by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
The Asheville Citizen-Times has a rather worthwhile article on Homeland Security wizmo-gizmos. The subject grabs my funny bone at a visceral level. That is, if you pretend for a moment that the arguments are for-real, the sitchy-ation is hilarious. Visions of a SWAT team with AK’s of some number chasing a reefer in an armored car dance through the wee little head.
Framing things more realistically, the prospect is scary. I will repeat, the best defense is self-defense. It would eliminate response times if law-abiding citizens were granted the privilege of exercising their rights to the extent they would not have to keep their firearms inoperable. Secondly, the federal government’s exercise of unlawful powers of redistribution to take funds citizens could use to defend themselves, and ring up debt while giving heavy artillery to police forces, puts too much power in one place, and as we have been saying in our sleep for half a century at least, that is dangerous by definition. On a bright note, we should be glad the government is offering the military surplus to its own police forces instead of enemy combatants.
The article begins reporting the Woodfin Police Department, which is charged with keeping law and order in a town of 6000, has no grenades for its grenade launcher. Perhaps the force is manned with Keystone Cops incapable of contacting the TDA to vision the tourist potential for a partnership with Gallagher. Asked why the department procured the device, Chief Brett Holloman, who was in charge at the time, “said he does not know why.”
The article continues, talking about junk acquired by other law enforcement agencies in Western North Carolina. Cherokee County, for example, has “two helicopters and a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle.” The Asheville Police Department tried to acquire a second armored car, but it “would not pass ballistic tests.” Sargeant Mike Lamb of the APD said they “don’t use military-issue body armor because they can’t ensure the vests are safe.”
According to a paraphrase of spokeswoman for the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office Natalie Bailey, “Sometimes getting a used vehicle means taking four more just for parts.” Bailey was quoted as saying, “The main reason for lack of participation in the program by the sheriff’s office is that we are a law enforcement agency, and not a military entity.”
In what will be one of my biannual agreements with the ACLU, spokesman Mike Meno explained, “Law enforcement officers are supposed to protect and serve their communities and not treat the people in them like enemies on a foreign battlefield.” Meno lamented only seven percent of deployments of military force against US citizens involved what might be construed as a clear and present danger.
“So what we have seen is a lot of mission creep and too often these SWAT deployments result in no-knock raids on the wrong house or targeting someone with disproportionate force or innocent bystanders getting hurt or killed,” he said.
The reporter, Jon Ostendorf, even treats the fair and balanced element of his story with fairness and balance. He explains that sometimes police are put in the difficult position of needing to defend innocents with pistols when the aggressor thugs are charging with “body armor and automatic rifles.”
Then, our splendid article takes a turn toward the dorky. We are implicitly invited to drift back into that world of illusion where, like the emperor’s new clothes, we save face against fears of our inadequacy. We trust the charlatans when they tell us the need to count colors and blame race to cover our guilt is “made of the stuff that has the peculiar property of becoming invisible to every person who was unfit for the office he held or who was exceptionally stupid.” We are told:
One [member of APD’s tactical team] is African-American and one is Hispanic.
Lea el artículo completo aquí.