Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Reality of Brazil

When you chose to live abroad- well, nearly anywhere outside of Europe maybe- you often hear fellow Americans say, "How could you live in such a place?" The implication is, of course, that in the United States we have certain protections to our civil rights that are recognized and respected by authorities. It is a proud notion based on a small degree of truth and a great deal of wishful thinking.

Submitted for your approval.  A Columbia, Missouri SWAT team serves a search warrant on an individual presumed to be a marijuana dealer.  Based on information from two confidential sources, law enforcement believed the man to be in possession of large amounts of the illegal substance. In fact, what the police found was a pipe with a small amount of pot- enough only for misdemeanor charges ( under 35 grams).  He was also charged with second degree child endangerment, which is highly ironic.

As this disturbing video demonstrates, the police unnecessarily used aggressive force to serve the warrant. After all, in the United States, in theory, suspects are presumed innocent until a judge or jury determines otherwise.  With a warrant in hand, the police could have easily entered the home without all the drama.  Better yet, the suspect could have been picked up outside the home and the house could have been search separately.  As you can clearly see, the family was given little time to answer the door and no time whatsoever to restrain their dogs.

And you know what? This event is merely one example.

According to  Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America, by Radley Balko a policy analyst specializing in civil liberties issues:

Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.

These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they're sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.

In using such  shock and awe intimidation tactics, the police created a situation that necessitated the shooting of two family pets and, more importantly, potentially put a  seven year old child's life at risk.  No matter how one might feel about the war of drugs, children do not need to be subjected to such treatment or witness such treatment to their father.

This is exactly how a domestic terrorist is created.

Here is the opening scene from the film "Brazil"


  1. I read somewhere that part of the goal of all the home raids in urban areas in the ME by US soldiers is to train them as police officers for when they come home.

    It's not entirely paranoid madness, IMHO. The regular infringement on people's civil rights for the drug war is nuts, and unfortunately the people it happens to either don't inspire a lot of public sympathy, or they lack the means or wherewithal to fight back. Now it's happening for the war on terror.

  2. Had a similar situation happen back home with a tragic ending, which so often happens. Look up Ryan Frederick.
    Liked the YouTube clip, ahead of its time!

  3. crystalwolfakacaligrlFebruary 3, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    Joe left you a comment on Politicalgates. Very good post. You hit the nail on the head. USA is becoming a very scary place to live.


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