At least hundreds of commuters were stranded on Virginia's I-95 thoroughfare for more than a day after devastating winter storms and automobile accidents brought traffic to a standstill.
Riders were left without food, water, or medication before the interstate was finally cleared on Tuesday night.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia was among the commuters trapped in the below-freezing temperatures, with his 90 minute drive to D.C. taking more than 27 hours.
Undoubtedly, people of all political stripes were affected by the chaos, but the conservative Fox News network's Dana Perino leapt to blame Democrats, making a questionable claim in the process.
Dana Perino says the I-95 traffic jam happened because the left won't let cops have "military-grade equipment" pic.twitter.com/NTkeTsmPig
— Kumars Salehi (@KumarsSalehi) January 4, 2022
"I talked to a state legislator there in Virginia and he pointed out to me that, in the last several years, many on the left made a decision that local sheriffs should not be allowed to have military-grade equipment. Because they said that that was a bad symbol and that it was too militaristic and authoritarian. But imagine if they were still allowed to have the equipment that they had just a few years ago, it probably would've come in very helpful today."
In 1997, the Clinton Administration implemented the 1033 Federal Excess Property Program, which allowed municipal law enforcement to apply for outdated military gear that would then be transferred to them from the Department of Defense. Billions of dollars' worth of equipment has since been delivered, endowing police with things like armored vehicles and even grenade launchers, though this increased militarization has not kept police safer, nor has it lessened crime. So, yes, it's true that, across the country, Democrats have spoken out against this increasing militarization in recent years.
What isn't clear is why Perino thinks this equipment would've been useful in clearing hundreds of stranded vehicles on an interstate amid wreckage and below-freezing temperatures.
Did she expect them to bomb the snow?
Hear me out: bomb the snow https://t.co/ajQYUDQIag
— Jessica Huseman (@JessicaHuseman) January 5, 2022
gonna tactically shoot the ice off the road https://t.co/vDtjvbKUNz
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) January 5, 2022
If only the local police had javelins, there would not have been a traffic jam. https://t.co/KWlleQgLxS
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) January 5, 2022
Obviously what's needed here is to bomb the snow. https://t.co/Hj4MY8pI4p
— The Call is Coming from Inside the Nash (@Nash076) January 5, 2022
Out: The War on Christmas
In: The War on Winter
None of this would have happened if cops had tank-plows and snow-nukes. https://t.co/neoACC0yWO
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@TheRealHoarse) January 5, 2022
Some pointed out that the solution to prevent such a disaster from happening again is revitalized infrastructure—much like the initiative Biden and congressional Democrats have partially passed, which Fox hosts like Perino have vocally opposed.
Having an adequate response to this kind of situation is part of a strong infrastructure. We don’t have it because Republicans would rather give Elon Musk and the Kochs more tax breaks than invest invest in roads. https://t.co/jsB9adVfwk
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 LiB (@HappyBitchFace) January 5, 2022
Military grade weapons. No one wanted them to have weapons. Besides, clearing snow is infrastructure not police. Police dont salt the streets https://t.co/0JSq0n8BBy
— stauntilus (@stauntilus_c) January 5, 2022
One of the stupidest statements I have heard today....instead of arguing for better infrastructure that doesn't require everyone to drive everywhere...this moronic individual thinks the solution is to militarize the police even more.... https://t.co/VnsC7Obtj8
— Pierre B (@Supermario289) January 5, 2022
And though Perino decried the supposed demilitarization of Virginia's police forces in recent years, military gear transfers to Virginia law enforcement more than doubled in 2019.