It’s well known that surplus military gear re-imported from war zones like Iraq was shipped to municipalities across the country, creating ripe conditions for excessive police force. Now, however, this gear is being shipped to college campuses. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:
At Central Florida, which has an enrollment of nearly 60,000 and a Division I football team, the device [a grenade launcher] was acquired, a police spokeswoman said, for “security and crowd control.” But the university’s police force isn’t the only one to have come upon a grenade launcher. Hinds Community College—located in western Mississippi, with a student population of 11,000—had one too. […]Both institutions received their launchers from the same source: the Department of Defense. At least 117 colleges have acquired equipment from the department through a federal program, known as the 1033 program, that transfers military surplus to law-enforcement agencies across the country, according to records The Chronicle received after filing Freedom of Information requests with state governments (see table of equipment).
Read the whole piece to get a sense of how this equipments is obtained—and used. Advocates for the program claim it helps with things like crowd control, but critics, amazingly, find grenade launchers an odd tool to combat typical campuses crimes like public drunkenness. As if we needed any more evidence, here is clear proof that federal programs have misjudged the best of way to make use of these weapons.