We all know about the dreadful ammo shortage that has plagued the country for the last nine months. Less well-known is the reason for this – sure, a lot of people bought extra ammo after last December’s school shooting in CT, fearing new government restrictions, but the biggest reason for the continuing ammo shortage seems to be massive buying by the federal government.
You may have read about the billions of rounds of ammo being purchased by the Department of Homeland Security, who are buying more ammo than the US Army – and whereas the Army is fighting wars overseas, the DHS has no apparent reason for using ammo at all, other than training.
It is easy to shrug this off as just government overspending – a sad but far from uncommon event. But then, once in a while, something comes along that makes you stop and wonder. Here’s one such example.
The Transportation Security Administration has published a tender for the supply of 3.454 million rounds of .357 SIG pistol ammunition. On the face of it, there’s nothing astonishing about that. But – stop and think about it some more, and you’ll end up scratching your head until it bleeds, trying to understand why the TSA needs such a large supply of ammo.
The thing is this. You’ve all seen TSA employees – they’re the people manning the screening stations in airports. The TSA is a relatively new government department, formed as part of the knee-jerk panic responses after 9/11/2001, under the assumption that a government department could provide better airport security than could private contractors. The main feature of ‘better’ seems to be ‘more hassle’ rather than ‘more secure’, alas, and the events of 9/11 were not a result of any security failure. It was legal to take box-cutters on planes; the problem was not the box-cutters as such, but rather our ridiculous policy of cooperating and complying with hijacker demands that caused the problems of that day.
Anyway, here’s the thing. Almost every one of the 55,000 TSA employees has no law enforcement powers, can not arrest people, and do not carry guns. Sure, they like to dress up in fancy new semi-police style uniforms, and they wear police style badges, but they are not sworn peace officers.
Which brings us to our question. What does the TSA need with 3.454 million rounds of .357 SIG pistol ammo, when its employees are not armed?
Can anyone answer that? In what new way can we expect ‘our government to be here to help us’?