Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America

Radley Balko at Cato has an article: Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America that points to the civil liberties problems inherant in the fact that even some of the smallest police forces today have SWAT teams, and when you have them, you need to ultimately use them.

I am a lot more bothered by this than the NSA international communications surveilance program. There, I see, at most, a minimal threat to my civil liberties. I rarely make international calls. I don't talk to terrorists. Indeed, I don't really know any. And, we are at war.

But the militarized police around the country come barging into our houses in the middle of the night, breaking down doors, threatening to shoot, and even sometimes shooting, innocents who thought they were safe in their own homes. The Cato site has a map feature that shows the different incidents involving innocents in the various locations around the country. I looked at Colorado, and it was scary.

Part of the problem is that this militarization is a good part aimed at the War on Drugs. But that War doesn't have anyone trying to kill me, unless it is the police, doing so for my own good. And, if drugs are such a problem, the solution is obvious: legalization. Far better to have them legal and regulated, than having police breaking down doors in the middle of the night on no-knock raids.

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