Unwrapping the MRAP Problem

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We all have witnessed the militarization of our local police forces over the years and most of you have probably felt a growing sense of doom. What used to be a man in a uniform you could depend on to at least care and try to “protect and to serve”, has turned into a quasi military goon who shoots first and then asks questions. This trend stinks and you have to add this on top of the giant steaming pile that already lingered from countless other movements the government has made in the face of the American people. There have been numerous posts, articles and hand wringing associated with your friendly neighborhood SWAT teams and how they are increasingly used to perform basic law enforcement tasks. I am not going to preach about how I agree that this slide into a militarized mindset of these departments and agencies is dangerous; well, at least not in this post. What I did want to talk about briefly is the latest escalation it seems in the war between law enforcement and the regular citizens. The most recent upping of the ante comes to us in the form of surplus military trucks called MRAP’s that the government is literally giving away to anyone who seems to want one. Everyone, that is except you and me.

The Pentagon is giving away 13,000 of these Mine-resistant, ambush-protected trucks because they have outlived their purpose according to someone, so they have “notified our friends and allies that we have MRAPs available and if they want them they can have them,” said Alan Estevez, deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics. Isn’t that special.

The MRAP vehicles aren’t old at all and most it seems were built as recently as 2004. The government is cutting costs they say and rather than keep these vehicles that protected our troops, or scrap them, they have decided that local law enforcement, Universities and even our allies should get these to take care of their own people. I can’t even fathom how these vehicles are so urgently useless as to warrant giving them away. When I was in the military we had equipment that was easily 40 years old and we still used it daily. I know I drove a jeep that was used in WWII. You can drive past any national guard armory today and see ancient, or at least three times as old as the MRAP trucks parked in nice rows, ready for action. Aren’t HUMVEE’s still in service? I guess our troops as well as the National Guard are too good to take these MRAPs so we need to give them away. Something smells fishy.

Seeing these heavily armored vehicles have been rolling into small towns everywhere, this has understandably created a huge buzz with people who worry that these vehicles will be used to wage war on the American people. I can see that angle. What I don’t share exactly is the panic that I think some are experiencing. While I agree that overall this is one more troubling development, I don’t see these on the surface as that much of a threat; at least not so much to tremble if the local constable wants to get one of these.

What is the MRAP designed to do?

The MRAP by the very definition of its name is Mine Resistant and Ambush Protected. It is really a beefed up troop carrier. This vehicle is certainly tough and I am glad our troops had it in places like Afghanistan and Iraq and wherever they are going next. For our local police, Sheriffs and Universities, they will undoubtedly roll around in these heavily protected vehicles as often as they can, showing up at the State Fair, schools for show and tell, parades and busting down the doors of some poor old lady who didn’t pay a $5 fee for an overdue library book. They are daunting, but the MRAP isn’t perfect. They have several weaknesses that maybe the people who believe the government is coming for us should consider before we get too upset. I know there are others who are already planning to capitalize on these weaknesses and maybe that is one reason why Uncle Sam is giving them away.

I shared a brief back and forth with a gentleman on my Google + page the other day when someone else posted another article about the MRAP vehicles and asked the ominous question, “What do you think they are going to do with these?”.

For starters, these MRAP vehicles can’t drive themselves. They require a crew of at a minimum, one person. They also do not yet have a transporter beam that I know of so the crew will need to use doors to enter and exit the vehicle. I don’t see a local police force for the average town with one of these using them to round up people or offensively attack large numbers unless the citizens are foolish, disarmed or incarcerated first. The people using this vehicle are safe from small arms fire so there is no point shooting at it. They are also presumably safe from mines so no point in trying to blow it up.

