The slaughter in Tucson earlier this month of Marine veteran Jose Guerena, shot down by Tucson SWAT officers, should lead to some long, hard looks at the militarization of law enforcement, no-knock raids, and the “War on Drugs” in general. From the Arizona Daily Star:
Jose Guerena, 26, a former Marine, was sleeping after the graveyard shift at Asarco Mission mine about 9:30 a.m. when his wife woke him saying she heard noises outside and a man was at their window. Guerena told his wife to hide in a closet with their 4-year-old son, his wife has said. He grabbed an AR-15 rifle and moments later was slumped in the kitchen, mortally wounded from a hail of gunfire.
A “hail of gunfire” is right–these “peace officers” fired over 70 rounds at Guerena, with 60 hitting him. “Why,” you might ask, “was that necessary?” Good question. ABC News provides the Pima County Sheriff’s Department’s answer:
At first the Pima County Sheriff’s Office said that Guerena fired first . . .
But that turned out to be a bit of “crime drama” fiction, apparently:
. . . but on Wednesday officials backtracked and said he had not. “The safety was on and he could not fire,” according to the sheriff’s statement.
Hmm–“could not fire,” or had chosen not to? He was, after all, a Marine combat veteran, having served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan–how plausible is it that he forgot to disengage the safety? Additionally, writer “Ghost32” points out in HubPages, the details we’ve gotten so far indicate a rather loose set of rules of engagement:
Our troops in Afghanistan are not allowed to shoot bomb-planting terrorists unless the terrorists shoot first, yet here in America the police are authorized to mow down (without warning) a citizen in his own home who hasn’t even taken the safety off his rifle?
Remember that Guerena’s wife and very young child were in the house, too–that they weren’t hit by that blizzard of ordnance seems more a matter of luck, than the SWAT officers’ skill or discretion.
The raid was conducted as part of a multi-house drug sweep, and the SWAT team had a warrant. Officials are being extremely tight-lipped as to what was found in the house, and even what was on the warrant. We do know, from the SWAT officers’ own attorney, something about what was found in the house (or, perhaps more accurately, what was not found in the house). From another Arizona Daily Star article:
If SWAT members had been let in to the home, those inside “probably they wouldn’t have been arrested,” [SWAT team memebers’ attorney Michael] Storie said.
Nothing in the house, in other words, warranted an arrest, but we’re told that there was a need to come in, guns blazing.
The Pima County Sherrif’s Department is under the command of Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who readers may remember attributed January’s Tucson (avoidable, if Dupnik had done his job?) atrocity at least in part to “right-wing rhetoric,” and who thinks permissive gun laws are “the height of insanity.” Sheriff Dupnik is just as combative about this triumph of law enforcement as he was back in January. From a letter released by the Sheriff’s office, and provided by KGUN9:
However, it is unacceptable and irresponsible to couch those questions with implications of secrecy and a cover-up, not to mention questioning the legality of actions that could not have been taken without the approval of an impartial judge. As a law enforcement professional with decades of experience, Sheriff Dupnik will make the decision to release the information when the investigation is completed, the danger to innocent lives has been mitigated, and all agencies involved have been given the opportunity to review the actions of their personnel.
In other words, apparently, they’ll tell us why they needed to gun him down when they’re darn good and ready.
For Guerena to have thought the armed men pointing rifles at his wife and child, and breaking into his home, were there for anything but law and order, is perfectly understandable–the ABC News story quoted above reports that two relatives were killed, and a young child badly wounded, in a Tucson-area home invasion last year. As it turns out, though, the fact that the attackers were part of law enforcement hardly improved the outcome for Guerena.
As National Gun Rights Examiner Dan points out on his War on Guns blog:
They’re making it more and more improbable that a homeowner will survive. Regardless. Meaning we have less and less to lose by resisting.
There is no repealing the law of unintended consequences–and no way to defy it.
Oh–one more thing. In an earlier article, we saw Josh Horwitz, of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, defend this kind of wanton butchery (37-second video clip), saying that we shouldn’t “pile too much on the militarization of law enforcement,” because they’re “faced with an unbeleivable amount of firepower.”
If Sheriff Dupnik’s SWAT teams are to become the norm for law enforcement in America, it would seem that private citizens need a more “unbelievable amount of firepower.”
Update: And how did I forget this:
People have no right to resist if police officers illegally enter their home, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in a decision that overturns centuries of common law.
The court issued its 3-2 ruling on Thursday, contending that allowing residents to resist officers who enter their homes without any right would increase the risk of violent confrontation. If police enter a home illegally, the courts are the proper place to protest it, Justice Steven David said.
Should Jose Guernera’s wife hire a medium and an attorney for him, then, “Justice” David?
- SWAT raid on Columbia, MO family just one more reason to end ‘no-knock’ raids (and ‘war on drugs’)
- Area lawmaker thinks Tucson shooter was ‘forced’ to kill, by ‘negative rhetoric’
- Killing for ‘gun control’?
- Murdered Citizens, Dead Cops and Assassinated Judges: Judicial Support of Police Tyranny and the Law of Unintended Consequences.
- Death Squad Damage Control in Tucson
- Death Squads USA