Radley Balko frets over “warrior cops”

posted at 11:01 am on July 21, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

I’m not entirely sure what prompted this conversation to crop up again, but Radley Balko took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal this week to express his concerns over The Rise of the Warrior Cop. His tale begins with a review of the story of Matthew David Stewart, a person who wound up in what was certainly a questionable case of police force employed during his arrest on charges of growing marijuana plants in his home. The encounter turned into a shootout where one police officer was killed, several more injured and Stewart himself was shot and injured. Stewart is no longer among the living – he hung himself in his jail cell – but the controversy continues. Balko uses this as a launching point to ask if the police have become too militarized.

The police tactics at issue in the Stewart case are no anomaly. Since the 1960s, in response to a range of perceived threats, law-enforcement agencies across the U.S., at every level of government, have been blurring the line between police officer and soldier. Driven by martial rhetoric and the availability of military-style equipment—from bayonets and M-16 rifles to armored personnel carriers—American police forces have often adopted a mind-set previously reserved for the battlefield. The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the U.S. scene: the warrior cop—armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.

The acronym SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics. Such police units are trained in methods similar to those used by the special forces in the military. They learn to break into homes with battering rams and to use incendiary devices called flashbang grenades, which are designed to blind and deafen anyone nearby. Their usual aim is to “clear” a building—that is, to remove any threats and distractions (including pets) and to subdue the occupants as quickly as possible.

I think most of us are familiar with the concept of SWAT teams which, as Balko notes, have been around since the 1960′s. And I wouldn’t argue that they certainly look military in nature when deployed for duty or training. This, of course, is by design and of necessity, given the missions they are assigned and the dangers they face. The author does give a slight nod to the need for heavily armed first responders in some situations at the close of the article, but also pines for the long gone era of the affable flatfoot walking his beat in Everytown, USA.

SWAT teams have their place, of course, but they should be saved for those relatively rare situations when police-initiated violence is the only hope to prevent the loss of life. They certainly have no place as modern-day vice squads.

Many longtime and retired law-enforcement officers have told me of their worry that the trend toward militarization is too far gone. Those who think there is still a chance at reform tend to embrace the idea of community policing, an approach that depends more on civil society than on brute force.

In this very different view of policing, cops walk beats, interact with citizens and consider themselves part of the neighborhoods they patrol—and therefore have a stake in those communities. It’s all about a baton-twirling “Officer Friendly” rather than a Taser-toting RoboCop.

It’s a lovely sentiment, but I fear there’s a fair bit of reality missing here. This is highlighted in the description of a theory of law enforcement which depends, “more on civil society than on brute force.” The problem here is the distinct lack of “civil” in society which crops up more often than we might care to admit. These types of frightening encounters are not happening solely in situations like massive riots as Balko describes. There was a recent conversation on one of the cable talk festivals dealing with the “hostile” nature of police, particularly as seen in some sort of “stop and frisk” encounter. Police pulling over a vehicle, exiting their squad car and approaching the driver are widely trained to unhook the clasp on their weapon holster, making it easier to access quickly should the need arise. This is apparently viewed as “hostile” by some observers, or at least as an assumption about the driver.

But as with all the other scenarios described in Balko’s article, what are officers supposed to do? Yes, we can hope that the vast majority of traffic stops will be of absent minded or harried drivers who are simply going too fast or failed to realize that their tail light was extinguished. But what of that one in I don’t know how many cases where the driver has a few pounds of heroin in the trunk, an outstanding arrest warrant and a gun? Paranoia leads them to assume that they’ve been found out and they preempt the approaching officer’s intended question about their insurance card with a high caliber blast through the window. It’s a bit late at that point to worry about how “friendly” the officer may have looked while approaching.

The Stewart case described in the article is another case where things not only turned out badly, but could have been even worse. When police are “invading” a home to arrest a suspect and seize contraband, it’s hardly an unreasonable assumption that the suspect may react violently in an attempt to defeat the police and escape. Stewart may have “thought” he was being invaded by other criminals, but it was his choice to grab a gun and start shooting. The result of the police response may have been regrettable, but it was hardly unexpected.

Do we need “kinder and gentler” cops interacting with the community in a friendly fashion? It is certainly to the benefit of the police to be in good standing with a cooperative community and to know the people they protect and serve, but they also deserve a fighting chance when the situation suddenly turns violent and ugly. The rise of “warrior cops” may not be what everyone would hope for, but I don’t see any realistic alternatives.


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People are decrying raids on Bob the Nonviolent Pot Grower, forgetting that Bob sells his product to be distributed by the likes of MS-13.

Sekhmet on July 21, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Exactly. It’s the same thing that will happen if hardcore liberaltarians get prostitution legalized. You should no more want either on your street corner than you should want a chapter of the Black Pantloads moving in. Spin it until you’re blue in the face, but there is absolutely denying that the ‘business’ will attract dangerous characters to YOUR neighborhood and endanger YOUR family and be eyeing the chance to run off with YOUR money and valuables.

MelonCollie on July 21, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Why on earth would anyone be concerned about an overly zealous and violent police force?
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/19/detroit-cop-who-killed-7-year-old-girl-walks-free-after-mistrial/

libfreeorgan on July 21, 2013 at 12:04 PM

…and?

KOOLAID2 on July 21, 2013 at 12:17 PM

You’ll have to forgive him; our resident liberal was just trying to help. He is incapable of understanding the difference between the threat posed by a murder suspect vs that posed by a pot grower. Such minor subtleties occasionally elude him.

I actually suspect that even in that incident the officer may very well have been at fault and too trigger happy, but it’s obviously a much closer call when you are trying to stop a murderer, so extrapolating much from situations like that is pretty foolish.

RINO in Name Only on July 21, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Read the actual article. Jazz did not bother to give any real information on this case.

The police did not announce themselves according to neighbors either.

The police went in with a swat team simply because an ex girlfriend said he had a few marijuana plants in his basement. No indication what so ever he ever sold it. Note: If you really hate your ex have him swatted.

This is the problem. The police go in like this every single time they have any suspicion. They begin to break down doors and not announce themselves or do so in a whisper routinely. This causes a lot of unnecessary harm. They should be required to use a bullhorn with a very high db rating to announce at a minimum. Then allow a certain amount of time for the door to be opened unless they have proof the suspect is violent.

There are many stories of police shooting and killing innocent victims using these overly aggressive tactics as well.

Steveangell on July 21, 2013 at 1:25 PM

And in your supreme brilliance and complete knowledge of all things, if the cops have machine guns, you should, too.

