In an ideal world, police de-escalate situations. They use their authority and firepower to prevent and stop violence, not create it. Which is why the militarization of America’s police is so dangerous to life and liberty. The arrival of a camo-clad SWAT team in a Lenco Bearcat at the scene of a domestic disturbance, for example, is not calculated to calm nerves and let cooler heads prevail. It’s designed to overwhelm and intimidate the “perpetrator” and “suspect.” You know: shock and awe. So what happens when the American citizen in question says “screw this I’m staying in my house”? I think you know where this is going, even if the Virginia SWAT team didn’t. Or did they? Check this out from policestateusa.com . . .
The situation began on August 29th around 2:40 p.m. when John Geer — a 46-year-old kitchen designer and installer — was told by his girlfriend that she had decided to leave him. The couple had two daughters together, ages 13 and 17. Emotionally distraught over the breakup, Geer exacerbated the situation by throwing her belongings onto the lawn of their townhouse.
This led to her calling the police. She informed the dispatcher that he owned a firearm. A SWAT team was sent to the quiet cul-du-sac.
Geer’s home was surrounded by armored vehicles and uniformed personnel. A police sniper was photographed lying prone in a neighbor’s yard aiming toward Geer’s residence. Men in helmets and military fatigues cordoned off the neighborhood. Police began making their demands. An armored truck a topside gun turret parked in his yard and prepared for a strike command. As time went on, helicopters whirred overhead and K-9 units were seen by neighbors.
“We’re just here to help you — come out with your hands up,” recounted neighbor Edith Eshleman, of the police negotiations.
What was it Ronald “Let’s Make the ATF a Federal Agency” Reagan said about the scariest words in the English language? “We’re from the government and we’re here to drive a tank through your front door and cap you ass.” Or something like that.
Around 4:30 p.m., with Geer sill “barricaded” inside his home, police used their $250,000 armored Lenco Bearcat to drive a long battering ram through the front door. SWAT team members made entry and ultimately found Geer deceased in his home.
Don Geer — the victim’s father — watched the scene unfold from the front lawn of the townhouse where officers positioned themselves with their guns trained on his son. He confirmed that his son’s hands remained empty and resting on top of a screen door throughout the confrontation with police. When John lowered his hands about six inches, according to Don Geer, one of the officers fired a shot and hit John, causing him to retreat.
Police did not immediately say whether John Geer was armed or why the officer decided to open fire, nor would they discuss the details of the conversation between the officers and Geer before the shooting. Geer’s father says that he was too far away to hear the conversation, but claims that a detective assigned to investigate the case told him that his son that his son was not holding a gun at the time of the shooting and that he did not have one on his person.
Aside from schadenfreude this incident has Newtonian (not Newtownian) implications. For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Every time the police came down on the populace like the hammer of God members of the populace think the police represent the forces of fascism—and not for no reason. I believe the term currently in vogue is “radicalization.”
Catch the irony? Up-armored in the name of countering terrorism, militarized police may be creating/encouraging proto-terrorists. If these disaffected Americans act, the police come down even harder, which creates more call for more militarization, which limits liberty and puts us all at risk.
In short, we need to defund these police militarization programs pronto. And incidents like this need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And the law changed to create genuine accountability. Good luck with that. [h/t Gunracer1958]