Sunday, July 7, 2013

More Tales From the Police State

Though SurvivalBlog is limping along, still hindered by the DDOS attack they've been under since Wednesday, they have routed around the damage and are serving up information again.  From there, I followed a link to the ABA Journal (the American Bar Association) article, "How Did America's Police Become a Military Force on the Streets?", by Radley Balko.  If the name isn't familiar, Radley has written on the over-militarization of the police for several years.  He's a fellow of the CATO Institute and has written for the Huffington Post as well.  This is clearly an area where there should be no party lines, and even the most pro-cop people are starting to see the problems with no-knock raids over a few dollars worth of marijuana; raids that inevitably result in killing the owner's dogs or children.  And this isn't even addressing all the raids on the wrong houses, chronicled on CATO's separate web site.

You should RTWT.  It's a bit long, but worth the time.

The article starts the look at the police militarization from the perspective of the founders and the third amendment in the Bill of Rights.  He asks, "Are cops constitutional?".  He traces the history behind the 3A and slow change from an "officer Friendly" guy walking a beat or otherwise on patrol into the paramilitary SWAT teams now used to collect evidence of tax evasion (leading to a suicide) and other non-violent crimes. 
On Feb. 11, 2010, in Columbia, Mo., the police department’s SWAT team served a drug warrant at the home of Jonathan Whitworth, his wife and their 7-year-old son. Police claimed that eight days earlier they had received a tip from a confidential informant that Whitworth had a large supply of marijuana in his home. They then conducted a trash pull, which turned up marijuana “residue” in the family’s garbage. That was the basis for a violent, nighttime, forced-entry raid on the couple’s home. The cops stormed in screaming, swearing and firing their weapons; and within seconds of breaking down the door they intentionally shot and killed one of the family’s dogs, a pit bull. At least one bullet ricocheted and struck the family’s pet corgi. The wounded dogs whimpered in agony. Upon learning that the police had killed one of his pets, Whitworth burst into tears.
All of this was for nothing.  The end result of the damaged home, shattered lives, and murdered pets was a $300 fine for marijuana pipe at the Whitworth's home. 

But remember, we're all probably federal criminals.  We all probably commit three federal felonies every day without knowing it.

Ralko tells the story of Betty Taylor, a cop who got pulled into the SWAT raids as a follow-up officer, one who tried to take care of kids in the house - if they hadn't been killed.  She talks of how the job ruined her love of police work.
Taylor made her way inside to see them. When she opened the door, the 8-year-old girl assumed a defense posture, putting herself between Taylor and her little brother. She looked at Taylor and said, half fearful, half angry, “What are you going to do to us?”

Taylor was shattered. “Here I come in with all my SWAT gear on, dressed in armor from head to toe, and this little girl looks up at me, and her only thought is to defend her little brother. I thought, ‘How can we be the good guys when we come into the house looking like this, screaming and pointing guns at the people they love? How can we be the good guys when a little girl looks up at me and wants to fight me? And for what? What were we accomplishing with all of this? Absolutely nothing.’ ”
Taylor recently ran into the little girl who changed the way she thought about policing. Now in her 20s, the girl told Taylor that she and her brother had nightmares for years after the raid. They slept in the same bed until the boy was 11. “That was a difficult day at work for me,” she says. “But for her, this was the most traumatic, defining moment of this girl’s life. Do you know what we found? We didn’t find any weapons. No big drug operation. We found three joints and a pipe.”

How the war on drugs begins.  Note the escalation of amounts claimed as stolen by heroin addicts in 1972, starting with $2 Billion and eventually being quoted as $18 Billion, when the total of all reported property thefts in the entire nation was $1.2 Billion.  Every single statement was a lie. 

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