Militarization of Police

Hoosier SWAT

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So you're mayor of a medium-sized Midwestern city. Last year, you saw an unexpected surge in violent crime. The city's losing population. And you're taking a beating in the media after the recent rape of a 14-year-old school girl, whose attacker is still at large. What do you do? Well, if you're Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, you send the SWAT team —in full battle gear, tossing flash bang grenades—to raid the city's 2-cents-a-bet pea-shake houses.* Yes, penny pea-shakes are illegal. But they've been operating in the city without harm for generations.

One connected local blogger thinks the raids are the result of the city's white Democrats trying to purge the party of the black Democratic officials, some of whom have faced corruption investigations of late, and who allegedly derive campaign funding from the pea-shakes. But then, Peterson's city police have been raiding mostly-white poker games, too. My guess is that this is just a get-tough-on-crime facade.

What next, SWAT raids for mortgage fraud? Been done. Tax cheats? That too . (The latter case includes a fascinating twist—the victim is suing the prosecutor under RICO statutes.)

Mayor Peterson, by the way, was previously seen handing the millionaire Irsay family a sweetheart of a corporate welfare deal to keep the Colts in town at taxpayer expense, and blaming video games for school shootings.

Thanks to Zach Wendling for the tip.

* Pea shakes are lottery-style gambling houses.  In fact, many Hoosier Lottery scratch games were styled after old pea-shake games.

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  1. What the hell is a “pea-shake house”?

  2. Good question Matt. Could someone please explain what a “pea-shake house” is for those of us who don’t spend a lot of time in the hood?

  3. > What the hell is a “pea-shake house”?

    Yeah, is that some Indiana term? What does it mean?

  4. In a related note, there was a guy accused of rape who was on a local bridge looking to jump. The news story mentioned in passing that a SWAT team had been sent to his house to arrest him.

    Now, no one likes child molestors, but I think the SWAT team is mighty excessive.

    – Josh

  5. You continue to cherry pick bad SWAT stuff and overlook all the lives that have been saved by the brave men and women who serve on SWATs. Your motto should be “Confirmation bias is us.”

  6. The “pea shake” is the last thing a man does before zipping up.

  7. Josh-
    What happened next? Did the SWAT sharpshooter shoot him off the bridge before he could illegally jump?

    ________

    And, of course, we may assume Bart has been dispatching the SWATters to the City-County bldg to enforce the laws against basketball pools.

  8. What the hell is a “pea-shake house”?

    According to what I found by googling, it’s a lottery-style gambling house where they “shake the peas” and draw a winner.

  9. You continue to cherry pick bad SWAT stuff and overlook all the lives that have been saved by the brave men and women who serve on SWATs.

    Hey Ed, it’s their fucking job. I don’t get props at work (nor should I) for doing what is appropriate and expected. When I screw up I hear about it though. And as far as the “brave men and women” meme. Heros don’t line up hoping to be picked for the job, and if chosen draw a salary. Those are called employees.

  10. Your motto should be “Confirmation bias is us.”

    Sarcasm? Idiocy? No one can tell. Bravo, sir!

  11. What the hell is a “pea-shake house”?

    According to what I found by googling, it’s a lottery-style gambling house where they “shake the peas” and draw a winner.

    Betting on peas? This is the savagery that the anti-internet gaming laws have reduced us to. Think of the children.

  12. Josh-
    What happened next? Did the SWAT sharpshooter shoot him off the bridge before he could illegally jump?

    Isn’t the rest of the story under brickbat “We’re here to help”.

    I still don’t understand the “pea shake” thing though I believe the Koran, Quaran, Quandry, or whatever the hell it’s called, says one should stroke three times or some silliness so that may negate it for the Farrakhan crowd. I understand there’s wagering involved, I understand it’s primarily blacks who frequent such places, don’t know what they do still. Oh well, giving up now.

  13. I am a Vernor Vinge fan and look forward to the upcoming interview!

    Alas, I live in a city in the central United States that is far from any body of water, as does Number 6, and therefore we don’t get our issues until long after everyone else gets theirs.

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