Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The War On Drugs Is Good For Us

More SWAT team outrages from the Agitator.

Let me give you the skinny. Police find marijuana seeds and traces of cocaine in a family's trash can. Based on this information they stage a no-knock, 6:00 AM raid. After knocking down the door and employing a flash bomb, the SWAT team stormed the house. The team found Cheryl Noel holding a gun- not pointing it at them, just holding it. Mrs. Noel was shot and killed by a heavily armoured member of the SWAT team. By the way, this was a woman who was well respected in the community, a woman who ran lunch time bible studies groups. And by the way, Mrs. Noel and her family had legally obtained the gun, following the murder of her step-daughter several years earlier. As far as I know, no drug charges were ever filed.

This whole incident actually happened almost 2 years ago. Radley Balco just wanted to point out that the officer who shot Mrs. Noel just received a Silver Star Medal of Honor for his work in the raid in which Mrs. Noel was killed. Oh, and by the way, this medal was given out several weeks after a federal civil rights suit was filed by Mrs. Noel's family.

Anyone out there want to point out to me why this is a good way to deal with the problem of drug abuse?


Blogger A Fan For All Seasons said...

It's ridiculous what happened to Mrs. Noel, but her death wasn't the fault of the war on drugs, it was the fault of the SWAT member. I don't know all of the details, but, from what I've read the SWAT member shouldn't have shot. I believe it's protocol to at least warn the person holding the gun first and give them a chance to drop it, not shoot first, ask questions later. As for the war on drugs, if a SWAT team has a legally obtained warrant, than I have no problem with a no-knock raid. The reason is, not every raid ends up like this, and not every raid is on a seemingly innocent person. There are times when force is needed and the element of surprise is necessary.

As for the reasoning behind this particular raid, once again, I don't have many details, but I hope that some surveillance was done ahead of time and that this was done with more evidence. If not, than there's a problem, but it's more of a procedural problem.

By the way, just because the woman was respected in the community doesn't mean she couldn't have been dealing/growing drugs. A lot of people may seem innocent on the outside, and end up being sick (Mark Foley, select Catholic priests). It's a sad story, and sometimes mistakes are made. Don't blame the war itself, blame the procedures and the people making hasty decisions.

1:25 AM  
Blogger QU 3L said...

"As for the war on drugs, if a SWAT team has a legally obtained warrant, than I have no problem with a no-knock raid."

How about no knock raids for other non-violent offenses- white collar crime and regulatory violations? I understand the logic behind no knock raids- you don't want criminals to get rid of the evidence after they here a knock that the police are there. But think about it- if you can get rid of all the drugs you have in under a minute, how much of a danger are you?

I could cite literally hundreds of cases to you in which innocent people or non violent offenders were hurt or killed in these sorts of raids.

Personally, I'd rather not blame the cops who are in these situations (even though some of them may well be very gung ho). In the heat of the moment, with passions running high and only seconds to react, it's easy to make mistakes.

There have been cases where cops have been shot in these sorts of raids based on mistaken warrants- why? because, when your house is stormed in the middle of the night, you may or may not hear the police announcing themselves over the sound of your front door exploding- and you may choose to protect yourself and your family from what you think is a home invasion.

Obviously you know my point of view about drugs, but you can be in opposed to drug legalization and still favor a reducation in the use of paramilitary tactics in the war on drugs. If this was an isolated incident that would be one thing, but it's not. As I said, there are literally hundreds of similar cases like this. The question is, how many innocent victims is too many before we decide these tactics are not worth it.

8:11 AM  
Blogger A Fan For All Seasons said...

Cite the 100 cases that are exactly like this.

No-knock raids aren't just done so dealers can't hide the evidence, they're done so potentially dangerous people can't arm themselves and so they can't escape.

As I said, don't blame the tactics, blame the process leading toward the tactics. If these raids are taking place with little or no surveillance, than there's a problem. These tactics are necessary because they work.

12:55 PM  

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