Militarization of Police

OMG! WTF! There's a SWAT Team at My House.

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A high school senior in Orlando apparently had his home raided by the SWAT team after he playfully changed the word "defeated" to "crushed" in an article about a recent football game on the school's official website. He had been given access to the site by a teacher at the school and was authorized to make updates as requested.

According to the kid's own account (and thus far, I haven't seen the incident reported in a newspaper), the SWAT team came and confiscated a good deal of the his property, and charged him with two felonies.

After posting his story on Digg and Reddit yesterday, well, I'll let him explain :

Turns out that my High School is not going to follow through with any charges now that they know who did it and they wanted to be sure to let my family know before Christmas. Could it be that my blog making it to the front page of Digg made an impact…? Who knows.

Anyways, they dropped the two felony charges against me and I can pickup ALMOST all of my stuff from the police station. They decided to keep all the CDs and DVDs they took to make sure I don't have any pirated software.

Orlando, like a lot of places, has a history of using its SWAT team rather liberally and aggressively. They shot and killed a man named Michael Swimmer in 1998 in a raid that still cries out for more investigation. A series of wrong-door raids and raids in which the SWAT team was sent out to apprehend offenders police knew to be only small-time pot smokers also led to a pretty hard-hitting investigation by the Orlando Weekly.

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  1. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that it’s going to turn out that the kid’s crimes where a lot more worse than orginally reported. Which sucks, because it softens the impact in people’s minds about how over-blown the case is.
    “I have cancer!”
    “You poor thing!”
    “No, I was just trying to get your sympathy, I really only have gangrene legs.”
    “Fuck you.”

  2. You know, we joke sometimes about ripping the tag off a mattress, but I won’t actually go through with it. Really.

  3. Johnathan C

    Part of me hopes that you are right, that there is a LOT more to the story than the kid is saying.

    In any event, the Orlando PD really needs to cut back on its use of steroids.

  4. Best thing to do would be to follow the Akira MacKenzie approach. The kid’s obviously a net loss to society, so let’s abort him.

  5. “”I am going to go out on a limb and guess that it’s going to turn out that the kid’s crimes where a lot more worse than orginally reported.”””

    I wouldn’t bet on it. Schools have been overzelous about words that seem threating.

    What you say: The concert was da bomb
    What they hear: There’s a bomb at the concert

  6. The increasing use of paramilitary-style raids for common policework fills me with dread and worry for the future of this country.

    – R

  7. DA Ridgely: 🙂

    Every time I post here a black Cobra flies slowly past the windows.

  8. You too Commonsewer?

  9. Just a hunch, but I suspect that the next airings of “Off the Hook” and “Off the Wall” should pick this up as a topic. Check 2600 for show times and streams.

    Caution: might have to filter out some of the Marxist hype from Emmanuel and the gang, but they should cover a lot of valid stuff too.

  10. I wonder what police put in the affidavit supporting the application for the search warrant. Any ideas?

  11. John in Nashville,

    Just a guess: The internet and software.

  12. Brad, yes, and just remember……..

    Just ‘cuz yer not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get ya.

  13. Every time I post here a black Cobra flies slowly past the windows.

    Don’t sweat the small stuff. Newer model helicopters are in service at the Federal and state level, so the Cobras have all been donated to county and city cops.

  14. Why should the SWAT team come to my house if I write something like “I want our football team to CRUSH our opponents tonight.” I think the SWAT team needs to go back to junior high school and learn what figurative speech is.
    The more outrageous thing is that our taxes fund the SWAT to supress free speech. There our real problems in America that warrant SWAT attention.
    With all this said and done, let’s hope the SWAT doesn’t come to my house and take my computer and personal possessions.

  15. Hackers are people (of the year) too.

  16. Larry A

    Newer model helicopters are in service at the Federal and state level, so the Cobras have all been donated to county and city cops.

    That’s BETTER?

    Sheesh, it just sucks when all the new stuff actually is old. A function of age I guess. So, what kind of helicopters are the feds flying these days?

  17. OMG there’s a bomb at the concert?!?!

  18. Um… I’m not entirely sure why the focus is being put on the SWAT team in this story.

    Isn’t the issue here the questionable issue of felony charges and a search warrant, and not about which group of cops was called on to serve the warrant?

    We know that Radley gets wood every time that “SWAT” pops up in the news, but if his argument is that SWAT raids are a threat to public safety, then this story has absolutely nothing to do with that argument.