You’re damn right I do. If the cops are responding to a threat that takes a machine gun to do properly then what chance do I have with a baseball bat against the same threat.

Bishop on July 21, 2013 at 1:26 PM

[Jeddite on July 21, 2013 at 1:13 PM]

Hey, he brings up some legitimate points. I think some are relevant and others not. There’s certainly no reason to respond to it the way you did.

Dusty on July 21, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Cops are largely a tool of the state to collect money and enforce their nanny rules.

Clark1 on July 21, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Radley Balko is a good writer and I used to read his blog “The Agitator” until he moved it to Huffpo. He likes to write about bad cops as he did on the Jose Guerena killing by a the Pima County (AZ) Sheriff’s SWAT team that showed up at the wrong house back in 2011.

herdgadfly on July 21, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Thanks, as always, for our scheduled weekend dose of obtuseness, courtesy of the always-reliable Jazz Shaw. Shaw first wonders why Balko would write, or the WSJ would publish, an editorial on the subject militarized police in America. The answer might have something to do with Balko’s just-released book on the subject, now selling a steady clip on Amazon.

Shaw then treats us with this pearl of wisdom:

When police are “invading” a home to arrest a suspect and seize contraband, it’s hardly an unreasonable assumption that the suspect may react violently in an attempt to defeat the police and escape. Stewart may have “thought” he was being invaded by other criminals, but it was his choice to grab a gun and start shooting. The result of the police response may have been regrettable, but it was hardly unexpected.

The guy was growing 16 marijuana plants in this basement, with no evidence of any intent to distribute. For this, he was subject to a no-knock, paramilitary-style invasion.

Jazz Shaw has no problem with this. This guy might not claim to be a libertarian, but this loving, child-like embrace of state power is hardly even conservative.

Which is hardly surprising.

Scratch a Palin-hating illiterate such as Jazz Shaw, and you’ll usually find someone who does not understand or appreciate liberty.

BCrago66 on July 21, 2013 at 1:41 PM

I’m talking nowadays, when some nonviolent offenses are being committed in the financial interests of people likely to get violent when their financial interests are threatened. People are decrying raids on Bob the Nonviolent Pot Grower, forgetting that Bob sells his product to be distributed by the likes of MS-13.

Yes, we should limit SWAT usage, when the offense is either nonviolent, or individually-directed, and *not* in the service of organized crime. I’m saying that some nonviolent crimes may be guarded by violent individuals.

Sekhmet on July 21, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Maybe you should read the article linked to before making stupid statements.

He had 16 very small plants. Sure MS-13 was interested. NOT.

That is the problem here no reason what so ever to assume violence only one tip from a jilted ex girlfriend. Yet they fall for it and a two men lost their lives because of that.

None of the neighbors heard them announce themselves. They should be fired, every one of them, for that alone. They caused this by not making it clear who they were. Blind a man with a flash bang then expect him to see you are police how is that supposed to make any sense? Had they been repeating Police they would all be alive and none of this would have happened.

Steveangell on July 21, 2013 at 1:41 PM

The rise of “warrior cops” may not be what everyone would hope for, but I don’t see any realistic alternatives.

Jazz Shaw

.
? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? !
.
If a ‘militarized’ police force is needed for the “good of the civilian population” of the U.S., then the country’s beyond recovery.
.
Jazz, I’m going to spend the rest of the day wondering why you “don’t see any realistic alternatives.”

listens2glenn on July 21, 2013 at 1:44 PM

People are decrying raids on Bob the Nonviolent Pot Grower, forgetting that Bob sells his product to be distributed by the likes of MS-13.

[Sekhmet on July 21, 2013 at 1:17 PM]

There’s no evidence Bob the NPG sold his pot for distribution by MS13. They found only 16 plants at the time of the arrest. Even the ex-girlfriend’s brother stated they had no belief he sold his marijuana.

Dusty on July 21, 2013 at 1:46 PM

My problem with much of the SWAT type raids is: Does anybody in the police department sit down beforehand, have a meeting, and discuss whether or not a less theatrical arrest would serve the same legal purpose?

Come on, people. You don’t need to show up with twelve guys dressed in full SWAT attire to arrest or question some guy whose ex-girlfriend snitched that he was growing pot. But I guess that required actually seeking a warrant based on probable cause.

Deputies in Wilmington, NC, killed a college student by shooting through a closed front door, all over a stupid video game system.
http://www.theseahawk.org/news/uncw-settles-case-with-family-of-slain-student-1.3017451#.UewfbHkryuI

BigAlSouth on July 21, 2013 at 1:50 PM

We are long past being able to trust the police anymore, ESP in larger cities, where they are all union. Public employee unions should be illegal in the first place, but when they carry the guns and badges you really have to ask, who will they take orders from wtshtf?

Harbingeing on July 21, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Unfortunately, as the cops set themselves up as unaccountable, militarized, arrogant, dictators, more of them will start getting killed as people begin to realize they are an enemy to democracy and justice. This, in turn, will cause them to get MORE arrogant and militarized as they act as if they have to protect themselves. It is a vicious cycle, really, and it will result in more deaths all around.

Warner Todd Huston on July 21, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Police need the ability to handle the threats we face, but images of SWAT teams gone wild are disturbing. In another comment, concerning the war on drugs, I suggest: at some point you have to say, “yes, drugs are bad, but the cure (police state) is worse than the disease.” In reason’s film America’s Longest War they bring attention to the 50,000 SWAT raids a year. One thing that seems to be “standard procedure” is shooting the dogs of the often innocent residents. And listen to reason’s description of a raid gone wrong, and this type of thing happens more frequently than you’d think:

In January 2007, a SWAT team in Lima, Ohio, shot and killed Tarika Wilson, a 26-year-old mother, during a drug raid at the home of her boyfriend, Anthony Terry. When the unarmed Wilson was shot, she was kneeling on the ground, complying with police orders. She was holding her 1-year-old son, Sincere, who was also shot, losing his left hand. A subsequent investigation revealed that Officer Joseph Chavalia heard another officer shooting Terry’s two dogs, mistook the noise for hostile gunfire, panicked, and fired blindly into the room where Wilson was kneeling.

anotherJoe on July 21, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Call me crazy but I think the “reasonable alternatives” are that cops don’t violate our constitutional rights and if they do they should be prosecuted for it. These “isolated incidents” are happening at a far greater rate than anyone should view as reasonable. This country is quickly moving toward being a police state and people better wake up and take this seriously before the path we’re on becomes irreversible.

