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

Habitual hatred of the poe-leece.

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.

Yup.

Stoic Patriot on July 21, 2013 at 11:05 AM

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

Really? Using SWAT teams to go after people overheard betting on football games?

Buy Danish on July 21, 2013 at 11:09 AM

RIP Posse Comitatus. They’ve found a work-around.

Wino on July 21, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Why can the police have weapons that I can’t? I mean if it saves just one life and all that.

Bishop on July 21, 2013 at 11:10 AM

How about this? No realistic alternatives?

Buy Danish on July 21, 2013 at 11:11 AM

but they also deserve a fighting chance when the situation suddenly turns violent and ugly.

The problem, Jazz, is not when the situation turns violent. It’s the police going into (creating) a situation with military force. Just go back to the Branch Davidians. Koresch (and he should’ve been spending life in prison for statutory rape) had previously surrendered to authorities and faced trial, there was a mole on the inside, and he did go jogging regularly, giving an opportunity to arrest him without assaulting a compound housing women and children. There are far too many of these incidences, from warrantless raids to no-knock raids. Law enforcement has moved from being a “serve and protect” mentality to viewing the public as the hostile enemy.

rbj on July 21, 2013 at 11:13 AM

Well, it certainly does blur the line of Posse Comitatus…sure they are not military-military…but as lethal…and with more questionable leadership.

SWAT teams used to be a rare commodity, highly trained, and used only in extremis…today, if your local police department does not have a SWAT team of some sort you must live in a damn small town.

There is a psychological aspect, too often ignored…and some of us have seen it with the local kid, graduates high school wasn’t very popular there, either, gets through the local community college law enforcement course, gets on the police force…turns into Robocop overnight…and becomes a general pain in the butt. What drives a policeman to go into SWAT??? Serious question?

Give him body armor, a satchel full of flash-bangs, a fifty-cal sniper rifle, and that high school classmate you used to lock in his wall locker…wow…he is living the dream…we are living the nightmare.

There are good cops, and there are bad cops…is easier to be a bad cop than it is to be a good cop…adding lethality is like handing a toddler a jar of gasoline and a book of matches in too many cases. Might get the jar open…might not. Might figure out how to light a match…might not.

How many hundreds of rounds were expended in the apprehension of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? Not a few dozen, but hundreds…or more.

coldwarrior on July 21, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Has anyone else noticed the increased presence of the ATF in local matters? I have.

madmonkphotog on July 21, 2013 at 11:16 AM

I think what’s prompted this “fretting” as you so condescendingly refer to it is the ever growing list of what can charitably be called big fat mistakes by Law Enforcment agencies all over the country. Events which many see not as mistakes but as abusive use of force.

Time after time we read about invasive entries to the wrong house; the killing of dogs; the recently discussed case of the man in Henderson, NV who had cops arrest him and take over his home because they felt like using it to surveille his neighbor; the case where a man and his small child(ren) (iirc) where terrified and he was arrested because his estranged wife was delinquent on her student loans; the college girls who had weapons drawn on them because it was suspected they had bought beer; the kids who are rotting in jail because of some stupid stuff they said on the internet; etc., etc., etc.

I have always considered myself to be a pretty law-and-order type conservative, but I think we’ve got a problem here.

Jocon307 on July 21, 2013 at 11:16 AM

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

…not if they’re white!

KOOLAID2 on July 21, 2013 at 11:17 AM

It’s not the police as much as the laws. We made growing marijuana (which Thomas Jefferson did) equivalent to child rape. You probably broke some laws already this morning. Do we need SWAT teams to break up college football betting pools and living room card games?

Maybe the upside to this is that people might be starting to see what the whole “men with guns” thing means in real life. (Nah, never mind. We’ll get used to it, like everything else.)

Randall Hoven on July 21, 2013 at 11:17 AM

frogs in a pot…

equanimous on July 21, 2013 at 11:20 AM

We allow police to stop us for no reason at DWI check points. Add this to the ability of law enforcement to seize property and we are moving closer and closer to something I do not like.

CW on July 21, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Jazz, Do you approve of the Gibson Guitar raid? Because no realistic alternatives?

Buy Danish on July 21, 2013 at 11:21 AM

It’s not the police as much as the laws. We made growing marijuana — to child rape.
Randall Hoven on July 21, 2013 at 11:17 AM

No need to overstate your case.

CW on July 21, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Wow, Jazz is on a roll!!! First its Internet Sales Taxes and now its the militarized police force.

The problem isn’t even when they get it WRONG, but the ever growing list of offenses for which the only response is… SWAT!

And Jocon, you are exactly correct in your analysis. I immediately was drawn to the condescending term “fret”.

I bet Jazz would do a helluva lot more than “fret” if the SWAT team mistakenly knocked on his door over some ridiculous drug suspect.

deadrody on July 21, 2013 at 11:22 AM

If the police are forced to use weapons then they need to me “militarized”. These “kinder and gentler” liberals need to take a Valium and then, take a long nap.

rplat on July 21, 2013 at 11:23 AM

The gendarme-ing of so much of the nation’s police forces is what’s alarming.