  19. It’s all relevant, Russ. The warrant might be justified if the school believed their site was being hacked, but there’s no reason that such a warrant couldn’t be served by regular officers. What risk could there be from a teen-aged web designer?

  20. I still fail to see the relevance.

    There are two separate, unrelated issues here.

    1. Assuming that we’re hearing the entire story, the charges and warrant both sound completely ridiculous, regardless of who served the warrant.

    2. The warrant was executed safely and nobody was injured. The SWAT team did exactly what it was asked to do, regardless of how stupid the charges were.

    So apart from satisfying Radley’s fetish,
    why is this a SWAT team story?

    Now, I can agree that sending a SWAT team in this instance is “overkill”, but so what? Did it have any impact on either public safety, or the legitimacy of the charges? No. Which is why the SWAT team element of this story is totally irrelevant.

  21. Disagree, Russ. The fact that they would execute a warrant against a high school web designer by dispatching a SWAT Team should be ample demonstration of just how low the bar is set for sending out a bunch of gorillas with submachineguns.

    That you don’t find this troubling seems to show just how calloused you are to it.

  22. I can agree that sending a SWAT team in this instance is “overkill”, but so what?

    So the problem is the habitual use of SWAT for everything that leads to the safety problems. While there may not have been any safety problems “this time,” the problem is a raid performed by a SWAT team is increasingly the first choice without regard to the situation.

    I mean sure it was just a parking ticket and nobody got hurt but did they have to smash the window to make sure I would see it?

  23. “That you don’t find this troubling seems to show just how calloused you are to it.”

    No, the fact that I don’t sound the alarm for every irrelevant episode means that at least one person here still thinks rationally.

    By crying wolf every time something insignificant happens, you find it harder to get people to take you seriously when you try to focus on what’s important.

    The SWAT team in this story… not important.

  24. “The SWAT team in this story… not important.”

    blank dvds can be turned into deadly weapons.

    better safe than sorry.

  25. “So the problem is the habitual use of SWAT for everything that leads to the safety problems.”

    You’re begging the question. Your argument rests on the unproven assumption that SWAT teams are more dangerous to public safety. This has not been proven.

    You need to demonstrate that such raids ACTUALLY lead to a greater incidence of injury or death to a) innocent bystanders, b) the alleged offender being arrested, c) the officers making the arrest.

    Do the math yourself. CATO’s very nice Interactive Raid Map over the last 22 years,
    reports 41 deaths of innocents, 21 deaths of non-violent offenders, and 22 deaths or injuries deaths to police officers. That’s 84 cases where public safety was compromised.

    However, the online tool doesn’t report injuries to either offenders or innocents, so to account for these, let’s double the numbers. That would give us 168 such cases.

    Balko’s report claims that there are now 40k raids per year. Over the 22 years, (conservativley assuming linear growth from a zero base), that would be half a million such raids.

    168 divided by half a million gives us a death or injury in about 0.034% of all raids, or one in about 3000 raids. Alternately, it means that 99.97% of raids are executed safely.

    Anyone making the argument that SWAT teams are a greater risk to public safety will have to provide data to convince us that conventional police arrests are executed safely significantly more than 99.97% of the time.

  26. We know that Radley gets wood…

    Russ wins the thread. LOL………

  27. I’m concerned about sending a SWAT team to a high school student’s home particularly in view of the fact that he had a password to get into the system. The whole thing stinks from warrant to SWAT. Assuming, of course, we accept the story at face value.

    The reason the SWAT angle is important, if for no other, is the tremendous waste of police resources. Back in the day when my good buddy refused to pay a bogus traffic ticket on principle, the county sent ONE, count em, Marshall, who knocked on the front door, served the warrant, took him into custody, and transported him to county lockup.

    This incident is no more serious (on it’s face) than an unpaid speeding ticket. Sending the SWAT team wasted thousands of dollars.

  28. “Sending the SWAT team wasted thousands of dollars.”

    Unless…

    If the constable-commandos are on salary and spend their days sitting around circle-jerking over their MP-5’s and bullet-proof vests, then it doens’t cost anything more to send them to get the job done

    However, regardless of how the cost accounting shakes out, it’s still overkill.

  29. Alternately, it means that 99.97% of raids are executed safely.

    Unfortunately, you seem to think these are impressive numbers. Equally as unfortunate is that numbers for warrants that are served without SWAT teams seem to be harder to find.