What they can’t do is fly. They also have a very large turning radius so it would be very easy to block them into a box and close the box so they couldn’t escape. What kind of box? This could be a roadblock hastily set up with vehicles too heavy for the MRAP to move. It could be that a tree is dropped behind them blocking their escape or some additional vehicles. You could also dig a pit if you had enough time. The MRAP can’t climb out of a box so if you make one long enough and about 4 feet deep, the MRAP and everyone in it would be stuck. You don’t even have to make the hole too big (see below) to get one of these heavy vehicles stuck.

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The MRAP also doesn’t have a grocery store so if the occupants are trapped inside, you don’t have to do anything. If left in there long enough, they may die of starvation. They will come out on their own, or die trapped in that can. Once they run out of gas, that AC will stop working too.  Again, the doors have to open for people to get in or get out.  My point is, that these vehicles are again glorified troop transports. Can they be upfitted with arms, sure but not likely at this point. Local authorities who are foolish enough to engage an outraged citizenry could be easily outwitted and this heavy behemoth could become a trap.

I am not advocating violence. All I am trying to illustrate is that even if the local police offices are getting these vehicles and have plans to use them against citizens, they aren’t unstoppable. Should things get so bad that you are forced to flee from the people who are supposed to protect and serve you, it could be that we the people would be in charge of these MRAPs before it’s all over.

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  • vince

    You really needed to write an article like this? This is the crap that they will use to call Americans, “terrorists”. They will copy this and say “look the gun nuts are already preparing to disable police vehicles.

    Acting like they have no use in local police departments is ridiculous. Police being able to roll up in bad situations and not worry that they will die in their car or blow up is a good thing. Plus picking up wounded would be much easier. I think if they had one at the Hollywood shootout it would have ended much faster and the wounded would have gotten help faster.

    • Thank you for your comments Vince.

      I can see your perspective on one hand, but I was writing this article from a completely different perspective. You seem to have the opinion that police departments and law enforcement agencies are and always will be the good guys. I hope you are right, but that isn’t what my article was about.

      I should know that when ever I write about anything controversial, I should state my case as clearly as possible, but I often speed over some of the finer points. That is to say, that my intent with this article wasn’t to promote any unlawful action against legal and morally acting public servants. My hypothetical was meant to be with respect to a WROL, government tyranny scenario and I guess I should have made that clearer.

      Regardless, I still maintain that bomb-proof troop transports and most other military grade devices do not belong in the hands of peace-keepers. Their role is not to go to war and this vehicle is only designed for that purpose.


      • vince

        It is almost funny how your argument is the same one obama, feinstein, and bloomberg use all the time. No civilian needs weapons of war, guns are only made for one reason, we must keep military grade weapons off the streets……except you use replace weapons with a vehicle.
        That vehicle might have been designed for war, it can be utilized by a police department in many situations. You recognize police have the job of protecting citizens, you clearly do not see the crazy stuff going on in the world if you do not see where an MRAP would be a much better vehicle than a police car.
        While most police departments may never have an actual need for one, does that mean they should not be prepared? Kind of silly for a prepper web page to look down on others for being prepared.

        • I haven’t ever been lumped in the same group as Obama, but if that is what you think I can’t really dissuade you.

          OK, so we do not need to keep military vehicles out of the hands of local police and Universities then. By that standard, we should be outfitting them with all the advances our military has, correct? Drones, fighter jets, crew served weapons, tanks and laser guided munitions would easily keep our police safer and would better enable them to combat any criminals, right? If we really want at all costs to keep our police officers safe,
          shouldn’t we allow them to preemptively take out suspected gang members
          with a drone strike? Shouldn’t we be blowing up suspected crack houses because we received information that a high-value target was in there sleeping? That would keep them all safe, right? I realize that this is taking it to an absurd level but do we need to draw the line somewhere? If you agree that we do need to keep some restrictions on the power of police, what would those be?

          You seem to miss my point that these military vehicles are being used on the American people. They aren’t in this case, in a war in some far off country supposedly providing for “the common defense” of our nation. They are on our streets with the express intent of being used against the citizens. What is the difference between a militarized police force busting down your door with a tank than the army doing the same thing?

          The founders of this country saw very real dangers with having a military force enforcing state laws. Now, we are perfectly fine with the idea of police who are quickly gaining the tools and tactics of the military under the guise of safety. I’m just not ok with that.

          Does this make me anti-gun? Hardly. I would love for every responsible citizen to have the same abilities as our police and military does but that’s just crazy I guess.

  • Northern Raider

    Pat are you suggesting that in modern America where millions of citizens own body armour and own AR15 / Bushmaster type weapons and other quasi military paraphernalia your local LEOs should go back to the gold old S&W .38 and travel around in nice sedans ?.. Your police only reflect your society and its constituent people.
    I can clearly remember the incident in CA where many police officers etc and FBI officers were completely overwhelmed by 2 bank robbers armed with AKS and body armour, and it like WACO showed the LEO community a clear need for better armaments and equipment.
    Seriously if Americans want their cops to go back to the way they were in the 60s and 70s then the general population needs to get rid of its ARs and Bushmasters and go back to bolt action 700BDLS as well.
    The MRAPs are universally deployed because the armed to the teeth criminal gangs, loon militias, organised criminals and crazy teens wanting to wipe out a few hundred school chums is also now universal in the US

    • Jim

      Funny you would defend the need for these by claiming body armor and bushmasters being the reason they need these For the record the rounds that weapons like that fire have been around for years the only thing that changed is the platform from wich it’s fired police,BLM,homeland security,tsa and god only knows do not need to be running around in military combat gear or in their vehicles A militarized police force benefits no one and has done nothing to stop gangs,militias ,criminals or the crazies so just shut up and take your place in line

      • Northern Raider

        Jim, you will find that in time as your wonderful nation finds Islamic extremists embedded in every part of your nation as integral parts of the generally black and Asian communities that you will need the MRAPs and other paraphernalia more and more. These dudes WANT to die and WANT to create maximum casualties and they will use the liberties you currently enjoy in gun ownership as weapons again you. Look at the Beslan massacre or the Moscow theatre fiasco as examples. One day in Hicksville and Redneck USA you will suddenly find to your horror than a percentage of your muslim community has become so radicalised that multiple members of that community will launch a suicidal terror campaign in a school, factory, mall or office block, or will form an Islamic militia unit in rural areas. They specialise in not only hitting high value targets like on 911 but they thrive at striking in places that you would never consider at risk.
        Your problem Sir is like many good Americans in that you do not realise we in the west are in the middle of an undeclared war and you don’t think your at risk from US born or imported extremists who will do their utmost to kill as many of you as possible IN A PROLONGED AND MEDIA COVERED attack.
        You have been lucky so far when it comes to the threat from Islam, because once its established in your community you will find a percentage have truly evil intent.
        Even with only the IRA to contend with over here we NEVER had enough heavy vehicles and kit to deal with the small scale threat they caused.
        Still if you believe your way is right then go forward with my respects an blessings.

    • Thanks for your comments Northern Raider but I have to disagree with you on several of your points.

      First off, I don’t believe our police departments are hurting in the equipment department as you imply. Police departments have all of the same weapons, body armor that civilians right now in the US can have. In addition, they are allowed to order people around, taser them, detain them, beat them and throw them in jail without any cause. Can regular people do that to the police?

      Even if we have the same rifles, and bullet proof vests, you seem to say that the police deserve stronger weapons than the citizens do. For what purpose? I think you have lived in a society that views the citizens as rabble to be ordered around at the threat of violence for too long. Those police should not have any higher rights than anyone else. They are not some untouchable force, they are civilians with a job to enforce laws to protect the citizens that pay their salaries. Nothing more. Just because they have a job, that doesn’t mean they get to kill anyone more easily than any other person.

      Secondly, you bring up Waco. Are you serious? The federal government stormed a compound and 76 men women and children died. Are you trying to justify the deaths of all those people because the police didn’t have more equipment? In WACO, the government used tanks I believe. Are you saying they need heavier, more deadly equipment to be able to kill more women and children in an easier way? I don’t think you are.

