Sunday Commentary: MRAP is the Issue That Won’t Die

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For those who are tiring of the MRAP debate, sorry, it is not going away. The raid on Wednesday has pushed the Davis police, both behind the scenes and in public, to make another push for the council to re-examine the MRAP issue.

Local resident Heidy Kellison was interviewed by the local online news site, iSeeDavis, stating that the decision by the council last month to send the MRAP (mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle) back was hasty, and Lt. Tom Waltz of the Davis Police Department told the reporter in that story that there “is quite a market for firearms” in the community and the region.

Police sources say that the police department had to rely on two armored vehicles from neighboring agencies to carry out the raid on the Royal Oak trailer park. Police told other sources that, when they deployed their old armored vehicle, it broke down upon arrival at the scene. They also had to rely on an old armored bank car that Woodland has. Neither vehicle has proven effective against the weapons collected.

The Davis Human Relations Commission heard a similar account from Lt. Ton Phan at a public meeting on Thursday night.

While some have argued that this raid, which uncovered a small cache of weapons, is a wake up call for the city council to re-think the MRAP, proponents for the MRAP seem to be missing a number of key points.

First of all, Councilmember Lucas Frerichs, who attended the HRC meeting on Thursday night, told commissioners that, even with a small amount of push back from the community to keep the MRAP, sentiment in terms of emails, letters, comments and other communications are still running probably 9 to 1 against keeping the MRAP.

This is the same problem that the council had from the start – an effort to go against public opinion would likely force community residents to go to a ballot initiative or referendum. Such an effort would not only be polarizing to the community, it would be time consuming and a distraction at a time when the council desperately needs to have the community to come together – whether it be on a parcel tax or innovation parks to help the city solve its fiscal problems.

But, secondly, unlike the live shooter situation which would arise quickly and without warning, the raid involved four months of planning. The police and some MRAP proponents have argued that we cannot rely on the availability of such a vehicle from other agencies, when the time comes.

However, in this case, what do we see? The Davis Police Department, through its own SAFE Team, worked collaboratively with Yolo Narcotics Enforcement Team (YONET), Yolo County Sheriff’s Department, Woodland and West Sacrament Police Departments, Yolo County Probation Department, California Department of Corrections Special Service Unit, Yolo County Bomb Squad, Sacramento Police Department, and California Highway Patrol on the raid, in order to serve the warrants.

On the one hand we are hearing police arguing that we must have our own vehicle because we cannot count on the availability of other agencies to provide the equipment, but on the other hand, without inter-agency cooperation in the first place, this raid could not have taken place.

Unfortunately, we are back focusing on the MRAP when that is not the most serious potential problem in this entire story. The Vanguard has received a number of complaints from the police, public officials and residents of the Royal Oak mobile home park about the conditions of the park.

The police – though some of this is disputed by attorneys for the mobile home park management – claim that they raided at least five residences in the Royal Oak mobile home park, condemning one as being uninhabitable.

One of my concerns in all of this has been the lack of attention until very recently that these problems have received, at least from public officials. In a more general sense, allowing such conditions to fester in areas of our community provides a breeding ground for narcotics trafficking, drug dealing,  weapons and ammunition.

Focusing on these areas of concern will allow the community to have the safety that it needs without the encroachment that it fears from the militarization of the police. It is easy to look at the tool that police believe would offer greater protection, but we also must look at the years of failure of leadership that helped bring about this problem in the first place.

While we believe that our local police force and its leaders have the best interests of the community in mind, there is a weighing of considerations at play here. We have seen first hand, following Ferguson and the events that have transpired there over the last month or two, a pushback from communities about the blurring of the lines between civilian police and the US military.

It was not long ago – this November will serve as the third anniversary – that our neighbors at UC Davis shocked our senses by dousing protestors with pepper spray.

Finally, the push back on the MRAP still seems unlikely to succeed. On Thursday, Lucas Frerichs did not seem to be changing his view at all.

Mayor Dan Wolk has already dug in, with strong quotes in the New York Times.

“This thing has a turret — it’s the kind of thing that is used in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Mayor Dan Wolk, the New York Times reported. “Our community is the kind of community that is not going to take well to having this kind of vehicle. We are not a crime-ridden city.”

The mayor added: “When it comes to help from Washington we, like most communities, have a long wish list. But a tank, or MRAP, or whatever you choose to call it, is not on that list.”

Robb Davis was most outspoken at the Davis City Council meeting a month ago, and there is no sign that he is backing down, either.

At the end of the day, the city and police need to recognize that the community remains sensitive to issues of militarization of the police and, therefore, they need to look for other ways to keep the residents safe from potential dangers that may lurk.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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87 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: MRAP is the Issue That Won’t Die”

  1. Tia Will

    In a case such as Royal Oak, would it not make more sense to use the amount of money that would be necessary to acquire, maintain and provide ongoing officer training for the MRAP, to upgrade the living conditions of those residents who are law abiding and investigate and collaboratively act on the activities of those who are not ….exactly as was done in this raid ?

    1. Anon

      According to reports, that place has been festering with problems for years, and no one has chosen to do anything about it. I suspect the problems run deeper than what is being said, e.g. some of the tenants themselves are obviously the problem. Even if somehow local gov’t cleaned up Royal Oak, the problem would crop up elsewhere in town. It is well known we are in gang territory between Sacramento, Woodland and Fairfield.

      1. Matt Williams

        It is well known we are in gang territory between Sacramento, Woodland and Fairfield.

        Hyperbole? Is there sufficient “gang related business” that is transacted in Davis to warrant that statement.