    The question that needs begging is what is the efficacy advantage of using SWAT instead of sending a pair of officers. Completely disregarding the monetary cost, what is the difference in public safety. If you can show that 99.97 is better than the alternatives, I’ll be more willing to conceed to your complaint.

  30. Uh… Eddy,

    I wasn’t the one making the argument that SWAT teams are dangerous.

    You said it yourself:

    “… the problem is the habitual use of SWAT for everything that leads to the safety problems.

    The burden of proof belongs on the proposed idea, not the challenger of the idea.

  31. Russ,

    If you think the only thing that matters is that no one was hurt this time, I don’t know what to tell you. I think that there’s a world of difference between “Good afternoon, ma’am. My partner and I have a warrant to search your home. We’ll need you to wait outside with Officer Smith.” and sending in a unit raid the house.

    If the difference between a raid and a search is as negligible as you claim , why not just do away with regular officers and make it all SWAT, all the time?

  32. Let me clarify. (So that you all stop putting words in my mouth).

    “If you think the only thing that matters is that no one was hurt this time…”.

    First, I don’t think that this is the only thing that matters. I’ve already said I think it’s overkill to send SWAT teams to arrest teenagers with computers. That’s not my argument.

    “If the difference between a raid and a search is as negligible as you claim…”

    I never claimed this. (I hate it when people attribute to me things I never said.) The difference is obviously far from negligible. However it doesn’t change the legitimacy (or in this case, illegitimacy) of the warrant and charges. That is my first point.

    My main point is this: the argument that the use of SWAT teams jeopardizes public safety is founded on ignorance. This amounts to saying: “I haven’t seen evidence regarding the relative safety record of SWAT teams, therefore they must be more dangerous”.

    In Radley’s report “Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Raids in America”, he provides plenty of sensational anecdotes, but doesn’t actually compare the rates of injuries and deaths between SWAT and conventional arrests (holding the type of arrest scenario constant). He is careful to avoid directly making the public safety argument, but insinuates it repeatedly, and everyone here has bought it wholeheartedly without a shred of critical thought.

    This same type of reasoning leads some people to be afraid of air travel. Because they see lots of anecdotal evidence of plane crashes, but don’t see the data that demonstrate air travel to be safer than road travel, they conclude that air travel must be more dangerous.

    You’ve all concluded that this is a public safety issue, and are basing your arguments on that foundation, without actually providing evidence to support the claim. I agree with the rest of the argument against excessive use of SWAT teams, but am pointing out the safety issue isn’t a legitimate complaint. Not without evidence.

    When people adopt beliefs devoid of evidence, it’s called religion… not reason.

  33. it’s not a public safety issue, it’s a oh fuck they militarized the fucking police issue.

  34. The other thing that correlates with this SWAT crap is the POleece always seem to make an effort to maximize inconvenience to the citizenry whenever there is a police matter. Today, they shut down six lanes of I-15, two days before Xmas, for maybe six hours. Traffic was immovable because there aren’t any alternatives in this particular area. Don’t know why, heard they were looking for a guy who stabbed someone in a store. But still, what could possibly warrant making those poor slobs sit in their cars for six hours? A seeming disregard for the well-being of the John Q.

  35. Just ‘cuz yer not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get ya.

    Really, this sums up what it is to be a teenager. I look back at my teenage years and think “Damn, I was paranoid” but every now and then I think… maybe not.

  36. There was a bomb on the website? uh, wait a sec…
    😉
    So a student’s house was raided, possessions taken, and he was charged for two crimes because somebody didn’t know he was authorized to make changes to a school website? SWAT or no SWAT, something’s wrong here.

  37. Damn, TWC, were you stuck in that C-Fuck on the 15? I didn’t hear on the radio *why* they’d closed it – we assumed it was an accident. A *bad* accident. Like, toxic spill bad. Why else would they close it for so long?

    On a similar note, whenever there is a law enforcement fatality in LA, they block off a large-ish section of downtown LA around the Cathedral for several hours during morning rush hour, while they have their funeral service. The traffic mess this causes can reach for miles, back out onto several freeways, and can simply gridlock downtown. I have always thought that they do this because they wish to punish the public, when one of “their own” is killed. As if the massively inconvenienced commuters were to blame for anything. But I suppose it’s easy to have contempt for the nice folks who just keep on giving you money to buy toys!

