Monday, August 27, 2007

Swat teams crash through doors 800 times per week

Radley Balko
was on, yes, the Thom Hartmann Show discussing the militarization of the police. He's a Libertarian on staff at, and when he popped out with that number, I literally stopped my car (It's okay, I was in a parking lot) and started taking notes on my tiny Post-It pad.

Here's what I managed to jot down:
  • Most of the doors that were rammed belonged to non-violent offenders. He pointed out how such practices create violence. How productive.
  • Fewer than half of the "ram-ees" end up as suspects charged with felonies.
  • Innocent people have died as a result of such force. (I think it was 40 cases in 20 years)
  • The most recent case was that of Katheryn Johnston, the 92-year-old woman in Atlanta who was killed in a no-knock drug raid on her home.
  • During the Reagan era, surplus military weapons were turned over to the police.
It's no surprise that by giving local policemen this kind of equipment--guns, helicopters, etc.--having them trained by Navy SEALS, and telling them that they're fighting a war (on drugs), that there would be deadly consequences.

To quote Balko:

Violating the sanctity of the home with a violent, forced entry -- all to enforce laws against consensual acts -- simply isn't compatible with any honest notion of a free society.

Then again, I'm not so sure you'd call our society that "free" these days.

On a related note, good riddance, Gonzo.


At 5:46 PM, Blogger GottaLaff said...

Knock, knock.

Who's there?


At 6:22 PM, Blogger Kirsten said...

Bang who?

Bye bye, Gonzo. We won't miss ye.

At 6:24 PM, Blogger GottaLaff said...

Tsk, tsk, Kirsten....Bang as in "gun", you scamp.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Kirsten said...

Hey, I'm allowed to have a dirty mind, too, you know.

At 6:57 PM, Blogger GottaLaff said...

They have dirty minds in Canada? I'm shocked!

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Kirsten said...

We have six months of winter. What do you think we do?

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