Texas Trooper Kills Unarmed Guatemalans, Mistaking Them for Drugs

Last week a Texas trooper in a helicopter fired on a pickup truck that state police were chasing through the desert near La Joya, a town close to the border with Mexico. He shot out the truck's tires, causing the driver to crash into a ditch. He also shot and killed two unarmed Guatemalans in their 20s—fathers of two and three children, respectively—who were under a tarp in the back of the truck along with seven other job seekers. The cops thought they were chasing drug smugglers, but it turned out they were chasing people smugglers. Either way, they were using deadly force to disrupt peaceful transactions, which is always immoral but seems especially egregious in this case, where the threat to public safety that supposedly justified shooting at the truck was 1) debatable and 2) created by the police.

"DPS aircraft joined the pursuit of the suspected drug load, which was traveling at reckless speeds, endangering the public," said Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). "A DPS trooper discharged his firearm from the helicopter to disable the vehicle." The San Antonio Express-News describes the site of the chase as "a desolate country road," so DPS may be exaggerating the danger to the public posed by the fleeing Guatemalans. In any case, a high-speed chase requires at least two parties. If the truck was "traveling at reckless speeds," so were the cops. Letting the truck go would have been a less deadly way to address the alleged traffic hazard.

"We need a serious and big investigation into this case because I cannot understand why DPS made the decision to shoot them," said Alba Caceres, the Guatemalan consul in McAllen. "I have never seen something similar to this." Likewise University of South Carolina criminologist Geoffrey Alpert, who told the Associated Press, "In 25 years following police pursuits, I hadn't seen a situation where an officer shot a speeding vehicle from a helicopter." Alpert said firing on the truck was "a reckless act," serving "no legitimate law enforcement purpose." He said such an action would be justified only if "you know for sure the person driving the car deserves to die and that there are no other occupants." The Express-News reports that survivors said the tarp covering the would-be wage earners "was flimsy and blowing off, enough so that the trooper in the helicopter could see them."

The trooper has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, but DPS sees no need to reconsider the practice of using sharpshooters to prevent drugs and labor from making their way to people who want them. "We need to protect those aerial assets," Vinger said, "and in doing so we put a sniper on those. And we're really not apologetic about it. We've got an obligation to protect our men and women when we're trying to protect Texas."

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  • ||

    Texas Trooper Kills Unarmed Guatemalans, Mistaking Them for Drugs

    Boy! With friends like these...

    Jacob, did you mean to write Drug Smugglers?

  • Jacob Sullum||

    No, I meant drugs. The police said they thought drugs were hidden under the tarp in the back of the truck, but the cargo actually consisted of people.

  • db||

    So it really is a war on Drugs. WTF were they doing shooting at the (suspected) drugs, again?

  • $park¥||

    Don't think so. They were trying to stop the smugglers whom they thought were smuggling drugs. Unfortunately, they were smuggling people. See, you substitute Guatemalans for Drugs.

  • $park¥||

    Or you could get the same response from Jacob himself.

  • ||

    True, but the phrase "See, you substitute Guatemalans for Drugs." is funnier, ESPECIALLY out of context.

  • The Hammer||

    So he thought he was shooting the drugs? What was the point of that?

  • $park¥||

    He was shooting the truck. Presumably if he knew there were people under the tarp he would have been more careful.

  • db||

    Shooting the bed of the truck? What good does that do?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Sounds like a retarded reckless tactic to use if you are trying to avoid harming the driver.

  • $park¥||

    Or if you're popping off rounds at a moving vehicle and have shitty aim.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    That's exactly what I meant. Bullets may be able to disable a vehicle, but is not a wise thing to do if you would like to not hit the occupants. You are in a fucking helicopter and the truck is bouncing down the earth.

  • sarcasmic||

    Yeah right. He's in a helicopter with a sniper rifle and a target, and he's not going to take the opportunity to kill someone?

    That's why he got the job. To kill people.

    Of course he's going to take the shot.

  • Ted S.||

    Presumably if he knew there were people under the tarp he would have been more careful.

    Love the sarcasm.

  • Calidissident||

    "Evil third world invader savages getting what they deserve!"