  38. That kid is an idiot. It appears from the article he was the web designer not the editor. He changed someone else’s work. Just because he was given access to the site doesn’t mean he had permission to CHANGE IT! Doesn’t he read web news or watch MTV’s “Class Pranks”. This ain’t the 50’s were stealing the rival schools mascot was met with chuckles and a slap on the wrist. School officials nowadays have no sense of humor about this stuff. My god, they charge 5 year olds with sexual harassment for a butt pinch.

  39. That kid is an idiot. It appears from the article he was the web designer not the editor. He changed someone else’s work.

    In that case, sending a SWAT team after him makes perfect sense, no?

  40. Russ R, it doesn’t what the percentages are. What matters is the amount of raids being conducted. As the amount of raids increases so do the amount of innocent deaths and injuries regardless (once again) of what the percentages are. This violates our inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness. Not to mention that an innocent death is wrong no matter what percentages are being applied. Plus you (also) fail to account for possible fatigue. Everyone knows that fatigue is a critical occupational safety concern and that if workers (in this case SWAT team members) are fatigued due to being overworked, the percentage of mistakes will increase and lead to an even larger increase in the amount of accidental death or injury as well.

  41. Brad,

    That was a spectacularly weak argument if you’re talking about the choice between sending a SWAT team or sending traditional cops. You seem to be assuming that only SWAT teams ever result in injuries or deaths, while that sort of thing never happens in conventional arrests.

    The only way your argument: “As the amount of raids increases so do the amount of innocent deaths and injuries regardless (once again) of what the percentages are” could have any merit is if you don’t send a SWAT team you don’t make an arrest at all. That’s an issue for the judge issuing the warrant (i.e. to arrest or not arrest).

    Otherwise, the percentages do matter. To factor public safety into the decision of whether to send a SWAT team or conventional cops, you absolutely need to know their relative safety records under the relevant circumstances.

    Without knowing the relative percentages (categorized by type of arrest), you can’t make the argument that sending a SWAT team instead of conventional cops increases the risk to public safety. So please stop making that argument.

    I’m not even going to bother to respond to your “fatigue is a critical occupational safety concern” argument except to point out that it’s also founded on assumptions for which you have even less supporting evidence.

    Seriously weak.

  42. Time to start spelling it SSWAT.

  43. Russ R,

    (I hate it when people attribute to me things I never said.)

    Same here Russ. Looks like the truth struck a nerve with you trying to justify your main
    point that “the use of SWAT teams jeapordizes public safety is founded on ignorance” argument.

    Your argument makes me wonder whether you do have an admiration and advocation for pro-
    leviathan and pro-centralized planning, with all of its’ “Without knowing the relative
    percentages (categorized by type…)”
    or “relative safety records” drivel when it comes to public safety. It also makes me wonder if you are pro-police state.

    With that said, I never once said anything (or cared) about choosing “between sending a SWAT team or sending traditional cops” nor did I make the assumption “that only SWAT teams ever result in injuries or deaths, while that sort of thing never happens in conventional arrests. That is your words not mine!

    However, I will say that abusing both SWAT and traditional cops by using them when there is no justifiable REASON or REASONING does cause an increase in innocent deaths and innocent injuries for both violent and non-violent crimes; and especially for non-violent crimes. I will leave this statement out there as fact without stooping to your level in order to defend it.

    Furthermore, your claim that The only way your argument… could have any merit is if you don’t send a SWAT team you don’t make an arrest at all. That’s an issue for the judge
    issuing the warrant (i.e. to arrest or not arrest).
    is so asinine and convulated that it does not justify a counter argument on my part.

    Now to totally rebutt your “main point” (so that I can get on to more productive things like cleaning the lint out of my navel) I will offer my demonstration using a little common sense (with this caveat for you) after reading your posts on this thread, which is; I don’t think it will matter, as God (or nature) did not give all men and women the capacity to have nor exhibit common sense in the first place.

    So, after reading the executive summary only, and not having bought Radley’report, I am not
    certain which source he is citing for an estimate of 40,000 raids per year.

    Based off of that, I had to do a little web snoofing myself – which was not too hard in this day and age with google (and what not) – and I came up with a claim by Professor Peter Kraska, who is a “expert on police militarisation from Eastern Kentucky University” who stated in his book that in the 1980s there were about 3,000 SWAT team deployments annually across the U.S., but who now says there are at least 40,000 per year.

