I remember watching the footage the ATF took of their initial military assault on the Branch Davidians. I noted the abundance of military style black nylon commando gear, automatic weapons and bullet proof vests in this “show for dough”. Remember that the ATF were due to go before a Senate Appropriations hearing for more funding and needed something “spicy and spectacular” to encourage the Senate to give even more money to this already un-Constitutionally operated agency.
I remember watching the raid proceed even though the entire operation had been totally compromised and everyone in the chain of command knew it. I understood why they pushed ahead despite this, it’s a simple and fatal error that most poorly trained military officers make, the assumption that you can bull your way through by force of arms.
I remember watching as these thugs, sociopaths with a gun and a badge, crouched in fear behind whatever cover was available as they blazed away indiscriminately at a building full of men, women and children. I thought how sadly it looked like a military assault and not at all like an arrest. I remember seeing the ATF goons firing heavily into the building despite the absence of return fire.
I remember specifically one of the more sadistic of the bunch who had been assigned to assassinate the dogs secured inside their kennels. Shooting fish in a barrel would have been more sporting, especially since some of the dogs were just puppies. I was enraged and sickened as I saw a smile creep across his face when the last whimpering puppy was exterminated.
I have a confession to make, as a professional soldier, I don’t like SWAT teams. I don’t like the concept of SWAT teams, I don’t like the way SWAT teams are deployed and, having met and trained many SWAT team members, I don’t like very many of the “men” in the SWAT teams either. Nothing personal you understand, I just have a low tolerance for cowards who brutalize and terrorize people and pretend that it makes them some sort of hero. While I realize that there are some exceptions to this (you know who you are), by and large SWAT teams are populated with authoritarian cowards, sociopaths, thugs, goons and other human refuse.
SWAT teams were conceived by the despotic LAPD police chief Darryl Gates in the 60’s as a response to the increasing firepower being used by certain criminals, specifically drug dealers. Darryl Gates is the epitomy of the SWAT mentality, he refused to deploy the LAPD early in the Rodney King riots when it could have stopped the catastrophe. SWAT teams only like to “play” when they are assured of an easy victory. When was the last time you ever heard of the SWAT teams taking on the Hells Angels? Usually we read about them taking out some innocent and elderly citizen instead.
SWAT teams are deployed to kill and destroy which is not the mission of the police department.
Take for instance, the now infamous ‘no-knock’ raid wherein the SWAT team kicks in the door of a suspect (remember, we are all innocent until proven guilty) and rushes in with full automatic weapons ready to blast anyone into eternity should they make a ‘furtive’ gesture, such as normal and especially innocent people make when their door is kicked in. Suspects (remember, we are all innocent until proven guilty) are beaten or manhandled roughly, their house is ransacked and should the family pet make a ‘furtive gesture’ such as they tend to do when strangers are threatening their beloved masters, they are blasted into eternity as well. None of this resembles what a police arrest of an innocent until proven guilty suspect should.
By putting SWAT teams into these sorts of arrest situations, a conflict is almost sure to unfold with disastrous effects. SWAT teams usually deploy with tremendous odds ensuring the success and safety of the officers involved but also creating a climate of fear, intimidation, hostility and danger for the innocent until proven guilty suspects. Too often, the SWAT team instead becomes judge, jury and executioner. Even if the suspects survive the ordeal, they are treated as though guilty and rendered with a form of de-facto punishment before the trial.
SWAT teams give a military solution to public servants.
Before the advent of SWAT teams police officers had to use other tactics to deal with felons and suspects, and to make arrests. If the un-Constitutional ATF did not have a SWAT team, they would have had to use some imagination instead of an overdose of brutality. If the FBI were limited to investigation as they are by the Constitution, not only would there be no FBI “Hostage Rescue Team” (assassins), forcing them to use the local Sheriff to arrest David Koresh.
Vicki Weaver would probably be alive today instead of being assassinated by the coward Lon Horiuchi, an FBI sniper during a botched raid. Perhaps if there were no SWAT solution, the ATF would not be engaged in continuous entrapment arrests. Better yet, if we did away with the entire ATF (putting some of them in prison for entrapment and other felonies), perhaps Randy Weaver’s entire family would still be living in the boondocks. Instead, as a “punishment” to the ATF and FBI for murdering his wife and son, the taxpayers coughed up several million dollars and the Federal agents involved wouldn’t have gotten undeserved promotions instead of prison sentences.
SWAT Teams attract the wrong types of officers.
While a few SWAT teams no doubt are run professionally and eschew “overkill” in their deployment, the very nature of a militarized police force is to engage in military operations. The goal of the military is to kill and destroy, something that is in direct contradiction to the stated mission of the police department “to protect and serve”. Because of this, SWAT teams tend to attract police officers who are tired of protecting and serving and want to kick some tail or as I saw chillingly on the T-shirt of one SWAT officer “Somebody’s gonna die”. And I thought “kill them all, let God sort out the mess” was cold blooded.
SWAT teams are usually seen as the elite, the pinnacle of being a super cop and as such attract the gung ho types whose enthusiasm usually exceeds their already limited understanding of the law. Couple this with the fact that most police recruits are no longer taught their job is to serve and protect but to ‘enforce laws’ and you have a super gung ho authoritarian army with literally the power to kill and destroy whenever deployed.
SWAT teams also get military training and afford the sociopaths who apply the opportunity to pretend they are warriors which they are not. Warriors fight other warriors, cowards and thugs attack civilians. SWAT teams afford the cowardly or unqualified the opportunity to live out their Walter Mitty fantasies of military conquest, glory and heroism; all without having to take significant risks or suffer the personal hardship involved with being a real soldier.
On this anniversary of the tragic massacre by cowards, thugs and sociopaths of the FBI, let us all remember that this entire event could have been avoided. Let us never forget that we must continue to have as one of our goals under the reformation of our Constitutional Republic the dissolution of the ATF, restricting the FBI to investigations only and to ensuring that those responsible for the tragedy at Waco are tried and imprisoned for mass murder. http://www.prisonplanet.com/analysis_lorentz_041803_soldiers.html