        One could just as easily say that “It is well known we are in Home Depot territory between Sacramento, Woodland and Fairfield.” Does that fact make Davis a hotbed of Home Depot activity?

        1. Anon

          Not hyperbole. At one time gangs were flushed out of LA, and moved up here. As a result there were several gang-related murders in Woodland and Fairfield. The gang triangle between Davis-Woodland-Fairfield was on the FBI’s watch list. Unfortunately I cannot remember the year this was going on. Secondly, gang banger Marco Topete, the cop slayer, lived right here in Davis. Davis is not immune from gang violence, as the local police will tell you.

          1. Davis Progressive

            a few facts here are helpful…

            first, about 95 to 99% of game cases in yolo come out of woodland and west sac.
            second, davis a few years ago ended its participation in the county gang task force
            third, topete stayed briefly in davis with a relative

          2. Matt Williams

            Davis is not immune from gang violence, as the local police will tell you.

            versus

            It is well known we are in gang territory between Sacramento, Woodland and Fairfield.

            The difference between those two quotes is precisely why I called hyperbole. As I said in my prior response, “Is there sufficient “gang related business” that is transacted in Davis to warrant your first statement. I simply do not see a critical mass of the kind of transactions you refer to. FDR had a saying for such situations.

          1. Tia Will

            There are many situations in which specialty equipment is necessary. Airplanes capable for dropping in firefighters and chemicals to retard fires come readily to mind. This does not mean that it is necessary for every community to own there own. As a matter of fact if would be wasteful of resources to assume that every community had to have there own. How about school districts? There is apparently a school district in the LA area that has its own MRAP. I do not see that as an indication that our school district should have one. Do you ? I am still awaiting real evidence that either our own previously utilized armored vehicle actually saved lives, or that an MRAP in a community similar to Davis has actually saved lives.

        1. Davis Progressive

          that’s because you’re thinking inside a narrow box rather than outside it.

          if you view one of the objections to the mrap that davis rarely needs it, wouldn’t it make a lot more sense that there be access to regional supplies so that cities that are unlikely to use the vehicle don’t need the vehicle. we have regional contributions to swat and yonet, but we need our own vehicle for the one or two times it might be legitimately needed if ever?

          if you view the other objection as the military nature of the vehicle, then a few cities could go in a more suitable armored vehicle rather than a former military one.

      1. Frankly

        Come on Matt. Think that through. We have one for free and that would actually save money over the existing pile of junk the DP uses, and you are making a case that it would be fine to borrow one instead? If it is fine to borrow one, then what the hell is the problem with keeping the one we have/had?

        1. Matt Williams

          Frankly, I’m not arguing for or against the MRAP itself, just pointing out the omission in Anon’s point.

          With that said, there is an omission or two in what you have said as well. It isn’t free. The shipping costs just to get it are meaningful dollars. The annual maintenance costs are meaningful dollars. The training of personnel costs are meaningful dollars. A shared services agreement wouldn’t make all those dollars go away, but it would reduce them substantially.

    1. Davis Progressive

      i view one of the objections to the mrap that davis rarely needs it, wouldn’t it make a lot more sense that there be access to regional supplies so that cities that are unlikely to use the vehicle don’t need the vehicle.

      if you view the other objection as the military nature of the vehicle, then a few cities could go in a more suitable armored vehicle rather than a former military one.

    2. Edgar Wai

      I think someone said that this raid used one or more MRAPs.

      According to the NYTimes map, Solana County has 1 MRAP, Sutter has 1, Sacramento has 2. Yolo County does not have any other than the one in Davis. The one Yolo County has in use is an armored vehicle that is not a MRAP.

      Do we know whether a MRAP was used?

    3. South of Davis

      Anon wrote:

      > citizens who oppose the MRAP have no problem with borrowing one from
      > another community when it is needed, as it was in this latest drug raid.

      I did not hear that any shots were fired so I’m pretty sure the cops NEEDED that MRAP as much as they NEEDED a dozen M1A1 Tanks (sure it would have been even “cooler” to roll in to Royal Oak with 12 Tanks, but they didn’t NEED to)…

    1. hpierce

      Probably a viable idea… an initiative to keep/acquire an MRAP… no initiative would be needed, according to David, if the CC sticks with its current posture.

  2. Frankly

    Opponents of the MRAP will be perpetually walking on pins and needles hoping and praying we never encounter any episodes where victims or police were unnecessarily harmed because we lacked the tool as a result of their irrational hypersensitivity and emotional demands that their worldview prevail.

    It almost happened and we are only a few weeks out from the city council’s fateful and not-well-thought-through decision.

    I have my list of known vocal opponents of the MRAP, and I will the first to publish it should that event occur.

    1. Don Shor

      I have my list of known vocal opponents of the MRAP, and I will the first to publish it should that event occur.

      Always great when people who post anonymously threaten people with repercussions for stating their opinions publicly.

      1. Frankly

        Well I will certainly use my real name when I call out real people.

        But interesting that you comment that this is threatening people with repercussions. From your comment it appears that maybe you would prefer that you and others opposing the MRAP would prefer to never have to face responsibility for potential bad consequences. It is much easier to take a position never having to take responsibility for it… I will give you that.

        1. Don Shor

          that you and others opposing the MRAP

          I never opposed the MRAP, or supported it. I made one comment about it at the time, basically saying that I understood Brett and Rochelle’s position.
          I just oppose you, Anon, Michelle, and others continuing to harp on it. And I oppose you making threats against others, particularly anonymously.