    /Chris Mallory

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Procedures were followed, don't run from the police, good shoot, nothing else happened,
    hth

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    WHERE'S MY PAID VACATION??!!

    /officer stress

  • Ted S.||

    At least the people in the helicopter were able to go home to dinner.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    First you have Sarah Palin saying it is ok to hunt wolves from airplanes. Now we are killing coyotes from helicopters. Where will it end?

  • $park¥||

    Armed immigrants shooting down a helicopter in the desert. Although, that's likely to be the beginning of something else.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    OT: I wish Gary Larson would start drawing "The Far Side" cartoons again.

    /trying to think of something more pleasant than this excrement

  • Tim||

    If you can shoot trucks from choppers, what's to stop armed drones from taking them out?

  • nipplemancer||

    This is why the 2A should apply to shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    It does. Whether your government agrees or not.

  • Anomalous||

    I am SAM.

  • Brett L||

    A .50 mounted in the bed would give a helicopter pilot reasons to not be steady sniping platform.

  • 0x90||

    "Texas Trooper Kills Unarmed Guatemalans, Mistaking Them for Drugs Dogs."

  • Tim||

    Drugs. The universal excuse that makes all bad choices legal.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Either way, they were using deadly force to disrupt peaceful transactions...

    You can't take that away from them. That's the second manliest thing they get to do.

  • sarcasmic||

    OFFICER SAFETY!

    STOP RESISTING!

  • tagtann||

    Its worthless P O S cops liek this I just LOVE to hear about in the news getting clipped in the line of duty! What a p o s!

    www.anon-e.tk

  • $park¥||

    Uh oh, the anonbot is learning.

  • MWG||

    Wow Anon! That's a little over the line I think. Are you becoming self-aware?

  • ||

    Just don't arm him.

  • BakedPenguin||

    He posts something similar on most police abuse threads.

  • ||

    So let me get this straight: once again, we have police officers shooting at targets that they don't know what they are or what's behind them, breaking a cardinal rule of firearms safety. And in the process...killing people. This is so brutally tiresome that it's wearing me down.

  • ||

    I don't think you get it Epi.

    There might have been drugs. Fucking drugs. It would have been irresponsible of the officer involved NOT to shoot everyone, just in case.

  • fish||

    Indeed Jim......shoot the Guatamalans, the truck, the dogs, the news crew, other aircraft in the vicinity, any local clergy that happens by and of course the families of those involved. Time to dust off and nuke the site from orbit....it's the only way to be sure.

  • ||

    Pretty much, yeah. I honestly think some of those guys would accept the extermination of the human race if only it meant no more drugs.

  • ||

    Considering, strictly speaking, that any chemical substance has either the ability or the potential to cause a temporary or permanent change to the body chemistry or physical process, that is precisely what they would have to do to separate the human race from the "scourge" of drugs.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "some of those guys would accept the extermination of the human race if only it meant no more drugs power"

    Drugs are the mcguffin.

  • ||

    I get it now, JJ. Crack is whack.

  • ||

    I LEARNED IT FROM WATCHING YOU!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Zombie Whitney, is that you?

  • ||

    Either way, they were using deadly force to disrupt peaceful transactions

    I don't quite get this one. It should be illegal to smuggle people into this country. I want to reform immigration laws, but we can't just let anyone walk-in.

  • ||

    You mean we can't do exactly what we did about a century ago? That was a total disaster, letting all those Micks, WOPs, Jews, Polacks, and whatever the hell else we let in. Better not do that again. of course, there's also the moral issue of free movement, but we'd better not get into that because then we'd get morality in your utilitarianism and it'll be Reese's Peanut Butter Cups all over again.

  • ||

    I have no problem with people coming here to work, but I do think its kind of stupid from a national security standpoint to let anyone enter the country without at least checking to see what they're doing.

    Do you want the sex trafficker to be free to import underage girls into the country to work in brothels?

  • ||

    So wait...you want to restrict the movement of the vast majority of legitimate, normal people in order to not catch the people "importing sex workers" anyway? Seriously, are you kidding here?

  • ant1sthenes||

    Do you want cops to shoot underage sex slaves?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    So shoot at them when they are running away? Fuck you.

  • Raston Bot||

    do you not realize the moral decay ramifications from letting people work where they can find it? do you not??

