Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Where Does Police Militarization Stop?

As you probably know by now, the Dallas cops used a robot carrying a bomb to kill an armed suspect.

I find this to be objectionable on a number of different levels.

First off, by the accounts that I've read, the suspect was contained. He wasn't going anywhere. Using a bomb-laden robot to end the standoff was lazy-ass police work, in the same way that the FBI burned 76 people to death in Waco in 1993. The Dallas police chief ordered a summary execution.

Second, where does it stop? If the suspect was barricaded and inaccessible to the robot, would the cops have evacuated the building and blown it up? Are artillery strikes now on the table? Nerve gas? is this how the po-po are going to handle standoffs in the future-- call in an airstrike? (Don't forget that they have done that before and it didn't work so well.) If a suspect is fleeing, will the cops rustle up a gunship and hose down the vehicle?

Third, you're going to find few "conservative" voices who are questioning any of this, other than maybe these two posts. Similarly, the number of "conservatives" who were disquieted by the MOVE bombing were similarly low. By no means is "conservative" disquiet anything like those expressed when an FBI sniper opened fire at Ruby Ridge.

And before you say that Waco and Ruby Ridge were different, allow me to point out that both incidents got rolling when Federal LEOs were killed.

So now we are in a place where a police chief can sit in his office and press a button to summarily execute a suspect, for personally pushing the button and ordering that the button be pushed makes no moral difference.

If you believe that the cops have the right to summarily execute people, then you should question your belief in freedom, liberty and the rule of law.


hans said...

Using the robot bomber wasn't a hurry-up ad hoc... the Dallas PD was prepared and had what they needed to do this on hand. How many other PDs also have this capability? Are they going to start using RPGs? Next time there's a high-speed (or an OJ Simpson slow-walk) chase is the cop chopper going to launch a Hellfire?

3383 said...

This robot was functionally a ground-based drone.
Killing a police officer, or even shooting at one, has historically been a hunting license on the (alleged) shooter.
I presume it is tolerated both to deter this behavior (like bad guys think about things first) and because Garner is reasonably satisfied by someone resisting arrest when that someone is suspected of already attacking police with deadly force.
The "hunting license" aspect can lead to counterproductive police action. The Santa Barbara deputies who assisted the CHP pursuers of a kidnapper- a pursuit initiated because of the suspect car's Amber Alert- opened fire, killing the probable only person who knows where Pearl Pinson is.

B said...

He had stated that he would kill more cops if they came to get him....and he claimed he had more bombs planted around him.

He also confessed to being the shooter.

Was it worth another cops life to get him? Or worth keeping the area blocked off for days while he starved or dehydrated?

Having said that, I agree with you. This is scary...cops being judge jury and executioner.

CenterPuke88 said...

1) IED's in the area. OK, frequency jammer and killing a couple of cell towers solves the command detonation issue. On timers, you can sweep most of the area clear of the suspects range of sight, and in doing so noisily, perhaps tempt him to poke his head out. Wired, you would hope they ruled that out almost immediately. Bomb vest, shoot him if he moves toward personnel, otherwise wait him out safely.

2) Threat to innocents. He was contained with no means to hurt innocents.

3) Thread to police. He was in a contained location, where he would have to expose himself to attack, no factor.

4) Knowledge of action. The robot in question has a camera. Move the robot ro view the suspect. It will take a few seconds minimum for the suspect to shoot out the camera, meanwhile, you have the scene on tape for review for intelligence. For that matter, it certainly looks like the suspect would have to be directly in front of the robot to stand a good chance of taking out the camera...directly in front of 4 barrels that can hold shotgun or similar rounds to disable a bomb mechanism...should disable a person too.

5) They jumped the gun using the explosive, IMHO.

Will said...

Waco WAS different. The ATF showed up with the INTENTION to violently assault the place. In the process of doing that, those 4 agents were obviously the victims of blue-on-blue fire, as viewed by the video of the action. If you wonder why no other agency will accept significant numbers of personnel transfers from the BATFE, watch those recordings. Congress tried to eliminate the dept by folding the agents into the other fed depts. They were told absolutely NO WAY would that happen. Can't dismiss them, so there they remained.

Bumper sticker from that time: "Is YOUR church ATF approved?"

IIRC, this is not the first time badge toters have blown up suspects. But, it's the first time in our high-tech news reporting era. Been at least a hundred years since they indulged in this sort of thing.

BadTux said...

Regarding the question "what other police departments have this capability?" -- most of them. This is a standard civilian bomb disposal robot similar to those owned by most medium and large city police departments as well as most state and federal police departments. The "bomb" is intended to blow up other bombs as part of the disposal process for bombs too dangerous to otherwise disable, it is not designed to kill people, but it turns out that it blows up people too. Who coulda figured that something that'll blow up a bomb will also blow up a person?!

Agreed on the summary execution thing. Yes, there was a (slight) risk that the dude would manage to shoot another police officer if he tried to leave cover. But he would have been promptly shot then too, and there would be a defense for doing so -- i.e., self defense against someone shooting at you. Just arbitrarily calling in a drone strike on a suspect who is not currently shooting at you -- for until a court decides his fate, he was a *suspect* -- is such a blatant disregard of due process that Thomas Jefferson is undoubtedly spinning in his grave right now...