Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Yes, Virginia, guns really do protect ...

An editorial writer for the Chicago Daily Herald is blaming the victim in last week’s incident in which a 92-year-old Atlanta woman was gunned down by plainclothes officers serving a “no-knock” search warrant at her house. Specifically, he is blaming her for owning a gun and using it to defend herself.

“Had she been without her precious gun," he writes, "she’d no doubt be alive today.” Then he goes on to cite author Jean Burbick who claims it is a “fantasy” that guns protect.

The woman failed to kill the officers, it is true. They were only wounded, therefore were able to return fire and kill her. But she can't be blamed for trying to defend herself. They did, after all, kick in her door in the middle of the night without knocking, they were not recognizable as officers (being in plainclothes), it is doubtful they announced themselves as police, and they were executing a warrant based on false information that her house contained narcotics. How was she to know she was a suspected drug dealer?

At any rate, whether or not one agrees with her decision to fire at the officers, it is absurd to claim it is a fantasy that guns protect ...

Just a few days ago, a homeowner in Albuquerque shot and killed a burglar. The day before yesterday, a 73-year-old Minnesota man shot and killed another burglar. On the same day, burglars were shot by homeowners in Florida and Virginia. And, earlier in the month, an intruder was shot in Ohio, another was shot in Knoxville, and yet another was shot in Texas.

These are fantasies? Here’s another fantasy:

Four weeks ago, a ski-masked intruder claiming to be an FBI agent shot and wounded a homeowner in Fulton County, Georgia. The victim returned fire, causing the intruder to stop shooting and flee.

Which prompts the following question …

The Atlanta police claim the officers identified themselves as they knocked down the woman's door. Assuming this is true (the only witness is dead, so who knows), why should this woman believe them? She lived in a rough neighborhood. How was she to know they were not crackheads merely calling themselves police?

But it is doubtful they identified themselves. They did not do so in a similar incident last year. On that occasion, the same officers, acting on another phony tip from another informant, executed another "no-knock" warrant by breaking into the house of an Atlanta family. Quoting Alphonso Howard, father of the family: "So I rushed out of bed to the hallway. When I got in the hallway, they was right there with their guns telling me to get down. I was trying to get to my kids safety because I don't know if it's robbers or what. I don't know what's going on."

No knock. No announcement. No warning of any kind. And no drugs found either.

Nor were any drugs found in the 92-year-old woman’s house. Oh, the police claim otherwise, of course. First, they said they found some kind of unidentified drug that was being analyzed. Then they changed their story to say they found some marijuana. I would suggest that, if the cops “found” marijuana, they didn’t find it in her house, they found it in their own evidence room.

One more thing should be said about the Daily Herald writer’s comment that the woman would be alive if she had not fired her "precious gun" …

This may, or may not, be true. Who knows what these cops were capable of? All we know for sure is that in an alarming number of other “botched paramilitary police raids,” the cops have shot and killed innocent people for no reason whatever. Check out this clickable map.

The Atlanta Police Department is now reviewing its “no-knock” procedures. This is good. But it is not enough. Action must be taken immediately to prohibit “no-knock” searches nationwide.

Of course, they are already prohibited by the Fourth Amendment—which we can thank the Supreme Court for rendering meaningless last June.

This is what a police state looks like. The citizens have no rights, and the cops have unlimited power.

Cops should take note, however. The clickable map linked above also identifies numerous situations in which cops have been killed in botched raids. The Fourth Amendment is as much for the cop's protection as it is for the citizen.

The Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure is based on a fundamental precept of common law that goes all the way back to the Middle Ages, to wit: A person should be given an opportunity to comply with the law before there is a forcible entry. To do otherwise is to create a deadly situation that is dangerous for all concerned, including the police.

This is common sense, this is a practicality that only police states in their swinish stupidity dare ignore ...