  • ||

    CULTURE MATTERS!!!

  • ||

    Not arguing...curious.

    We can debate the necessity of given laws, agreed, but the purpose of the cop is to protect the rights of others. So when can he shoot someone in ensuring the rights of others?

    Never?

    Only when he is directly threatened?

    What if he catches someone stealing a TV from your home and he tells the perp to freeze and he keeps walking away with your tv? Can he shoot him then? It's a non-violent act (stealing a TV) although it does violate the NAP.

    Where is that line? Anybody?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Stealing TV? No. Stealing child? Maybe.

  • $park¥||

    It's a tough call because in theory police have other methods besides deadly force to aid them in crime prevention. I would say no deadly force in stealing an inanimate object, even a pet. But deadly force should be acceptable in preventing a kidnapping.

  • SugarFree||

    But deadly force should be acceptable in preventing a kidnapping.

    But how rare is it that they know for a fact it is a kidnapping and that deadly force could be brought to bear in such a way as to not endanger the kidnappee?

  • $park¥||

    I'm not saying it would be easy, but again there is a theory which states that police are trained to handle these situations. I would grant that specific actions by the kidnappee (struggling, crying for help, etc) would help with the decision.

  • ||

    So to both DRS an $parky, and granted my scenario here is going to be a little far-fetched, because as you say there are other methods, but...

    Lets say the cop's a chick going a buck ten (without a tazer and backup). The perp (240 male) is stealing your TV, he is told strenuously to stop and keeps walking to his vehicle (with no plates). IOW, if she let's him go, you will most likely never see your TV again.

    I don't know about you guys, but I want her to shoot that thieving son of a bitch. I'm no pacifist. He is violating my rights. He was warned and didn't stop. Drop the fucker, no?

    If the cops don't carry the threat of deadly force, why would any perp not just try and walk away?

  • SugarFree||

    Non-compliance of a cop's order is not a capital offence--even a lawful order.

    I don't understand your difficulty with this concept.

  • ||

    My difficulty is that without the threat of deadly force, why would any bad guy ever submit to arrest? Just keep walking. No need for the guilty to ever pull over. They can't shoot me so fuck them...

    End result, my property gets stolen, unless you can amass enough cops to subdue him.

    Don't you want the cops to protect your rights? Isn't that their purpose?

    Don't get me wrong, I want them to do their job with a minimum of violence and I want them accountable (which as we repeatedly point out, they aren't). I think a large number of them are on power trips. BUT, they serve a legitimate purpose when they do their job correctly. And I think some here are too quick to to assume the worst based on prejudice.

  • $park¥||

    My difficulty is that without the threat of deadly force, why would any bad guy ever submit to arrest?

    Does the threat of force stop crime from happening?

    Don't you want the cops to protect your rights? Isn't that their purpose?

    Indeed it is. I'm no pacifist either, but there are degrees of force that should be taken into account given the situation.

  • SugarFree||

    Well...

    A. It's a pretty silly scenario. The police are rarely ever there when something is being actively stolen and they can 100% certain determine that the TV is stolen, nor is the usual non-compliant criminal a juggernaut that can't be brought down without shooting them or wouldn't react with such force that shooting would be justified.

    B. Stealing a TV is also not a capital offense. Sorry about your TV. An initiation of force demands some sort of reasonable response. Morality says that those children shouldn't be in your yard, but that doesn't mean you can start picking them off from a 2nd story window.

  • ||

    I said up front it was a silly scenario. The framework was necessary to make my point. Saying something is unlikely isn't an argument why trying to define the line.

    Second, stealing a TV IS a capital offense. If I am the property owner, I have every right in the world to shoot you dead for breaking into my home and stealing my property (specifically 2b below):

    Montana Code 45-3-103. Use of force in defense of occupied structure. (1) A person is justified in the use of force or threat to use force against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that the use of force is necessary to prevent or terminate the other person's unlawful entry into or attack upon an occupied structure.
    (2) A person justified in the use of force pursuant to subsection (1) is justified in the use of force likely to cause death or serious bodily harm only if:
    (a) the entry is made or attempted and the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent an assault upon the person or another then in the occupied structure; or
    (b) the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony in the occupied structure.