We saw it in Boston. We see it with Customs and TSA. They seem to be becoming para-military forces to enforce the state’s will rather than enforce civil law. As stated above, too many times today they seem to act (rather than react) with overkill and over-zealotry.

I’ve begun to look at police forces more and more as much as a threat as the “bad guys” themselves because in many cases their act of law enforcement is more disruptive and life-threatening than the act that are they are trying to resolve. Dorner in California for example.

More and more militarization with more and more aggressiveness all to many times for a politically motivated or media-driven outcome.

JoeinTX on July 21, 2013 at 11:24 AM

It’s not the police as much as the laws.

Randall Hoven on July 21, 2013 at 11:17 AM

“Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

equanimous on July 21, 2013 at 11:24 AM

if the SWAT team mistakenly knocked on his door over some ridiculous drug suspect.

deadrody on July 21, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Or not filing and paying the internet sales tax.

coldwarrior on July 21, 2013 at 11:25 AM

What bothers me about the military styling of modern police departments is that they are often deployed full throtle on the suburbs, poker games and mistaken drug raids.

But you don’t really hear of the police using all of their expensive military gear to sweep the streets of Chicago in an effort to reduce crime and tame the populace.

I don’t see the need for a military style force deployed to my home to enforce a parking ticket bench warrant when three miles down the road we have a city that make Fallujah look safe.

myrenovations on July 21, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Jazz, are you telling the HA readership you are just •now• discovering Radley Balko, and the beat he’s been working for a long, long time?

TC@LeatherPenguin on July 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM

PD’s may have gone too far, with the federal government and Homeland Security practically encouraging the formation of and helping to fund SWAT units in Mayberrys around the US, with Barney Fifes leading the crew. They also too often use their SWAT teams in situations where not needed, just because they have them, want to give them experience, and want to justify their existence.

But when the bad guys can be, and often are, armed with automatic weapons and with “real” fully automatic assault rifles, and when they can fight cops the same way insurgents and guerrilla forces do, and in urban environments the way the insurgents and terrorists in Fallujah fought US soldiers and Marines, I can hardly blame them for adopting many of the same weapons, body armor, helmets, and assault tactics used to clear and secure buildings that our military uses. Because they are proven to work, they are effective, and they minimize casualties among the good guys.

The alternative is to beef up state National Guard forces and train them to routinely handle these situations. But that’s not their job.

What has caused the overreaction and the proliferation of unnecessary SWAT teams in the US is the War on Drugs, the drug laws, and federal funding. As with Prohibition huge demand for illegal drugs has made the bad guys very, very wealthy and enabled them to fund their own para-military forces. In Mexico the cartels have small armies and the police have no choice other than to arm and train as para-military forces and use military tactics. And they still often lose.

farsighted on July 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM

We allow police to stop us for no reason at DWI check points. Add this to the ability of law enforcement to seize property and we are moving closer and closer to something I do not like.

CW on July 21, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Ugh, I’ve always hated that one, the dreaded checkpoint with some dude motioning you over to the side of the road simply because you’re number 15 in the row after the last driver who was stopped.

Bishop on July 21, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Jazz, that is the weakest defense of the Militarized Police State that I have ever read. Try again.

JimK on July 21, 2013 at 11:30 AM

This is a area that I’ve had some concern over for a while now, especially after the bombing in Boston. I have several relatives who are Cops and I believe they deserve every “edge” they can get when it comes to a dangerous situation.

The Police in New York are now allowed weapons and amounts of ammunition that the “average citizen” aren’t allowed to carry under the new “Lil Mario” NY Safe law.

In Boston after the City was locked down, the Police did a house to house search, roaming the streets in armored vehicles, outfitted from head to toe in armor and automatic weapons. Most of which they are “given” or sold at for a dollar a piece. For two measly little punks? Citizens were pulled out of their residences with hands in the air and their premises searched without any “warrant”.

Police also seem to take exception to being “recorded” in public, while they record citizens at will on Police cams and such. A SWAT Team use to be made up of elite personnel who were called out in the most dangerous of situations. I know, I trained them. Today the regular street cops needs only to open his trunk and don the necessary equipment.

The line has been crossed!

De Oppresso Liber on July 21, 2013 at 11:31 AM

If this were a common issue, then it would not be in the news.
Terms and types of officers with different duties and levels of power derived from different sources are all mixed to try and scare the reader who does not know enough about police powers to spot the distortions.
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

Much of this issue arises from four related phenomena. The first is that there are so many unnecessary laws (I saw a recent statistic – don’t remember the exact number, but the majority of citizens are likely guilty of some obscure felony level statute that most people don’t even know exists). Second is the predisposed attitude of our government to wield these laws against the citizenry for reasons that have little or nothing to do with preserving the peace and protecting others’ rights (hence the billions of Federal tax dollars designated for that purpose). Third is the societal (once again, thanks Hollywood) impulse to arm up and man up as manifested by many small town police departments who rarely, if ever, encounter a scenario requiring that level of response. And fourth – a subset of the second, is the clear trend of punishing the citizenry for any deviation from the political trend of the day.

bville 13027 on July 21, 2013 at 11:33 AM

I used to sell equipment to police in Mass. Some of those guys were a little too gung ho for my tastes. The equipment some departments have would have relieved Bastonge(sp?). I remember one request for a telescopic sight and a silencer! What the heii would that combo be used for?
No, they are way out of hand for a police force. BTW the funds for these over the top armaments were provided by DHS. Your federal tax dollars at work.