      2. Anon

        I agree with Frankly on this one – that those who opposed the MRAP should be held accountable should a police officer end up injured because this city did not have an MRAP on hand. I don’t think that is an unreasonable position, just as I would expect to be held accountable for being a proponent of the MRAP should the police misuse it.

        1. Davis Progressive

          i find it a curious position because “frankly” is “frankly” because someone objected to his political statements and harmed his business by preventing it from getting a grant from the governor. but frankly has no problem vindictively attempting to harm others. we don’t hold citizens accountable for their political views in a democracy.

          1. Frankly

            Your moral equivalency argument has no equivalency. What happen to my company was an abuse of government power. It is largely unchecked in this state when the Democrat machine is in charge… unless the acts of government threaten some beloved institution of the left.

          2. Frankly

            we don’t hold citizens accountable for their political views in a democracy

            I knew this would cause a stir. I know my friends with left leaning political views like the back of my hand, and they have this fear of making mistakes and being held accountable. But all decisions have consequences (even decisions to do nothing or to stay the same or to return tools). And political pressure from voters in a democracy results in politicians making certain decisions.

            If you were held directly accountable for your views and opinions would you express the same views and opinions?

            This is what is missing in our political activity these days… accountability. It is cheap and lacking of respect for anyone to spout an opinion that he or she is not willing to stand behind and accept responsibility for.

        2. Tia Will

          Anon

          And what do you believe that your “punishment” should be if the police should misuse the MRAP ?
          What do you think would be appropriate compensation from those who supported Sgt. Pike for pepper spraying the students ?
          It is very easy to say that we would “accept responsibility” for an adverse outcome when we know there will be no cost.
          Would I admit publicly that I had been in error should the lack of an MRAP be proven to have caused a casualty…..absolutely….
          that is just a matter of basic honesty, not to be confused with actually paying a cost.

        3. tj

          Anon —

          One part missing in your position is that law enforcement is never held accountable for injuring or killing innocent people, no matter whether they do it on purpose or in error. MRAP’s increase the dangerous outcomes of bad law enforcement actions.

          1. Frankly

            tj. That is complete and utter BS. The police are held accountable for any and all mistakes… where is LT. Pike?

            I find your comment very offensive.

          2. Matt Williams

            tj, you appear to be advocating a double standard. Do you not agree that assault weapons increase the dangerous outcomes of bad citizen actions?

      1. Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald

        Jim Frame and Tia Will,

        I think it’s only fair that we have an alphabetical listing by last name. So that means you will have to allow me (please) to be first on the list for now if we don’t have any substantiating evidence. I’m most certain there are many others who can list their names before mine and after Tia’s and we gladly welcome them!

        Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald
        Jim Frame
        Tia Will

        I would also like to know what equipment was used before the MRAP? What if the MRAP never existed? What would we do? I think it’s important to continue the dialogue and ask “What needs do local law enforcement have? Do they need more officers? Do they need a new non-military truck that works? Do they need more training?” Just because we do not want the MRAP in our community does not mean that we do not support providing training and equipment to our local law enforcement. If the federal government were not giving away old military equipment what would local law enforcement do? What would their needs be? That is the discussion that we need to have. Kudos to the DPD for keeping us safe in our community!!! Thank you!

        1. Edgar Wai

          “I would also like to know what equipment was used before the MRAP? What if the MRAP never existed? What would we do?”

          To transport the SWAT members to the scene, the converted ambulance (swambulance) was used. To approach the suspect there was no equivalent equipment. Officers take cover behind cars, trees, corner of houses that happen to be on scene. Other agencies with more budget would buy the BearCat. Our police already reported that they would have gotten a vehicle like BearCat if cost was not an issue.

          The Peacekeeper (that Woodland has) is an older version armored vehicle that does not block high-power rifles.

          “Just because we do not want the MRAP in our community does not mean that we do not support providing training and equipment to our local law enforcement.”

          Expressing dislike of the MRAP should not short-circuit the decision on returning the MRAP. Dislike may existing without understanding the context and alternatives. The decision to return the MRAP should be made after the alternative is identified.

          Since the alternative to get a BearCat was already disclosed, the default solution is for the City to get a BearCat for the DPD. That would be a solution that the DPD cannot refuse (in their narrative, the BearCat was their first choice if they could afford it).

          The proposed time limit to find an alternative solution was not assigned to the correct stakeholder. The time limit should be proposed by the DPD, and assigned to the opposition of the MRAP.

          Since no one had yet defined how responsibility can be taken if someone dies, the name list that has been mentioned by Frankly should actually be a list of sponsors for the alternative.

          A more correct assignment of the responsibility should be something like this: “In 60 days, the opposition should buy the BearCat for the DPD, unless the opposition come up with an alternative solution.”

          To keep the post short, I hope it is obvious that the purpose of assigning responsibilities correctly is not for blaming, but to assign cost to whoever that is due to solve a problem in a fair way.

          The transfer of responsibility was immediate ethical consequence that came with the decision to return the MRAP. That responsibility is not something that is triggered only if someone dies. There is already a responsibility placed on the opposition the moment the decision was made.

          If something happens and someone dies due to this decision, there will be a hook we have not defined how to resolve. But at this very moment, there is already a hook the same set of people is taking.

          If a BearCat is $250000, and 90% of the 66K people in Davis oppose the MRAP, the default solution to buy a BearCat for the DPD would just cost $4.20 per person who oppose.