    So I can pop him, but the cop cannot?

  • ||

    why when

  • $park¥||

    So I can pop him, but the cop cannot?

    No you can't either.

    45-2-101. General definitions. Unless otherwise specified in the statute, all words must be taken in the objective standard rather than in the subjective, and unless a different meaning plainly is required, the following definitions apply in this title:
    ...
    (24) "Forcible felony" means a felony that involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.

  • ||

    I sit corrected.

  • SugarFree||

    If he was leaving with your TV, then no. If he was entering your house, then yes.

    Nothing about the statute says anything about a thief off your property.

  • $park¥||

    Morality says that those children shouldn't be in your yard, but that doesn't mean you can start picking them off from a 2nd story window.

    Agreed, however I'm sure we could both think of some around here who might disagree with this.

  • $park¥||

    I still say no deadly force. I can recover objects through insurance if need be. I might also have a complaint against the PD for sending an unprepared officer to the scene of a crime.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Stop him yourself then, and take better care of your shit. You have slightly more justification than the cop does to confront the thief who assaulted your property.

  • H. Reardon||

    Replace the cop with a the homeowner. Now what do you think. Does the homeowner have more legal authority to use deadly force that the LEO?

  • Zeb||

    I think that there are incentives other than the potential for being shot that prevent people from stealing TVs. Deadly force should not be used except to protect your own home or person or to protect the life or safety of another person.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Texas is a little unusual when it comes to deadly force and theft of property. See Texas Penal Code section 9.42. Briefly, if it's at night, and you can't get the property back any other way, you can blast the thief.

    I believe it was Brett or T who brought up in a previous thread that, if you like to fuck with someone else's property, Texas is not the state to do it in.

    That said, what DPS did here was unbelievably unconscionable, and, judging by comments in the local paper, incredibly popular with the vox populi.

    We're fucked.

  • sloopyinca||

    If the perp drops the TV* that he stole from you**, then he must be reaching for a gun in his waistband. If he keeps walking with the TV*, then he is violating an order and has proven to be a violent criminal. Either way, the cop has cover to shoot him.

    *Feel free to replace "TV" with baby, dog, iPod, groceries, laptop, child's toy, etc...

    **Feel free to replace "he stole from you" with "he owns" or "he borrowed" or anything else denoting that he has done nothing wrong. After all, in LA, they recently shot a guy walking down an alley because they thought he had committed a robbery and they also thought he was reaching for a gun. Neither were true but the cop was not charged because according to the cop, he thought he was in danger.

  • Adam330||

    Why in the world would he shoot the guy for walking away with the tv? He could, you know, go arrest the guy. Are you joking?

  • sloopyinca||

    Why in the world would he shoot the guy for walking away with the tv?

    Because he knows he can do it consequence-free.

    He could, you know, go arrest the guy.

    And risk his safety?

    Are you joking?

    Of course I'm joking. I'm the last person in the world that would think it's OK for a cop to shoot a person unless his life is legitimately in imminent danger and he's acting in self-defense.

  • ||

    Where in my comment did I justify the shooting? I simply said I disagree with Sullum's contention that human trafficking must be peaceful on its face, as if the Border Patrol can distinguish on sight between a truck smuggling adult male workers and a truck smuggling unconsenting sex slaves.

  • ||

    If we stop restricting free movement, then any "Border Patrol" will have the simple knowledge that any human trafficking is non-consenting, because anyone consenting wouldn't need to be smuggled. Simple, really.

  • ||

    Just so I'm clear about what you mean be free movement, would you be okay with letting a violent Columbian criminal walk across the border no questions asked? Or would the US have an interest in denying such a person entry into our country?

  • ||

    Do you really think the violent Columbian supercriminal mastermind who you're trying to raise as a frightening specter can't waltz into the US right now?

    This whole line of argument is specious in the extreme. I'm disappointed, dude.

  • ||

    Do you really think the violent Columbian supercriminal mastermind who you're trying to raise as a frightening specter can't waltz into the US right now?

    Maybe or maybe not. But you don't dispute that there are peope a government shouldn't try to keep out? I mean even Ron Paul wanted to put troops on our border for security purposes.