Benaiah on July 21, 2013 at 2:11 PM

OK – where did my post go?

dentarthurdent on July 21, 2013 at 2:23 PM

OK – let’s try a third time without the infowars link…

Why won’t the original of this post show up, when I try to repost I get a “duplicate post” message?

anotherJoe on July 21, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Yes exactly.
And another that is on Drudge today, that someone else posted early in the thread:
“florida-nurse-terrorized-by-us-marshals”

No warrant, no reason to enter this particular apartment, no announcement of who they are, swearing at the innocent residents like a bunch of gang-bangers. How many innocent people need to be killed before enough people realize how insane this is?

BTW – if the general population gets more accustomed to this, you can bet armed criminals intent on home invasions will more often announce themselves as police before they bust in (some do already) – expecting the residents will more likely “behave” if they think it’s cops busting into their house.
More government activity to protect the criminals and make the law-abiding public a bunch of defenseless sheep with no real rights.

dentarthurdent on July 21, 2013 at 2:28 PM

HA – you really need to publish a list of words and web links that are verboten so we at least know what the rules are…..

dentarthurdent on July 21, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Balko is right. The militarization of the police has gone too far, and is to a dangerous extent simply out of control.

Innocent couple terrorized by police whose warrantless forced entry appeared to be a criminal home invasion.

I trained with the local sheriff’s office under the weapons instructor for their SWAT team. He is a good man, but he would deploy the SWAT team for to serve arrest warrants as a matter or routine if it was his decision to make. If the police have the capabilities, they will want to use them, and they will find ways to use them when the situation simply doesn’t call for it.

I’m not saying SWAT teams aren’t necessary, but guidelines must be developed for their deployment that are far more stringent than currently in place. The various forms of legal immunity for “errors” committed by government agents “acting within the scope of their employment” also need to be significantly reduced in scope. Making the decision makers legally responsible for “errors” will serve to reduce the number of such “errors”.

novaculus on July 21, 2013 at 2:40 PM

The police are not supposed to be the military.

That’s why we have a National Guard.

Time to scale back this crypto-militarized cop trend.

Or risk a well-regulated Police State.

profitsbeard on July 21, 2013 at 2:42 PM

You really want to worry about people who have a lot of power and no oversight, look into what a bounty hunter can and can not do.

LincolntheHun on July 21, 2013 at 11:33 AM

A bounty hunter can also be shot and killed by a homeowner while kicking in his door.
Bounty hunters are not cops and can be treated the same as a street thug.

Solaratov on July 21, 2013 at 2:42 PM

I remember one request for a telescopic sight and a silencer! What the heii would that combo be used for?

FOWG1 on July 21, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Suppressors preserve hearing and ease communication. Telescopic sights are for enhanced accuracy. Some suppressed weapons are used to shoot out lights prior to a raid; or silence guard dogs.

There is nothing wrong with suppressors (silencers). I own a number for some of my rifles and more for some of my pistols. Most of them allow me to shoot without hearing protection and preserve what’s left of my hearing.

In England – home of strict gun control – it is expected that one will show up for a deer (or other) hunt with a suppressed rifle…simply as a practice of good manners toward the neighboring estate-owners. Suppressors there are not as tightly controlled as firearms (or as many knives, for that matter) and can be purchased at almost any gun shop. Then, one just files a form at the local constabulary and receives permission to own/possess the silencer (muffler).

Suppressors are not nearly as evil as popular films would have you believe.

Solaratov on July 21, 2013 at 2:55 PM

It seems to me that a lot of these no-knock swat entries could be dealt with more easily with a loudspeaker and a demand to surrender. If you have REAL evidence that they are in fact dangerous, armed and violent that is another issue, but most seem pretty routine. Kicking the door down seems MORE likely to get someone killed (both police and civilians) than other approaches.

sharrukin on July 21, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Another trend I have noticed in recent decades is the growth in the number of agencies manned with gun and badge toting people. TSA, DEM, college police and I don’t know how many else.

It is way out hand for a “free society”.

FOWG1 on July 21, 2013 at 11:38 AM

The Dept. of EDUCATION has a SWAT team…to collect overdue college loans, I suppose.

It’s a matter of prestige. If you are running a regulatory agency/department, you must have some way to enforce your regulations. What better, more powerful, way than with a SWAT team, accoutered like SEALs in A-stan?

Mo Powah!! Mo Bettah!!

Solaratov on July 21, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Waaaah.

When it hits the fan, they run to papa. Papa better be able to kick ass.

/eot

RedNewEnglander on July 21, 2013 at 3:08 PM

he hung himself in his jail cell

Assisted or unassisted?

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 21, 2013 at 3:09 PM

We are long past being able to trust the police anymore, ESP in larger cities, where they are all union. Public employee unions should be illegal in the first place, but when they carry the guns and badges you really have to ask, who will they take orders from wtshtf?

Harbingeing on July 21, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Injecting the evil unions into every discussion has certainly become an art around here. A lot of firefighters are unionized as well…what, are they kicking down doors without warrants, taking bribes and running drug/prostitution rings as well?

Pretty sure that many police in this country were corrupt and committed crimes long before the unions came along.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 21, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Historically, illegal betting parlors were run by mobsters. Mobsters are known for being well-armed.

Sekhmet on July 21, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Mobsters?

I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

Solaratov on July 21, 2013 at 3:23 PM

It would appear that the basic premise of the argument is getting contagious.

Grasping for Dignity in the Era of the American Police State

By John W. Whitehead
July 15, 2013

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/grasping_for_dignity_in_the_era_of_the_american_police_state

De Oppresso Liber on July 21, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Cops go after people they think they can handle. Easy pickings like average citizens doing mundane things that sometimes end up as minor infractions. People they know they can extract fines from to fund their existence. The arch criminals are out there and nobody is looking for them. It is up to armed citizens to defend themselves against those types.

echosyst on July 21, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Like Mark Steyn constantly says Britain is always where we will be in a couple decades. This reminds me of how the British police have the whole country practically on round the clock CCTV surveillance, to better protect and serve of course. Yet CCTV videos show cops seem to take forever when there’s a mass fight, or teen thugs are looting a store, but they arrive quickly when some guy was walking about in a lizard costume and a couple were having sex on the sidewalk (though the police watched until they finished before arresting them). Similarly the cops were super polite and stood aside when muslims were holding an illegal march and were rampaging through London, but when a bunch of middle aged and old white middle/upper class guys were holding a peaceful legal march protesting a hunting ban they were beaten bloody by policemen snarling and foaming at the mouth (iirc the police said one of the guys “attacked” a female office while the protestors said he brushed against her as she approached them to yell at them).

