Occupy Keene – BEARCAT

Our success at Thursday’s city council meeting here in Keene has made national news, as featured this morning on The Agitator.

Free Staters in Keene, New Hampshire, are pushing back against the town’s proposed plan to buy a Bearcat armored personnel carrier.

Interestingly, LENCO, the company that makes the vehicle, pulled the promotional video below from its website in response to the Keene protests. DHS has given out hundreds of homeland security grants to local police departments across the country to purchase these vehicles.

I am proud to live here amongst the courageous activists and community members who have the courage to stand up and say “Thanks, but no tanks”, and the entire city of Keene should be proud to lead local communities in the fight against police militarization.  However, this is far from over.

Today at 3PM, there is an open community meeting being held at Colony Mill Food Court and all are encouraged to attend.  The issue is slated for the full city council’s vote on the first Thursday in March.  Whether or not the city council will do the right thing remains to be seen, but in the meantime there are steps that we individually and as a community can take to keep Keene BearCat free.

Over the next week, I intend to contact all city council members to initiate a discussion regarding the concerns voiced on Thursday night.  I am also putting together an educational video with former law enforcement officers Brad Jardis, Will Ponce, and Stephen Frakes about their experiences with the worsening militarization of police across America.

I would like to suggest that everyone call and write to their council representatives.  Their information can be found on City of Keene – Who’s Who on Facebook.  I also strongly suggest attending the meeting this afternoon, as well as the city council meeting on Thursday.  The city council needs to know that we are not simply going to go away.

Personally, I intend to do whatever it takes to keep a BearCat out of our peaceful city, up to and including pitching a tent in the middle of central square and occupying until the city gets rid of this monstrosity.  Keene is slated to receive delivery of the BearCat in early summer, so the weather will be perfect for an occupation.

This issue affects the entire community and is something we can all unite behind.  I hope to see each and every one of you at the meetings today and on Thursday, and again I ask you to continue to join me in saying “Thanks, but no tanks!”.


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  1. I just left this comment on Radley's post on The Agitator:

    Just a point of clarification – it’s not only “Free Staters” in the Keene community who are voicing their opposition to the acquisition of an armored vehicle, but many from the area, including local business owners.

    In fact, there’s another strategy meeting happening in 20min to determine how best to collaborate and move-forward.

    The move to keep Keene Bearcat-free was initially led by Mike Clark, a lifelong resident. He collected hundreds of signatures to implore the city council to revisit the issue (since they had signed-off on the grant request, that was submitted to the federal Dept of Homeland Security, without public comment.

    Fast forward to last Thur., when the topic was revisited to allow for public comment. Even the local paper, which usually is a mouthpiece for the police and bureaucrats, admitted that “Most attending the City Council’s finance, organization and personnel committee spoke against getting the grant-funded vehicle.”

    More info, including related videos, the grant request, and more:

    http://freekeene.com/bearcat http://thanksbutnotanks.com

  2. Thanks for all the free publicity. We've had several communities express interest in our products. And an anonymous donor is stepping forward to ensure contract

    payment, just in case the City bails on their commitment…

    All we did was take down a video. But your re-posting of that video, has given that video more views than we could have gotten on our own.

    Ian, you are the BEST PR guy Lenco has!

    How would you like some extra work, Kelly? Maybe pose as the Lenco BearKitten?

    Howard B. Lane, jr., and Edward J. Burke are teaming up to buy a Lenco BearCat S.W.A.T., to go along with the Public Safety vehicle that Keene is already getting…

  3. They might get you for impersonating

  4. Is that really a comment from Lenco? If it is it should be reason enough to fight to get this piece of junk out of our area and the hate filled message it sends to all who find life here a joy. I spoke to a police sargent in Burlington Vermont over the weekend and asked him what he thought about having aBear Cat like vehicle in his college town. His response was basically that if they had one the pressure to use it would be intense and as an FBI study done a few years ago revealed, possession of tactical weapons and resources promotes their un- necessary and un justified use. So Lenco, looking to cash in on the bottomless pile of money of Homeland Security is promoting domestic violence – what cads!

  5. Actually, it almost certainly IS from Lenco, or rather from their PR flack Jim Massery. It's consistent with both his public comments on this mess, and with the level of deep thought and respectfulness to others* shown on his blog. First hit if you Google his name.

    If this is the kind of person Lenco hires to be their public face, then giving them money for it is the last thing anyone should do.

    * (none)


  1. Thanks but no tanks, Keene! - Free Keene - [...] 12th, 2012 Occupy Keene – BEARCAT via [...]

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