    What I'm trying to determine is whether we're upset at the shooting (which I agree whole-heartedly was unjustifiable) or over the job in general the USBP has been tasked to do.

  • ||

    As soon as they "try and keep certain people out", you get what we have now. It is inevitable, just one more component of the inevitable growth of government. Restriction of free movement is as statist as it gets. Papiere, bitte? I don't give a rat's ass about any utilitarian arguments, as they are immoral in the extreme.

  • rho||

    I understand the sentiment, but maintaining borders is what a government is supposed to do. It's especially important in a representative democracy with birthright citizenship such as ours.

    To use your words another way, with complete freedom of movement across our borders, socialism is inevitable. The Swiss aren't climbing fences to get into America.

    Militarization of the border patrol is most likely a second-order effect of our drug laws. If they're not the front line defense of a fruitless war on drugs they can focus more on keeping tabs on our foreign guests.

  • ||

    To use your words another way, with complete freedom of movement across our borders, socialism is inevitable. The Swiss aren't climbing fences to get into America.

    Huh? Is this just the "children of immigrants will make us socialist" argument?

  • rho||

    Huh? Is this just the "children of immigrants will make us socialist" argument?

    It's as equally accurate as Epi's statement. Latinos are not voting for Gary Johnson.

  • robc||

    violent Columbian criminal

    Has he completed his jail sentence?

    Im assuming he has been tried and convicted, to qualify.

  • BakedPenguin||

    True, but had they been smuggling sex slaves, the slaves would have probably been shot by the cops.

  • ||

    We have trigger-happy morons for cops, I don't dispute that, but that doesn't mean the job they do isn't neccessary.

    Would we be complaining as much if they had stopped the truck without incident?

  • Killazontherun||

    You're just Janet Reno all over again. Pollute the children, shoot the children!

  • sloopyinca||

    So, if the USBP cannot distinguish between the two, I guess they think it's OK to shoot unconsenting sex traffic workers.

  • NeonCat||

    Can't they just haggle like the Secret Service?

  • Fladnag the Yarg||

    Can't afford a predator drone, so we murder them the old fashion way. With high power rifles.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    imho this was a good shoot. officer safety.

    hth

  • R C Dean||

    Probably the biggest disconnect between what mere "citizens" are allowed to do, and what cops are allowed to do, is that cops are allowed to initiate deadly force even when there is no reason to believe anyone is in imminent danger.

    There's a real tangle here, because I think you need to let cops initiate some level of force to make arrests. However, extending that to deadly force, for the sole purpose of making an arrest rather than bringing an imminent threat to an end, should not be justifiable.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's insane that things have gotten to this point.

  • R C Dean||

    And no, this doesn't count:

    DPS aircraft joined the pursuit of the suspected drug load, which was traveling at reckless speeds, endangering the public

    Bullshit, for one. This was in the middle of nowhere, as far as I can tell. No third parties were at risk.

    Second, since when is someone allowed to use deadly force against a threat that they created themselves? This is a license for aggressors to kill, not for defense of yourself or others.

    Third, if your pursuit of suspects puts innocent bystanders at risk, maybe you need to rethink your pursuit of suspects.

  • Ted S.||

    If they were in a helicopter, you'd think they could:

    a) follow the damn truck wherever it went; and
    b) radio in to other cops where to set up roadblocks.

  • ||

    I'll tell you what I told Epi upthrad.

    There were drugs. What part of that don't you understand? It would have been justifiable to line up every single human being on earth and shoot them in the back of the head if it meant an end to drugs!

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    because I think you need to let cops initiate some level of force to make arrests.

    Nope. This allows things like no-knock SWAT raids for drugs. The cops should only be allowed to respond TO aggression. They can make arrests without the violence if they choose.

  • R C Dean||

    They can make arrests without the violence if they choose.

    Its not possible to arrest someone who doesn't agree to be arrested without initiating violence, so I don't think that's workable.

    I regard pointing a gun at someone as initiating deadly force, so no-knock SWAT raids should be banned unless and until they are a response to an imminent threat.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Its not possible to arrest someone who doesn't agree to be arrested without initiating violence, so I don't think that's workable.

    But at that point, they are responding to violence, not initiating it. I know it seems like splitting hairs, but I think it is an important distinction to make.