Or as VDH notes, in California, again about 2 decades ahead of where the rest of us will be, the cops are on whites and Asians like white on rice. Meanwhile illegals are openly breaking laws left and right and the police don’t care. They don’t pay fines or taxes and therefore the cops salary and pensions. They also resist and flee unlike law abiding people.

Anyways, I’ve been a staunch law and order conservative for some time (in my early years I was a staunch fascist so I was a Democrat, the branch davidians was how I thought all who challenge the state’s authority should be handled), but I increasingly have any sympathy for cops injured or killed given how they behave and I have none whatsoever for those killed in most military-style no knock raids.

jarodea on July 21, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Mobsters?

I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

Solaratov on July 21, 2013 at 3:23 PM

I know it’s been argued over, but I do find it funny that if actual mobster were running the gambling operations cops would just have to stroll in and arrest everyone. Real mobsters don’t kill cops or make a scene, getting busted is simply the price of doing business

jarodea on July 21, 2013 at 3:32 PM

I’m talking nowadays, when some nonviolent offenses are being committed in the financial interests of people likely to get violent when their financial interests are threatened. People are decrying raids on Bob the Nonviolent Pot Grower, forgetting that Bob sells his product to be distributed by the likes of MS-13.

Yes, we should limit SWAT usage, when the offense is either nonviolent, or individually-directed, and *not* in the service of organized crime. I’m saying that some nonviolent crimes may be guarded by violent individuals.

Sekhmet on July 21, 2013 at 1:17 PM

So what if he’s guarded by violent people? An innocent person may also be guarded by “violent” people, or may even be a “violent” person himself. When it comes to my family’s safety, I’m quite possibly going to be a “violent person” myself. If the offense itself is not violent, then the urgency of combatting the offense is not sufficient to jeopardize either the lives of the police, or of me and my family.

If you’re afraid Bob the pot grower is guarded by violent people, then demand he turn himself in, and freeze his bank account, put a lien on his property, or use some other safe means of penalizing him until he does so. We’ve given the government more than enough power to coerce people into abiding by the law – arguably way too much power. This idea that the potential for violent resistance, on its own, justifies a swat team is absolute nonsense, and is a direct threat to the inherent right of the people for self-defense.

RINO in Name Only on July 21, 2013 at 3:35 PM

People are decrying raids on Bob the Nonviolent Pot Grower, forgetting that Bob sells his product to be distributed by the likes of MS-13.
Sekhmet on July 21, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Exactly. It’s the same thing that will happen if hardcore liberaltarians get prostitution legalized.
MelonCollie on July 21, 2013 at 1:22 PM

No gangs of illegals or prostitutes involved in this one, sorry. Just a POed ex trying to SWAT her old boyfriend. Though it would be nice if we could get heavily armed units of untrained and undisciplined authoritarians to go after MS-13 instead of terrorizing innocent Americans for no cause.

whatcat on July 21, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Though it would be nice if we could get heavily armed units of untrained and undisciplined authoritarians to go after MS-13 instead of terrorizing innocent Americans for no cause.

whatcat on July 21, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Or even sweep some of the gang-bangers off the streets of old Chicago.
But they seem to be somewhat reluctant to try that.

Maybe cops are like any other gang…they go after the easy pickins.

Solaratov on July 21, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Though it would be nice if we could get heavily armed units of untrained and undisciplined authoritarians to go after MS-13 instead of terrorizing innocent Americans for no cause.
whatcat on July 21, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Or even sweep some of the gang-bangers off the streets of old Chicago.
But they seem to be somewhat reluctant to try that.
Maybe cops are like any other gang…they go after the easy pickins.
Solaratov on July 21, 2013 at 3:48 PM

We’re talking not talking about most police here; the majority
do a great job under a lot of pressure. It’s the subset who have the urge to pretend they’re storming Iwo Jima at every instance that’s the problem – they should be reassigned to paper pushing.

whatcat on July 21, 2013 at 3:58 PM

You know, cops should realize that a large part of their job depends on citizen information and co-operation…

And when the citizens withhold that information and co-operation, their job is going to be exponentially more difficult.

This already happens in the black and hispanic (and some Asian) areas in cities where the cops are truly viewed as “the enemy”.

When it happens in all areas with people of any race…efficient policing and law enforcement will become impossible.

There are no-go areas in our large cities where even the cops don’t bother to go except in force. What are they going to do when that extends nation-wide?

Cops had better start viewing and treating citizens as their allies in a civilized nation; rather than as their enemies…or they’d better find a safer line of work.
In an anarchistic society, being a cop is going to just mean having a bigger target on your back. And nobody benefits from a society like that.

Solaratov on July 21, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Jazz, I’m going to spend the rest of the day wondering why you “don’t see any realistic alternatives.”

What do you guys expect from someone who calls himself “Jazz”? Intellectual honesty? Reasoned, objective argument?

rdbrewer on July 21, 2013 at 4:03 PM

So much ignorance about how the real world of police work actually functions. Don’t fret. The pendulum is swinging back to the hug- a- thug mentality that dominated police work and, more importantly, sentencing and punishment during the ’60s and ’70s. The crime rate will go back up until the average citizen, not the civil libertardians or the leftists, get tired of it the way they did in the ’80s and ’90s. The pendulum will swing again and we’ll go back to what works, which is aggressive street level policing combined with stiff penalties.

Dukeboy01 on July 21, 2013 at 4:04 PM

We’re talking not talking about most police here; the majority
do a great job under a lot of pressure. It’s the subset who have the urge to pretend they’re storming Iwo Jima at every instance that’s the problem – they should be reassigned to paper pushing.

whatcat on July 21, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Agreed, for the most part.

But the over-zealous Robocop-wannabes shouldn’t even have a desk job. They should be weeded out and dismissed. There is no safe place to keep them.

Solaratov on July 21, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Dukeboy, wouldn’t mind his wife, daughter, or girlfriend girlfriend given a roadside cavity search by a cop who lied about smelling marijuana. Because that’s tough policin’.

rdbrewer on July 21, 2013 at 4:07 PM

But the over-zealous Robocop-wannabes shouldn’t even have a desk job. They should be weeded out and dismissed. There is no safe place to keep them.
Solaratov on July 21, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Eh, they can’t kill innocents if they’re desk-bound, at worst just threaten people with paper cuts.
(and thanks for correcting my typo)

whatcat on July 21, 2013 at 4:09 PM

The pendulum will swing again and we’ll go back to what works, which is aggressive street level policing combined with stiff penalties.

Dukeboy01 on July 21, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Which is pretty much what most people here have said they’d like to see.
A little more street-level community interaction, where the cops know the people in their areas and the people know them. Where law enforcement and citizen safety is a common goal.