FOWG1 on July 21, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Also I don’t exactly know what the remedy is but having to deal with a cop who doesn’t know the law in question is aggravating. When a cop says “You can’t do that” and you ask why with the answer being “Because you can’t”, things tend to break down in the citizen/cop relationship.

Perhaps if we had fewer of the meaningless, easily broken laws that do nothing other than to give nanny-staters lives meaning then we wouldn’t have so much of this.

Bishop on July 21, 2013 at 11:35 AM

When my kids were growing up, and were each getting their learner’s permit to drive, I jokingly told them, each time, that any day that does not include the words “Yes, Sir, Officer.” is a damn good day.

They laughed. They also kept it in mind. Safe drivers these kids became.

But, today…the SWAT-energized local police forces, do not even give you the opportunity to say “Yes, Sir, Officer.”

And if you do not comply, immediately…you face bodily harm, further criminal charges even if the original charge that brought out SWAT is dismissed, and the legal fees…and fines…and being put “on the list” for future reference…and that list is shared with DHS, DoJ and any other government entity that may at some point might have an interest…

Yeah…this freedom and liberty thing…so damn old school.

coldwarrior on July 21, 2013 at 11:36 AM

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

But you don’t really hear of the police using all of their expensive military gear to sweep the streets of Chicago in an effort to reduce crime and tame the populace.

Hehehehe. Just the rare scenario where I would agree with seeing such forces used, an urban area out of control and beyond the grasp of the regular police force, but as you say you never see it.

Why? Maybe it’s a fear of putting at risk their gold-plated uber-police in a situation where they are not present in over-whelming force against a target that they’re not guaranteed of taking. See the Branch Davidian compound.

As above, illicit card games or suspected basement pot growers are great targets where they feel the SWAT (or whatever geeked-up police unit it is) have a really good chance of overwhelming to objective with little or no resistance. Makes for great press and photo ops. It doesn’t make for great PR when the super cops go in and get their asses kicked in.

JoeinTX on July 21, 2013 at 11:40 AM

ITT: Aged boot-licker defends violent authority

9 out of every 10 police officers is a high-strung, drunk on power petty tyrant. Jazz says, Hey! Lets give ‘em all big guns and ability and mindset to shoot whoever the f they want! Heil Police Stasi!

Aquateen Hungerforce on July 21, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Aquateen Hungerforce on July 21, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Troll.

farsighted on July 21, 2013 at 11:48 AM

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20130719/ARCHIVES/307191035/-1/search10?Title=Police-action-felt-like-home-invasion

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

Enlarge
Louise Goldsberry scrambled for her gun after seeing a man in a vest pointing a gun at her.

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.

Hojczyk on July 21, 2013 at 11:50 AM

what are officers supposed to do?

How about minding their own business? They don’t need to stop 95% of the people they stop for traffic violations.

They also don’t need to break into homes to deal with non-violent crime.

Stop policing everything. Police the stuff that’s critical. For the rest, mind your own business.

Kohath on July 21, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Really? Using SWAT teams to go after people overheard betting on football games?

Buy Danish on July 21, 2013 at 11:09 AM

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

Sekhmet on July 21, 2013 at 11:56 AM

There are way, way too many of these for them all to be “isolated incidents”. Read the stories in the blue balloons at the map. This is avoidable tragedy. http://www.cato.org/raidmap

alwaysfiredup on July 21, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Hojczyk on July 21, 2013 at 11:50 AM

From the end of the same story:

Goldsberry wasn’t arrested or shot despite pointing a gun at a cop, so Wiggins said, “She sure shouldn’t be going to the press.”

If she was arrested or shot, she couldn’t go to the press. Sorry you’re embarrassed, but you guys screwed up. That someone didn’t get shot or arrested was dumb blind luck.

gryphon202 on July 21, 2013 at 11:58 AM

They also don’t need to break into homes to deal with non-violent crime.

Stop policing everything. Police the stuff that’s critical. For the rest, mind your own business.

Kohath on July 21, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Yep.

And the reason it’s popping back up again is because of the recent third amendment story, which was really a fourth amendment story: unlawful harassment of law-abiding citizens because the police got a bug up their ass about something.

alwaysfiredup on July 21, 2013 at 12:00 PM

It’s one thing when the police are going into a truly dangerous situation to make sure they’re well prepared to deal with any potential threat.

But when we get to a point where half a dozen of them, with no uniforms or badges, surround a car full of college girls, draw their weapons, jump on the vehicle and try to smash the windows out, and drag them off to jail on felony charges, all because someone thought that a 12-pack of bottled water was actually beer purchased without proper ID, then we do have a bit of a problem.

And it becomes a major problem when we just shrug and excuse this kind of overreaction as a cost of “keeping us safe”.

