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SWAT Team Horror in the War on Drugs
date: 08-August-2008
source : MWC NEWS
editorial comment editorial comment
Nice scheme! Deliver random and picked up by accomplice. Surely, the mayor cannot complaint about such small collateral damages as the liefe of his dogs, in a case where his mother-in-law could have been shot....

This past week, Americans have had the opportunity to witness another glorious day in the life of the 35-year-old war on drugs.

A few minutes after the mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, Cheye Calvo, returned home from walking his two Labrador retrievers, Prince George’s County drug-war SWAT team bashed his door down and, with guns a’blazing shot both dogs and handcuffed the mayor in his boxing shorts as well his mother in law and forced them to lie next to one of the dead dogs.

The reason? Marijuana. Deliverymen had left a package of the substance on the front steps of Calvo’s house and when he returned from his walk, he picked up the package and took it into his house.

It turns out that the deliverymen were Prince George’s County law-enforcement agents working a sting. More important, it turns out that the package was part of scheme in which drugs are mailed to unknowing recipients and then intercepted. The mayor and his family had nothing to do with the package, which was unopened when the cops barged into the house.

One cannot help but feel bad for the mayor and his family, but, hey, he ought to be counting his lucky stars that it was only the dogs that were killed. People get killed in drug raids. Last November drug gendarmes shot and killed 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in a botched drug raid.

Unfortunately, despite his family’s horrific ordeal the mayor still doesn’t get it. He’s calling on the feds to investigate the matter. What good is that going to do? The cops had a judicially issued warrant to search the premises. Even though it wasn’t a no-knock warrant, does anyone really think matters would have been different if the cops had knocked and waited for someone to answer the door?

The fact is that the root of the problem is the drug war itself. In the absence of the drug war, cops wouldn’t be knocking down people’s doors, barging into their homes, terrorizing them and killing them and their pets, at least not under the pretense of finding drugs.

How long is it going to take Americans to finally come to the realization that there is one and only one solution to the drug war mess? That solution is simply to end the drug war by legalizing drugs. How many more killings must we endure? How many more drug raids? How much more state-inflicted terror? How many more collateral robberies, thefts, gang wars, murders, corruption, and burglaries?

What is the justification for continuing this immoral and destructive war? That it works? Give me a break. They’ve been waging it for 35 years. All they can point to is a bunch of drug busts, year after year?

In fact, that’s what Prince George’s County Police Department spokesman Sharon Taylor said in response to the raid on Calvo’s house: “We’ve done these kinds of operations over and over again, to the tune of removing billions of dollars of drugs from the community and without people or animals being harmed.”

Okay, but so what? What good has it done to remove all those drugs from the community? Weren’t they simply replaced with new supplies of drugs?

Most important, we need to take notice of the moral issues involved in the Calvo raid.

What was the purpose of the raid? To find a package of marijuana inside the mayor’s house and then to punish the mayor for possessing and using marijuana.

But why isn’t private drug consumption within the privacy of the mayor’s own home his personal business? Under what moral authority do government officials barge into a person’s home and punish him for ingesting drugs? Isn’t that the person’s business? Are state officials the mayor’s daddy? Why do government officials have the legal authority to send an adult to his room in a state or federal penitentiary for ingesting some non-approved substance? Doesn’t being an adult entail the right to make one’s own choices, even if self-destructive? Isn’t that what freedom is all about?

What Calvo and other Americans must finally realize is that what happened in the Calvo raid is simply part and parcel of the war on drugs. Exclaiming against these types of abuses while supporting the war on drugs is like praising lightning while exclaiming against thunder. As long as cops are given the authority to investigate and arrest people for drug offenses, there is going to be state violence, abuse, mistakes, terror, death, destruction, and corruption.

There is only one way to treat a weed — by pulling it out by its root. There is only one solution to the war on drugs — end it.

Jacob G. Hornberger

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