Why Did You Shoot Me? I was reading a book. - A look at America's warrior cops.
Shortly after Jared Loughner allegedly opened fire in the parking lot of a Tucson grocery store last January, we saw much hand-wringing about the threat of violence against the government. In fact, violence against government officials is actually pretty rare. But just three days before Loughner's rampage, police in Framingham, Mass., raided the home of 68-year-old Eurie Stamps. Stamps wasn't the target of the drug raid. Police were after the son of Stamps' girlfriend, and actually apprehended him outside the home. They raided the house anyway. Stamps, who was unarmed and broke no laws, was shot and killed by a police officer. By my count, he's at least the 46th innocent person killed in a botched drug raid. Every politician in Washington condemned the Loughner shootings, and rightly so. But nearly every politician in Washington supports the laws and policies that led to the death of Eurie Stamps.-- Radley Balko continues his lonely crusade documenting the ongoing militarization of America's police forces.
Jose Guerena, 26, was a Marine veteran and father of two. He served two tours in Iraq in 2003 and 2005. On May 5th, he was killed in his home by a SWAT team looking for narcotics [more inside]
So I got arrested by the SWAT team last night… Jeremy Bell's office was stormed by Ontario Police looking for some Lego blocks he bought online. An eyewitness account.
FASHION SWAT 09! The Goons from Something Awful review and comment on this year's best costumes. (Halloween Fashion Swat '08, '06, '05) previousish Science Fair SWAT :
On the Militant Trail [Most recent of four articles with links to preceding pieces] Renowned Asia Times correspondent Syed Saleem Shahzad visits Peshawar, capital of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province and takes a journey with the Taliban through the Swat valley. His four-part series of articles examines the differing natures and strategies of various Taliban groups, describes a government counter-insurgency campaign gone seriously awry and finds indications that "a major battle will be fought in Pakistan before the annual spring offensive even begins in Afghanistan this year."
The killing of Jamie Dean. "Police in rural Maryland staged a military stakeout and shot a troubled Army vet. As his family plans to sue, they are asking how a soldier being treated for PTSD could be shipped to Iraq."
Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America. Radley Balko (also mentioned here and here) has released a year long study of the militarization of police departments across the United States. Cato has a corresponding interactive map to track and filter botched paramilitary raids.
The Drug War Goes to the Dogs. SWAT teams (usually the young ones) seem to commit a lot of puppycide. (Via The Agitator, who is also a MeFite.)
Send in the clowns: the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has submitted a patent for the Man-Cannon, a catapult designed to hurl SWAT teams and emergency workers onto the roofs of tall buildings, human-cannonball style. The inventor? He's none other than Dean Kamen.
Helper monkeys! Severely disabled people can get trained monkeys to help them out in their daily chores, though sometime this causes problems. Haven't you always wanted a monkey? The Mesa SWAT Team certainly want one.
How to buy military weapons banned for civilians, with the help of the police - In a small Missouri town, a 72-year old man and 3 buddies bought weapons and accessories banned for private ownership claiming they were part of a "volunteer deputy" SWAT team. The police chief at the time agreed, although only one of them was a police deputy doing 4 hours a week of police work. The new police chief, a person with real experience in SWAT teams, freaked out when he heard of the agreement, which lets the "fantasy" deputies keep the weapons locked in the trunk of their cars. City officials aren't happy either, perhaps be because they were not informed at the time of the deal ("we wanted to keep it low key, you don't want the bad guys to know our tactics"). Many neighbors of the single-stop-light-type of town praise the good intentions of the men, but members of professional SWAT deny in several ways their ability to deal with any high-intensity situation. A very entertaining read picked up at obscurestore.com