      The MRAP had a role in a war to be used by trained military forces. They do not have any other role and to equate their use against American civilians on the streets of our nation in times of peace is a little bit of a stretch.


      • Northern Raider

        “For what purpose? I think you have lived in a society that views the citizens as rabble to be ordered around at the threat of violence for too long.”
        No Pat I have lived in Britain and Europe where the bad guys who like to commit mass murder live in our midst, and seek publicity doing their terrible acts, I have seen MULTIPLE police cars and army land rovers blown to pieces by IRA bombs, I’ve seen muslims blowing up buses and trains, and I live on a continent where the muslims seek bigger and bigger atrocities and massacres of innocent people in the most unlikely of places. But what the heck you guys are always slow learners when it comes to identifying threats, I’m quite happy for you to find out for yourselves, but hopefully not the hard way.

        • I do understand the issues with the IRA and your own post 9/11 attacks. Any time there is a senseless loss of life, it is horrible and I wasn’t saying that nothing bad ever happens in the UK.

          However, I still disagree with the theory that somehow making our local law enforcement into a paramilitary force is a wise decision. We in the US have seen this creeping militarization result in a combative and often abusive attitude with our civilian police forces that doesn’t catch bad guys. It doesn’t stop bombs from blowing up, and it doesn’t prevent bad things from happening regardless of your country.

          As it stands right now, your school of thought is running parallel to our governments so I guess time will tell.

        • Herman Nelson

          So… After reading your comment, the logic you carry over is- disarm everybody so only terrorists and police will have firearms. Who is worse? The terrorist or the police? I’m not for being disarmed. I want a fighting chance and a cop weighs too much to put in my back pocket.

        • Kitten Takara Summers

          Funny how peace process finally worked, when the UK army de-escalated and civilian police took over more and more and then the bombing stopped. Also the UK police did not start driving armoured vehicles about in UK mainland only in northern Ireland where they were under genuine attack. Police should be reactionary to escalation not pre-emptive. Peace process came from De-escalation not escalation. In fact studies show that high number “Troops” in Northern Ireland directly collated with amount bombings that happen in the UK. The good Friday agreement came only because the many of the UK army bases were removed and Ireland was allowed the right to self -determination.

          The reason we are seeing more and more Muslim bombings and attacks is the again based on military presence. I would say that the fact we have invaded these countries if only going make more terrorists not reduce them at all.

          So the police militarising is only going cause more tension between them and those they are meant to protect. it is self fulfilling prophecy

          Do not remove a fly from your friend’s forehead with a hatchet.
          Chinese Proverb

          • Thanks for your comments and perspective!


  • Danny Smith

    Pat I was a Peace Officer for over 17 yrs and never felt the need to drive/ride around in one of these vehicles! In fact our Department had no use for them. In my opinion, militarizing our Police forces across America is a dangerous precedent and we have already seen in the news many reasons why.

    Thank you for an informative article.

  • TSgtalexander

    I am seeing all kinds of people saying that a 50 bmg can disable these. I was under the impression that they have an engine shroud to prevent this..Do you know if that is true?

    • I don’t know if that is true, but most people don’t have access to that power of firearm. I think low tech methods are going to be more practical for most people in most situations unless you have the equipment obviously.


  • Don Coombs

    1kg of PETN will flip it on its side and it’ll never move again. A shaped 1/2kg PETN shaped charge with steel containment will form a 28,000fps slug that will punch right through it at 3 feet away and cell phone detonated. $50 worth of common supplies and 1 day in the kitchen and the MRAP isn’t a problem any more.

  • Newdist

    Biggest weakness of the MRAP?

    It only protects the people inside it. It doesn’t protect the things they care about.

    • That is another way of looking at it.

  • Wold

    Love the article, definitely something to remember, thanks Pat

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