Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 50

There is really no reason to treat MMR #50 any different from any other. I do find it curious, however, that coincident with fifty of these entries, the news provides the “perfect storm” for outrage. No, I am not upset with the global warmers, apostates, rude drivers, the UN, fat people, drunks or even presidential candidates today. I shall just let you see for yourself and see if you agree.

Here is an article from the Baltimore Sun that I will guarantee to get your blood boiling.

You must click on this link to get the background story, pictures of the couple (with their dogs) and other details. The fact you read this blog means you have some internet savvy. You will be shocked when you see the number of comments. As I write the total is 3,450 and I would guess it will be even greater by the time you check it out. No one has ignored this story even though it is in competition with falling fuel prices, Chinese Olympics, and John Edwards’s peccadilloes. Every major blogger has devoted space and comment to it and nearly all share the same disgust as your host.

As an update to the story I would point out that apologies (lame ones I’ll admit) have been forthcoming from some of the authorities responsible for this atrocity.

I hardly know where to start because this is wrong, wrong, and wrong at so many levels. First off, this is a result of our unsuccessful and useless “war on drugs.” Apparently we do not have the capacity to learn anything from our history. One need only return to the days and results of Prohibition of alcohol to see how useless these efforts are. Repeal finally came about after the turf wars for illegal alcohol resulted in an historic bloodbath. Once repeal occurred, the market for the illegal hooch disappeared and the gang wars stopped. As a recovering alcoholic I have spent a ton of time counseling other sufferers and fully understand the futility of attacking the liquor and not the spiritual failures of the individuals involved. Today I am not convinced that people steal to supply their drinking anymore than they do to replenish their refrigerator. Yes, I know that drunk drivers are a threat to innocent people but I also know that cell phone users, hair combers, newspaper readers, lunch eaters and just plain inattentive fools are an equal threat. Remember, I have spent years of my life as a professional driver (Greyhound etc.) and although I haven’t seen it all, I have come dangerously close.

The elaborate operation outlined in the newspaper article will show the ridiculous lengths that law enforcement has gone to mount a “sting” over a questionable amount (30 lbs.) of marijuana. To devote that level of resources on that type of evidence is just plain crazy. To not have the wit to investigate the subject of the raid in advance is yet more evidence that they have not done their homework. Mayor Calvo walked the dogs immediately prior to SWAT team attack and would have been easily available to the observers seated in the cars surrounding the property.

At the offset, the police claimed that they had a “no-knock” warrant signed off by a judge. That assertion is a patent lie! There is no evidence of any such warrant. The possibility still exists that they may find some crooked judge to falsify the record after the fact but that would become dicey for all concerned.

The center of the outrage currently centers on the murder of Mayor Calvo’s two pet Labrador Retrievers. I have owned two different labs over the last fifteen years and been friends with folks who have owned countless others. I have never owned a cat who was not more dangerous to be around than those dogs. If you need protection for your property get a Rottweiler, a German Shepard, or a miniature bull terrier. Those breeds will happily chew the leg off any intruder. The clearest danger from a lab is that he will “lick” you to death. Calvo’s dog, Chase, was shot while fleeing the scene. This is indeed a black chapter in the annals of police work.

Some people have allergies to dogs. Others have had a bad experience in childhood with one dog or another. Barring that, I seriously mistrust anyone who can not cope with the kindest, most loving breed of dog known to man. Thank Almighty God that the Calvos had no children available to be murdered at the same time. I truly believe that his mother-in-law was lucky to get away alive. It was bad enough that this terror stricken woman was forced to lie upon the floor hand cuffed behind her back next to the corpse of the slain pet for an hour and a half.

For those unfamiliar with Prince George’s county in Maryland, it abuts the District of Columbia and carries about the same demographic as the District. How Mayor Calvo manages to keep his position in a district which is 80% black is remarkable. His politics obviously transcend race in Berwyn Heights. If you have any curiosity about the chief law enforcement officer in the county and his department, I suggest you take a look for yourself. He has enough officers to man a regiment.

After the “drug war”, murdered dogs, and the sting gone wrong, there are two other issues which bear an airing.

I have carefully watched SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) squads come into common usage by police forces nationwide over the last few years. Prompted by increased fire power in the hands of criminals, these agencies felt the need to upgrade their response. Like too many good ideas, the end result has been all too frequent overkill. They have obviously copied the military in armaments and safety equipment but ignored that which keeps the service men from rampages such as this – discipline. It is insufficient to simply hand out automatic weapons and Kevlar without adequate screening, training, and supervision to do the job. As I recall my service training it was 16 weeks of 18 hour days in the use of gear and tactics before I ever left for an advanced training assignment. After the first 8 weeks, we finally got a day off to go to town – if we were consistent with the training cycle that is. The military found this a very serious business. There was no toleration of “macho” attitude allowed.

Of course, we had a capable and experienced officer and non-com corps to guide our every step. While it was unpleasant at the time, I found it, as did nearly every other man in the unit, necessary and beneficial in my future military life. Those who could not tolerate it were sent back to momma. I have watched these SWAT units on TV and often wondered how any one of them could handle the physical stress of our training. Fifteen miles with a fifty pound pack and a nine pound rifle is guaranteed to knock the “macho” right out of you. We were not allowed to blow off steam by killing harmless dogs and handcuffing old ladies.

The last issue I choose to deal with is the racial angle. Many complaints have been offered to suggest that if Mayor Calvo had not been a squeaky clean white guy, this would never have had any press. Unfortunately, that is probably true. Shame on us! To view any citizen as anything more or less than just another American is reprehensible. People in our history have given their all to preserve the rights of every citizen to be treated with dignity and respect. If this issue brings to light the problems with this type of bogus police work then we should all cheer. No segment of our society should be subjected to such indignities without the constitution’s guarantees of equal rights for every person regardless of birth, color, background or what have you.

It would appear that we have learned very little since Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the old grandmother in Detroit who was shot to death. Until we rid ourselves of the notion of no accountability protection, police agencies, judges and prosecutors will continue to run roughshod over the citizens and the unfortunate outcome will be the same.

Normally writing this down would tend to alleviate some of my distress. I’m just as upset now as I was when I started.. I plan to stay this way until I see some justice.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

No comments: