Too Much Power?

Italy decided to put battle dress clad troops on its streets to help maintain law and order just before the summer this year.

Aside from a few soldiers hovering around Milan’s central station, I had yet to see much evidence of the military on the streets here in Milan, until recently.

On our recent trips to the the hospital in which my son is being treated, I have spotted an army Landrover and two solders clad in full battle dress.  The solders were guarding one of Milan’s main synagogues.  Well, one solder was guarding, the other was sitting in the Landrover.

Now, yesterday was the second or third time I had seen these guys.  What struck me was the weapons they were hefting.  Full blown assault rifles – Beretta AR70s I believe.  Indeed, they certainly looked like the rifle in the picture below.

Beretta AR70 rifle

Beretta AR70 rifle

OK, so soldiers often carry assault rifles in war zones.  However these weapons, 5.56mm calibre, are perhaps just a little too powerful for a central urban area.  Specialist police units usually carry 9mm calibre weapons – semi auto pistols and sub machine guns.  This is because 9mm bullets are unlikely to go through walls.  5.56mm calibre ammunition is generally reserved to sharp shooters who do not have a tendency to spray areas with bullets.

All I can hope is that Italy’s street patrolling soldiers never have to shoot.  For if they do, the consequences may well be frightening.  While it is possible that the rifles are loaded with low power ammunition, I doubt it.

When I asked one of the solders what calibre his rifle was, he said he could not tell me.  Orders I guess.  Or perhaps someone is aware that putting such powerful weapons on the streets of Italy is a potential liability, and does not want this to become public knowledge.

A case of too much power possibly?

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  1. says

    Hi Nedekcir,

    I had a look at the Army Times article, and I’m not so sure it’s really martial law. Nor is the situation really so in Italy. Of course, putting troops on the street does make it easier to introduce a gradual form of martial law – which could be happening here.

    If the plans outlined in the Army Times are a foretaste of martial law, then the authorities are covering things much better than in Italy.

    “…an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.”

    This sounds reasonable in view of the level of paranoia which exists with regard to acts of terrorism. And I’m certainly not against hauling in the army to help out with natural disasters and the like.

    However in Italy national disasters have not been mentioned – spiralling crime rates have been. However although crime rates are on the increase, levels of crime in Italy are a mere fraction of the crime rate in certain areas of the US – or so an American friend of mine tells me, and I’ve seen figures to justify this.

    That said, people do perceive an increase in the level of crime in Italy. Even so, sending in the troops is excessive, even if the presence of the army on the streets is very low key -for the moment.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Kind regards,


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