Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Soldiers of the King


Since back in February, when reports came out that the Department of Homeland Security was buying millions of rounds of ammunition, I've been a little worried about where law enforcement in this country is headed. Just a bit concerned, that's all.

Now I'm not an alarmist who is convinced that the government is arming more and more police units (particularly at the Federal level) because they don't trust the military if it becomes necessary to put down a revolt by the American people.


But when even the IRS has a SWAT team? Yeah, that freaks me out just a little. WTF, over?

Then there was the bombing at the Boston Marathon back in April...



Have we turned into Northern Ireland, back in the bad old days?


What the heck is going on out there?

I'm a big believer in law enforcement. I have friends in law enforcement. The streets in the big cities are very dangerous. Many gangs have the type of firepower that an infantry squad might have. So yes, the days of the cop on the beat armed only with a .38 Police Special are gone. Police forces in the major cities absolutely need 
heavily armed  and well trained SWAT teams, and yes, they probably should have a few semi-armored vehicles.

Mayberry RFD? Not so much...

Witness the riots in Los Angeles in 1965 and 1992. Things can go crazy in a very big hurry out there. Our cops need to be able to protect themselves and get into areas to rescue citizens who might be in danger. But that's the local cops and perhaps even better if the various state police agencies in the U.S. also have that capability. (In my experience, the state troopers of most states are far better trained than the locals. Except perhaps in the big cities where the level of professionalism can be very high.)

But do the Feds need this kind of capability? And why? After all, the military is at their beck and call, right?

Oh wait, what if the military decides to uphold their oath? You know, the one where we swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. Yeah, that oath.

Are you wondering about the title to this post?

Think about it...


22 comments:

  1. I've long been skeptical of the need for SWAT teams at ALL levels of gub'mint, but most particularly at the Federal level. It's a troubling subject, but one that seems to be "under the radar' for most voters. I, for one, don't particularly need or want another Waco or Ruby Ridge. I might be alone here, but I think not.

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    1. Most things are "under the radar" for the low information voters.

      Someday they'll wake up and their freedom will be gone. Heck, they may not even notice.

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  2. Ya know... if the feds would spend all that cash training and equipping local cops, there'd be a higher quality of enforcement of laws at the local level and they could always ask for the assistance of locals when they need it ...even to the point of deputizing them

    There's far too much central gov't. and admin and not enough boots on the ground

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  3. "rescue citizens who might be in danger"
    I haven't seen a whole heck of a lot of that from them recently!
    In fact I can't recall a single incidence of that at the moment.

    "Law enforcement" spends it's time collecting revenue for the bureaucracy!
    That, and completely trampling the 4th amendment.
    Hopefully you don't mind a dissenting opinion on your blog!

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    1. No problem with dissenting opinions Timbo. Helps to spark interesting discussions.

      The "rescue of citizens" is a theoretical thing, not sure if I've seen that either.

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  4. Trying to JUSTIFY those military tools...

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  5. I mostly agree with the comments here, but there is one semi-valid aspect to the SWAT phenomenon, in that increasingly in a society that mixes drugs and alcohol in toxic amounts the number of seriously deranged people they encounter is on the increase. This is why increasingly SWAT teams are used to serve warrants. At first I thought this was over-kill until, circa 2004/5 a black female cop that my wife had talked to only a week before was shot dead serving a warrant for forced incarceration on a mentally disturbed person. Answering her knock he opened the door and w.o. a word immediately shot her dead. (She was not wearing a vest).

    Now obviously I don/t mean to imply that incidents like the one I have cited justifies MRAPs, etc., only to say that society has become increasingly dangerous to citizen and police alike.and like any other bureaucratic organization the police will inevitably act on the "more is better" principle.

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    1. Bear in mind VX, my objections are not to having SWAT teams at the local level. They're necessary given what LEOs have to potentially face, My question is to whether we really need them at the Federal level, and why so many.

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  6. Old saying, when your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. It follows, if you have heavily invested in training and equipment for SWAT operations, a failure to appear on a stop sign violation requires a SWAT team for the arrest (ok, might be a tad bit of an exaggeration).

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    1. That's a big concern, local LEOs getting a bit overzealous because of the new toys they have.

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  7. PS: Forgot to mention the incident took place in one of the worst sections of New Orleans..

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    1. I figured that much. Every city has areas like that. It's one of the reason I see the need for SWAT at the local level.

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  8. VX, sorry to hear about your friend and don't mean to demean her service, but I'm very hesitant to endorse using a SWAT team to enforce a warrant. When all you know is busting down the door and are highly pumped to start shooting, many innocent people are going to be killed. How many times has Radley Balko reported on SWAT attacks on the wrong house. Heck, it's become so popular as a means to get even with someone that SWAT has become a verb. Pick up the phone and call 911 and say you saw an intruder with a gun next door. With even a little bit of luck (bad), your problem is dead.
    Don't even get me started on the agencies that have SWAT teams. Department of EDUCATION? IRS? YGBSM!
    I think there's a time and a place for SWAT, but those times and places are few and far between. Reel in the Police before they get completely out of control.

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    1. Good points Juvat. See the earlier comments about hammer and nail.

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    2. As I feared, I was misunderstood. No, I'm all on your side, Juvat, et al, I was merely trying to make the academic point (my cross to bear as an academic in another life) that in these increasingly violent times the police, like ANY bureaucratic organization, will automatically/reflexively use incidents such as I depicted as justification for "mission-creep"/overkill as surely as the sun rises in the East. The police love their toys no less than we in the armed forces do and, as MANY before me here and elsewhere have pointed out, need to exercise them in order to justify their cost and/or use. And I am the FIRST to make the point that the insidious mentality which sees all "civilians" as naught but potential criminals not yet caught in the act is ever-present and one which we, as a society, seem to be fighting a losing battle against. So, no, never fear Juvat, I'm with you all the way, it's just that the academic side of me felt compelled to point out a real-life example of the kind of incident that the police use to justify their increasing use of para-military tactics.

      Yours in the Bond..

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    3. PS: Or maybe not so much misunderstood as doing a piss poor job of communicating..

      Signed: Harvey Hamfist..

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    4. So Virgil, I trust that was NOT your call sign back in the day.

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    5. VX, forgot to mention, you raise some excellent points.

      Maybe one day I'll just throw out a topic and let the Commentariat fill in the body of the post! Might be interesting.

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  9. No, that was the moniker we tagged the head of Wing STAN/EVAL with in the old 81st TFW @ RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge ,.. :)

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)