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Texas Parks and Wildlife Now Has a SWAT Team

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The man in the photo to the left isn't a Ranger in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. He's a Texas game warden, kitted out to check your deer tags or lead a paramilitary, kick-the-door-in assault on your tent. The militarization of every possible law enforcement entity in America is complete: Texas Parks and Wildlife now has a SWAT team.

The 25-man unit can deploy anywhere in the state within four hours, TPWD boasts, and is modeled after what military types call a "force multiplier," which basically means that these guys can shoot a bunch of bullets. At what, you ask? In this Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine story, they list potential missions like "border operations, dignitary protection or any sort of high-risk law enforcement, such as serving felony arrest warrants or hostage situations.

Stuff can get real down in the dusty arroyos of Big Bend Ranch State Park. Hell, a Mexican man on a burro might try to sell you a carved statuette. In fairness, a game warden's average suspect is usually carrying a high-powered rifle. But something tells me some of these guys couldn't wait to shuck those slacks and Stetsons and put on a fresh pair of BDU pants and a Kevlar helmet.

"We're steeped in tradition and very mindful of our past," said special ops chief Grahame Jones. "It's an important part of who we are, but we have to look to the future."

And the future is a camo AR. Now, if Texas truly intends to secede, it's got its own military force ready and waiting. We've even got a Navy! TPWD has 564 vessels, including a 65-foot gulf patrol ship, and gunboats mounted with .30 cal machine guns.

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