          1. Don Shor

            To keep the post short, I hope it is obvious that the purpose of assigning responsibilities correctly is not for blaming, but to assign cost to whoever that is due to solve a problem in a fair way.

            That isn’t how it works in a representative democracy.

          2. Edgar Wai

            Re: Don

            I understand that is not how representative democracy works. That is one of the systemic shortcoming of representative democracy. It is incorrect to think that representative democracy is perfect. When a system has flaw, the ethical way to proceed is to work with it, and do additional, voluntary compensation to overcome its shortcomings. The unethical way to proceed is to exploit its shortcomings to effect changes.

            Technicality: Given that the DPD already talked about wanting to buy something like a BearCat, a more systemic (and ethical) protocol to return the MRAP would be like this:

            1. Opposition suggests buying a BearCat within 60 days if no alternative solution is found.
            2. Opposition gathers sponsors of the necessary fund of ~$250K. Each person may contribute more or less. Supporter of the MRAP may also contribute.
            3. When the fund is covered, opposition proposes to buy the BearCat within 60 days if no alternative is found. At this point, the DPD has no reason to object the solution.

          3. Don Shor

            This is the second time in a discussion with you that you have informed me that my logic is unethical. That last time you did that, I decided that there was little point in continuing to discuss things with you. I hope you understand how I might come to that conclusion.

            We support candidates, and elect and pay our representatives to make decisions, including fiscal ones. That is perfectly ethical, and if we disagree with them we seek to replace them with others. It is not exploiting the shortcomings of democracy to seek to effect certain outcomes which are then paid for collectively. We pay for many things collectively with which we might, as individuals, disagree.

            It is simply not possible to run a government at any level by having people pay just for the things they want, and having people pay in proportion to their advocacy. We have agreed, in a representative democracy, to accept outcomes that we don’t prefer, and to pay for those outcomes, and to seek to make changes at the ballot box.
            That’s why I say that your proposal is not how we do things in a representative democracy.

          4. Edgar Wai

            I was considering dropping the word “ethical” and “unethical” but you are also using that word. What is your definition of “ethical”? Do you see any difference between what is “legal”, what is “ethical”, and what is “moral”?

            If you want us to drop that term, what term do you use to describe something that is legal but wrong or bad for society? And how would you determine when something legal is bad for society?

            “It is simply not possible to run a government at any level by having people pay just for the things they want, and having people pay in proportion to their advocacy.”

            The word “just” is a problematic word in this statement that needs clarification. In the type of government I was describing, people don’t only pay for what they want. They are still responsible to pay for the damages they cause.

            Why do you think it is impossible for a government to assign responsibility and cost to exactly the people who those responsibility is due? I believe that is the purpose of a justice system and having the law.

    2. Tia Will

      Frankly

      ” Opponents of the MRAP will be perpetually walking on pins and needles hoping and praying we never encounter any episodes where victims or police were unnecessarily harmed because we lacked the tool as a result of their irrational hypersensitivity and emotional demands that their worldview prevail.”

      You have this about one third right. As an opponent of the MRAP ( at least without substantiating evidence) I can honestly say that I will be hoping ( I do not pray) that we never encounter any episodes where victims or police are harmed ( regardless of the presence or absence of the MRAP) for the simple reason that I hope no one is ever injured. But please believe that my sincere wish for no injuries has zero to do with your threat of a “blacklist” of individuals that you would “call out” should such an event occur. I also think that this is very telling of your attitude and priorities. You seem much more interested in placing blame than in considering effective alternatives.

      1. Frankly

        But you are willing to accept greater than necessary risk of harm only to cover a dislike of symbolism.

        So you will be held accountable for that position.

        For that, I respect you and your right to hold that position.

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          “But you are willing to accept greater than necessary risk of harm only to cover a dislike of symbolism.”

          No one has demonstrated yet that the MRAP decreases the risk of harm in our situation. When someone does so demonstrate, I will be listening eagerly. And, I have never called on “symbolism”. You are misattributing that sentiment. I have mentioned real harm done by real police actions. I do not call that “symbolism”. Just because you haven’t chosen to acknowledge my posts regarding actual harm doesn’t mean that I haven’t made them.

          1. Frankly

            So a devout Catholic demands that condoms are removed from the store display because of the symbolism. And since that Catholic demands that kids stick to abstinence, condoms would be unnecessary.

            I get it.

            You don’t.

          2. Matt Williams

            So a devout Catholic demands that condoms are removed from the store display because of the symbolism. And since that Catholic demands that kids stick to abstinence, condoms would be unnecessary.

            Thought provoking parallel.

            Where it is challenged is that the store is a private business and the customers are spending private money.

          3. Jim Frame

            The condom analogy doesn’t work, as there are no constitutional issues involved in the MRAP decision.

            The CC made a decision within its purview, plain and simple. If a DPD officer feels that he’s being put in unreasonable danger as a result of that decision, he/she can file suit against the city to seek redress. (And good luck with that.) Otherwise, he/she can accept the decision or seek employment elsewhere.

    3. South of Davis

      Frankly wrote:

      > Opponents of the MRAP will be perpetually walking on pins and needles hoping and
      > praying we never encounter any episodes where victims or police were unnecessarily
      > harmed because we lacked the tool as a result of their irrational hypersensitivity and
      > emotional demands that their worldview prevail. T-90 is a Russian third-generation
      > main battle tank

      No one has ever called me emotional or hypersensitive (or even kind of sensitive) but I’m not worried at all that we will ever NEED the MRAP just like I’m not worried that Woodland gang members will get a bunch of Russian T90 tanks and we will NEED a dozen real tanks to defend North Davis…

      1. Don Shor

        we will NEED a dozen real tanks to defend North Davis…

        NOW we’re talking. But what if we get invaded by West Sac at the same time? Can we fight a two-front war?

