Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What The Hell Is Going On?

I've been loosely keeping tabs on the situation down in Tuscon. Not that one, the one where a SWAT team shot (60 times!) one Jose Guerena while executing a blanket search warrant.

Some of the news on the subject I've got from Radley Balko, here, and a link from Say Uncle, here.

I say loosely, as I've been aware of the shooting since it happened, and I had noticed the way the story has shifted since the raid on 5 May. Shifted. That's an interesting phenomenon here.

Story starts out with a SWAT raid targeting marijuana operations in and around four houses in Tuscon. Then, it was a home invasion ring. Then it was a drug rip-off operation. Who knows what it'll be next week, let alone tomorrow.

All the while, the Sheriffs office, the same one who blamed the other tragedy in Tuscon in January on radical, right wing rhetoric is all about people not jumping to conclusions about what happened in this instance.


The blatant stonewalling and cover-up being perpetrated in and around this incident is astonishing, even for a SWAT raid that had seemingly gone awry. That people, even innocent people, get shot during these high-adrenalin, high stress raids is sadly not surprising. What is, in this instance, totally astonishing is that the Pima County SD is going farther to paint those who criticize this raid as quacks than they were to deal honestly in the Giffords shooting.

What scares me most, is that in light of recent court decisions around the country, particularly the one in Indiana about the same time this raid took place, is that even when these parties knowingly commit the illegal act of breaking through your door in the middle of the night (or in the case of Mr. Guerena, middle of the morning) that you have no reasonable expectation of remedy through armed resistance to forcible, illegal breech of your personal, private property.

Remember, too, that criminals have used the guise of a SWAT raid to burglarize and kill their victims. That an increasing number of these high impact raids are carried out as 'No Knock' actions (meaning the cops do not have to announce their presence so as to surprise those inside who may try to get rig of 'evidence') means that the further this escalates, the more likely the end result will not be everyone walking away with a 'Sorry to bother you, sir' attitude. No, it will most likely end with the homeowner, at a minimum, and possibly one or more law enforcement personnel being taken away from the scene feet first in a plastic, zippered bag.

What has this country come to? When my Great Grandfather was town Marshall of Sundance, WY, he patrolled the small town of 1500 all by himself. (Matter of fact, we still have the Colt .38 Sp revolver he carried while on the job.) According to my mother, he never had a deputy, but got assistance every once in a while from a deputy sheriff. Now, that same sleepy town of 15oo has 3 cops, plus the Crook County Sheriffs Dept which I haven't been able to find an exact number of deputies. (It is interesting to note that when my GGF retired, it took 13 cops to do the job he did himself. What does that say about community policing standards?)

Now, instead of teaching you a lesson by having a speeding motorist sit in front of stop sign for an hour to teach them a lesson, or dumping out the beer at the high school party, we have full blown armed encounters where its more important for the cop to come home safely than it is for the citizen.

As Mike V notes over at Sipsey Street, this is not going to end well for any party involved.

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