Warren County’s deal for four free vehicles is like those deals you get at garage sales, when the seller says you can have that first edition John D. MacDonald novel you want, but you have to take the box of encyclopedias, too.
Warren County got two Humvees and an old Brinks armored car from the feds for its emergency response team. The Humvees were free and the armored car was $10.
Imagine the haggling:
“I’ll give you five bucks for it.”
“No, sorry, I’ve got to get at least $15.”
It was a good deal. But then, like the liter of soda the Chinese restaurant throws in when your order tops $30, a 19-ton mine-resistant ambush-protected armored vehicle got added to our cart.
It’s a million-dollar, 10-foot-tall, blast-busting behemoth that gets 1 mpg.
The MRAPs, as the acronym-happy military calls them, were manufactured to protect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan against improvised explosive devices.
Whoever unloaded these things on local governments should get a job selling cars when she leaves the military. How did she pitch it to Undersheriff Shawn Lamouree?
“You guys get a lot of IED action, right?”
— “Uh, no.”
“But you could, that’s the point. You never know when you might be just riding along and — blam!”
Sheriff Bud York said the emergency response team will use the rolling castle for standoffs with armed suspects, drug raids and other dangerous scenarios.
So, let’s say a drug raid is taking place in Lake George. First thing, burn 9 or 10 gallons of gas driving up there in the MRAP. Then, park the MRAP at the house, inconspicuously. Third, staying protected inside the MRAP, call out to the drug dealers inside the house to surrender.
Fourth, show off your ride to the dealers on the way back to the lockup.
This MRAP is worth $1 million, instead of just $700,000, because it has a gun turret. Sadly, it has no gun. Is one available, perhaps at a discount? Because having a .50 caliber machine gun in the turret would boost the intimidation factor the Sheriff’s Office is seeking.
“Come out of the house or we are going to shred it like Swiss cheese. And we’re going to shred the house behind yours, and the one behind that. Who knows where these bullets are going to stop?”
Maybe the gun is a bad idea. But we’ve got the turret. Perhaps we could put an archer in the turret. Bewilder the bad guys with our anachronisms.
“Look, we’ve got an MRAP and an arrow with your name on it. Give up.”
So many possibilities, and all for free. How could we say no?
Will Doolittle is projects editor of The Post-Star. He may be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @trafficstatic.