  3. Edgar Wai

    Hello Tia,

    Could you describe what kind of scenario would be sufficient for you to say that a MRAP saved a life? I want to distinguish what kind of situation you would accept and what kind you would reject. The main problem of your demand is that we don’t have a lab setting to duplicate a situation to compare the effect of a MRAP.

    If you don’t want to come up with scenarios, could you judge whether any of the following situation qualifies as saving a life?

    a) A suspect fired at the police. The bullet hit a MRAP at a spot where there is an officer directly behind the armored surface. If the vehicle was less armored, the bullet would have penetrated and inflicted a fatal wound.

    b) A suspect fired at the police. The bullet hit a MRAP at a spot where there is an officer directly behind the armored surface. If the vehicle was less armored, the bullet would have hit the officer but would not cause a fatal wound.

    c) A suspect fired at the police. The bullet hit a MRAP at a spot where there is no officer directly behind the armored surface. However, if the vehicle was less armored, the vehicle might be disabled.

    d) A suspect was firing at the police, fatal wounded one or more people, but stopped firing when the MRAP showed up. The suspect later confessed that he gave up because he knew that his firearms would not penetrate the MRAP.

    e) A suspect was firing at the police, fatal wounded one or more people, but stopped firing when the MRAP showed up. The suspect did not confess why he stopped firing, but there was evidence that he did not run out of ammo.

    f) A suspect was firing at the police, and inflicted non-fatal wounds on one or more people, but stopped firing when the MRAP showed up. The suspect later confessed that he gave up because he knew that his firearms would not penetrate the MRAP.

    g) A suspect was firing at the police, but did not inflict any wound or hit any body armor of the officers. He stopped firing when the MRAP showed up. The suspect later confessed that he gave up because he knew that his firearms would not penetrate the MRAP.

  4. Tia Will

    Edgar

    Thanks for providing your own scenarios.
    I would accept any of : a,b,d,f,and g as evidence that the MRAP actually prevented further harm. c and e leave too much room for speculation about
    causation.

    1. Edgar Wai

      Could you judge scenario H below:

      h) A suspect is threatening to kill a hostage. SWAT is on scene but the suspect barricades himself and the hostage in response. The suspect surrenders when an MRAP shows up. The suspect confesses that he gave up because he saw the MRAP.

      1. Tia Will

        Edgar

        If we are going to speculate this elaborately how about this counter speculation.
        A suspect has threatened to kill a hostage. There is an ongoing verbal negotiation in progress. Someone amongst the authorities becomes concerned that it is going on too long and orders in the MRAP. The hostage taker appropriately considers this as escalation on the part of the police, feels betrayed in the negotiation process and kills both the hostage and himself. We could speculate back and forth with stories from both sides forever.
        To me this only illustrates the futility of speculation….and the need for real world evidence rather than speculation.

        1. Edgar Wai

          In your scenario (if I label it scenario (i)), my judgement is that it serves as an example where the MRAP costs lives.

          The scenarios are not merely speculations. They are incidents that I believe already happened. But to find them I need to know what type of incident to look for that you would accept.

          It is much easier to ask a department: Do you have an incident where an MRAP is fired upon? Where were the officers? Than to ask “Do you have some incidents that would support the MRAP that Tia would accept?” It is easier to ask a department if the requirement is known.

          What is your judgement on (h)?

          1. Tia Will

            Edgar

            I would be in agreement with your solution for opponents to fund the Bearcat with only one stipulation. That every issue be treated the same. That would mean since I am a pacifist, I have no obligation to support our military. Only those who voted in favor of the administration that first got us involved in the wars in Afghanistan and
            Iraq would pay for the military costs of these wars and for all the subsequent expenses including the ongoing retraining and medical care of the veterans of those wars. Would you agree with that ?

          2. Edgar Wai

            On the responsibility of war-fighting costs:

            I agree with the framework although it is important to point out the risk and responsibility of both sides.

            Suppose we were back in 2001 after 9/11, and a question to go to war or not is posed. For simplicity we consider two groups: Pro-war and Anti-war.

            Pro-war believes that if no war is waged, another incident would occur in the US. The Anti-war group would be responsible for the lives of Pro-war people, and damages inflicted to the properties of Pro-war people of future attacks. (The Pro-war people is not being heartless for not caring about possible Anti-war victim, but if they die as a result, that is the consequence of their conviction).

            Anti-war believes waging war is costly and the Pro-war group is responsible for funding the war, and for any properties and lives lost for Anti-war people caused by fighting the way and retaliation of the war effort, and the humanitarian relief/compensation to any collateral damage at the war zone, and to take care of Anti-war veteran. (Again, Anti-war people don’t need to mention what happens to pro-war people, because they are responsible for their own choice.)

            With this, the framework is set. There are some details that can be discuss and clarify before people make their decisions, but I will skip them and summarize to examples:

            1. Suppose Paul is Pro-war. He could exercise his choice by donating to the Pro-war fund, or trying to get enlisted or to serve as humanitarian worker. The Pro-war fund is not a pot just to buy weapons. It is a fund that includes all the liabilities related to war-waging (veteran affairs, etc.)