But…as long as cops view citizens as “the other”, it ain’t gonna happen. Cops had better stop referring to citizens as “civilians”, too…as though the cops are some sort of military force. (Hell, most military types laugh at cops who use that terminology)

Mao Tse Tung said, “The guerrilla is as a fish and the people are his sea in which he swims.”
This is even more true for cops.
And cops had better realize that they depend on the people. Possibly more so today than at any other time.

Solaratov on July 21, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Please hear me out. (Some of y’all are a little too ready to flame on ‘police state’ threads.)

I don’t think the problem is “militarization” in the sense that most here are using it. Quite simply, for Balko to say: “Such police units are trained in methods similar to those used by the special forces in the military” is nonsense. Almost no one in the military uses flash-bang grenades, nor do they batter down doors with battering rams. And, to claim that police use bayonets is balderdash.

Balko actually identifies the real problem when he says, “armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.” In reality, much of this problem can be traced back to the “Dirty Harry” issue – the people felt that the police/judiciary was too lenient on the bad guys, letting them go to terrorize the public again and again, so they cheered the tough guy, no-nonsense cop, the Dirty Harrys.

However, that tougher policing – along with mandatory sentencing structures – didn’t really stop the stupidity. In many areas (Guliani’s New York City, for example) it did lower crime. In others, it didn’t. The judiciary and penal system is still handicapped by progressive thoughts of rehabilitation and “causes”.

On top of all this, the surge of super violent gangs (which did drop off again with the increased policing) provides even more impetus to “do something!” Not only are these gangs violent, but there is a perception of weapons involved that are seen as “military” (in particular, in the drug wars) – I’m sure you all remember the images of the MAC-11 and such. Then, along comes the North Hollywood bank robbery. Now, the police are convinced they need to be as well armed and armored as they can be.

In the midst of all this, everyone sees how bad it is in Chicago and Detroit, and assumes it must be coming to their town. Oh, and look, there’s all this federal money to help us win these wars on gangs and drugs and such. So, off they go to arm themselves up to a paramilitary level. (And, don’t fool yourselves, these guys are not armed to a military level; a single squad of soldiers or marines could probably wipe out the entirety of Bloomy’s “army” if they have enough ammunition.)

As others have identified, the problem isn’t their armament – it’s their attitude. It’s the idea that they must meet the bad guy with overwhelming force at every turn, coupled with the “if it saves even one cop’s life” concept, that leads them to toss flashbangs and shoot dogs when there’s no need. And, really, there is seldom a need. As their attitude has often become more confrontational (and sometimes they have had good reason for that) with their fellow citizens, the citizens have responded negatively. A rising spiral of violence ensues, hardening both sides in their convictions.

The drug war is not the problem, either. That is only one aspect of the mobs/gangs in America. The problem is still – despite all the modern Dirty Harrys and Jim Streets – that the bad guy is pretty certain that he can get away with it… even if the police catch him. He can do his time, and become an even badder mutha on the block when he gets out. Even if he shoots a cop or a bystander. Because the progressive mindset is still bent on not treating them as someone to be punished, but someone to be saved.

And, then, on top of everything else, the state continues to regulate/legislate every aspect of our lives, down to the size of soft drink we can order at Chez Mac’s and what sort of bulb we can put in our lamps. So, the police – serving the state, instead of their fellow citizens – become agents of ruling the subjects, instead of enforcing the laws among their fellow citizens.

Anyway, Balko’s partly right, but the problem isn’t how the police are armed, but how they view themselves and how they act. And, it won’t get fixed with anything short of a change in the culture to “reset” things to a time of less governmental regimentation and more societal structure.
/ rant

GWB on July 21, 2013 at 4:20 PM

You’ll have to forgive him; our resident liberal was just trying to help. He is incapable of understanding the difference between the threat posed by a murder suspect vs that posed by a pot grower. Such minor subtleties occasionally elude him.

RINO in Name Only on July 21, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Oh dear, I must be a resident liberal too. I’m unable to see the difference between a pot grower and a murderer. In fact, isn’t Matthew David Stewart the epitome of identity of the two categories? Aren’t the Mexican cartel guys pot growers too? How about the pot growers who set booby-traps in our national forests?

I’d love an explanation of how the two categories differ, since I see both as libertarians taking a bit too much liberty…

unclesmrgol on July 21, 2013 at 4:31 PM

A little more street-level community interaction, where the cops know the people in their areas and the people know them. Where law enforcement and citizen safety is a common goal.

Solaratov on July 21, 2013 at 4:14 PM

I forgot that bit in my rant. Yes, bringing cops back down to “beat cops” who actually interact with the citizens they serve will do wonders to help with this.

However, this will require that cultural change I mentioned: because so many of these things* happen where the cops won’t “walk the beat” because the place is too dang dangerous – the places they will only go if there’s a really good reason. Unfortunately, we can’t only fix one part; we have to change the culture. Or, we have to “wall off” those places that harbor the psycopathy, and let them fend for themselves, while we preserve and restore our liberties and our society.
.
.
* “These things” is the no-knock, blow the doors off the hinges, flash-bangs and tactical lights everywhere, raids.

GWB on July 21, 2013 at 4:35 PM

He doesn’t really think “pot grower” might mean “Mexican cartel guy” or that “basement” might be like “national forest.” It’s just that he’s willing to be dishonest about the probable implications in order to make a point.

rdbrewer on July 21, 2013 at 4:40 PM

We’re talking not talking about most police here; the majority do a great job under a lot of pressure. It’s the subset who have the urge to pretend they’re storming Iwo Jima at every instance that’s the problem – they should be reassigned to paper pushing.

[whatcat on July 21, 2013 at 3:58 PM]

Agreed. I was going to make a similar point but a few hours ago, but my thought was still hazy and ill-defined. Most police aren’t the problem. Neither do I believe are most police departments. I have the utmost trust and respect for the way my police department does their job, and it’s just about the same for the departments in the city and towns adjoining mine.

Each department will be different not only because of their individual environments, but because of who their leaders are. So, if Henderson, Chicago, Detroit, or Weber County, Utah engage in actions, which seem to be outrageous, then the focus should be on what they’re doing wrong, not what the police, in general, are doing wrong.

Dusty on July 21, 2013 at 4:43 PM

I’d love an explanation of how the two categories differ, since I see both as libertarians taking a bit too much liberty…

unclesmrgol on July 21, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Well one of them murders people and the other grows illegal drugs. That doesn’t preclude those two things uniting in one individual, but it also doesn’t preclude them being two separate things. Shoplifters and murderers work the same way.

