Monday, April 23, 2007

Gun Control and SWAT Teams

Reason Magazine has a post which references an article from Alexander Cockburn entitled "How to Stop the Next Campus Shooting: Bring Back the Posse." Reason has done a good job summarizing it:

Five years ago Peter Odighizuwa a 43 years old Nigerian student killed three faculty members at Appalachian Law School Dean with a semi-automatic handgun, but before he could wreak further carnage two students fetched weapons from their cars, challenged the murderer with guns levelled ,and disarmed him.

When the mass murder session began in the engineering building the police cowered behind their cruisers till Cho Seung-Hui finished off the last batch of his 32 victims, then killed himself. Then the police bravely rushed in, started sticking their guns in the faces of the traumatized students, screaming at them to freeze or be shot. Similar timidity was on display in Columbine....


The Virginia Tech terrible massacre should prompt a radical review of the utility of SWAT teams which now infest almost every community in America. Each time there's a hostage taking or a mass murderer on the rampage, one sees the same familiar sight: overweight SWAT men, doubled up under the weight of their costly artillery, lumbering along in their body armor and then hiding behind trees or cars or walls while the killer goes about his business. SWAT teams perform most efficiently when shooting down unarmed street people menacing them with cellphones.

The answer is to disband SWAT teams and kindred military units, and return to the idea of voluntary posses or militias: a speedy assembly of citizen volunteers with their own weapons. Such a body at Columbine or Virginia Tech might have saved many lifes. In other words: make the Second Amendment live up to its promise.


The left complain about SWAT teams, but doesn't see that the progressives bear a lot of responsibility for their rise. If you confer the task of social invigilation and protection to professional janissaries--cops -- and deny the right of self and social protection to ordinary citizens, you end up with crews of over-armed thugs running amok under official license, terrorizing the disarmed citizens.
For the full, awful story of what SWAT teams have meant to U.S. justice, consult the expert: our own Radley Balko and his authoritative study.


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