            2. Suppose Andy is Anti-war. He could exercise his choice by vouching / buying insurance to insure any damage on Pro-war properties damaged if war is not waged. (If the war is waged and there are subsequent terrorist attacks, the terrorists would most likely claim that to be retaliation of the war unless there is evidence that the terrorists were going to do so regardless.)

            I don’t know of a way to address how to take responsibility for imposed life loss. When that happens, the logical way is to for each side to continue to act in a way they believe would reduce their liability on life loss. This means:

            1. If a war is being waged, the Pro-war people has an incentive to protect the Anti-war people from terrorist attacks. That would reduce their liability until they could prove that the terrorist are attacking US regardless whether there is a war.

            2. If a war is not waged, the Anti-war people has an incentive to find a way to pacify the situation and prevent any future attack. Any future attack causing life loss will most likely be on their tap, and they would have no way of taking responsibility.

            The decision to return the MRAP triggers an effect similar to the second situation. The anti-MRAP people cannot take responsibility for life loss. Therefore, they should be doing something to reduce the chance that that doesn’t happen. The effort to reduce those situation is assigned to the anti-MRAP people, and they are going against the timeline the MRAP would have become serviceable.

          3. Edgar Wai

            On the relation between popularity and responsibility:
            (Continue from the Pro-war vs Anti-war example)

            If 90% of the people are Anti-war, and the target of terrorist attack is more or less random, if the US does not go to war and an attack occurs and kills 1000 people, the Anti-war group has to share the responsibility of 100 lives. That is 100 lives shared by 90% of the population.

            If 10% of the people are Anti-war, and an attack kills 1000 people in the same situation, that 10% need to take responsibility of 900 lives.

            In both cases, the damage inflicted by the attack is the same. But the popularity of a decision would change the per-person cost of the responsibility. It is up to the individuals to decide which group they vouch for. It is possible that, depending on the popularity of a decision, a person cannot afford to make a decision they wanted because he does not have enough peers to share the responsibility.

          4. Edgar Wai

            On MRAP:

            I think this qualifies as a case supporting the expected effect of MRAP:

            The Columbus Dispatch
            “Within the first week or so, we had an incident where a man had fired a firearm, I believe it was a rifle, and his wife had gotten out. But he refused to come out,” Sheriff Dave Phalen said. “We pulled in his driveway, and within minutes he came out. It offered that level of concern to him that he elected to go ahead and surrender.”

            I think this is another account about the same incident:

            The Daily Beast, in a comment on Aug 25:
            “Fairfield County Ohio Sheriffs Dept. received an MRAP this year. First call was for a man who threatened to kill his wife and barricaded himself inside his house with a 30 caliber hunting rifle. SWAT pulled the MRAP up to the house and within five minutes the suspect came out. First words were something like “I saw that thing and figured I better give up”.”

            I do not understand how criminals/offenders think. I see this as an empirical data point where the presence of MRAP de-escalated a situation.

            The police said they needed an armored vehicle to get close to the suspect. Rifles take time to reload. When the police is up-close, the suspect has less reaction time and the angle he needs to swing the gun around to target an officer becomes a problem. The suspect also lose the advantage of distance (that the police could shoot but miss), and having a cover.

            Some accounts of how Peacekeeper and other improvised solution could not stop rifle shots:
            Fox Cities
            ““Some of the high-powered rounds that have been used in incidents in and around the Fox Valley in the last few years probably would have penetrated our Peacekeeper,” Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson said.”

            “Wilkinson recalled a 1994 bank robbery shootout in Pewaukee in which officers used the blade of a snowplow for cover as they approached two heavily armed gunmen, James and Theodore Oswald, in a crashed van. Afterward, police tested the snowplow blade for protection. “The bullets went right through,” Wilkinson said. “It looked good and it felt good, but it really wasn’t good protection.””

            “Closer to home, the Neenah SWAT team bailed out of the Peacekeeper and jumped behind a concrete wall during a standoff on U.S. 41 last August because of concerns the truck didn’t offer adequate protection from possible police sniper crossfire.”

  5. tj

    Frankly —

    Are you involved in some area of law enforcement?
    Or, why would you be “very offended” when it’s pointed out that law enforcement isn’t held accountable?

    “Where’s Lt. Pike?” — He’s not in prison where anyone else doing what he did would be.

    1. Frankly

      Prison? You think that is appropriate punishment? Now I understand a bit more about you.

      No, I’m not in law enforcement. Have family that have been in law enforcement and are in law enforcement. Have friends in law enforcement. I like and respect law enforcement a lot more than I do illegal protestors and criminals. I enjoy complete perspective for the good life I have and others have not having to worry so much about becoming a victim of crime thanks to our heros in blue. Do they make mistakes? Yes.. but many fewer than the average screwed-up, mistake-prone human they are sworn to protect.

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

        “I like and respect law enforcement a lot more than I do illegal protestors and criminals.”

        I think that this sentence quite dramatically demonstrates a major difference in our ways of seeing the world. I prefer to judge each individual separately and independently based on their own actions. You, at least in this post, make the case for judging people on the basis of some arbitrary classification system. Police = good. Protestors and criminals = less good.
        Staying close to the posts at hand, on the basis of his own actions, Sgt.Pike broke the law. In technical terms, this makes him a criminal ( one who breaks the law). Now because you have defined police as a favored category of yours, you maintain that he should not be treated like other criminals. You also defended the police officer in the pizza parlor brawl as somehow being specially entitled in that circumstance instead of being treated like any other law breaker.
        Where we seem to differ is that once an individual ( police employee or not )has broken a law, I believe that they should be subject to exactly the same treatment as any other individual breaking that law. Your post would seem to indicate that you believe that they should be given special treatment.

