Iron Minivan's power is in its laugh potential

April 18, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND

I am very happy that the Washington County Commissioners now have at their disposal a $200,000 armored car. I think we ought to put it to good use. We should send it to Iraq. With the commissioners in it.

Yes, we are now the proud owners of a Lenco BearCat armored rescue vehicle, which is at our disposal to use in all those terrorist situations which to date have never happened.

This Iron Minivan comes to us, like I need to tell you this, courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security, and to be exact, it cost $201,282. I hope that included floor mats.

If you do nothing else today, you MUST get online and see a full picture of the Lenco BearCat, although I defy you to do so without breaking down in fits of wild laughter. It looks exactly like a cross between a Brinks truck and that converted motor home EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle that Bill Murray commandeered in the movie "Stripes."


The Iron Minivan is like a combination of the Monitor and the Merrimack, but with less styling. I guarantee the enemy will be powerless in its face, mainly because they will be laughing so hard they will be unable to shoulder their RPGs.

The Web site tells us that its vehicles are "equipped with blast fragmentation-resistant floors, specially designed gunports, roof hatches with rotating turrets, gun mount platforms, gear storage and much more."

Yee-haw. That'll get the cat out of the tree. All that's left to wonder about is how Washington County was able to survive without the Lenco BearCat until now?

Just blind luck, to hear the state director of Homeland Security tell it. "Public safety and public health is fundamentally what Homeland Security is all about," he said. "The only way we're going to win the war on terror is to empower the local jurisdictions."

Right. I bet the terrorists would have thought twice about flying into the Twin Towers if they'd known that Washington County, Md., was in possession of a Lenco BearCat. (Incidentally, not to pick, but the vehicle needs a number attached to the name. Like the Lenco BearCat-5000. That has something of a ring to it, and would deter terrorists even more, I would think).

So now that we have it, what do we do with it? Give it to the Volunteer Cowboys for calf-roundup detail?

This is why I could never be a police officer. No way in heck could I be trusted with this. For me, the urge to mash the throttle and go exploding into somebody's living room at random in a shower of plaster and splintered wood would be more than I could reasonably hope to contain.


"Any terrorists in here? No? Good, let's keep it that way."

You say Franklin Street is a problem? Just give me eight minutes alone in the gun turret, and I'll fix that "war zone." Fix it good.

P-Nigh will be happy to hear that among the suggested uses of the Lenco BearCat is "gang intervention." Gang's sitting there reading the minutes from its previous meeting and this puppy comes to the party, it's gonna be MS-Pancake.

Also on the to-do list is "high-risk surveillance."

I don't know about that one. It doesn't seem as if being inconspicuous is one of the Iron Minivan's strengths. You'll have terrorists calling each other up: "Yo, Scooter? There is what appears to be a large, armor-plated bird feeder with a gun turret on top parked across the street. You think anything's up?"

Even if we don't get any terrorist attacks, I hope we can at least get some parade action out of it. Get a little recreational amusement for our $200k. I think the children would like it. Aside from that, it might have been nice if Homeland Security could have put the cash toward the new communications system, which we actually need. But, oh well, this is government, after all.

But this reminds me that I've simply got to get me a job selling stuff to the Department of Homeland Security, which obviously has far more jack on hand than it knows what to do with. What to sell them? I don't know, terrorist-proof canned peas or something. The point is, it doesn't matter. Assign "anti-terrorist" to the label and Homeland Security will buy it from you, man.

But I wish that at least the Lenco company had thought to put a little fun into it. You know, let the commissioners ride around in a reinforced truck shaped like one of those wiener mobiles. Now that would be the ultimate Armoured car.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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