Gator Country on July 21, 2013 at 12:02 PM

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.

Bingo! End of story.

Cleombrotus on July 21, 2013 at 12:02 PM

The problem is Govt using SWAT teams when a knock on the door will do.

If you don’t agree that’s a problem, I don’t know how to make a more clear argument.

nazarioj001 on July 21, 2013 at 12:02 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

But come on! I mean, publicly advertised charity poker tournaments?! Really?! There is such a thing as a “reasonable person” standard, isn’t there?

gryphon202 on July 21, 2013 at 12:03 PM

The encounter turned into a shootout where one police officer was killed,

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

Nothing even remotely suspicious about that whatsoever.

RINO in Name Only on July 21, 2013 at 12:03 PM

IIRC Bruce Lee said something along the lines of:

Board doesn’t hit back

There’s been a couple of articles lately where the SWAT team raided the wrong house. It seems to me the Andy Griffith model of police theory works a lot better than the Barney Fife model because one day, where a polite, respect saturated conversation would have diffused the situation, the SWAT team will go to their natural state of Barney Fife. They will kick down the door of the wrong house and the board will hit back.

Eleven on July 21, 2013 at 12:03 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/

libfreeordie on July 21, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Now, sending the SWAT team after one guy accused of a non-organized crime like child rape is excessive. But remember that drugs, gambling, prostitution, human trafficking, etc. are historically “mob” businesses. And mobsters are known to be well-armed.

Sekhmet on July 21, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Now, sending the SWAT team after one guy accused of a non-organized crime like child rape is excessive. But remember that drugs, gambling, prostitution, human trafficking, etc. are historically “mob” businesses. And mobsters are known to be well-armed.

Sekhmet on July 21, 2013 at 12:05 PM

So do you think that reasoning fits the “reasonable man” standard when used to go after a (for-instance) publicly advertised charity poker tournament? Shouldn’t there at least be reasonable evidence of mob involvement before mob involvement is assumed? When you can place someone’s life at risk by placing a single telephone call and “swatting” them, the system is seriously broken to begin with.

gryphon202 on July 21, 2013 at 12:09 PM

The encounter turned into a shootout where one police officer was killed,

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

Nothing even remotely suspicious about that whatsoever.

RINO in Name Only on July 21, 2013 at 12:03 PM

I guess it’s to be expected – this jail is clearly a depressing place.

RINO in Name Only on July 21, 2013 at 12:11 PM

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

enlightening post.

sesquipedalian on July 21, 2013 at 12:14 PM

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.

How about a simple case of a pissed off ex-girlfriend and a guy with a few pot plants in his basement.

How about a little discretion and common sense. How about that.

This case was overkill and just plain stupid!

katy on July 21, 2013 at 12:16 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

I live in a small town of 1,200. The police here are like the Stasi.

They follow their citizens around the town in their police cars looking for ways to stop them. They arrest the elderly for “trespassing” when they are walking across the local parking lot. They concoct reasons to stop people and breathalyze them. They sit in the local graveyard entrance at 5:00 AM trying to ticket people going to work.

The first day the new police chief was on the job several years ago, he ordered his policeman to go ticket every car that was not parked in the right direction in front of their houses.

At this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a young policeman decided to walk through a peaceful crowd after the parade with his hand on his gun. He was stating things like: “I’m here to keep the peace with this mob”. A happier “mob” you could not find. Across the street, the entire police force were standing in front of the police station with their arms folded across their chests and their legs far apart staring at the crowd in disgust.

I have come to despise my local police something I never felt even when I lived in NYC.

I long for police who actually believe in protecting and serving rather following innocent people around looking for any excuse to ticket them or jail them.

ukgoods on July 21, 2013 at 12:19 PM

What we DON’T need is a paramilitary police force that abuses it’s power. It’s happening all too frequently along with innocent people being targeted. And it’s not uncommon for a number of these cop-soldiers to get their jollies engaging in overwhelming force. We are resembling a police state. In fact, in some respects we are a police state.

HiJack on July 21, 2013 at 12:20 PM

But when the bad guys can be, and often are, armed with automatic weapons and with “real” fully automatic assault rifles, and when they can fight cops the same way insurgents and guerrilla forces do, and in urban environments the way the insurgents and terrorists in Fallujah fought US soldiers and Marines, I can hardly blame them for adopting many of the same weapons, body armor, helmets, and assault tactics used to clear and secure buildings that our military uses. Because they are proven to work, they are effective, and they minimize casualties among the good guys.

When the government excludes citizens defending their homes from their definition of the “good guys”, you’ll find people will tend exclude the police from theirs in turn.

RINO in Name Only on July 21, 2013 at 12:20 PM

[Buy Danish on July 21, 2013 at 11:09 AM]

Thanks for that one. I totally forgot about the story cataloging those incidents.

Dusty on July 21, 2013 at 12:21 PM

RIP Posse Comitatus. They’ve found a work-around.

Wino on July 21, 2013 at 11:10 AM

+1

jaydee_007 on July 21, 2013 at 12:22 PM

A few years ago, right here in my hometown, a cop shot another cop in one of these paramilitary-style raids on a suspected drug den. The cop that was shot was deskbound for the remainder of his short career, and the cop that shot him was found to have been following procedure and is still allowed to carry a gun.

