300 -> 3,000 -> 50,000 – > ???

Even the Wall Street Journal is noticing the trend of militarization of our police. It is interesting to note that when the concept of a SWAT team was first put forth, it was questioned as to whether it was even legal and Constitutional.  Since that time, they have become common place.  But are they being abused?

The utilization of SWAT teams has sky-rocketed:

1970’s = a few hundred
1980’s = 3,000/year
2005 = 50,000
& I’d wager 2012 was significantly higher.

SWAT teams were originally envisioned for reacting to high level crises that required greater training and co-ordinated tactics. Now they’re used everyday for routine policing. And there tactics are used more and more by non-SWAT personnel. Furthermore, we’ve seen a lot of “plain clothes SWAT teams”.

How ubiquitous have SWAT teams become? In 1983, most small towns and cities did not have SWAT teams.  About 1/10th had such units. And I’d wager most of those were suburbs of large metros like Los Angeles. By 2005, 80% of towns had such units. And in 2012 after nearly $35 billion in grants for DHS, I wager that is now somewhere in the 90%+. 

Many feel that SWAT teams are justified because of the “War on Drugs”, and the fact that drug cartels and gangs are heavily armed. Interestingly enough, per the article a study done in 1991 (which was a fairly high crime peak period) found “one-eighth of 1% of homicides in the U.S. were committed with a military-grade weapon.”  Later studies essentially confirmed these conclusions.

These no knock, militarized SWAT raids often result in needless deaths of innocents.   Even many in law enforcement have started to express concern that something is very wrong today.

Personally, I put a lot of the blame on the prohibition. The failed War on Drugs, which has cost us more civil liberties than anything in recent times.  But is that really the fundamental reason for the increased build-up?  The past few years has seen the militarization of our police sky-rocket, every little podunk town is being giving a light armored tank (APCs), surplus M16/M4 assault rifles (that’s the fully automatic military model, not the news media pseudo fear assault weapon).

I’ve argued recently with friends that we’re headed toward a police state, but I think I’m changing my argument. We are IN a police state. If you disagree, than you are merely a fool who is afraid to deal honestly with the truth.  I think the issue is, that we have conjured up in our head an image of a police state being one which hauls away it’s citizens, imprisons them, and kills them. When one says police state, we think of Hitler and Stalin’s regimes.  But that is not the necessary definition of a police state. Nazi Germany was a deranged state, it had a madman who was on many levels insane. While it was a police state, it went beyond into deranged mass murder and genocide.  That is actually a separate aspect of Nazi Germany.  A police state, does not by necessity, have to kill its citizens….just control them.

So ask yourself, and ask honestly, how we are NOT a police state? 

  • Militarized police are equipped in every town with military weaponry, light tanks, and trained in military tactics.
  • All of our phone calls, emails and digital communications are monitored and recorded.
  • All of our travel is being recorded via traffic control cameras and mobile cameras mounted on law enforcement vehicles which scan millions of license plates.
  • Our bodies are subject to search, violation, and abuse when traveling.

 We absolutely are a police state, everything exists to define us as a police state. The sole reason many do not believe we are a police state is because nearly all Americans are good, decent law abiding sheep. In other words, we seldom ever rock the boat so as to bring that police state down upon ourselves. That does not negate the existence of a police state.  

 But I digress, there is actually in fact ONE SINGLE LONE ITEM that prevents America from being a true police state. A single counter-balance, and that is the “{Right to Keep and Bear Arms”. Without that one caveat, we are living in the most empowered police state in the history of humanity.

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Published in: on July 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Castle Doctrine on Parole vs Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Below I am going to make the case that we have a law that we desperately need to repeal…

The Martin-Zimmerman case has enacted tons of attention on Florida’s Castle Doctrine and duty to retreat laws – this despite the fact that it is irrelevant to the case.

  1.  If Martin was actively beating Zimmerman while he was on the ground, per George Zimmerman’s testimony. Zimmerman has no means to retreat.
     
  2.  If Martin was fighting off a George Zimmerman who was forcibly confronting him, per the Martin side of things, than Zimmerman also does not fall under the duty to retreat clause, being the aggressor.