  6. Antoinnette

    I must say I disagree with this majority.

    Why? because we are implying that a police officers life isn’t important enough to safely secure them?

    I am sorry but the very men and women who risk their lives for “Davis,” to be one of the safest places to live in our county, absolutely deserve to be protected. Yes, we may never need one but how many other things has the city paid for that may have been a waste? Or our own government?

    Every single time these men and women put on that badge to go out and clean up our streets, they risk great danger of it being their last day…. I don’t know about you, but that is pure bravery, one I don’t have… I admire and honor them….just as those serving our country.

    There are a lot of things lurking underneath the surface of this little town…much more than what meets our eye as far as crime goes…but, lucky for us, someone else worries about making sure we are safe…..(YONET….being one of them….)

    I hate to say it, but often times we want to bury our heads in the proverbial sand…wake up Davis….crime is all around us and will probably get worse in the years to come.

    To know that the only vehicle they had actually broke down on scene is more than embarrassing…but thank goodness it did not turn tragic…

    My hope is that we can get a safe one for them to use…to me, there is no price tag on peace and safety…

    I don’t believe law enforcement want them just to ride in a parade….trust me…

    Sure I will get thrown under the bus for this one…I can take it…it is just an opinion…

    1. Tia Will

      Antoinette

      I would agree with you if there were any demonstrated proof that this would make them safer. There has not been any presented. If you feel that they are taking their life in their hands every time they take to the streets, then would they not be made safer by taking the MRAP out on their regular patrols ? And yet Chief Black says that it would “rarely” be needed. I would love to see some real fact based evidence that owning our own MRAP would make anyone safer. Please do not forget that this has an expense to it to maintain and train officers to use that might better be spent on training and methods that have been proven to provide safety in communities such as ours. I am surprised at the number of very thoughtful people who are willing to accept on face value that this will add to the safety of our police and community.

      1. Antoinnette

        Give it time….sure we are going to learn a whole lot more than we want to….If we can’t afford one here, it would sure be nice to know there is a “working, ” one available…

        But I understand your point…well taken.

        At least we aren’t debating over my grammar….lol

    2. Biddlin

      “I am sorry but the very men and women who risk their lives for “Davis,” to be one of the safest places to live in our county, absolutely deserve to be protected.”

      Then armour the taxicabs and get vests for all-night convenience store workers, because they are at 8 to 10 times the risk of being murdered on the job as police officers. Your police are safer than the folks who prune your trees and connect your electric service.
      ;>)/

      1. Antoinnette

        You may be right….but if God forbid something happen and you need an officer to protect you, save your life…will you call a taxi? a convenient store worker, or a tree pruner?

        Just saying…lol

        1. Biddlin

          In 62 years, I have never been helped by the police. I have been aided by line workers and cabbies on a number of occasions. On one incident that I needed police for service, I had to track down and swear out a warrant against two assailants, even though police were present at the scene of the crime, saw the assault and recovered my property in the possession of one of the miscreants. One cop actually said to me, “You look big enough to handle this yourself.” Later, both cops perjured themselves on the stand, I’m guessing because they were out of their patrol sector on an unauthorised code seven. Since then, I’ve taken the one cop’s advice and taken care of it myself. Just saying…lol.
          ;>)/

  7. Tia Will

    Frankly

    “If you were held directly accountable for your views and opinions would you express the same views and opinions?”

    Absolutely. Would you ?
    Let’s see how well this belief stands up under some real world circumstances.
    1.You do not believe in the right to universal health care. Someone dies prematurely because they did not have access to life saving care. What responsibility do you have for their death ?
    2. The Catholic church at many of their hospitals will not allow termination of pregnancy even to save the life of the mother. This policy has resulted in many women’s deaths. How many priests are in prison for having caused these deaths ?
    How many of these hospital administrators are in prison ?
    3. Legislators are passing laws which limit the ability of women to get abortions. How many of these legislators will be forced to provide care for these children ?

    If by accountability you mean to issue a statement that I was wrong, I am completely up for that and would have no qualms about it whatsoever. I am human, and as such capable of error. If you mean should I be penalized legally or financially…..only when you, and all of the above are also treated the same way.

  8. tribeUSA

    I agree with Tia’s evidence-based evaluation of need for the most part, and meanwhile am unsure about but leaning against MRAP acquisition. Perhaps a better use of limited resources (dollars) is to make sure we keep up on smart police/detective work. Kudos to local/regional law enforcement for their excellent work on the trailor park raid, which they executed without any shooting battle or MRAP. I’m a bit concerned with resources going toward heavy-duty equipment such as MRAP; not only do resources but attention and ways of thinking/planning strategy and tactics in scenarios like that of the trailor park might shift in the direction from smart police work to more of a brute force approach. I concede I may be wrong, however…just hope bayonets and grenade launchers aren’t also on the way to Davis PD!

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          So on Thursday, we ran a story about a raid, no mention of MRAP.

          However at 9:30 am, Frankly posts, ” That MRAP would sure come in handy about that time.”

          At 10:15, you posted, “Funny, but seeing all those high powered weapons in our community I think is an example of why we DO need an MRAP.” From then on, the conversation shifted to MRAP.

          I never mentioned MRAP in that article, but learned from two councilmembers later that day that they were being intensely lobbied based on the raid. I heard it first hand later that night from Lt. Phan.

  9. Tia Will

    BP

    In my opinion, this is not just David unilaterally keeping a topic alive.

