Category Archives: America

Keene BearCat Featured on Colbert Report

(Header image © Comedy Central)

KEENE, NH – With the events that have unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri, over the past several weeks, the spotlight has once again fallen on the subject of police militarization in America. As someone who has historically taken the side of police in most conversations, I confess that I have found myself unable to articulate any type of reasonable case for why our civilian police units require the type of advanced military transport systems and weaponry normally reserved for the active battlefield. As a Boy Scout in my youth, our motto was always, “Be Prepared.” But I wonder if “preparation” ever has a limit? In an episode of his popular television show, “The Colbert Report”, humorist Stephen Colbert confronts the same question.

The passions on this subject run high and, in my research, I find little in the way of middle ground when it comes to the opinions on each side. For the police, this is about public safety, quality of life, and effective preparation in the face of increasing violence in our communities. They wish to be protected from all conceivable threats while responding to incidents involving an unknown number of perpetrators and an unknown level of potential threats. It’s understandable that they would seek to be as well-equipped for such events as possible.

Wall Street Journal, February 07, 2014

Jefferson County Sheriff John Burns said the vehicle hasn’t been used, but it gives him some peace of mind. Thirty years ago, he rarely saw standoffs or hostage situations, but they now happen fairly regularly, a trend he attributes to population growth. “I agree it’s big, it’s intimidating, but again, it’s going to save lives,” he predicted.

Image of Manchester BearCat
A Lenco BearCat that the Manchester, N.H., Police Department has owned since 2007. Thomas Roy/New Hampshire Union Leader

For the opposition, it is also about public safety and quality of life, but with an added element: the desire to be free of the fear of an over-reaching police presence – otherwise known as a police-state. The fact of the matter is, violent crime is declining in America.. However, following the events of September 11, 2001, our citizenship has faced the biggest threat of its entire existence – the gradual and voluntary erosion of our most basic civil liberties under the guise of enhanced “protection”. Gone are the days when a police officer required justifiable cause to detain you and require you to identify yourself. Gone are the days when you were legally protected against unwarranted searches. Reading through the news every day, it is clear that more and more police departments are taking the stance of “Better to ask forgiveness than permission”. More and more police officers are becoming adversarial in their approach to the members of their community, seeing each person they encounter as a potential threat (no, I don’t have facts and figures to back this up – just good, old-fashioned anecdotal evidence from reading hundreds of news stories every day from all over the nation). We have created a policing system of “us against them” and that is an unfortunate – and potentially dangerous, as seen in Ferguson – dynamic to have in a community.

Image of Lenco BearCat
A Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter-Attack Truck by Lenco, Inc. © Lenco

But, to the issue at hand. Is military equipment truly necessary in small-town America? The answer, to me, is a resounding “NO!” Tax-funded acquisitions of military hardware by civilian departments that is then used against the very taxpayers who pay for the services provided by police departments is unacceptable no matter which way you slice it. Rather, we should have a centralized tactical response unit to be called in ONLY under the most extreme situations. Make no mistake, the average police officer is already an individual of great courage, high intelligence, and above-average training in tactical operations, firearms, and hand-to-hand combat. This is their job. This is what they are trained for. And, under pressure, they are virtually unmatched. The average criminal, on the other hand, is desperate, panicked, and not much of a tactical match for police. Very rarely do police come up against a modern-day Professor Moriarty. Very rarely are they facing the kinds of pre-planned, strategically-sound and indefensible criminal acts portrayed in every summer’s blockbuster movies. Kidnappings, hostage-taking, robberies, drug deals….The threats of today, in reality, are not much different than the threats of sixty years ago when police did their job with little more than a revolver and a squad car. So, just because the equipment is there, doesn’t mean it must be used – especially against civilians.

However, because the equipment is there, it gets used. And it gets used in the worse ways possible. Under the guise of “crowd control” in Ferguson, as a show of force in Toronto, as a response to a simple non-police-related shooting in Manchester, NH. The manufacturer is on the record as stating that these personnel carriers “save lives”…

(Huffington Post, 02-16-2012)

When a Lenco Bearcat shows up at a crime scene where a suicidal killer is holding hostages, it doesn’t show up with a cannon. It shows up with a negotiator. Our trucks save lives. They save police lives. And 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.

