Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sultans of Swat

In regards to "natural" or "inalienable" rights, there is a very disturbing trend of the increasing use of swat teams across the country even against non-violent offenders of civil laws or agency regulations.

The main point is that these raids are becoming routine especially against non-violent offenders such as participants in food co-ops and that recent one in California for the suspected fraud on student loans. Why on earth would anyone authorize use of a swat team for something like that?   That is the question everyone should be asking our elected officials.

John Whitehead sums it up nicely in SWAT Team Mania: The War Against the American Citizen at the Rutherford Institute.  (h/t to Publius Huldah for the link who also has an interesting post about Cut, Cap, and Balance at that link which is worth a read)

I’d been following Balko off and on for about eight years since he was writing about the then proposed DC smoking ban.  I've been especially intrigued in his reporting on the escalating use of swat teams.  He recently posted two videos here showing two encounters of police with gun owners.

No citizen should ever be treated the way the officer did in the second video. It doesn’t matter if that woman was a prostitute, that cop had no right to treat her like dirt. A simple “move along and don’t let me catch you out here soliciting” would have sufficed. Both the cops in the second video need to be fired for flagrant violations of procedures, or at least assigned a desk job away from all the “idiots” out there, as they call them, considering the second one was just as much at fault in this situation for crawling around inside the car from the passenger side without ever securing the driver first. The video really didn’t show if he had gotten permission to search or I missed it if it did.

One 69 year old man was killed just last month by a swat raid, not far from my house, for allegedly distributing prescription drugs.   The found a few empty vials in his house and one with a few pills left and, of course, guns.  According to the article, friends said Cooper used a cane, suffered from knee and back pain, and took a lot of pain medicine.  Of course this whole raid was planned on information from the ubiquitous "confidential informant".  A followup article is here.

As John Whitehead pointed out with the earlier tragedy of Jose Guerena in Arizona, gun owners are especially vulnerable to sparking violence in defense of their homes and their families. Can that be the objective to achieve a specific end?  Could they be purposefully increasing swat raids to create more such incidents to provide justification to legislate taking our right to bear arms away?

Off on a tangent here, but Robert Perske also has some interesting stuff about how police interrogations of those with intellectual disabilities can often lead to false convictions.   It’s equally disturbing, but it's not really so much of a tangent.  If they're locking up innocent people too intellectually weak to defend themselves against the system to clear their books of open cases of violent crimes, what does that do for society when the real purpetrators are still wandering around free?

It's like predators culling the herd of the young and weak while conditioning the rest of us to think that we’re too strong or law-abiding to get caught up in it — that is until your guard is down. Then they come for our guns.  Think about it.

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