How Tan Was My MRAP

The law enforcement of our country should be protect and serve, not acquire and conquer

Andrew Donaldson


USMC Photo by Cpl. Katherine M. Solano [Public domain]

The difference between a lie and something that is presented as a justification/reason/excuse/exaggeration is mostly in the ability of the recipient to discern the difference.

Anytime anyone in a governmental position utters the phrase “at no cost” it is time to get to discerning.

When a government official is proclaiming their brand new, half-a-million dollar, 32K pound, desert painted, military surplus Force Protection Cougar H vehicle, you are about to be taken for a ride.

Timing is everything. The small city of Moundsville, on the edge of West Virginia, found itself thrust into the national conversation on policing thanks to what would normally be an innocuous local news story:

Moundsville, West Virginia, population eight thousand odd and falling, is tucked up against the Ohio River south of the Wheeling area of West Virginia. Its police force of around 20 protect a city formerly famous for its preserved and namesake Native American burial mounds and as the location of the West Virginia State Penitentiary. Now known for its burial mounds and the tourist attraction of the decommissioned West Virginia State Penitentiary. Like most of the area, Moundsville is struggling with economic hard times and a declining population. What is increasing, though, is the police fleet of vehicles.

Here comes that phrase we were talking about, watch for it:

The Moundsville Police Department unveiled a “tactical resource vehicle” they obtained from the military at no cost as part of a federal government program on Thursday.

The vehicle is a 2019 Cougar mine resistance ambush protection vehicle, or MRAP, and was obtained under a federal program that makes surplus equipment available to states and cities, according, to Moundsville Police Chief Tom Mitchell. This particular piece of equipment was initially purchased by the



Andrew Donaldson

Writer. Mountaineer diaspora. Veteran. Managing Editor @ordinarytimemag on culture & politics, food writing @yonderandhome, Host @heardtellshow & other media