You need a certain amount of common sense and treating a guy growing pot at home the same way you would a violent felon doesn’t make much common sense.

sharrukin on July 21, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Injecting the evil unions into every discussion has certainly become an art around here. A lot of firefighters are unionized as well…what, are they kicking down doors without warrants, taking bribes and running drug/prostitution rings as well?

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 21, 2013 at 3:17 PM

They don’t have the authority to do that, so no. However, the things they do have the authority to do, they certainly do abuse. Have you ever had to deal with the fire inspector? It might not be because they are unionized, but they certainly receive a lot more protection from punishment and correction than they otherwise would.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

GWB on July 21, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Why did they treat me as a threat? Because they treat everyone as a threat. They’re trained to treat everyone as a threat. “Control the situation” is their mantra, and if that means seizing people and handcuffing a bunch of innocent people then so be it. After all, as long as everyone just co-operates and obeys everything the police says, they can always just straighten it out later.

That’s why the police are my enemy, and are the enemy of every citizen. They treat us like enemies, so I say that means that they are our enemies.

Sackett on July 21, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Because police spend so much time dealing with the dregs of society, many develop an attitude that there are only two types of people in the world… cops and assholes.

Police can easily escalate a situation by walking up to a person or group with their hand on the butt of their gun. That immediately announces that YOU are a threat. With actual training and quality holsters, any officer can be taught to draw and fire quickly. They don’t need to touch their firearm until they need to draw.

Wendya on July 21, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Yet another case of HotAir and the “Nothing to see here” mentality.

And Jazz does his dishonest best to obfuscate the alarming nature of the full-scale military assault on this veteran’s home; describing it hacktastically as an “encounter”.

For some time now, I haven’t bothered to give more than a cursory glance at the articles written by Ed, Erika or Jaxx before I wade into the comments-section as the “analysis” is hardly different than an AP whitewash. Can we get some real writers around here?

sartana on July 21, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Here’s a comment of mine a while back:

The fact is, people are garbage. People love to abuse authority. And people will always confuse authority with power. If I have authority, there are limits on what I can do, since it comes from the law and/or other people. If I have power, I can do whatever pops into my peanut brain.

I’ll never get the crowd that imagines law enforcement is a group comprised of naturally wonderful and trustworthy people, always abiding by their oath and deserving of some kind of presumption of professionality… as opposed to any other random group of people.

Imagine your worst neighbor going through your private things willy nilly any time you’re away. Now consider law enforcement might actually attract a certain type of power-hungry personality, such that the number of these nasty neighbor types is actually a greater among law enforcement than that of a random sample.

The warrior cop ethos only makes things worse when people like this aren’t screened out.

rdbrewer on July 21, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Professor Peter Kraska at Eastern Kentucky school of Criminal Justice warned of this probably 15 years ago. At that time SWAT was coming into its own and with that he warned of the militarization of police forces but few listened. Now we see that the movement has really evolved and the military styled and equipped police are flexing their muscle. Next will be the realization of what the Nazis had with the civilian military but our government condones this instead of trying to control it. Yes control is the right word for that is what the government and our current politician wish for…control of “we the people”.

Pardonme on July 21, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Jazz’ attitude toward the police state is disappointing to say the least.

Jazz is obv. a McCain type Republicrat.

One of the tories from the Revolutionary days, in other words.

We don’t need him anyway.

rightwingyahooo on July 21, 2013 at 5:39 PM

I’m not entirely sure what prompted this conversation to crop up again…

Balko has a book out.

Patterico on July 21, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Meh. Not too many clever enough to “get it” so let me spell it out for you (kudos to those who do, by the way):

You are the enemy, not the cops. You, because you and people like you voted in and keep the corrupt politicians in office, put up with the socialist indoctrination in schools, and encourage every erosion imaginable against a society that should police itself – you.

This isn’t about me. It isn’t even about the cops. It’s about a citizenry that is so wrapped up in navel-gazing and self-gratification at everyone else’s expense that they’ve thrown every conceivable part of their lives where self-discipline and values used to dictate an individual’s behavior into the toilet, and expect “the authorities” to pick up after them. That’s you, Mr. Cop-Hater. You, Mr. Liberal Moron. Can’t control your kids? Oh, just call the cops. Call the shrink. They’ll do it for you. Don’t worry, they’ll assume your rightful place as The Bad Guy in your kids’ lives, so you can stick to ruining them with liberal permissiveness. Then hey, they’ll grow up to be cop-haters too! Brilliant!

Do you not get it? Society should, to some degree, control its own behavior. Instead, literally anything goes and no one respects any boundaries. And when the “control” that’s in place by law and tradition – the police – are forced to get involved, all you people can say is, “It’s those damn cops’ fault!”

Uh, no. Your fault.

n0doz on July 21, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Do we need “kinder and gentler” cops interacting with the community in a friendly fashion?

YES.

HellCat on July 21, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Do you not get it? Society should, to some degree, control its own behavior. Instead, literally anything goes and no one respects any boundaries. And when the “control” that’s in place by law and tradition – the police – are forced to get involved, all you people can say is, “It’s those damn cops’ fault!”

Uh, no. Your fault.

n0doz on July 21, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Municipal cops are employees of the cities they work for, not employees of the people. If you can look at malfeasance and misfeasance on the part of SWAT teams the country over and still think “To Protect and Serve” means anything, I’ve got some prime beachfront land to sell you…

gryphon202 on July 21, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Well one of them murders people and the other grows illegal drugs. That doesn’t preclude those two things uniting in one individual, but it also doesn’t preclude them being two separate things.

Hmm. But one creates the other — or is it that the other creates the one?

Shoplifters and murderers work the same way.

Not really.

You need a certain amount of common sense and treating a guy growing pot at home the same way you would a violent felon doesn’t make much common sense.

sharrukin on July 21, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Strange — this guy killed an officer of the law. And you would discount him as being somehow different from a violent felon?

I notice the police didn’t lose a single man in the apprehension of the violent felon, but lost their man to the pot grower.

My son used pot for several years, and during those years he was a paranoid schizophrenic and we were in fear of our lives; it was an outside intervention in the form of being arrested that started the turnaround — spending a night in the drunk tank with guys who would just as soon kill you as look at you gave him a glimpse of where he was heading. Prior to that, he wasn’t amenable to any help at all — a total party animal.

I really do wonder if Mr. Pot Grower was creating his own little paranoid world? Now, hopefully, he will have many years in prison to contemplate the error of his ways.

unclesmrgol on July 21, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Do you not get it? Society should, to some degree, control its own behavior. Instead, literally anything goes and no one respects any boundaries. And when the “control” that’s in place by law and tradition – the police – are forced to get involved, all you people can say is, “It’s those damn cops’ fault!”

