Listen, I worked with the SWAT guys and they are all decent fellows. But that is at the local level and yes, they do shoot dogs- mostly without cause. Not our guys so much, but the Sheriff’s Office acts like they get a bonus.
However, MOST good police officer, armed to the teeth or not, are trying to do the right thing to the right bad guy. They make mistakes, like the time our guys threw a flashbang into the wrong duplex apartment to smoke out a doper. The doper gave up but not after nearly passing out from laughter after realizing his neighbor was deaf and blind!
However, things have changed, intentionally I’m afraid.
As Washington politicians aim to restrict the Second Amendment, they should look in the mirror. The time to control government’s guns is now. Overarmed federal officials increasingly employ military tactics as a first resort in routine law enforcement. From food-safety cases to mundane financial matters, battle-ready public employees are turning America into the United States of SWAT.
FBI agents and U.S. marshals understandably are well fortified, given their frequent run-ins with ruthless bad guys. However — as my old friend and fellow columnist Quin Hillyer notes — armed officers, if not Special Weapons and Tactics crews, populate these federal agencies: the National Park Service; the Postal Inspection Service; the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Labor, and Veterans Affairs; the Bureaus of Land Management and Indian Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Even Small Business Administration and Railroad Retirement Board staffers pack heat!
These “ninja bureaucrats,” as Hillyer calls them, run rampant. They, and often their local-government counterparts, deploy weapons against harmless, frequently innocent, Americans who typically are accused of non-violent civil or administrative violations.
• An FDA SWAT unit struck Lancaster, Pa.’s Rainbow Acres Farm in April 2010. From there, farmer Dan Allgyer illegally had shipped unpasteurized milk to his customers across state lines through something called a “cow-sharing agreement.” (Really.) Ignoring a woman’s right to choose raw milk, Washington launched an armed federal response against this Amish-run dairy. The company subsequently folded.
“He was not tricking people into buying it, he was not forcing people to purchase it, and there had been no complaints about his product,” stated then-Representative Ron Paul (R., Tex.). “These were completely voluntary transactions, but ones that our nanny-state federal government did not approve of, and so they shut down his business.”U.S. marshals and other federal officers also have conducted similar actions against purveyors of unauthorized milk, cheese, and even elderberry juice.
• When financial questions arose regarding the Mountain Pure Water Company, Washington did not send a few staffers to inspect documents. Instead, last spring, some 50 armed Treasury agents breached Mountain Pure’s headquarters in Little Rock, Ark. They seized 82 boxes of records, herded employees into the cafeteria, snatched their cell phones, and refused to let them consult attorneys.
“We’re the federal government,” Mountain Pure’s comptroller, Jerry Miller, says one pistol-packing fed told him. “We can do what we want, when we want, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Unfortunately, the fed wasn’t wrong. The local police are constantly monitored by the feds. But the feds do not monitor themselves very well. It’s a human nature thing and I’ve talked about it before.
It was my understanding the effort to arm up the police is partially due to the fact we are so poorly armed before and then when terrorism can to play, we need a jump start badly. And yes, if the feds faced a major disaster, city or region wide, they do not have the ability to respond, which is another reason they are arming up everyone from HRT members to clerks.
But even then they are hugely outnumbered by armed citizens, which is one reason you see such a vigorous effort by some to eliminate our rights.
Still, when SWAT makes a mistake they need to fix it and put their energy drink swallowing, weight lifting, rappelling egos aside and make things right. Like in this case.
• In 2008, gun-toting cops stormed the home of Berwyn Heights, Md.’s mayor, Cheye Calvo. They kicked down his door and handcuffed him (in his underwear) for two hours, along with his mother-in-law. Calvo’s wife walked in during the episode and discovered that police fatally had gunned down their two black Labrador retrievers, Chase and Payton.
“Our dogs were our children,” Calvo told the Associated Press. “They were the reason we bought this house, because it had a big yard for them to run in.” Next-door neighbor Edward Alexander added: “I was completely stunned, because those dogs didn’t hurt anybody. They barely bark.”Police seized a FedEx package containing 32 pounds of marijuana, to which Calvo was unconnected. Drug traffickers had addressed it to his house, intending to collect it from his front porch before he did. No charges were filed against the Calvos.
• On July 13, 2010, a dozen St. Paul, Minn.–area policemen and a federal Drug Enforcement Agency officer assaulted Roberto Franco’s home. Clad in Army fatigues, they rousted all nine people there, including three children. “Each plaintiff was forced to the floor at gun and rifle point and handcuffed behind their backs,” states Franco’s $30 million federal lawsuit against these authorities. “Defendants shot and killed the family dog and forced the handcuffed children to sit next to the carcass of their dead and bloody pet for more than an hour while defendants continued to search the plaintiffs’ home.”
According to the complaint, one young girl who “was handcuffed and prevented by officer from obtaining and taking her medication thus induced a diabetic episode as a result of low blood-sugar levels.”
Oops. Wrong house!
At which point they say “I’m very, VERY sorry! I’m sure your attorney will be contacting ours. You have a nice day and if you need help fixing that front door just let us know. See ya!”
To do anything else shows they’ve forgotten the first rule of the contract between us and the citizens when it comes to exercising the power given the police.
“First do no harm.”