So what is the argument against Castle Doctrine in this case?

“Zimmerman should be arrested and jailed!”

But wait, I thought America believed in “Innocent until proven guilty!” And this is the crux of the matter, do we believe in innocence until proven guilty?

If so, we need to let the process work. We might need to nudge it, but I sure as heck DO NOT want to eliminate America’s “Innocent Until Proven Guilty” foundation. And I’d wager African-Americans are even less inclined to see us disolve that fundamental American trait. Cause let’s be honest, African-Americans have throughout American history more often than most groups found themselves presumed “Guilty Before Innocent”.

Let’s just hypothetical say that Zimmerman is telling the truth. Do we really want to send a man to prison if he’s innocent?

And if he’s not innocent, and that determination is made, then Zimmerman will go to prison for manslaughter.

But let’s talk about all the hub-bub regarding repealing Florida’s Castle Doctrine. Why? How did it affect this case other than Zimmerman isn’t sitting in jail right now awaiting determination to his innocent or out $5 Grand for a bail bond.

The real net result is very minimal in regards to final justice.

CONFESSION: I did feel that initially, it looked as if the process had stopped when there were numerous questions involving this case. And that continued investigation, and a judicial review was necessary. I still believe Zimmerman may be guilty, but with all the evidence released, I have probably moved from a 60% / 40% in Martin’s favor to 60% / 40% in Zimmerman’s favor. But all that said…my opinion is meaningless, it’s the investigators and/or jury’s that will count.

***

Now let’s talk about a law that Florida absolutely needs to repeal.

Parole

The parole process releases thousands of criminals onto our streets. And please understand, these are criminals – they have not completed their sentences. They haven’t “done the time, for the crime”.

I don’t know the exact figure, but I would wager an estimate that 85% of these parolees commit crimes upon their release. Though far less are likely caught, and even less lose their parole. My family had dealings (unfortunately) with one convicted Federal felon on parole. He was habitual in both fraud and crime, and yet three law enforcement branches did nothing about it for over a year.

One study concluded 45% of parolees fail their parole. Now realize, what that means…1/2 of parolees fail. Of that, the article claims 2/3 return for technicalities. Now considering it took about a dozen crimes for the one parolee I’ve ever had to deal with. I wager he probably returned on a technicality as well.

What affect does the returning of parolees to society result in? Per this article

  • 8% rise in aggravated (violent) assault
  • 20% rise in robbery reports
  • 10% rise in burglarly reports
  • 20% rise in murder rates

So the misguided claim is that Florida’s Castle Doctrine law is reponsible for the death of an innocent youth. Okay, well parole is responsible for the death, rapes and assault of tens of thousands of innocent people. If we need to abolish a law, one that leads to the harm and death of innocents, then clearly, the practice of parole should be abolished.

Imagine the life Jaycee Dugard would have had if Phillip Garrido , a convicted kidnapper, rapist, sex offender had not been paroled – who testified in court, “that he masturbated in his car by the side of grammar schools and high schools“. 

Do you think Jaycee’s life would have been better if she wasn’t locked in a basement being raped repeatedly for nearly 20 years?

Seriously, I believe the parole system is fundamentally broken. It exists because our prisons are too full. Our prisons are too full because we fill our prisons with perpetrators of so-called “victimless crimes”.  Be it an individual who enjoys growing and smoking cannibas or an elderly handicapped orchid hobbyist arrested by a SWAT team. (Seriously, neither is someone I want filling up my jails. If you want to abuse your body on drugs, that’s your call. The mere choice of drug, cannibas vs alcohol/tobacco really shouldn’t be the difference of freedom or prison. 2 years of filling up a prison slot that could have been used for a violent murdering rapist. Really, which do you want locked up and kept from society. 

God help those who find themselves or their loved ones harmed by a parolee. I believe at that point, the government has failed in it’s duty. Releasing violent criminals to prey upon society and repeat their crimes is negligence on the part of the government – and de facto negation of the rights we have ceded to them.

Therefore, I believe we should enact a campaign to have Florida repeal parole. Thousands more innocents are harmed in Florida by the parole process than Castle Doctrine.