    Now, let me state here, that I am assuming this to be the source Radley is citing, and I am assuming the professors numbers are closer to the truth since our government is more famous for cooking its’ numbers like “scorched beans” compared to say Enron or Worldcom.

    What I will do, is use Professor Kraska’s numbers of 3,000 SWAT team deployments annually in the 1980’s, and then the 40,000 per year that he cited while making one more assumption that this figure would have to be for the year 2000 – If it is not, it still doesn’t matter – and then I will apply your percentage (if this is the ACTUAL safety factor?) that 99.97% of all SWAT raids/deployments are executed safely.

    Are you paying attention? Good, now here we go….

    3,000 * .03% gives us .9 accidental deaths or injuries for some year in 1980.

    AND

    40,000 * .03% gives us 12 accidental deaths or injuries for the assumed year of 2000.

    Now we find the increase in percentage terms in accidental deaths or accidental injuries :

    12 – .9 = 11.10

    11.10 / .9 = 12.33%

    12.33% is the increase in accidental deaths or accidental injuries for incidents involving ALL SWAT team deployments (responding to violent AND Nonviolent criminals, innocent bystanderss, and not to even mention innocent people) compared between the 1980’s and the assumed year of 2000 based off of Professor Kraska’s numbers.

    I don’t know what your cold logic is if you can’t conclude that this is indeed a public safety factor if this is indeed the actual increase in accidental deaths or accidental injuries whether this includes a) innocent bystanders, b) the alleged offender being arrested, c) the officers making the arrest.. or finally d) innocent people… which you forgot to even mention so somebody has to do it.

    To me and probably the majority of everyone else (with a lick of common sense) this is a horrible consequence of the increased militarization of our domestic law enforcement and its’ policies all in the name of SWAT served warrants, The War on Drugs or The War on Some Kids Mistake for modifying someones story on a school website.

    End in the end, this still leaves us with a MAJOR dilemma since we STILL have no meaningful data (from the government whether it be local, federal or state) at this point (since the government cooks their numbers like they are “scorching beans” based off of overwhelming evidence and my experience of working for Uncle Sam) to conclude any factual numbers as it relates to accidental deaths or injuries for deploying SWAT teams to pursue the apprehension of Americans who have committed a relatively non-violent crime.

    I would also have to say that it is probably safe to bet that the actual increase in percentage terms for accidental deaths or accidental injuries is far greater for this subset of SWAT deployments.

    NOTE: There is a study by the NTOA which states that 759 Swat team deployments across the US, found half were for warrant service and a third for incidents where suspects had barricaded themselves in a building and 50 were for hostage situations. But once again, even though these numbers are “scorched beans” my rational is still valid.

    Finally, as to your assertion that fatigue is not a critical factor, and that it may not be
    contributing to the increase as well, and that you are not even going to respond… well, let me just say WGAF? Honestly…

  44. Brad,

    1. You still haven’t proven that SWAT team arrests are more likely to result in injury or death that conventional arrests.

    2. You are still assuming that the alternative to sending a SWAT team is to not make an arrest at all.

  45. The difference is obviously far from negligible. However it doesn’t change the legitimacy (or in this case, illegitimacy) of the warrant and charges. That is my first point.

    You’re a few years late on arguing your first point. Asking for a warrant is a rubber-stamp procedure now so the review of the legitimacy is so routine it isn’t even considered a step in the process anymore.

    So now your first point is actually the third point in the way things operate. SWAT teams are becoming the standard whenever the warrant and charges aren’t cut and dried. Instead of “shoot first and ask for permission later,” the use of warrants is supposed to be “ask for permission first, then shoot.” With the use of SWAT teams, the situation has changed to “Grab a permission slip on your way out the door, shoot, then let the division of labor disperse the responsibility should someone ask questions.”

  46. The burden of proof belongs on the proposed idea, not the challenger of the idea.

    The burden is the same on both the idea proposer and the idea challenger.

    This is not a tort case in a court of law. rather, this is an informal policy discussion on the Internet. Although it is tempting to claim “victory” in such an argument based on burdens of proof, production and/or persuasion, that is not how it works here.

  47. Sam,

    All I’m saying is, unless you’re going to provide some evidence that SWAT teams are more dangerous than the conventional police they replace, you can’t use the “public safety” argument against the use of SWAT teams.

    Scattered anecdotes don’t constitute evidence.

