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Defenders of Paramilitary Policing Don't Know What They're Talking About

A recent post in which I criticized no-knock drug raids provoked this response in comments:

Guess what??? Drug warrants are served to arrest the bad guy and find the drugs. If you knock and wait what do you think happens to the drugs?? You guessed it, they disappear! I know that you want the drugs to be legal, but they’re not. So for now, we honest citizens are glad that the police are taking the drugs off the streets and we know that isn’t possible if they knock on the drug dealer’s door and ask them to pretty please come out.

This is absurd on a couple levels and it deserves to be highlighted since this type of thinking is precisely what we're up against. First, as Dave Borden pointed out, you can't flush a grow room down the toilet. Or a meth lab. Or any substantial quantity of anything. Having relied solely on the "drug flush" justification in defense of aggressive police raids, would the commenter then concede that a more patient approach is ok whenever there's no clear officer safety threat and the items listed in the warrant aren’t flushable?

Regardless, as weak as the "drug flush" excuse is, it's almost entirely beside the point. We're concerned primarily about the alarming number of completely innocent people that are being shot dead during misunderstandings that are caused by these tactics. Wrong-door raids are so common that the city of Los Angeles has a team specifically for the purpose of cleaning up after wrong address drug raids. Fatal altercations with innocent people who think they're being robbed have become commonplace.

It is just amazing that someone could speak out in defense of these raids without addressing this obvious and dramatic problem. I linked to a list of dead innocent people, so the commenter had an opportunity to learn about this. Arguing against us without responding to our primary concern is just a waste of everyone's time.

Criticisms of our ideas are welcome here, but in the interest of having a productive debate, I hope that it will be possible to address the central themes when discussing a topic such as this. We're talking about innocent people getting killed, not just guilty people flushing toilets. Any questions?

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un informed

That comment has caused me great concern also.

Obviously the person believes that he or she is threatened by drugs and only law enforcemt can protect mankind from drug use and addiction.

In order for a person to beleve that, they must believe the news that they are exposed to. We can only hope that they follow the links you have provided.

This is what happens when govt replaces parent responsibility have the them busting down your door for possession of marijuana plants and drug testing your kids. It will only get worse as more growers move into residential areas for year round grow ops.

"Bad guy" checking in . . .

Drug raids have little, or nothing, to do with either seizing drugs or catching bad guys. Drug raids are terrorist attacks, plain and simple.

If the cops really, really wanted to catch drug users and get those bad ol' drugs off the street, why do they wait until the wee hours of the morning to attack? Why not raid when the crowd's there; you know, all that "traffic" that's "indicative of drug trafficking."

But, no, they wait until everybody's gone; usually until there are no more than two adults in the house, most likely asleep, to 12 or 15 cops. Cops who are SO proud of what they do that they don't wear police uniforms, don't drive police cars and never show a badge.

If you have kids, early mornings have the added attraction of being the time when they are most likely to be home; there's nothing like holding children at gunpoint to really make a man feel like a man; and the resulting child abuse charges give the state more leverage to obtain felony drug convictions even if NO drugs are found.

Drug cops, in my experience, are addicted to violence; they don't give a damn who they hurt, as long as they get to hurt somebody.

Drank the Kool-aid = CONTROLLED

The demonization of "DRUGS" is now so complete, that this sort of response is common. Of course ,if caught with "DRUGS", you will be charged with a crime involving "CONTROLLED substances". It's really all about "CONTROL". Also, why is it that these cops always strike in packs of twelve?

Crime Drama

The crack-house style raids on marijuana grow-ops, as well as an ever growing number of innocent citizens, may stem from a desire to produce an effect rather than just a result. The intended result is the arrest of a suspect and seizure of drugs, while an effect in this case becomes a staged entertainment for innocent bystanders or news hounds. There may also be a mistaken belief that the effect has some kind of crime deterring capability beyond the arrest.

Part of the fault lies with the corporate entertainment media’s common portrayal of crime situations where the ends justifies the means. I think there was a study done some time ago that indicated cop shows glossed over or ignored civil rights violations perpetrated against the suspects by the shows’ Dirty Harry wannabes on a persistent basis. The effect of this would be to acclimate a public largely ignorant of constitutionally approved police procedures to methods more reminiscent of the Nazi black shirts.

The effect of police state methods was clearly illustrated in the reality-based world by the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. Two months prior to the riot it was as if a person could cut the racial tension in the air with a knife. The reason for this tension was the city’s police chief, Darryl Gates.