    The Vanguard readership includes a very broad range of difference in preference for discussing, and re discussing certain topics. From some posters who take a very black and white view of the world, we get statements such as “It’s as simple as that” or ” and that’s all there is to it” where for those who see more nuances, a complex topic may keep manifesting in different ways worthy of discussion. While this is doubtless frustrating for those who see the topic as settled, others may see ongoing coverage as desirable.
    David gets requests for articles from many different sources including the two extremes above, and everyone in between. Some people may be requesting updates.
    At other times, there may be developments in the story that not all are aware of. In still other cases, a post on a previous article may indicate the need for more or updated information.

  10. Alan Miller

    ” Opponents of the MRAP will be perpetually walking on pins and needles hoping and praying we never encounter any episodes where victims or police were unnecessarily harmed because we lacked the tool as a result of their irrational hypersensitivity and emotional demands that their worldview prevail.”

    Actually my thing is transportation. So I will say:

    “Proponents of the so-called Yolo Rail Relocation are hoping and praying that in the time it takes to build out this boondoggle that bicyclists and pedestrians aren’t killed making their way from Wildhorse and The Cannery on Covell Blvd and F Streets instead of the Donner to Faro connector over the railroad tracks and under Pole Line that was never built because people kept saying it wasn’t necessary because the rails would be moved someday.”

    So what I am saying is your argument is self serving by your own perspective as to what is an important issue. If you can punish the opponents of the MRAP if a cop is killed someday because maybe the MRAP could have protected them from gunfire, then I can say that anyone in favor of the so-called Yolo rail relocation are responsible if a bicyclist heading from the NE of Davis to N Davis is killed because the Faro overcrossing wasn’t built.

    Eat Cake.

  11. Anon

    Davis is not the “safe” little town everyone thinks it is. If you don’t believe me, just ask any Davis police officer. Gang activity is not absent from Davis. I cannot believe the number of people who just want to put their heads in the sand, and refuse to believe what is going on. A couple of years ago I was walking at night, and passed a car just up the street, with four guys in it smoking crack. As soon as they saw me, they sped off. I live in West Davis. Gang graffiti frequently crops up around here. Chief Black showed everyone the high-powered weapons that are being confiscated from criminals here in Davis. And yet over and over comments are made how “safe” Davis is, our police officers don’t need an MRAP for protection. Geeeze!

    1. Davis Progressive

      “Davis is not the “safe” little town everyone thinks it is. If you don’t believe me, just ask any Davis police officer. ”

      davis may not be the safe little town that some people think, but davis statistically speaking is safer than most. asking a davis police officer is not a very objective means to measure safety. first, davis police officers have vested reasons to push the latter. second, davis police officers see the worst aspects of the community on a regular basis and likely on that basis overstate the risks. as one of my friends in law enforcement used to say, if you have the job of investigating cadillac converter theft, you’re going to think it’s a much larger problem than it actually is.
      our officers don’t need an mrap for protection, they have plenty of tools and resources.

      1. Anon

        “our officers don’t need an mrap for protection, they have plenty of tools and resources”

        How would you know what officers need? You are not out there putting your life on the line on a daily basis dealing with the crime in Davis.

        1. Alan Miller

          Personally I am very safe. I live in a gated community, inside a plastic bubble, with a meteor shield over my house. I have other people get food for me; I pay them a special fee to venture out from under the meteor shield. Or I get pizza delivery.

      2. tribeUSA

        I’d like to steal your idea for a ‘cadillac converter’, as I’ve got an old Caddy that has a hard time passing the emissions (air pollution) test required for registration renewal.

    2. Tia Will

      Anon

      Who do you believe is saying that the MRAP is not needed because we “are a safe little town” ? I have not heard this argument used except by those who favor the MRAP and are trying to put words in the mouths of those of us who would not support it without factual evidence of necessity and cost effectiveness. I know that there are dangers involved in living in Davis….probably more so than living in say
      a gated community…….probably less so than living in South Central.
      I am not denying danger, and do not see anyone else doing so either.
      What I am asking for is clear evidence that the MRAP or for that matter any armored vehicle is the most cost effective way to mitigate that danger. So far no one, not the police, nor anyone who spoke before city council, nor anyone on this blog, nor in the letters or commentary in the Enterprise that I have seen overtime has presented any such evidence. I am waiting.

  12. Tia Will

    Anon

    There are many people who put their own lives at risk for the welfare of others.
    A good current example is the health care workers who have volunteered to work in the Ebola “hot zone”. These people are clearly putting their own lives on the line. They are being issued time tested PPE ( personal protective equipment) demonstrated to be effective in the protection of workers exposed to the Ebola virus. They are not demanding nor are they receiving the same kind of gear that is used to protect against viruses that are transmitted by other means such as airborne particles even though they may be exposed to some of those as well at some time. They are being protected in the way that has been demonstrated most effective for the kinds of problems they are likely to encounter. Since you place much confidence in the assessment of Chief Black, please consider all of what he had to say. He stated the need for the MRAP would be anticipated to be rare. He was not proposing that it be used in any potentially harmful situation to the police but only in the rarest of circumstances. He provided no actual examples of this ever having happened within Davis. Now some may say that we now have one example. I say that we have no evidence that the MRAP made any difference to the success of the operation at all. Again, until we have evidence that this is the best possible way to protect our officers, I believe that there may be better means of meeting the same level of protection by not diverting resources from proven techniques. This does not mean that I care less than you do, or that I am ignorant, it simply means that I, probably due to the demands of my career, am more evidence based than you are in my reasoning.

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