  48. All I’m saying is, unless you’re going to provide some evidence that SWAT teams are more dangerous than the conventional police they replace, you can’t use the “public safety” argument against the use of SWAT teams.

    My own personal suspicion is different. My own suspicion is that SWAT raids are safer for the po po’s, but less safe for the non-po po’s. While nobody has good numbers, and nobody trusts the numbers from any partisan in this debate, my guess is that SWAT raids effectively mean both that overall deaths are going down probabilistically, but that the breakdown between police and civilian deaths is changed somewhat, with the pile of dead people containing fewer police relative to civilian victims.

    That reall is a sort of dilema. Just to infuse this with some hypothetical numbers:

    (1) lets say under the old (non-SWAT) system that a certain number of raids would cause 10 deaths: 9 police and one civilan;

    (2) then let’s say further, taken probabilistically and for the same number and type of raids would kill 5 people: 2 police and 3 civilians

    (3) If these were the true numbers, which is the better way? On the one hand, 5 people is a lot less than 10 dead people. On the other hand, police get paid to get shot at; while civilians do not.

  49. 1. You still haven’t proven that SWAT team arrests are more likely to result in injury or death that conventional arrests.

    2. You are still assuming that the alternative to sending a SWAT team is to not make an arrest at all.

    I wasn’t trying to prove (1) nor was I assuming (2). Those are your point and your assumption.

    However, I think I proved both of my points.

    That (1) as the frequency of SWAT raids go up on non-violent crimes or warrant enforcement, the number of accidental deaths and accidental injuries go up on a) innocent bystanders, b) the alleged offender being arrested, c) the officers making the arrest.. or finally d) innocent people.

    That (2) fatigue is a factor or at least has the possibility to contribute to the increases in point (1).

    I accomplished this without even having to defend my second point.

  50. Russ R,

    I just realized that you are probably correct on your first point… and it shows I wasn’t thinking rationally with my rebuttal to you.

    Having said that, you can’t fault Radley for bringing up every little incident (nor us as a whole) when we can prove that overusing SWAT teams for non-violent crimes and warrant searches does have a negative affect on public safety and that it does lead to an increase in accidental deaths and accidental injury all around.

    Let me apologize (if you will accept it) while I take a break to wrap my mind around this a little more. I am still pissed off at the whole situation and doubt if I am still thinking rationally. I am going to order Radley’s report, and maybe the Professor’s, and then I hope to be able to offer some advice as well as constructive criticism.

  51. Russ R – I’m not even going to bother to respond to your “fatigue is a critical occupational safety concern” argument except to point out that it’s also founded on assumptions for which you have even less supporting evidence.

    Here is a proposal solicitation from ncjrs (in pdf format) which appears to back my argument up. The proposal section itself states there is evidence “that a large proportion of officers are excessively fatigued on the job;”

  52. “3,000 * .03% gives us .9 accidental deaths or injuries for some year in 1980.

    AND

    40,000 * .03% gives us 12 accidental deaths or injuries for the assumed year of 2000.

    Now we find the increase in percentage terms in accidental deaths or accidental injuries :

    12 – .9 = 11.10

    11.10 / .9 = 12.33

    12.33% is the increase in accidental deaths or accidental injuries for incidents involving ALL SWAT team deployments (responding to violent AND Nonviolent criminals, innocent bystanderss, and not to even mention innocent people) compared between the 1980’s and the assumed year of 2000 based off of Professor Kraska’s numbers.

    Kids,

    this is a very important lesson. Never let yourself get angry when you are trying to prove a point, because the chance that you will make a mistake is greatly increased no matter how simple the point you are trying to make.

    Looking over my calculation above, I realized that I totally forgot to move the decimal point two places to the right.

    If I had, I would have arrived at the real increase (percentage wise) in accidental deaths and accidental injuries, which is actually 1,233%.

    That is a huge discrepancy! LOL!

    So, to reiterate… unless you want to make a complete fool out of yourself, never, never, never (and I mean never) let yourself get angry when you are trying to prove a point.

    Back to my humble pie!

