A few months ago, retired police Lt. Harry Thomas wrote an article that was published at the web site Police State USA. This article, titled “How To Serve A Warrant, 1972 Versus Today,” and subtitled “The transformation of law enforcement in my lifetime,” compares the methods of 40 years ago with today. (Much more intentional drama and intentional violent entry today. Big surprise, right?)
One of his key comments is this:
“Since the early 80’s, the use of SWAT teams in civilian law enforcement has increased about 1500%. No, those two zeros are not a typo. At least FORTY completely innocent American citizens have been shot to death by rogue police, either because incompetent law enforcement officials hit the wrong address, or because startled homeowners attempted to defend themselves against the masked strangers violently entering their homes and were gunned down. One of them, Kathryn Johnston of Atlanta, was 92 years old.
I well remember the first time my agency pulled one of these stunts and scared an innocent old lady damned near to death. Our chief did the one thing in his career that I actually admired. He sent down word that if any of our personnel ever again kicked down an innocent citizen’s door, that they should send back the search warrant return with their badge pinned to it since they wouldn’t be needing it anymore. It never happened again.
How did this happen? How did we go, in a few short years, from a beat cop knocking on a door to a full scale military assault reminiscent of Iwo Jima, over somebody selling somebody else a bag of weed?
It’s because of the biggest failed social experiment in this country’s history, the Drug War.”
I am considering posting about this elsewhere — and comments pro and con are greatly appreciated.