  • sarcasmic||

    An arrest is an initiation of force.

    It is kidnapping by the State.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    An arrest is an initiation of force.

    Not necessarily. If someone robs your house, they have commited an act of aggression. If the cops find out who committed the robber and go to arrest them, they are not (IMO) "initiating" force. They are responding, belatedly, to the robbers initiation of force.

    If, however, you are in the process of buying something that is not approved by the state and the cops arrest you; then they are initiating force.

  • R C Dean||

    They are responding, belatedly, to the robbers initiation of force.

    Its that "belatedly" that kills the deal. The lag between the initial aggression and the response means the response is an initiation of force.

  • R C Dean||

    Consider. Somebody punches you in the nose and runs away.

    You see them a week later. Do you have a license now to punch them, or would that be a new initiation of force?

  • robc||

    Do you have a license now to punch them, or would that be a new initiation of force?

    Can I punch them 1 second later? How about 30 seconds? How about 2 minutes?

    Response to the initiation of force is a dish best served cold.

    More reasonably, I think the response is a new initiation if the danger from the original initiation has passed.

    So, in your example, 1 week is probably out of line. However, if you, say, threaten to kill me the next time we meet, and I see you approaching 20 years later, I think I can justifiably shoot you before you see me.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Consider. Somebody punches you in the nose and runs away.

    I file police report for assault (if I so desire). Let them handle it.

    You see them a week later. Do you have a license now to punch them, or would that be a new initiation of force?

    No right to punch them, but I can make a citizens arrest for the previous assault. If they resist, I have every right to subdue them.

  • R C Dean||

    I think we are into the semantic weeds, now. You don't think you have the right to punch them, as that would be an initiation of force, but you do have the right to arrest them, which I guess would also be the initiation of force.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    JURY!

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    The lag between the initial aggression and the response means the response is an initiation of force.

    I disagree, but can see your point.

  • robc||

    The lag between the initial aggression and the response means the response is an initiation of force.

    There is always a lag between initiation and response.

    Whether 1 microsecond or 1 month, the response is still a response.

  • sarcasmic||

    The vast majority of arrests involve victimless crimes, and by your definition an initiation of force.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    The vast majority of arrests involve victimless crimes, and by your definition an initiation of force.

    Agreed, as I said below in answering R C. And these should be punished as any other initiation of force against an innocent.

  • ||

    The vast majority of arrests involve victimless crimes, and by your definition an initiation of force.

    So, in that case, rage against the law, not those enforcing it.

  • sarcasmic||

    So, in that case, rage against the law, not those enforcing it.

    I consider the enforcement of unjust laws to be immoral.

  • ||

    I consider unjust laws to be immoral.

    How exactly would you work that? Instead of cops being hired to enforce all laws, you would hire them to to enforce the laws he thinks are just? Or the laws that you think are just? Who gets to choose and why?

    What you think is moral and what I think is moral are probably pretty close to the same. We can give good arguments based upon our love of liberty. What the religious Republican zealot thinks is moral differs because of his love of a 2000 year old book. He values something different.

    You think it's bad now, how about when the cops get to make it up as they go?

    Out of curiosity, do you consider yourself an anarchist?

  • R C Dean||

    But at that point, they are responding to violence,

    I don't think so. Say a cop comes up to me, says "You're under arrest."

    I say "On the whole, no thanks." And walk away.

    I haven't initiated anything. The only way he can arrest me is to initiate force by laying hands on me.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    I haven't initiated anything. The only way he can arrest me is to initiate force by laying hands on me.

    It gets back to what I was saying earlier as to whether you have previously used force and are being apprehended for that. IF no, then the cop has indeed initiated force against you and should pay the penalty for that. However, if you are the robber, to use my above example, then he is not initiating force.

  • R C Dean||

    And, while we're calling bullshit on the cop flak, let's not overlook this one:

    We need to protect those aerial assets," Vinger said, "and in doing so we put a sniper on those.

    WTF? They have snipers on the choppers to protect the choppers? If someone shoots at them, aren't they safer just flying away, rather than engaging in a firefight?

    And I don't see any indication that the fleeing suspects here were endangering the chopper, so if that the reason for the sniper, it doesn't apply here.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Inanimate assets are now sworn police officers just like Spots and Mr. Ed.

