Leon Lott's Big Toy


When I first read that Richland County, South Carolina Sheriff Leon Lott was planning to pursue charges against Michael Phelps, I thought the sheriff's name looked familiar.

Then I remembered, I wrote about him in the Citings section of our December issue.

In March the sheriff and SWAT team of Richland County, South Carolina, posedfor a photo with an impressive new piece of equipment: an M113A1 armored personnel carrier. The vehicle, which moves on tank-like tracks, features a belt-fed, turreted machine gun that fires .50-caliber rounds.

The sheriff, Leon Lott, obtained the $300,000 vehicle through the 1033 program, named for a 1997 federal law streamlining the Defense Department's transfer of surplus military equipment to local police departments…

Charles Earl Barnett, a U.S. Marines veteran and retired police major who has served on several United Nations and NATO military and peacekeeping missions, says a .50-caliber machine gun is "completely inappropriate" for domestic police work. It "causes mass death and destruction," Barnett says. "It's indiscriminate. I can't think of a possible scenario where it would be appropriate."

Sheriff Lott has named his new acquisition The Peacemaker, explaining in a press release that the name is fitting because "the bible refers to law enforcement in Matthew 5:9 'Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.' "

Let's just hope God helps the next kid who lights up at a University of South Carolina frat party.