by Fred Kubicek
The thought for the day is brought to us by Winston Churchill: “Democracy means that if the doorbell rings in the early hours, it is likely to be the milkman.”
According to latest statistics, 33 local law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty by gunfire during 2013. While this is indeed tragic, it is the lowest number who have died in that way since 1887. There is no doubt that both tactics and equipment have played a large part in this relatively low number.
On the other hand this story about a 17 year old boy who was shot and killed by police when he answered the door carrying a Wii video game controller caught my eye. How many innocent civilians have been shot & killed by local law enforcement officials recently? In May there was the 72 yr old grandfather in Ft Worth, TX, in October of 2013 the police killed an 80 yr old man in a drug raid, but there were no drugs at the house, on December 11, 2013 an innocent 35 yr old mother of 3 was killed during a botched police raid in Ohio, and then there is the Jan 2014 shooting of a North Carolina 5’3″ 100 lb teen who had been tazed and was being held down by 2 police officers when he was shot by a 3rd officer – and there are more. In fact going back a few years you will find dozens of accounts of innocent people being killed during botched police raids. (see here, here and here) And these do not include the innocent civilians who were only wounded by stray police fire – 9 in NY alone in 2012.
In a civilized society local law enforcement is important, but these accounts go way beyond what most Americans would view as ‘local law enforcement.’ Part of the problem is simple. When you arm the police like the military and train them in a similar fashion you are going to get battlefield results. And that is exactly what is transpiring. Paramilitary style raids by local law enforcement have risen throughout the US. By some accounts they take place 40,000 times each year! (If you wish to pursue this topic in more detail, check out the 103pg pdf file ‘Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America‘ by the Cato Institute)
“If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. Mr. Justice it would appear that there is now a reason for grave concern. It seems like Mr Churchill’s definition of democracy no longer applies to present day America!