/ptooey

gryphon202 on July 21, 2013 at 12:23 PM

RIP Posse Comitatus. They’ve found a work-around.

Wino on July 21, 2013 at 11:10 AM

+1

jaydee_007 on July 21, 2013 at 12:22 PM

+100

Galt2009 on July 21, 2013 at 12:23 PM

The police are my enemy.

There I said it. I grew-up thinking that police protected the innocent, that they were the good guys.

Life experience has taught me that they are not.

I have been attacked by police. Why? Because I was “walking funny,” meaning that I suffered from chronic health condition that sometimes caused partial paralysis, and so was limping home. The police response was to treat me as a threat. They grabbed me, forced me to the ground and then three officers sat on me, while a fourth tried to knock me unconscious with some kind of ‘Spock pinch’ and when I cried out in pain said “Do you want it to stop hurting? Then answer my questions.” Since one of the other side effects of my health condition was not being able to speak intelligibly (paralysis you see), there wasn’t anything I could do. Of course I was completely mentally aware the whole time – I just couldn’t get my body to act correctly.

Once they determined that I had a chronic health condition and wasn’t doing anything wrong they agreed to release me, but only if I first promised to “do whatever I tell you to do.”

I would point out that I am white, clean cut, and was wearing a button up shirt with slacks. I was in the good part of town. Every cultural signal should have been that I am middle class and law-abiding.

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

The rise of concentration camps to put these Jews in may not be what everyone would hope for, but I don’t see any realistic alternatives.

It always SOUNDS so Reasonable and Justified!

jaydee_007 on July 21, 2013 at 12:24 PM

These home invasion tactics are bad indeed. And our State Supreme Court has seen to it that the police in our State must still respect the Fourth. As our State Constitution has a duplicate provision, the Courts do not need to rely on the US amendment. Judges that accept affidavits that are dubious are also admonished and humiliated.

pat on July 21, 2013 at 12:25 PM

there is an adage in the Army which states that the best preventive medicine on the battlefield is one thing–overwhelming firepower. The worst outcome for cops in any altercation is to be outgunned, thus, they bring the most guns to the fight in the heaviest manner when they deem it appropriate–ie SWAT.

While that helps the cops go home to their kids at night, what does it say when SWAT or the Fish & Game SWAT is leveled against political enemies of the gov’t–ie, Gibson Guitars?? What does the citizen do against that because the SWAT is the gov’t way of circumventing, or overwhelming, the citizens individual ability to protect and defend himself and his property against the government.

ted c on July 21, 2013 at 12:25 PM

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

enlightening post.

sesquipedalian on July 21, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Are you happy with Obama’s Police state Sparky?

Galt2009 on July 21, 2013 at 12:26 PM

what are officers supposed to do?

How about not creating violent and deadly situations that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise? How about some discretion and not using SWAT at all unless absolutely necessary? There are thousands of these para-military forces around the country that are rarely needed, but are employed frequently to justify their existence. Using extreme force as a first resort regardless of the situation, is stupid, dangerous, and breeds fear and contempt of law enforcement.

RadClown on July 21, 2013 at 12:26 PM

RIP Posse Comitatus. They’ve found a work-around.

Wino on July 21, 2013 at 11:10 AM

that’s essentially it. SWAT is para-military. Many of them are cross trained by special mission units from the Army and Navy.

ted c on July 21, 2013 at 12:26 PM

The tip was never about Goldsberry’s apartment, specifically, Wiggins acknowledged. It was about the complex.

Goldsberry probably has a good case for a lawsuit based on the marshal’s statements. Marshall Wiggins is basically saying that he has the right to forcefully enter any place in the country, without cause or provocation, based solely on his judgement.

Does Jazz Shaw believe that blowing away dogs, entering people’s homes, taking over people’s homes, and even killing innocent people is a legitimate use of force?

Before you think I am being snarky, this is how Jazz replied when it was pointed out that he was misrepresenting statements made by Israeli officials:

Yes, “prisoners” (which I also used) was the correct term. Must be the Stallone movies I was watching.

Jazz Shaw on July 20, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Rode Werk on July 21, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Really? Using SWAT teams to go after people overheard betting on football games?
Buy Danish on July 21, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Agreed. Or raiding Gibson for allegedly illegal wood imports, or trashing a coop because it distributed raw milk?

I think it’s high time conservatives took a close look at their blanket support for the police and even the military. Things may not be nearly as black and white as you have assumed. Obama spoke of developing a domestic force as powerful as the army, and we’ve seen signs of it everywhere. The Dept. of Education having its own SWAT team? Good night, wake up people. This is extremely disturbing.

paul1149 on July 21, 2013 at 12:26 PM

The problem is Govt using SWAT teams when a knock on the door will do.

If you don’t agree that’s a problem, I don’t know how to make a more clear argument.

nazarioj001 on July 21, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Perfect comment. Radley Blako has document plenty of cases where no-knock warrants have gone wrong and innocent people were killed. The gate for a no-knock warrant needs to be much higher than it currently is (i.e. no-knocks for nonviolent crimes). SWAT teams should be full-time and highly trained… not small town cops playing Soldier.

