Gratia Christi, quod Sum, quod Vivo, quoque Laboro facit.
The grace of Christ makes what I am, what I live, what I do
Ruth read a recent Facebook post about a SWAT Team raid on the Garden of Eden. Neighborhood complaints of code enforcement and allegations of growing cannabis brought on the City of Arlington, Texas Swat Team raid. Note: no violence was reported. There was no indication that of child abuse, and no threat of the residents fleeing or disposing of evidence. The raid was surreptitious and without provocation. Helmeted, goggled, bullet-proof vested, combat booted and automatic weapon toting troopers descended and handcuffed everyone except a two week-old baby.
They found no marijuana, so there was no criminal offense. Yet they destroyed a sweet potato patch and confiscated okra, tomatillo, native grass and sunflower plants in their 10-hour terrorizing of the residents.
Had there been some exercise of common sense two or three code enforcement officers could have used the warrant to surveil the property to determine if there were violations of law. Upon finding none, they could have written a citation for code violations. This would have eliminated the terror imposed on the residents, the humiliation of being handcuffed, and the huge expense of the multi-officer SWAT Team.
This has exposed the proliferation of SWAT Teams around the nation. It appears that nearly every jurisdiction around the country, not only police units, but also bureaucratic agencies have justified huge increases in budgets to fund SWAT Teams. (If ya got’em, ya gotta use ‘em ta justify th’ expense.”) The result is that innocent people are raided and killed. The Cato Institute has published a white paper “Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America”. Along with it is an interactive map showing “Botched Paramilitary Police Raids” The map lists raids on an innocent suspects, deaths or injuries of a police officers, deaths of nonviolent offenders, deaths of innocent citizens, unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people, and other examples of paramilitary police excess. There are dozens of these raids each year. Twenty four innocent people have been killed by SWAT Team officers. Judges exonerate the officers who commit homicide.
In March 1992, police in Everett, Washington stormed the home of Robin Pratt on a no-knock warrant. They were looking for her husband (he was later released when the allegations in the warrant turned out to be false). Though police had a key to the apartment, they used a 50-pound battering ram to smash through the apartment’s sliding-glass door. Glass shards landed inches away from the couple’s six-year-old daughter and five-year-old niece. One officer encountered Robin Pratt on the way to her bedroom. Hearing other SWAT team members yell “Get down!” Pratt fell to her knees. She then raised her head to briefly say, “Please don’t hurt my children.” At that point, Deputy Anthony Aston fired his weapon, putting a bullet in her neck. He killed her without cause.
Officers next entered the bedroom, where Dep. Aston then put the tip of his MP-5 assault submachine gun against Larry Pratt’s head. When Pratt asked if he could move, another officer said that if he did, he’d have his head blown off. This sounds as it officer Ashton was a cold-hearted killer.
The implication is that if you offend your neighbor, you must live in fear that the SWAT Team will blow in your door, kill your dogs, threaten to kill and actually kill you or another family member. They did this on a botched raid resulting from a sting operation on an innocent Mayor of Berwyn Heights Maryland.
“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton.
Governments at all levels are taking their position too earnestly. They discount citizens. They have adopted the attitude that “We are right and we have the laws to prove it, as well as the courts to uphold the laws.” Government is out of control and innocent citizens are the victims. Consider the non-thinking mentality that protects the lives of law enforcement officers who are hired to place their lives at risk, while killing innocent civilians with impunity.
There is the case where Lord Action is wrong. That is in the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God and who does exercise absolute power. He has been given all authority in Heaven and on earth. He has ordered the world to benefit all people. If people will comply with His ways of living, they will prosper. When they do not, they suffer. There is no mistake, no botched operations in which innocents are hurt.
Jesus is a compassionate God who has built a fruitful world. He is a God who loves people. He is a wise and benevolent Dictator, who says, “My way is the best way. If you will follow it, you will be blessed. If you do not, you will experience the consequences.” His ways are not onerous, but they are contrary to selfish interests.
People in groups living in peace and harmony must live to bless others. God loves us sacrificially and has set up the world to work better if we live loving others sacrificially too. He has no need for police power because His laws are self-enforcing.
I realize I am contrasting a broken society to an ideal. Nevertheless this ideal is the model for us to re-form our society, our government and our culture.
People need to stand against government overreach. They need to not only question, but also take away budgets from agencies that needlessly have SWAT Teams. They need to call for and enforce with the vote the reduction of agencies that employ SWAT Teams. They are never necessary to attack citizens in non-violent situations.
Citizens need to call on enforcement agencies to consider the civilians innocent unless proven guilty. Officers need to be trained to accept danger to themselves in order to prevent police threat to those who are not threat to the police. I understand it is a risk to police officers. However, their job is to serve and protect the innocent.
The more we rely upon Jesus the less brutal force need be applied. The more police rely upon the protection of Almighty God the less they will need to use their firearms. The more they rely upon the wisdom of the Holy Spirit the less they will need to make those split-second decisions that may cost an innocent maiming or death.
Jesus has the power to control violent situations and to defuse them. All we have to do is look to Him for His way and He will help us preserve not only innocent lives, but also peace in our cities. Jesus has the wisdom to guide everyone who listens to Him. He knows if that incident will go wrong and unnecessary killing will occur. He will guide the officials in decision-making if they will listen.
Christ is our King who is also our Savior. Lean on Him, for He will take care of you, regardless of what your job is. Pray for His help in your personal and family life. Pray for our towns, cities, counties, states and nation that He will changes hearts so that official violence against citizens will diminish to the point of non-existence.