…but you can’t help but wonder why the negotiator has to show up in a tank, for crying out loud.

Fortunately, here in my small town of Goffstown, New Hampshire, our local police are very community-oriented. From annual “Night Out” events, to hosting an Open House at the station, to the bicycle officers who stop to chat with people on the street, we’re very blessed to have an open and fair department helping to protect our community. But not every community is so fortunate and it is time that we, as a citizenry, took a united stand and reminded the police that they are civil servants charged with operating in the service of the citizens. Let the military be the military. Let the National Guard be the National Guard. And let civilian police be civilian police.

About the Author: is the Senior Marketing Strategist for 603 Media Group. Primarily tasked with the challenges of keeping our small business running, Jeremy also occasionally branches out into public speaking, blogging, website design and raising his son to not be another one of “those damn kids”.

James Foley Reportedly Beheaded in Iraq

(Photo by: Jonathan Pedneault)

Video footage released earlier today appears to show New Hampshire journalist James Foley – missing since being kidnapped by ISIS extremists in 2011 – being executed. According to his Wikipedia entry:

Foley was a native of Rochester, New Hampshire.[2] He graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 2008. [1]

He was captured in Syria in November of 2012, and was out of contact until August of 2014.

Although the National Security Council is, as of the time of this writing, attempting to verify the authenticity of the footage, it does appear genuine. This is yet another barbaric act of violence perpetrated on neutral journalists who put their lives in danger each and every day so that the world can see and hear the realities of global events. Unfortunately, the ISIS extremists are continuing to hold another journalist, Steven Sotloff, hostage. They claim his execution is pending a response from the Obama administration to their demands that the United States cease all military action in Iraq.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of James Foley tonight. We offer the same to the family and friends of Mr. Sotloff and we hope that his rescue or release can be effected very soon. We know that New Hampshire, the journalism community, and the civilized world at large stands strong with the families of these two brave men.

About the Author: is the Senior Marketing Strategist for 603 Media Group. Primarily tasked with the challenges of keeping our small business running, Jeremy also occasionally branches out into public speaking, blogging, website design and raising his son to not be another one of “those damn kids”.

Open For Business: The Other Side of Holiday Commerce

With the holiday season in full swing, I see an unusually vocal opposition this year to the decision by many businesses to open their doors during the “family time” of the holidays. This is an unfortunate stance taken by those who are so fortunate that they are unable to see the other side of the coin.

American holidays are heavily centered on family, food and relaxing down-time. We pride ourselves on our tradition of taking time off, gathering in big family get-togethers, cooking magnificent meals and sharing the day with football and pies of many varieties. What we often fail to see, however, is that this is not how a great multitude of Americans spend the holidays. 21st century America is populated with record numbers of single parents, folks with little or no immediate family, and families and individuals who are living paycheck to paycheck and working hard for every dollar they earn. For these workers, the opportunity to earn wages on any day is a blessing. If a company offers holiday pay plus overtime for working during the holiday, well that’s even better. For them, the opportunity to work, provide services to customers and earn the money that keeps food on their table is a welcome gift. Although some may feel strongly that it is just “wrong” for a business to be open on a holiday, who are they to so vocally decry the right of an individual to provide for themselves and their family?

From another perspective, many holiday workers are folks who simply have nothing better to do. Maybe they have no immediate family. Perhaps they have simply made the decision not to travel to see family this year. Or they are single parents whose children are with the other parent for the holiday. There are a multitude of legitimate reasons why people voluntarily choose to accept holiday working hours if they are so offered.

At some point, we as a society are going to have to accept the fact that America has changed. Pining for the traditions of old will not bring those traditions back. Many young folks do not return home for holidays and welcome the hours of wage-earning that are offered by their employers. Additionally, the economy is in trouble. People are hungry. Bills must be paid. And, frankly, spending money to travel, buy tons of food or host a big gathering is simply not in the cards for those who need every dollar they earn just to survive.

In short, the next time you feel compelled to rage against businesses who open their doors on a holiday with the assistance of voluntary staff, take a moment to look around, be thankful for what you have, and consider that you are blessed in a way that those who choose to work on a holiday may not be.