I don’t have an issue with Police. I have always felt like they should have our support… I have an issue with the fact that they are rarely (pretty much NEVER) held accountable for their actions. They know this, and act accordingly. If they at least acted sorry and fired some people once in a while (like the cops in LasVegas who took over that guys home and harassed his family, or cops who shoot people’s dogs for the smallest reason), I wouldn’t even question them.

What a nightmare that would be to have them accidentally kick down your door because they got the wrong address. I know how I would react, and that would instantly make me a criminal (probably a dead criminal) and nothing would happen to them at all.

BadBrad on July 21, 2013 at 12:27 PM

I think having police walk a beat is a good thing. They get to know the neighborhood and the people get to know them. I know that in big cities, it is mostly impossible to do this because of the size. This is why police use patrol cars. What that does however is cut them off from the day to day interaction with the citizenry. Maybe we can get back to that on a limited basis. I like the idea of cops on bikes in the neighborhoods. As to every agency having people carrying guns, 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.

gordo on July 21, 2013 at 12:28 PM

there is an adage in the Army which states that the best preventive medicine on the battlefield is one thing–overwhelming firepower. The worst outcome for cops in any altercation is to be outgunned, thus, they bring the most guns to the fight in the heaviest manner when they deem it appropriate–ie SWAT.

While that helps the cops go home to their kids at night, what does it say when SWAT or the Fish & Game SWAT is leveled against political enemies of the gov’t–ie, Gibson Guitars?? What does the citizen do against that because the SWAT is the gov’t way of circumventing, or overwhelming, the citizens individual ability to protect and defend himself and his property against the government.

ted c on July 21, 2013 at 12:25 PM

The problem with saying “anyone might be violent” and calling that “reasonable” is that the reasonable person goes right out the window. There’s no more need for beat cops or traffic cops, because they might be outgunned and out-manned at any point in time. So the need for judgement disappears; just throw as many guns as you can at every situation and BOOM. You have a pacified obedient populace — blissfully ignorant of their rights and the way community policing used to be.

gryphon202 on July 21, 2013 at 12:28 PM

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.

And therein lies the problem, no? I live in the state where this incident took place. It was tragic, but it was also unnecessary. Is there any reason that the cops couldn’t have arrested this man on his way to work in the morning? Or on his way home in the evening? Or gone to his place of employment and rounded him up there? I can’t think of any. Even if he was unemployed there would have been many opportunities to apprehend him that would have been safer for all involved. But as it was, they went in the middle of the night and a groggy and confused criminal did exactly what one would expect. As you say, it was regrettable, but hardly unexpected…and entirely unnecessary.

rogaineguy on July 21, 2013 at 12:29 PM

RINO in Name Only on July 21, 2013 at 12:20 PM

+1000

Add to that…when “law enforcement” looks at the citizens it has sworn to “protect and serve” as the same as the the murdering scum of Fallujah…we are long past the “we have a problem” stage…way past.

Contempt for the law…as bad, if not worse, today than it was during the height of Prohibition.

And that contempt is fueled, daily, because “law enforcement” is far more important than “protecting and serving.”

coldwarrior on July 21, 2013 at 12:29 PM

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

enlightening post.

spermsequestrian on July 21, 2013 at 12:14 PM

…we know… it doesn’t take much…too light you up!

KOOLAID2 on July 21, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Shaw has never written an article worth reading and this one is no exception. He seems to believe the militarization of the police is justified because certain cases of criminal activity are more extreme in this day and age.

There might be something to that but once the military mentality is in place it is overused and incidences that in no way justify those sort of tactics end up turning into nightmares needlessly. When you have a hammer everything looks like a nail. It is sort of like NSA mass spying, once government has a tool like that it will be abused without fail.

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

And that contempt is fueled, daily, because “law enforcement” is far more important than “protecting and serving.”

coldwarrior on July 21, 2013 at 12:29 PM

…right there!…+1000

KOOLAID2 on July 21, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Actually you have a right to worry. I just retired after 25 yrs on a very large dept. Over the past few yrs, my dept. has been arming and training the officers in military tactical movements. Now I believe I have enough experience to tell you that police departments have no business using military tactics. All of this was justified in their minds by the Mumbai incident. So you have 5 guys with modern arms take over a 3rd world city where the cops had WW1 rifles and the most bullets they carried avg. 4. This is a poor excuse to train and outfit cops as a standing army. My dept. up until the Boston bombing had the highest number of rounds fired in a shooting. Even the SWAT team panicked and shot their own APC. Now 6 yrs. later most of those officers are carrying AR15′s w/ alot more ammo than I ever carried. And yes I was in 3 shootings, the first two stopped the threat w/ 1 round and the last one 7. These officers are carrying up to 200 rds of .223 now and most have less than 5 yrs. on the force. Theirs your gasoline on the fire.

RAIDER on July 21, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Judges need to stop issuing no-knock warrants for trivial matters like unpaid parking tickets or overdue library books.

