"Like Waking Up On Christmas Morning and Having The Best Present You Ever Had"

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
like waking up on christmas morning and having the best present you ever had

The rural communities surrounding Nashville, TN are quiet, unremarkable places. We know: we’ve been there. But now the city of Gallatin will be confronting its citizens with a $658,000 armored military vehicle that, like many of the young men in this country’s increasingly militarized police forces, has seen serious action.

Overseas, the “MRAP” is the symbol of American power on the move, a bizarrely self-parodying vehicle that attempts to encase its soft-shelled occupants from a world full of people who despise us and who will, increasingly, sacrifice their own lives to take ours. Nothing quite says “Us And Them” like rolling in an MRAP. It was developed for a world where everyone outside its reinforced-steel walls is a subhuman enemy to be killed at will.

So what does it say that four of the cities around Nashville are pleased as punch to take delivery of one?

Gallatin claims that they participate in about fifteen SWAT exercises a year. According to the local police,

“Even the common hunter knows the penetration power of most of the hunting rounds so we didn’t have anything to protect the officers while we’re deploying gas or doing hostage negotiations,”… When you compare it to the customized 1980s military ambulance they have now with ballistic blankets only one side the MRAP is 360-degrees of reinforced protection. It’s almost like they’re going from a horse and buggy to a space ship. Master Patrol Officer James McFadden worked on MRAPs as a military mechanic and now will here at home as well. “It’s so much better just knowing that there’s all this protection in between us and somebody trying to hurt us,” McFadden said while taking us on a ride along Friday.

Again, this isn’t Watts or Chicago or Jo-mother-fuckin-‘hanneburg. (Warning: clicking that link at work will simultaneously expose you to first-class rap and render you COMPLETELY UNEMPLOYED.) It’s Gallatin, Tennessee. Hendersonville, Mufreesboro and Lewisburg are the other towns in the area to take delivery. Your humble author has been all around Murfreesboro. It’s not the best neighborhood in the South but I’ve never felt that I needed to add anti-mine protection to my Town Car. It’s also, apropos of nothing, the home of light-pop songstress Angela Ammons and her production company. (You can watch that video with no risk to anything but your heart, and possibly your musical/aesthetic sense.)

While surely nobody wants the police in this country to be inadequately protected, one has to wonder about what happens when you take young men who have already suffered through America’s foreign adventures, put them in the same kind of truck they used back in Afghanistan, and tell them to patrol the neighborhood and/or respond to a situation. Surely it will do nothing to heal the division between the police and the public they are supposed to serve and protect. One also has to wonder if their opponents on the other side of the blue line, many of whom are perfectly aware from personal experience of what it takes to knock an MRAP out of commission, won’t simply raise the stakes as well. The victim in this proposed Kandahar-level firefight will be the same person who was the victim in Iraq and Afghanistan: the man, woman, and child on the street.

Only this time, the street is right there in Tennessee.

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  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