  • ||

    Note the military lingo. These guys think they're soldiers, and the "civilians" are the enemy. In that mindset, none of these actions are unusual or surprising.

  • John||

    We need to protect those aerial assets

    That is fucked up.

  • db||

    Yep. Why can't this justify air-to-ground missiles or miniguns, as I mention below?

    They have to protect the assets from whom, exactly? All those SAM-wielding street thugs? Poker rooms with AA guns?

  • Dweebston||

    You're missing the meta-context. They're protecting their aerial assets from being remaindered by the state for non-use, or sold off to ease budget cuts, or rusting on the pad. Keeping that thing aloft legitimizes keeping it at all. The sniper was just along for the ride.

  • sarcasmic||

    If someone shoots at them, aren't they safer just flying away

    They can't fly away. They must press forward using as much force as they can get away with until everyone has submitted or been killed.

    Retreat is not an option.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "Retreat is not an option."

    Stalingrad PD!

  • db||

    Just arms the police choppers with miniguns.

  • ||

  • Tim||

  • ||

    Blue Thunder was less retarded, but Airwolf had the better theme. Therefore, I chose Airwolf. It was an aesthetic choice and I stand by it.

  • $park¥||

    Epi, though you be a hipster, on this we can agree.

  • ||

    You're a hipster towel!

  • Brett L||

    Also, more realistic, as he uses the helicopter to watch some chick get naked in her own home.

  • Ted S.||

    Airwolf also had Ernest Borgnine.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The cops thought they were chasing drug smugglers

    So everything's fine.

    Move along, nothing to see here, et c.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Defending innocent bystanders by firing high powered rounds from a helicopter, in the air, going at an extremely high rate of speed... what could go wrong with that?

  • John||

    I am as anti cop as anyone. But don't the smugglers deserve some blame for creating the high speed chase? We know now they were people smugglers. But at the time, the cops had no idea who they were. All they knew was some lunatic took off at high speed. I blame the situation on the assholes who ran.

    That said, if they had a helicopter, there was no reason to shoot. They will stop or run out of gas sometime. And as RC points out above, their justification for shooting from the helicopter is just bunk. Cops seem to have lost all interest in ever deescalating a situation. They only know how to make things worse.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Criminals do what they do. Cops are supposed to in theory be not criminals, and handle situations logically.

  • SugarFree||

    They shouldn't have run, but the chase in of itself wasn't sufficient justification for shooting at the vehicle from the air, and certainly wasn't worth the lives of the people inside the truck.

    And it's not the people smuggling or drug smuggling that's the issue. The police shouldn't be using deadly force on people who haven't presented any threat other than to a desolate road.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    And it's not the people smuggling or drug smuggling that's the issue. The police shouldn't be using deadly force on people who haven't presented any threat other than to a desolate road.

    Exactly this!

  • John||

    It doesn't. But the idiocy of the police doesn't excuse the idiocy of the people in the pickup.

  • SugarFree||

    It's not about excusing idiocy or endorsing law-breaking or any other Tulpa Fallacy. The argument never has been. It's about the police thinking that they can summarily execute people (or use deadly force) on people when neither they nor anyone else is in direct danger.

    If they think their job is too hard to do without murdering people, let them find another.

  • John||

    The guy driving and the cop who pulled the trigger should share a cell at Huntsville for a very long time.

  • SugarFree||

    But the problem is that one of them won't.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    SF, do you know how hard it is to fix those ROADZ!!1!

  • R C Dean||

    But don't the smugglers deserve some blame for creating the high speed chase?

    Isn't this blaming the victim? How does running from the cops justify the bullet in your back?

  • John||

    It doesn't. But if running from the cops creates a situation where some cop might do something stupid or where you crash or hurt someone else. They were committing a criminal act that put any number of people's lives in danger. The fact that some idiot flatfoot got trigger happy doesn't excuse them for that.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    nor does it warrant capital punishment from the state.

  • R C Dean||

    They were committing a criminal act that put any number of people's lives in danger.

    The initial crime (people smuggling) didn't put any third party's life in danger.

    Running from the cops may have (although near the border in West Texas, its highly unlikely).