Laws need to be changed, that police have to produce evidence that justifies such draconian measures, with penalties not just for police but the judges who sign the warrants when they get it wrong.

Rebar on July 21, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Laws need to be changed, that police have to produce evidence that justifies such draconian measures, with penalties not just for police but the judges who sign the warrants when they get it wrong.

Rebar on July 21, 2013 at 12:40 PM

As long as the cops and judges protect each other with extra-judicial inquiries and shooting boards, it’ll get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

gryphon202 on July 21, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Has anyone else noticed the increased presence of the ATF in local matters? I have.

madmonkphotog on July 21, 2013 at 11:16 AM

ATF has conducted raids with my local police department to bust people selling illegal fireworks.

Mark1971 on July 21, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Well, it certainly does blur the line of Posse Comitatus…sure they are not military-military…but as lethal…and with more questionable leadership.

[coldwarrior on July 21, 2013 at 11:15 AM]

I’ll accept the idea the police are not military when the police quit referring to the public as civilians.

Dusty on July 21, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Jazz misses the point entirely, which is not surprising.

I normally think of Jazz’s weekend posts as Hot Air’s version of affirmative action for big government apologists.

Nessuno on July 21, 2013 at 12:45 PM

I’ve seen this disturbing trend manifest itself at gun shows even during the short time I’ve been going to them. The buzzword is “tactical”. Everything is “tactical”.

It is a way of marketing to cops who never would have made it through Navy Seal Hell Week because of too many donuts.

But they can don black vests with 187 Velcro pockets, tinted goggles and pretend that they are taking out Bin Laden when they shoot someone’s Doberman Pinscher names ‘snooky’.

kurtzz3 on July 21, 2013 at 12:48 PM

So do you think that reasoning fits the “reasonable man” standard when used to go after a (for-instance) publicly advertised charity poker tournament? Shouldn’t there at least be reasonable evidence of mob involvement before mob involvement is assumed? When you can place someone’s life at risk by placing a single telephone call and “swatting” them, the system is seriously broken to begin with.

Agreed. How about the following standard:

Unarmed, no-knock raids are forbidden except for two cases:

1. The arrest of wanted felons who have been publicly ordered to appear in court and refused, and are charged with a violent offense.

2. The prevention of imminent acts of terror or other violence.

Anyone who is suspected of a nonviolent offense can be dealt with via fines, liens on property, and other financial sanctions, at least until they can be detained in a place where the police feel comfortable arresting them without re-enacting Zero Dark Thirty.

If the crime is nonviolent, the importance of catching them in the act trumps neither the police’s safety, nor my family’s.

This doesn’t address the swatting issue. For that, some basic discretion an common sense should be enough for most cases, coupled with an aggressive effort to find and punish the people making the calls.

RINO in Name Only on July 21, 2013 at 12:48 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

What century are you talking about? The era of James Cagney movies? Just a pathetic retort.

Buy Danish on July 21, 2013 at 12:51 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. You want them to prevent your kids from getting run over by reckless drivers, but you don’t want them stopping you. You expect them to answer your call for help at tht speed of light, but if you see them driving fast to someone else’s aid, they’re really just late for lunch. And in your supreme brilliance and complete knowledge of all things, if the cops have machine guns, you should, too.

Screw that. The cops have the attitudes that they do, and SWAT teams get used for every little thing these days precisely because things aren’t nice any more. Nearly every big city has gang problems, including gangs that roam the more genteel areas looking for stupid people to beat up. Criminals in general confront the police more often than ever. Every situation has the potential to blow up way out of proportion, because there is no respect for laws or the police. The cops can no longer trust anyone; even their own management eagerly solicits complaints. Individual initiative is discouraged or even forbidden… after all, someone might complain. Not that you can blame them, given the trend toward hiring nitwits as cops…

What a mess. Glad I’m retiring. By the way, I don’t have a lavish California-style pension coming, which I’m sure makes the morons happy.

That’s the reality of it. Actual police work is very dirty, dangerous, and messy. It’s not like TV; the losers don’t come back on another show next week. Not that anyone gives a s***….

So go ahead, cop bashers and liberals, keep up the foolishness. In the end, your the fool who’s to blame.

n0doz on July 21, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Actual police work is very dirty, dangerous, and messy. It’s not like TV; the losers don’t come back on another show next week. Not that anyone gives a s***….

So go ahead, cop bashers and liberals, keep up the foolishness. In the end, your the fool who’s to blame.

n0doz on July 21, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Boy, I hope you don’t lump me into either of those categories. I am a freedom lover first, and that’s why I believe that cops should hew to the constitution. If you’re not with me on that because you feel sorry for people who choose to do dangerous, dirty, and messy work? Sorry, Butch. I can’t argue facts with someone who insists on emoting.

gryphon202 on July 21, 2013 at 1:08 PM

But when the bad guys can be, and often are, armed with automatic weapons and with “real” fully automatic assault rifles

[farsighted on July 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM]

What evidence do you have for saying that they “often are”. I can understand the “can be” as anything is possible, and I understand it is not too difficult to convert some firearms. I want to know about the “often are” so I can evaluate whether the fear is appropriate or irrational.