Uh, no. Your fault.

n0doz on July 21, 2013 at 6:27 PM

This is the completely inevitable result of throwing SELF-control out the window. Guess what kiddies, there is only one other option: someone else controlling you. Be it with whips or badges.

Imagine it like a scale: the less ‘weight’ is on one side, the more the other side will go up.

If you’re getting worried about the one side of the scale so high up it bumped into Sputnik, put some weight on the other side. Bring back duelling, curtail welfare, use the death penalty like you mean it, quit screwing like alley cats.

One of the inescapable truths about life is that if you refuse to control your own behaviour – especially for nothing more than the most selfish kinds of self-gratification – someone else is going to control it in a way you will not like.

That, or things just go to anarchy.

MelonCollie on July 21, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Seems to me the anti-police morons forget where all this came from.
Back in the old days people respected each other – their property, their space, etc. They respected laws and in turn, the police and their responsibilities to the community. Well, thanks in part to the left’s anti-establishment message, teaching your kids that there “aren’t consequences for anything,” the coddling of criminals, and ill-conceived programs to hire more idiots by police departments, here we are.
You want the cops to arrest criminals, but when they do, you want them to bend over backwards to be politically correct.

n0doz on July 21, 2013 at 1:02 PM

You misunderstand me. My point is “back in the old days” I was confident that the police was after the bad guys and, if I minded my own business and didn’t break the law, they would leave me alone. I don’t feel like that anymore. Cops are more belligerent (via my own/family/friends/my Soldiers’ experiences) and are rarely held accountable for shooting people’s dogs or raids that go bad.

I also see a pattern of not announcing themselves (or not doing so very aggressively) when they raid a house. They always say they do, but even neighbors/witnesses in some cases hear nothing… so how would you expect a sleeping suspect (or innocent bystander) inside to hear? (and I think they want it that way).

I just can’t believe that you wouldn’t just wait for this pot-head to go get his mail or go to work. If I had to choose between beating down someone’s door in the middle of the night and snatching him while he walked to his car… it’s a no brainer. If cops put more time into planning (and judges scrutinized the warrants more) less innocent people would die and lots of us would sleep easier.

My point N0doz is that these cops are doing stuff that we would do in Afghanistan… the threats we had were greater (despite what you may think) and we weren’t dealing with U.S. Citizens. Those rights give us something… something that Cops can’t take away because they are disgruntled or butt-hurt because people don’t respect them anymore. I’d also like to add that even in Afghanistan (which I left <60 days ago) we gave them more courtesy (i.e. we don't show up in the middle of the night and knock down their door) than cops show for non-violent criminals here.

I still respect cops, they do a honorable and essential job… but, unlike 5-10 years ago, I now fear them a lot more. I have seen them power-trip and really mess up some good people for very small petty things. I see them do lots of things (like recently in LasVegas) without repercussions.

Last question N0doz… how would you react to someone kicking in your front door in the middle of the night (accidentally of course)? I bet you'd reach for your gun… just like a lot of us would. Funny how they always investigate each other and no one is held accountable.

The key is judges need to make sure the cops do their homework (including alternative ways to apprehend the suspect) before approving no-knock warrants.

BadBrad on July 21, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Almost no one in the military uses flash-bang grenades, nor do they batter down doors with battering rams. And, to claim that police use bayonets is balderdash.

Actually we do use battering rams (the tactical ones)and flashbangs. agree that police don’t use bayonets.

Anyway, Balko’s partly right, but the problem isn’t how the police are armed, but how they view themselves and how they act. And, it won’t get fixed with anything short of a change in the culture to “reset” things to a time of less governmental regimentation and more societal structure.
/ rant

GWB on July 21, 2013 at 4:20 PM

very true. Not the weapons or the tactics (agree they need those) but how they act.

BadBrad on July 21, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Not the weapons or the tactics (agree they need those) but how they act.

BadBrad on July 21, 2013 at 7:04 PM

I am personally of the opinion that SWAT tactics and weapons should only be used in cases of imminent danger of life or limb; and there aren’t many of those outside of hostage situations or kidnappings.

The problem I see with the weapons and tactics themselves is that if they’re available to cops, why not use them? Any situation they find themselves in, from an actual hostage situation to a routine traffic stop, could turn violent in theory.

gryphon202 on July 21, 2013 at 7:10 PM

I disagree with Jazz. We do have a problem with hyper-zealous police who trample the Constitution. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing a few of these fascists get their just desserts, if you know what I mean. Maybe a few prosecutors too.

If you need another example of a totally innocent homeowner victimized by unapologetic Nazi police, read this piece out of Sarasota:

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20130718/COLUMNIST/130719612/2256/NEWS?p=1&tc=pg

After leaving her operating room scrub nurse duties at Sarasota’s Doctors Hospital on Wednesday, Louise Goldsberry went to her Hidden Lake Village apartment.

Her boyfriend came over, and after dinner — about 8 p.m. — Goldsberry went to her kitchen sink to wash some dishes.

That’s when her boyfriend, Craig Dorris — a manager for a security alarm company — heard her scream and saw her drop to the floor.

Goldsberry, 59, said she had looked up from the sink to see a man “wearing a hunting vest.”

He was aiming a gun at her face, with a red light pinpointing her.

“I screamed and screamed,” she said.

NealK on July 21, 2013 at 10:34 PM

An Englishman’s home is his castle, seems we might need to make that more of a reality these days.

jarodea on July 21, 2013 at 11:04 PM

An Englishman’s home is his castle, seems we might need to make that more of a reality these days.

jarodea on July 21, 2013 at 11:04 PM

Not any more it’s not.
These days in England you’re not allowed to defend yourself against ANYONE barging into your house.

dentarthurdent on July 21, 2013 at 11:31 PM

When the rule of law and tradition are abandoned there remains the rule of force.

When Hitler gained power he tuned loose his Brownshirts on his political enemies almost immediately. With the timely Reichstag Fire Law the SA were made auxiliary police to exert the kind of force the police could not project. People could be put into “protective custody” for up to 6 months. When the jails overflowed they were put into makeshift camps like Dachau. Many were released after being beaten and humiliated for only 2-4 weeks. Some had their periods of protection extended again and again. Some were beaten to death or otherwise murdered and left on the streets or in the woods.

