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Why Is Social Security Stockpiling Bullets?


Granny, get your gun? The Internet rumor mill has been buzzing in full force after the Social Security Administration posted notice of a recent  ammunition purchase. Why would the agency responsible for pension and disability benefits  need 174,000 hollow-point bullets?

Don't worry: The SSA isn't readying a militia. It is not - as the website suggested - preparing for "civil unrest," nor hatching plans to turn on America's senior citizenry. The bullets, it turns out, are for agents who investigate Social Security fraud. In  a blog post, the agency noted:

Our investigators are similar to your State or local police officers. They use traditional investigative techniques, and they are armed when on official duty.

According to Jonathan L. Lasher of the SSA's inspector general office, these agents make arrests, execute search warrants and carry .357 caliber  pistols. Most of the bullets - about 590 per agent for the upcoming fiscal year - will be used on the firing range.

>> Taking Social Security at 63 or 66? Join the Discussion

Six hundred rounds per year for training, qualification and I would assume to carry on duty is not out of line at all," said John W. Worden, director of the University of Missouri's Law Enforcement Training Institute. "Hollow points are carried by law enforcement all over the country and are probably the preferred type of ammo no matter what caliber."

Because they expand when they enter the body, hollow-point bullets are known to cause more tissue damage than other bullets. But hollow-points are preferred for duty ammunition because they stop when they hit an object instead of passing through it and striking more objects.

Wednesday Quick Hits:

- Marathons safe for older adults. A recent study of marathon participants over age 50 found they showed temporary heart effects similar to younger runners (aged 18 to 40). "There was no evidence of permanent heart damage from repeated marathon running in individuals over the age of 50," said lead study author Davinder Jassa.

- U.S. gaining low-wage jobs. The good news, I guess, is that we are gaining jobs. The bad news is that low-wage job creation is outpacing higher-wage occupations by nearly three to one. According to a new report from the National Employment Law Project, the majority of jobs being created pay $13.83 per hour or less.

Photo: iStockphoto

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