Seriously, it’s called an A-D-D-R-E-S-S

FBI cuts through door of a home with a change saw. Lays mother prone on the floor with a gun pointed at her, as her 3 year old cries in the background.

Her crime?  Wrong address!!!

Seriously, how many times do we need to read this before changes are enacted.  If you can’t read an address or know what house you are busting into, than frankly, I sure as hell don’t want you to have a rifle and SWAT gear.

http://news.yahoo.com/fbi-cuts-down-mass-moms-door-wrong-home-143434056.html

I hereby propose a new law. All S.W.A.T. raids must now field a representative from the local post office to instruct and guide the S.W.A.T. unit in identifying and recognizing distinguing marks and numerals which aid in the identification of specific housing units.

Thankfully there were no negligent discharages on the part of officers this time.  Less an innocent woman would likely be dead and a 3 year old girl motherless.

 

 

“a couple of traffic tickets and no criminal history”

I’m a little late on this one, it slipped by me until today.

Jose Guerena, former marine, gunned down in a SWAT raid. Served two tours in Iraq. The SWAT team claims they did not do a no knock warrant, and came in with sirens. (I’d really like to hear from neighbors if that was true.)

How often are we going to tolerate these style SWAT raids? Granted, it’s possible Jose Guerena was involved in some illicit activity. Wouldn’t be the first soldier to do so. But the officers involved have released no details as to any evidence collected.

But even if they did, can we believe them? SWAT teams are becoming quite famed for fabricating lies and planting evidence. (See Kathryn Johnston)

Well it didn’t take long for them to being fabricating. Apparently, they initially claimed Jose Guerena shot first. “They now acknowledge that not only did he not fire, the safety on his gun was still activated when he was killed”

“We spoke with several of the neighbors,” Epps says. “And none of them — none of them — heard any sirens that morning. Every one of them told us they didn’t hear anything, no knocking, no shouting, until the shooting started. They didn’t hear anything until the shooting started.”

Now mind you…it is possible that Guerena was in fact involved in some illicit behavior. Let’s say that all the known evidence to the contrary doesn’t exist and he was. We are seeing a practice of bad habits arising. No knock SWAT raids. Shoot first, question later. And poor intelligence (ie: woman and children in location at time of raid). None of these occurences should be happening in America.

But based on the fact so far, it’s looking pretty damning to police. For those wondering why Guerena would respond with a rifle. Could it be because his wife lost two relatives to a home invasion the year before?

In conclusion, we already know how this will end. It will be sent to an independent police board of made up of knowledgeful examiners. They will review the case in detail and conclude that no wrong-doing was done on the part of the law enforcement officers.

While the rest of us will exlaim, there is a dead “daddy”, a dead “marine”, a dead “American”. Only a liar or a thug can conclude there was no wrong-doing.

If we can sentence Ramos and Compean to prison for 10 yrs for shooting a drug dealer in the butt. How many years should a police officer get for shooting an innocent American who risked his life serving his country in Iraq?

For those who want to have their stomach sickened further, here are some additional links.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/25/jose-guerena-arizona-_n_867020.html

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/article_a978c23a-a40f-5d0a-a203-76b88ac67e86.html

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/article_d7d979d4-f4fb-5603-af76-0bef206f8301.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BJ_Jn9rlVs

http://pimasheriff.org/files/1013/0463/5381/OIS050511.pdf

UPDATE: Camera video is posted over at

http://cursesfoiledagain2.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/more-on-the-killing-of-jose-guerena/

Well, it does seem they did have the sirens on for a few seconds. Though that siren sounded a lot more like a car alarm going off than a normal police siren. Wasn’t much of a knock. And far from the original comment that they knocked loudly for

I could almost hear something in the background there. Not sure if it was an officer or Guerena.

Here is what I believe happened. I believe the SWAT team figured they’d roll in like a piece of cake. They’d briefly turn on the siren, knock softly a few taps in order to claim they’d done what they should. Then just knock the door in and tell everyone to go prone.