Our storm troopers will be much better trained and equipped, and have impeccable legal credentials. It will all be perfectly legal, even reasonable, like Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus or FDR’s executive order sending the Japanese American citizens to the camps.

claudius on July 22, 2013 at 1:39 AM

Our storm troopers will be much better trained and equipped, and have impeccable legal credentials. It will all be perfectly legal, even reasonable, like Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus or FDR’s executive order sending the Japanese American citizens to the camps.

claudius on July 22, 2013 at 1:39 AM

umm. no. we have a free independent media to let us know what is happening.

duhh.

WryTrvllr on July 22, 2013 at 1:56 AM

I have sympathy for the safety of police officers, but didn’t they know this was a potentially dangerous job when they took it? If it’s my rights vs. their safety then my rights win. If they don’t like it then find another line of work. No one is forcing them to do this job.

DFCtomm on July 22, 2013 at 2:15 AM

Strange — this guy killed an officer of the law. And you would discount him as being somehow different from a violent felon?

I notice the police didn’t lose a single man in the apprehension of the violent felon, but lost their man to the pot grower.

He killed an armed officer of the law who had invaded his home. He was not wanted for a violent offense.

Why should people care when an armed officer is shot invading the home of someone wanted for a nonviolent offense? The pot grower posed no threat to me, whereas the police officer, if he got the address wrong, as many do, could just as easily have come into my home and shot at me or my family.

I really do wonder if Mr. Pot Grower was creating his own little paranoid world? Now, hopefully, he will have many years in prison to contemplate the error of his ways.

unclesmrgol on July 21, 2013 at 6:50 PM

No, he won’t, because as Jazz pointed out, he mysteriously committed suicide in his jail cell.

RINO in Name Only on July 22, 2013 at 7:21 AM

They used a SWAT team to go after Gibson guitars a few years ago…even the Dept. of Education has SWAT-like forces.

While I largely respect our law enforcement officers and recognize the hard and dangerous work they do, we should always err on the side of caution when it comes to giving people this much power.

englishqueen01 on July 22, 2013 at 7:23 AM

umm. no. we have a free independent media to let us know what is happening.

duhh.

WryTrvllr on July 22, 2013 at 1:56 AM

What country do you live in, anyway?

IlikedAUH2O on July 22, 2013 at 8:02 AM

I really do wonder if Mr. Pot Grower was creating his own little paranoid world? Now, hopefully, he will have many years in prison to contemplate the error of his ways.

unclesmrgol on July 21, 2013 at 6:50 PM

We never have evil, crazy people using law enforcement as a tool for revenge.

IlikedAUH2O on July 22, 2013 at 8:06 AM

umm. no. we have a free independent media to let us know what is happening.

duhh.

WryTrvllr on July 22, 2013 at 1:56 AM

I was assuming that your comment was sarcasm and didn’t reply. But just for the record, in Germany in 1933 the radio was state controlled and not a problem. Political newspapers were already on the decline, and overtly political papers were shut down. The rest of the newspaper industry was a thorny problem. It was large and diverse. They couldn’t be controlled overnight, but particularly troublesome ones were restricted from publishing for a week, then a month, or their publishers or editors were arrested or threatened. Most simply conformed to the new political reality.

Here, TV shouldn’t present much of a problem. Radio, though, will be an entirely different matter, but many independent stations depend entirely on syndicated content, and have no intellectual resources of their own. Newspapers on the whole are in decline, but more importantly the actual printing has become increasingly centralized. Publications seen as “inciteful” may find it difficult to get printed. The internet and cellphone network of course present a new challenge, but also an opportunity for a savvy government agency.

claudius on July 22, 2013 at 9:04 AM

At what point does a warrantless no knock raid become an armed home invasion?

I would say when they cross the threshold they have violated their God given rights guaranteed under the 4th Ammendmant.

How many innocent people have been shot and killed because the keystone cops got the wrong address?

How many times have the police committing these murders been prosecuted?

Kuffar on July 22, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Stewart is no longer among the living – he hung himself in his jail cell

Am I only one who doesn’t believe this?

Tom C on July 22, 2013 at 11:32 AM

No, police officers are not taught to unsnap the thumbreak of their holster when approaching a car. Police officers are taught that the drawstroke always includes unsnapping the thumbreak or other safety device on the holster, as an intrical part of the drawstroke. It is taught that the same method should be used when drawing. No changes should be made. And for other reasons, such as engaging in hand-to-hand combat, the thumbreak or other safety devices on the holster should always be engaged, especially so that the pistol remains in the holster when running, handcuffing, or putting hands on a suspect.

federale86 on July 22, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Posted by Neal above:

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20130718/COLUMNIST/130719612/2256/NEWS?p=1&tc=pg

From the article:

But when the people in Goldsberry’s apartment didn’t open up, that told Wiggins he had probably found the right door. No one at other units had reacted that way, he said.

Maybe none of them had a gun pointed at them through the kitchen window, I suggested. But Wiggins didn’t think that was much excuse for the woman’s behavior. He said he acted with restraint and didn’t like having that gun aimed at him.

“I went above and beyond,” Wiggins said. “I have to go home at night.”

“I have to go home at night”. That Mr. Jazz and all you blind badge lickers is what you need to realize. The COPS don’t give a damn about you. No matter what they say, they care about their own rear ends, your rights, your safety are SECONDARY. Well if thats the case, do I not have the right to be safe at home? The right to make it home safe each night from work? Why do the cops get preference? Because they chose to put on the uniform? Thats their choice. Perhaps if we didn’t have a bunch of scared wusses, we’d have that civil society, an armed one without requiring the police permission to carry a gun.

These days, I check out the weekend articles to see another Jazz post about loving the government or handing out more typical law and order conservative excuses. Thankfully I’ve not had serious run ins with arrogant cops but I’ve had two where their attitudes helped to wake me up. You don’t respect the cops Jazz because of what they do, you fear them because they can end your life and get away with it and not lose any sleep over it. Those are the types of cops that have no problem herding people into trains. And it won’t just be the welfare class takers they’ll be herding Jazz.

oryguncon on July 22, 2013 at 12:55 PM

I notice that even our animal control officers carry Glocks. Seems like a taser would work just as well, but maybe they’re just cop wannabes.

A dog catcher with a gun, a DOE bill collector with an automatic weapon and Kevlar? It’s quite obvious that the situation is out of control. A lot of people are going to get hurt if the police don’t learn to deescalate problems they cause. I would suggest that the Marshall should have been severely disciplined for his actions and for his statements afterwards, but it’s unlikely to happen. Just like the couple in Cleveland who were killed by the police after an attempted traffic stop. A few supervisors might be admonished, but nothing else will happen. It’s not difficult to see why public trust in our institutions is crumbling.

yesiamapirate on July 22, 2013 at 2:10 PM

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