Get PJ Media on your Apple

Roger’s Rules

SWAT Nation

April 25th, 2013 - 8:56 am

If the events in Boston elicit horror, if the left-wing response occasions disgust, there are other things that, I think, spark justifiable fear. The increasing militarization of the police in this country has provided grounds for concern for many years. Almost four years ago, Glenn Reynolds wrote an excellent piece on the subject for Popular Mechanics called “SWAT Overkill: The Danger of a Paramilitary Police Force.” More and more police forces, it seems, are like that wacko character on Hill Street Blues who liked nothing better than dressing up in combat gear and assaulting a local malefactor with bazookas.

The so-called “voluntary lock-down” in Watertown — a more appropriate phrase might be “martial law” — offered a chilling spectacle for anyone who cherishes his personal freedom. Remember the Fourth Amendment? That guaranteed that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” Yet in Watertown, platoons of heavily armed police in combat gear went from house to house, guns drawn, banging down doors, screaming at people to come out of their own houses with their hands on their head. There were “a lot of big guns pointed at us,” said one Watertown resident. Several news outlets  used the word “surreal” to describe this concentrated display of the coercive power of the state. What worries me is not that it is “surreal” but that it is, increasingly, all too real. And to what end? As Matthew Feeeney of Reason pointed out, Dzhokar Tsarnaev was caught after the lockdown was lifted and a homeowner stepped outside for a cigarette and noticed blood on his boat. The shock and awe show of intimidating police force might have made for dramatic TV, but it didn’t get the bad guy. An alert private citizen was the instrument of that coup.

But let me backtrack from fear to disgust for a moment. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has never met a freedom he didn’t wish to violate, has said that we need to change our interpretation of the Constitution in light of the the Boston terrorist attacks. I think we need to change our interpretation of the sorts of politicians we elect to safeguard our liberty. I recently wrote an introduction to a new edition of Richard Weaver’s classic Ideas Have Consequences. I began the essay with this epigraph from Weaver:

The past shows unvaryingly that when a people’s freedom disappears, it goes not with a bang, but in silence amid the comfort of being cared for. That is the dire peril in the present trend toward statism.  If freedom is not found accompanied by a willingness to resist, and to reject favors, rather than to give up what is intangible but precarious, it will not long be found at all.

The horrible events in Boston last week doubtless have many lessons for us. One of those lessons concerns the “willingness to resist” that Weaver talks about here. Do we, I wonder, still have it?

<- Prev  Page 3 of 3   View as Single Page

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
"For Ambinder, the real question is: “What is it about America that so alienates young men?”"

Wonder if he would accept any answers that contained the word feminism?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Roger: Excellent article as usual. Unfortunately, the topic of our "first responders" showing up in ever larger numbers, in ever heavier armor and combat gear, and seeming ready to suspend Constitutional Amendments at the drop of a hat, doesn't get talked about nearly enough. Two ugly, but modest-sized bombs went off in Boston. Within a short time we knew that we were not dealing with dozens, let alone hundreds, of terrorists. But we responded with over 9,000 of what certainly looked like troops. In military terms, that would be between two and three Brigades. They proceed to declare de facto martial law in a major city, and did their own fair share of terrifying innocent civilians. Where is all this headed?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The child imagined a monster in his closet, so he tried to hide under the bed, but he imagined a monster under the bed so he pulled the covers over his head and waited for someone to come rescue him.
The child grew into Modern America, and began wishing all the evil monsters away.
We are a Nation of immature thumb suckers.
Do we the American public seriously believe no one knew these punks were no good? Seriously? Never showed any inclination towards violence or murder or jihad anytime in the previous year? 2 years, 10 years? Did anyone confront them? Are we afraid to call Evil, Evil?
Can we stop being kind and respectful to the idiots that simply excuse away this behavior with nonsense like they 'don't have a belief system' and 'you shouldn't label whole groups'. Who is condemning all Muslims? Who? The Quisling Left that's who. I haven't heard any on the right says All Muslims are terrorists. I've only heard that from the Left when they lie and miss-characterize and entire group like the Right.
Can we please stop with the nonsense and begin calling a spade a spade, or is that racist?
These 2 brothers were lying murdering Islamic radical maniacs and deserve death. It is our national Shame that Nidal Hassan is still sucking air and eating food. He should have been worm food long ago. What are we trying him for again? Oh yea. Hundreds of people saw his shoot and kill 13 and wound many more. Is there any doubt he's guilty? NO. The Airplane Under ware bomber should have been stomped into the grimy carpet on the floor of the airplane he tried to blow up.
Now. Did I say anything to offend a Muslim? No I did not. If a Muslim is offended then 'EXCUSE ME!".
Now I feel better. The rest of you try it and maybe we can banish this PC crap forever.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (67)
All Comments   (67)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Have to disagree in a big way with "fear". Sure, it probably took longer to catch the guy because of the lock-down, which lessened the chances of a citizen spotting him, but it also left fewer people in his path, and hence, on the whole, probably significantly lessened the chances of further carnage.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What sickness pervades the minds of people like David Sirota? I expect that next they will somehow be faulting America and Americans, for Adam Lanza, and somehow finding justification for his atrocity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You are not the only one that found the reaction of the State and afterwards that of the people of Mass/Boston to be puzzling if not downright embarrassing.

A thousand heavily armed forces eventually find and stop two teenage idiots and afterwards they cannot stop congratulating themselves, tearing up at the microphones and parading out at sporting events in front of adoring throngs of citizens. Were we that afraid or have we just become a nation of drama queens?