Gates is well known to pot smokers as the police chief who testified before Congress that casual drug users should be taken out and shot. He is the inventor of SWAT, and the ineffective DARE drug education program. His cultural leanings were forged by his membership in the Mormon Church, arguably one of the most authoritarian religions in the United States. Gates was known to prefer a black uniform for his police attire.

Ostensibly, Gates was fired for mishandling the riot by virtually ignoring it until the situation had reached critical mass. In fact, months prior to the riots, LA’s mayor had been trying unsuccessfully to force Gates’ resignation because Gates’ paramilitary style of police enforcement was pushing black and Latino neighborhoods to the brink of revolt. The denial of police responsibility in the Rodney King police trial and the jury acquittal in Simi Valley, the bedroom community of the LA police, was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Achieving effect as opposed to focusing entirely on results is a waste of time, money and resources. Many ways exist to arrest someone. Drug suspects can be approached for arrest when they emerge from their dwelling, or, for example, they can be pulled over in what appears to be a routine traffic stop and then calmly arrested without incident. Then a proper search warrant can be used to search both the empty car and the vacant dwelling, employing not a battering ram, but a locksmith or available key. The process is simpler, less damaging, and much less deadly.


why not call it possession of an uncontrolled substance?

I agree with everyone's posts so far, but I wanted to chime in on a point (And I certainly hope that homeboy is reading all of this that he started). In Alabama, possession of anything other than cannabis is called "unlawful possession of a controlled substance," which I consider to be a misnomer. Two of the most dangerous drugs today, i.e. crack and crystal meth, were not even invented until the prohibitionist policies created by our gov't were implemented, and, thus creating the black market, taking control away from the gov't, and placing that control in the hands of criminals. Let us hope that the cartels will not invent something even worse before prohibition is abolished...but this "cheese heroin" is yet another classic example.


You’re exactly right on—is it really control if no one controls it?

Nice that you're catching on to the Newspeak

It's how the drug warriors keep any debate discussion on how to "control drugs" within the parameters of "prohibitionist" policy.

Love your brothers and sisters

I find it hard to believe that some smart attornies can not find the real flaw with world drug criminal laws. Have we not seen hate before? Are cannabis people a 'race' that are being descriminated against? Is cannabis natural for people?

Especially, if science says "yes", people should not be forced to face criminal charges being a non-prohibitionist. Is it fair to display a violent drug war just because you were told 'these people' are criminals and you just believed?

At one time racial slavery was legal. And many innocent people supported it. Today I think current drug law are making slaves out of a group of people who are defined by their marijuana use. Now I know what it feels like to be black, for example.

All I want to be is free; and to be a law abiding citizen.

The illogical assumptions

that police are allowed to make on warrants drives me nuts.

All raids are conducted today by paramilitary with heavy body armor. The "assumption" is that there are guns in the location.

The warrant will make a declaration of the drug but not the weapons. Sometimes in great detail.

So if the police investigate close enough to learn of the drugs that are in the place why the hell don't they investigate enough to find out if there are guns present that can get them killed?

Exactly...again. THE NEW FEAR

The DrugSwathugs know all about the unfortunate,next victim.They know if there are children, or dogs in the home,or for that much, what the intended victims bank account reveals.I know this as fact, because I have read a few of these warrants. I personally think, this NEW approach in home invasion,is meant to install a level of FEAR amongst the prolitariat. What this new method seems to be accomplishing ,is the reverse of what they had hoped. People are outraged , and calling for an end to this violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights. Gates was, and will always be, a nazi ass. But he is ,no doubt, proud of his "baby", and will defend it unto death while wearing "secret underpants".

Excuse me, anonymous (fourth one back)

"Two of the most dangerous drugs today -- crack and crystal meth"? This fact, of course, comes straight from the same folks who brought us the gateway theory and reefer madness. If they lie to us about marijuana (and you know they do) don't you know they lie about other drugs, too?

Check out the National Centers for Disease Control's "Causes of death" for the truth about dangerous drugs -- "illicit use of drugs" is WAY down the list; only by combining ALL deaths from ALL illicit drug use does it even make the list.

Crack may be a product of the drug war, but meth has been around a long time; a lot longer than I have, at least. The demand for street meth, however, was created when American lawmakers decided that the people who elected them were too stupid to be trusted with safer, less addictive pharmaceutical speed. Or maybe they figured out that banning something that could be made at home would provide them with eternal job security. Certainly they are aware that neither crack nor meth is very popular; their fear-mongering only works because it is aimed at drugs that most people are unfamiliar with.

In any case, violent, often deadly drug raids were going on long before crack became the heroin of the 80's and meth became the crack of the 90's; then, as now, there was no excuse.

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