  53. Brad,

    Who cares about your math? You failed to prove your point because you didn’t compare the SWAT team death/injury rate with that of traditional police action, OR, prove that without SWAT teams being used, nothing would be done. Let me be clear: Without proving one of the two following;

    1. That SWAT team actions are more dangerous than a traditional police action.

    2. That if SWAT was left home, nothing would be done.

    You simply can not use the public safety argument. Allow me to demonstrate. Surgery has gone up in use over the last two hundred years, and it kills people every year, so we need to stop doing it. That is the same thing you are doing with the SWAT teams. You are assuming that the alternative rate is zero deaths, without proving it.

    Let me be crystal. You can make any other argument you like (moral, legal, whatever) that SWAT teams are overused. But, to make a public safety argument against them, you need the facts to back that up.

    Your fatigue question is equally specious. Without proof that traditional police are not that fatigued, you have proven nothing, because you have ignored the alternative.

    Now, to be clear, I am against using SWAT teams as often as they are used, on moral, legal, common sense, and simply aesthetic grounds. I am not saying you are wrong in your larger point. I am merely pointing out that your argument is totally wrong.

    If you want to argue based on the facts, you have to have them.

  54. Frank,

    In retrospect I agree that I failed to disprove Russ R’s point because I didn’t compare the SWAT team death/injury rate with that of traditional police action. I also agree that it would be great if it could be proved.

    But, then again this is almost next to impossible to prove since many traditional police are over militarized, and many traditional police augment SWAT teams as well. There is also no reliable data being provided by the very people (law enforcement and government) who are supposed to actually protect us from violent criminals and violent crimes.

    To say nothing would be done if SWAT teams weren’t being used is incorrect, because of course something would be done if traditional cops were used to enforce warrants, and probably much safer. But I can concede that sometimes a SWAT team may be better to apprehend a violent criminal if the accused were failed to have been served a warrant or apprehended by a traditional law enforcement role. This is especially if the accused is holding innocent people hostage. Without a doubt, this is one of the scenarios where a SWAT team would be a viable option.

    I also think that it would be relatively easier to prove that over using both SWAT and over militarized traditional police to pursue non-violent crimes leads to an abuse of public safety.

    I think I proved that I can use the public safety argument more effectively than you (or anyone else) can defend against and back it up with facts… just look at the math.

    And to compare surgery in this case, which by the way is used to save lives, to a irrational law enforcement policy which is leading to an increase in accidental deaths or accidental injury is absolutely silly.

    Let me be crystal clear also. I don’t care if fatigue is equally specious to you or anyone else either. At least the U.S. Department of Justice believes it could lead to an increased danger to public safety (as evidence in the link I provided a couple of posts above), and they are soliciting help to actually formulate some kind of program to deal with it.

    However, in light of the fact that law enforcement is severely undermanned and will continue to be, I doubt they will be able to do anything about it with any plan they finally implement. As a result, fatigue will continue to contribute to the public’s safety and to my argument as well.

  55. Let me clarify also:

    My main point was the number of accidental deaths and injuries (associated with using SWAT teams) will rise even if the public safety factor stays constant – and I proved that. This in itself is unacceptable because these deaths and injuries are tied to innocent people, police officers, and nonviolent offenders. That might be weak to some, but it is not to me, and to be upset about that shows strength in character.

    We should (also) not be duped into assuming that the public safety factor has stayed constant at 99.7 percent year after year. That is the burden of the state to prove. Likewise, I think all of us can agree that the state has not provided us with

    a) the actual number of SWAT raids per year with the actual number of accidental deaths or accidental injuries

    nor

    b) the actual number of traditional law enforcement raids per year with the actual number of accidental deaths or injuries

    So yes, I can concede to Russ R. And, I am not proud of the way I attacked him when I was defending my argument and I apologize. The way I attacked him by defending my argument just goes to show that Russ was right and that he was the only one thinking rationally at the time.

    To sum it up, If the state had (or will) provide us with a) and b), I am certain that we would (all) have an even more compelling argument to make.

    In addition, the state (our executive and legislative branch) is the one who has created much of the violence with its’ WoD by creating a black market in recreational drugs in the first place. The state is also the one atacking our freedom and causing needless death with with its doomed law enforcement practices. It is also no wonder that the Judicial branch of our government is going along with this in many cases because our higher courts are stacked with judges who have been appointed and conferred by the “activist” executive and legislative branch of our current government.

    With that said, nobody gains the high ground (including anybody here) by ridiculing Radley becuse he is “getting wood” every time a SWAT team is used to enforce warrants against nonviolent offenders or offenses and then he reports it.

  56. Brad,

    Basically, no, you are wrong. Reread my last post.

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