carrier marketed to city SWAT teams, and which comes complete with gun ports, battering ram and “tear gas deployment nozzle” with an eye toward “riot control.”

While the coolness factor seems to have been enough to sell the city government on the scheme, no one seems to have asked whether or not a small town with virtually no violent crime needs an APC. Normally, that’s where the story ends, with us shaking our heads. But Keene’s unique nature has spawned considerable backlash from the town’s libertarian movement.

Lenco, for their part, seems to have gotten a rude introduction to the whole “limited government” thing, and is scrambling to answer a question they never planned to be asked: why on earth would we want police to have this monstrosity?

The answer for them is “we don’t know what the terrorists are thinking,” saying it is better for the Keene, NH council to have a freaking tank and not need it than need it and not have it.

And if that doesn’t convince anyone, which lets face it, it won’t, Lenco has a personal attack for you. “I can’t help but think that the people who are trying to stop this just don’t think police officers’ lives are worth saving.”

32 thoughts on “Small Town Militarization: Keene, NH Gets a Freaking Tank”

  1. “I can’t help but think that the people who are trying to stop this just don’t think police officers’ lives are worth saving.”

    Wow that's almost as good as Canada's justice Minister saying about a new bill this week – Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act – that if you don't support warrantless spying on your internet use that you support pedophiles. “He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.” – response to another MP's questions about the bill.

    Though it looks like both Keene and Canada as a whole are making enough noise to get these actions reversed.

  2. Well, I agree. Not only should the Keene, N.H. Defense Force have its own tank but to be on the safe side it should probably acquire a "Death Star" as well. Gotta be prepared for those sneaky 'terrists' and what-ever they have up their sleeves (or turbans).

  3. Lencos response is your typical pig-snout-in-trough kind of retort. Using their cockeyed logic just the act of "questioning" a hunk of military hardware to the tune of a quarter million in a town that has no need for it is twisted around to somehow wish death and calamity upon the self sanctified souls who strut about in their clown suits. Surely the Germans had similar cats in days of yore who used the same sort of "good German" language in their marketing material.

    1. Don't you know it's comforting to those sanctified personages who preen and strut in their blue clown suits to be provided with similar toys they played with during their murder tours in Iraq and Afghanistan so they can use them on "domestic terrorists'?

  4. Live Free or Die state?

    Hmmm…maybe they should just cut the first part out of the state motto.

    Anyhoo, this is what happens when Ian leaves his couch in his yard.

  5. the problem is that once the department has this whiz-bang doo-hicky, they gotta use it. what…you thought the drones owned by the police department were being kept in a locker?

  6. Funny what the unchecked will to power can do. I understand the town I live in near Boston, Newton that is, has sent its police chief to Israel for anti-terrorist training. I would imagine every suburb in America that can afford it will need to deal with Hezbollah and Hamas and Palestinians before long, not to speak of the Bitter-Enders of Al-Qaeda. The Constitution being the "quaint document" that it is, you cannot militarize too fast.

  7. I doubt that Keene was randomly chosen for this act of largesse. Apparently the town has a clearly identifiable and strong libertarian-leaning population and is a "hot bed" (for lack of a more appropriate term) of Project Free State activity. The Establishment is threatened by such localities and wants to send a message to the residents of this town.

    OK, all you Free Staters – are you going to put your money, lives, and property where your mouths and keyboards are and do something about this situation?

    1. It seems that they chose a small town in order to justify one or more of those stupid vehicles for all of the larger towns in the state, and yes, why not start with the state that offers the most resistance to the New World Order. If the state orders a few hundred vehicles, then it can experience a large discount and have a centralized maintenance center. Wait until Keene residents find out what it costs to maintain the junk-mobile, they will have to invest in expensive service contracts and pay exorbitant prices for spare parts, just like the Army.

      Actions like this are going to bankrupt American towns everywhere. And will anyone in Keene feel safer with that monster roaming their streets? Hey the article didn´t talk about fire power and the estimated collateral damage with each action. They probably have the fire power to run through 16 houses with every bullet. To the residents of Keene, I can only say, “Sleep tight.”

  8. When our municipality wants to splash our money for a cool vehicle they get something for our volunteer fire department.

  9. Gotta love this..

    "These people are crazy," Massery [the government sales manager for Pittsfield, Mass.-based Lenco,] said. "They hate cops. They hate the government. They remind me of the Jehovah's Witnesses who take on the Red Cross. Why is anyone listening to them?"

    He might have added that they are into this "Constitution" thing, which is quaint and old-fashioned.

  10. The town is small enough for concerned citizens to mount a recall election on all local politicals and elect normal humans , not half witts to leadership posts.. Spending the dollars for new fire engines as some one stated is a great way to buy a trophy vehicle.

  11. Remember Gonzales, Texas and the "Come and Take It" flag. The "it" was a cannon that the Mexican government had given the settlers to fend off the Indians. By 1835, the Mexican government realized that that cannon might be used for more than fighting Indians and asked for it back….thus the "Come and Take It" flag and the first skirmish of the Texas Revolution for Independence from Mexico. All because the Mexican government had violated the 1824 Mexican constitution and was centralizing power…….

    1. Words also spoken by Leonidas and the 300 Spartans to the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC. "Molon labe"–"Come and Take It."

  12. In a tyranny the people are afraid of the government. In a democracy the government is afraid of the people. – Thomas Jefferson

    Having said that I am not quite sure which part of the above quote applies in this situation.

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