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Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Jared Loughner Problem Remedies exist short of locking up troubled people based on their personalities.

January 12, 2011
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, when he wasn't blaming Rush Limbaugh, let slip that Jared Loughner had been investigated for death threats before last weekend's shooting. Campus police at Pima Community College had been called five times in response to his disturbing behavior. Two officers had been sent to his house to relay to his parents that he wouldn't be allowed back in school until he had received a mental evaluation declaring he wasn't a danger to himself or others.

Now this is strange: If officials were concerned that Mr. Loughner was a danger to himself and others, how is expelling him a solution?

Nearly 50 years ago, Dallas was considered a hotbed of conservative (OK, right-wing) hostility to John Kennedy, a fact that didn't go unmentioned in coverage of the Kennedy assassination. The fact continued to be mentioned even after Oswald was found to be a Castro supporter and Marxist. The fact continues to be mentioned today despite a Warren Commission finding that a) Dallas featured many ardent political opponents of the president and b) this had nothing to do with Oswald's actions.

We'll leave it to the Sunday morning media to explain how an intolerable heightening of political rhetoric is behind last week's Tucson shootings. We're not aware of any systematic evidence that political feelings are hotter today than in the past. In any case, such accusations were lofted so quickly that evidence could not have been consulted. These were reflexive accusations, leveled at people with whom the speakers disagreed simply because an excuse presented itself. Click here to read more.
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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