Skip to comments.Sue Them Blind
Posted on 09/10/2001 6:10:42 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
The American Constitutionalist
By: Aaron Armitage
Sue Them Blind
In Santa Clara, California, a standoff and gunfight between the AFT and other law enforcement and former police officer James Beck over weapons charges ended with a fire that destroyed the house Beck was in and killed him. Terry Cerino, who lived across the street from him, was evacuated. She said, "They said he had high-powered rifles and ammunition that would penetrate the walls of our home and they didn't want anyone hurt."
Meanwhile, another resident commented on his own participation in the events. "I hollered out the window, 'You're shooting at the wrong house!' They must have heard us or something, because I could hear one of the deputies say, 'Is it the house with the Explorer?' And another guy says, 'No, the one next to it.'" The houses on both sides were riddled with bullet holes from the police, not from Beck. One of those houses had a newborn a little over a day old.
The father said, "Three bullets came through the (front) window, the master closets and into the master bathroom. It was very traumatic. My wife wasn't coping with it. I was trying to comfort her with the newborn child."
Litigation is overused in our society, but in this case, the neighbors ought to sue both the ATF and the individual officers who fired into their houses for all they can get. An ordinary citizen firing randomly into a house would face serious consequences, and the police should not be exempt. If anything, such negligence on the part of the police should be punished more harshly in order to show the public just how important it is to avoid misusing firearms. Their actions show gross negligence and reckless disregard for the lives that might be in the paths of the bullets they fire, and these wannabe wild west gunslingers may well be guilty of the one fatality police suffered. It's still an open question whether he was shot by Beck or "friendly fire".
Unless what we've been told is total BS, Beck was not a nice guy. No degree of not niceness could mitigate what the police did. If he had been a child molester who'd just gotten back from killing and cannibalizing nuns, the officers who fired into the other house would still have been fools who recklessly and needless endangered the life of a little baby. The people handling the guns are responsible for what those guns do, and the ones holding the guns that fired into neighboring houses should be held liable for their actions.
The problem here is a subset of the problems created by militarizing American police. SWAT teams and other ninja suited paramilitary law enforcement are unfit for a free society. They're thugs, and they strongly resemble the kind of police tyrannical governments have. That's reason enough not to have them. In all honesty, though, comparing them to, say, Nazi stormtroopers or Gestapo agents in grossly unfair. They aren't that good.
We haven't even gotten the pottage we were promised for giving up our birthright. Shooting up the wrong house isn't the only example of their worthlessness. In the school shooting in Littleton, Colorado, the SWAT team cowered outside while the shooters made their way through the school unopposed, and while a teacher bled to death. In Lubbock, Texas, there was a recent raid which resulted in a dead officer. The victim of the raid was charged with murder, until it was shown that the bullet was fired by another officer.
It's time for them to face some consequences for the results of their bumbling little-boy machismo. Ideally the officers who shot the next door houses should be fired and prosecuted, but we can't trust that will happen. The only realistic option for getting something resembling justice is a lawsuit against them by the homeowners whose property was damaged and lives were endangered. Far too many government agents have escaped any serious repercussions for reckless or abusive conduct, and the victims here owe it to themselves and us to make them have some repercussions.
If his parents do things right, that little baby's college education is paid for.
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