Instead, they knock open the door and see their suspect armed. They simply opened fire without any hesitation. I understand that the SWAT team wants to go home at night. But police have to take the high road.

Their tactics seem pretty dumb as well. 5 team members at the door. What if there were other aggressors, they’d simply exit the back. Or even come around and flank the officers. Even if Guerena was everything the SWAT team says. This was pretty much a botched raid.

SWAT busts man for growing potted plants

Once again our government resorts to SWAT first, questions later.   A 60 yr old woman’s house is ransacked by a SWAT team for the “Fish & Wildlife Service”.    Her husband served two years  in Federal Prison.  What was his crime?  “Orchids”

That’s right folks. Mr. Norris, a retiree spending his waning years growing, selling and importing orchids.  He fell afoul of the Federal regulations implemented after an internation treaty was signed to control the trade in flora and fauna.  So was Mr. Norris importing illegal varieties of protected species of orchids? Nope.  They were all legal. He just didn’t fill out all the new paperwork properly.   So a  6 month investigation, a SWAT raid, and 2 yrs in the slammer. For growing flowers…(and not even the kind one smokes).

Can we say “ridiculous”…or it would be if a man didn’t spend 2 yrs in jail for growing orchids.  Why didn’t the investigation simply approach the Norris family?  Why did they feel an entire SWAT team was necessary for the arrest of Mr. Norris.

Folks…there is absolutely NO excuse for a government to behave in such a manner.  Such are the acts of tyranny.  And if not for the 2nd Amendment, I fear such acts would be commonplace.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/oct/05/criminalizing-everyone/

“The Norrises’ nightmare began with the search in October 2003. It didn’t end until Mr. Norris was released from federal supervision in December 2008. His wife testified, however, that even after he came home, the man she had married was still gone. He was by then 71 years old. Unsurprisingly, serving two years as a federal convict – in addition to the years it took to defend unsuccessfully against the charges – had taken a severe toll on him mentally, emotionally and physically.”

***

I am going to say something to my readers, and it is of the utmost concern that you listen.  Regardless of whether you are registered a Republican or Democrat, regardless of whether your morals lean liberal or conservative.  You need to become a Libertarian.

If we do not become Libertarians than we will see tyranny.  For things as trivial as “lilies & orchids”.  We will fill our prisons up with those who committed victimless & political crimes, while the real criminals will fill our streets.  In the name of stopping crime, we will be disarmed.

Remember, the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions.  That mandatory seat belt law looks like a good thing, but is in reality a breach of liberty.  One that could arrest a parent and lock them away – destroying a family.  I am all for the use of seatbelts. I just don’t think we need a law making it a crime.

Published in: on October 9, 2009 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SWAT Gone Wild

In the past we have discussed concerns related to SWAT team actions, particularly those in Maryland, but in general as well. The growing tendency of SWAT actions that are unjustified, often in plainclothes, and which have a tendency to lead to the death of man’s four-legged friends.

REASON magazine has published (and is available online) a great article entitled “SWAT Gone Wild”. While there is very little included that has not already been covered within the gun blogger community. The article nicely consolidates a number of stories, providing an excellent summary of the problem.

Published in: on July 15, 2009 at 8:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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CATO Institute on botched SWAT raids.

Back in January I was expressing my opinion on the police style raids and plain clothed officers and why I oppose such actions.

CATA Institute has published a map depicting a number of these raids, where they occurred and at what cost of life.

H/T to Keyboard and a .45, be sure to check out his post and commentary on the matter.

Published in: on April 10, 2009 at 2:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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S.W.A.T.S. Gone Wild?

Apparently, pro-gun advocates are not the only ones noticing and saying the proverbial WTF?

People are starting to wonder why S.W.A.T. team actions are occurring so regularly and so violently, often with questionable justification.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/howard/bal-md.ho.raid01mar01,0,2457227.story?page=1

We’ve discussed the events discussed in the above article, along with others. But this is nice because the author actually did some research and gives us some figures for comparisons. Like how many actions S.W.A.T. teams did decade or so ago versus today.

Published in: on March 9, 2009 at 6:53 pm  Comments (1)  
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