Dusty on July 21, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Contempt for the law…as bad, if not worse, today than it was during the height of Prohibition.

And that contempt is fueled, daily, because “law enforcement” is far more important than “protecting and serving.”
coldwarrior on July 21, 2013 at 12:29 PM

True. Actually, I think contempt for the law is worse and the behavior of cops towards ordinary citizens is also often worse. And for basically the same reasons as during Prohibition.

In many ways the War on Drugs is worse than Prohibition and has done more than Prohibition ever did to 1) undermine respect for the law, cops and LE (in part due to the behavior of LE), 2) to corrupt cops, LE, DAs, and local government, and 3) to create an us vs them attitude both among both the population and among LE.

Some examples… There were no mandatory sentences for trafficking or possession of relatively small amounts of booze during Prohibition. And violent prisoners were not released early to make room for non-violent offenders of booze trafficking and possession offenses. And now SWAT teams are unnecessarily proliferating and being misused, with huge mistakes being made.

The WoD is the original root cause. Add in combating terrorism and the left-wing’s reflexive use of government power to suppress, demonize, and criminalize political opponents and enforce their socialist state. The result is that LE in all of its forms is beginning to expand and spiral almost out of control. Over the decades citizens have more and more come to view LE as the enemy.

America may be broken beyond repair.

farsighted on July 21, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Mr. Shaw should take a peek at this.

Is there any reasonable excuse to do this to a peaceful group of mostly elderly citizens exercising their allegedly guaranteed constitutional right to protest against what they believe is a too big and intrusive government?

beedubya on July 21, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Screw that. The cops have the attitudes that they do, and SWAT teams get used for every little thing these days precisely because things aren’t nice any more. Nearly every big city has gang problems, including gangs that roam the more genteel areas looking for stupid people to beat up. Criminals in general confront the police more often than ever. Every situation has the potential to blow up way out of proportion, because there is no respect for laws or the police.

n0doz on July 21, 2013 at 1:02 PM

And we civvies are largely to blame after decades of limp-wristedness and voting in weak-kneed politicians who promptly enact suitably pathetic laws. Especially including anti-2nd Amendment laws. An armed society does WONDERS for both inducing people to keep things at shouted words…and for idiots to not only get Darwinized but promptly deter other idiots.

The whole mess is also in no small part to the breakdown of the traditional family unit. (There’s that pesky obsolete 50′s mentality again…) When children grow up with only an overworked mother to run and discipline the household, there is to be quite blunt only so much she can do and they know it. Things can get outright dangerous for single moms with unruly teenage sons who could quite easily best them if push comes to shove. And their schoolteachers have even LESS ability to make them comply.

Seriously, you imagine the arrogance that gets fueled in that kind of scenario. Is it any wonder we have punks by the thousand sneering at authority until they get locked up or Zimmermanned?

MelonCollie on July 21, 2013 at 1:12 PM

n0doz on July 21, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Thanks. I was wondering if there’d be the obligatory “HUR DUR DUR DUR IM A COP AND I TAKE ANY AND ALL CRITICISM OF COPS VERY PERSONALLY HUR DUR DUR” post before page 2.

It’s probably too early for FLATFOOT to come in here in a drunken stupor and screech at every comments who isnt verbally knob-slobbing his service, but hey — the day is still young.

Jeddite on July 21, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Thanks. I was wondering if there’d be the obligatory “HUR DUR DUR DUR IM A COP AND I TAKE ANY AND ALL CRITICISM OF COPS VERY PERSONALLY HUR DUR DUR” post before page 2.

Jeddite on July 21, 2013 at 1:13 PM

I seriously hope you are kidding.

MelonCollie on July 21, 2013 at 1:15 PM

[kurtzz3 on July 21, 2013 at 12:48 PM]

Funny you mention the bulletproof vests.

Hey, but he was just shopping for doughnuts.

Dusty on July 21, 2013 at 1:16 PM

I don’t see any realistic alternatives

Try thinking about it for one, maybe two minutes. It helps.

And in response to n0doz,

Every situation has the potential to blow up way out of proportion

often thanks to the aforementioned stupid cops.

Free Constitution on July 21, 2013 at 1:17 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

What century are you talking about? The era of James Cagney movies? Just a pathetic retort.

Buy Danish on July 21, 2013 at 12:51 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

Sackett on July 21, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Sackett, you have perfectly summarized my feelings as well. I too grew up believing in law and order, respecting the police, knowing that only the “bad” guys were their target and that I just minding my own business and the law would have no problem with them.

Not anymore. This is not because of some recent run-in or a string or traffic tickets that has gotten me all worked up about it either. It’s just my observations of events and interactions with those in law enforcement that I know. There are some real thugs walking around right now with a badge, a gun, and the full backing of state behind them.

Now, admittedly, the police are under a lot of pressure and they are unjustly criticized for not nabbing violent offenders before they’ve done wrong. Absolutely. But, as many have noted, the strong-arm tactics of so many forces who overreact and escalate situations that should never get to any life-threatening level are worrisome.

JoeinTX on July 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM

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