Meanwhile dozens of families have to deal with shattered lives while the MSM apologizes for the forces of evil that drove these cold hearted bastards to do what they did. We needed to quietly and efficiently take these guys out and then look to the rest of the world and shake our fists in steely resolve that this is not going to happen anymore. And let everyone know that if it continues to happen, then those responsible for it and for aiding and abetting those who do it are going to pay a terrible price. And furthermore that those who share religious roots with such people who stand by and let it happen, who do not condemn it and who do not help us to root it out, will not be welcome in our world.

This, at a minimum, we owe to the family of Martin Richard and to all of the families whose lives were shattered by the marathon bombings. I try to imagine myself with a dead son, a maimed daughter and a brain injured wife watching the dancing in the streets, the crying mayors, the ACLU lawyers rushing to the bomber and the media psychoanalysts blaming America. It would be too much to bear.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It stinks, doesn't it?

All that needed to happen was for a few special forces guys to track down the Tsarnaev brothers and bring them to justice. Where was the FBI -- and how come it didn't question Tamerlan Tsarnaev on his return from Russia? There are a lot of things about this case that don't pass the smell test -- just like Benghazi.

This seems to have been a flexinjg-their-muscles exercise by Obama and other leftard politicians to show U.S. citizens the strength of the state and, frankly, to intimidate them: Don't mess with us.

In essence, law-abiding citizens were terrorized not only by the Tsarnaev brothers but by their OWN law enforcement agencies WHOSE SALARIES THEY PAID. I wonder what the overtime, alone, cost the taxpayer?

My heart goes out to the true victims of this bombing -- the Martin family and all of the other families which will never be the same again. It's sickening that the gist of the lamestream media and Leftard politicians is "don't be too hard on the jihadists. They're a visible minority, they're not bad guys, and we really shouldn't jump to conclusions."

I think it's pretty clear to the families devastated by this bomb what happened. It's clear to me too. What the hell's wrong with Ozombie and his administration?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I will be so happy if I can comment again: Password problems, etc. This old Luddite has problems with all this computer lingo, passwords, registering, changing passwords, etc. It's been a drought for the past few months ...

Wonderful article by Roger Kimball. I'm appalled that the state called out thousands of law enforcement officers in order to apprehend two civilians and failed in their attempts. They killed one culprit -- no information will ever be forthcoming from him -- and failed to capture the other one. Why didn't they shoot out the younger Tsarnaev's tires?

Oh, right. The police ran out of bullets. Purely Mickey Mouse. But they sure showed the citizenry the power of the State.

I'm extremely uncomfortable with the whole way this episode has gone down. When I saw the Boston crowds cheering and partying in the streets after Dzhokar Tsarnaev was apprehended, I thought, what idiots. What are they cheering for? Their law enforcement officers failed big-time -- at what cost to the taxpayer? -- and the threat of jihad isn't over.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Testing
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sirota invoking the spectre of "white male privilege" in regards to the Brothers Tsarnaev is wrong. They were/are just as white and just as male as most white male Americans.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Great post. You mentioned Bloomberg. I wonder if he would agree to ban white wine and brie.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Boston bombed

Huge explosion at West, Texas fertilizer plant

UnSub exchanges fire with security guard at Watts Bar nuke power plant in TN and escapes by small boat

Fuel barges in Alabama explode

Oakland PD sweeps city in armored vehicles

There were only 2 terrorists ...YEAH RIGHT

Longbow 6 out


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Beautiful irony here. Police, guns on display, comb through a large portion of a major American city looking for a 19-year-old terrorist. The city is on lock-down, citizens confined to their homes until they are finally allowed to step outside. A man breaks P.C. protocol and retreats to his backyard to enjoy that frowned upon and forbidden pleasure, a cigarette, and finds the terrorist hiding inside his boat. Were it not for tobacco he may not have been caught. Take that irony, creators of the Politically Correct!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The man the brothers carjacked did much more to get them
caught and killed; The score stands at individual initiative 2
State overreaction 0, and a big negative to the State for not
prohibiting backpacks in the venue, and placing all those
extra trash cans there; good for business and bombers, bad
for the public.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I remember after 9/11 how all the leftists were howling that we were going to turn America into a living example of that movie "The Seige."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HLNawUg_3s

I suggest you watch the trailer for a refresher. Any of that look familiar. Of course, the leftists were all sure this would happen because we had a Republican Admin. Now, we are seeing this happen and play out in reality, and guess which ones are running this playbook? But, that shouldn't surprise anyone. A little study of the way Democrat admins handled things during WWI and WWII - It was suggested no one take Sunday drives to save fuel by the Wilson Admin. It was only a suggestion, but people would stop you and "strongly suggest" you return home if you were caught out driving on Sunday. And, of course, the infamous Internment Camps of FDR fame. - will show you that what we saw in Watertown? That's par for the course, and yes, we should be worried. DHS now has enough ammo piled up to arm every one of their agents with 1,000 more rounds than the average army soldier.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You obviously have no personal experiences of that which you speak to in terms of WWII and rationing. Those genrations wer united in patriotism and has NO problems with participating willing to the needs of a nation in a world war. Fuel was rationed by coupons. Rubber (tires primarily) rationed by coupon, many food items rationed by coupon.......... Tons of 'domestic' parts inventories severly diminished. Logistics for all kinds of goods for domestic consumption severly diminished. Nobody complained!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 Next View All