    I don't think anyone is responsible for the stupidity or malice of someone else. The fact that some cop might do something stupid in response to what I do, doesn't make me responsible for what the cop does.

    The fact that some idiot flatfoot got trigger happy is on the idiot flatfoot, period.

  • Killazontherun||

    Reckless endangerment charge, sure, but it also sure looks like he had a good reason to try to get away in the first place when he had a homicidal maniac hovering just above him with a scoped rifle.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "We need to protect those aerial assets," Vinger said, "and in doing so we put a sniper on those. And we're really not apologetic about it. We've got an obligation to protect our men and women when we're trying to protect Texas."

    Tell me again what a great place Texas is.

  • ||

    It's a little bit better now that we've been heroically protected from the Twin Biblical Plagues of desperate workers and drugs.

  • Tim||

    Fortunately these were just guatemalans-if these had been drunk white kids out for a joyride in daddy's F-350 there'd be repercussions.

  • sarcasmic||

    Depends on who daddy is.

    If daddy has political connections, then yes. Otherwise it's just a few dead rednecks.

  • Another David||

    Mission accomplished. Thanks to these heroic officers, no one will ever get high on those Guatemalan children.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    That cop might get in trouble for fucking up that nice truck and making it undesirable for confiscation.

  • Tim||

    Once again we see how a speeding pickup warrants more force and reaction than the destruction over 7 hours of a US consulate.

  • John||

    Thread Winner.

  • R C Dean||

    That, we can agree on.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Amen to that.

  • Rasilio||

    So you could say they smoked a couple of Guatemalans?

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Just to beat a dead horse I want to address some of the up-thread questions:
    If someone is stealing a TV from my house I may use the force I deem necessary to protect my person, family, and property. Including deadly. NOW, the key difference here is I am accountable for my actions. If I kill an unarmed 13 year old kid running from my house with my flat screen then likely a jury will find my use of force unacceptable. Therefore I am held accountable. I know this (as should all humans in a civil society). BUT If I am a cop, I may wantonly murder people, steal property, terrorize innocents, and be a general menace to society and it is ok...A cop is NOT held accountable. IF we started holding cops to the EXACT same level (and I argure more) of accountability, like they used to be, then these sorts of things would be viewed as they should, abhorrent.

  • Loki||

    We need to protect those aerial assets," Vinger said

    From what? A fucking shoulder fired SAM? It's very difficult to bring down a helicopter with small arms fire. Not impossible, granted, but not very easy either. Sometimes I have to wonder if the average person gets their physics education strictly from Hollywood movies.

  • Rasilio||

    Not to mention if that really was the case then why did the officer not have an RPG or similar device to stop the threat?

  • Loki||

    Better yet, let's just replace all our law enforcement helos with Apache gunships. There's bound to be some older ones that the Pentagon can sell to them.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Cobras - the Apaches are too new. I am sure the USMC and Army could have a Cobra sale/fundraiser!

  • sloopyinca||

    My dad was a Cobra pilot, Col John. No bullshit.

    In fact, I was born at Ft Rucker and my older sister was born at Redstone Arsenal. Matter of fact, he was one of the first pilots to ever fire a laser-guided rocket from a Cobra in the development program.

  • NL_||

    Saw the same mistake happen on Border Wars, a frustratingly authoritarian show on National Geographic. The guards thought the cameras picked up drug runners sneaking through the desert at night, because it was all men and the terrain was rough and isolated. When they got there, turns out it was just economic migrants who couldn't use the easier trails because they were too heavily guarded.

    One of the guys had left his family in the US to return to Mexico, then couldn't get back in to see his wife and kids; the agents seemed sympathetic while they carted him off for an extended detention resulting in deportation.

    The show itself is pretty depressing. Cars ripped apart for moving pot or coke while I'm sure Patron tequila shipments go through some of the same checkpoints. It's not like they use x-rays and dogs to find murderers or rapists or even thieves. They really only find people guilty of illegal arbitrage in labor or drugs.

  • sarcasmic||

    Crimes with victims are hard, and there's no profit in it.

    Contraband is easy, and you get to keep the loot.

  • sohbet||

    very super blogos thanks admin sohbet & sohbet odaları

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