War on Drugs

Hoosier SWAT


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.