Tuesday, October 01, 2013

It's like funding...

...If you have it, you have to use it.

//The Dallas County Sheriff's Office gets an MRAP tactical military vehicle, used for counterinsurgency fighting in Iraq, as law enforcement becomes a collection of SWAT teams pursuing not-always-guilty Americans.

In early August, a SWAT team broke through the gates of a 3.5-acre farm in Arlington, Texas, that promotes a sustainable lifestyle and did a 10-hour search of the property. Residents were handcuffed and held at gunpoint as police looked for nonexistent marijuana plants and various city code violations.

As the owners watched, 10 tons of their private property was hauled off in trucks — dangerous items such as blackberry bushes, okra, tomatillo plants, native grasses and sunflowers that provided food and bedding for animals, everything from furniture to compost.

The city said the code citations were issued to the farm after complaints by neighbors "concerned that the conditions" at the farm "interfere with the useful enjoyment of their properties and are detrimental to property values and community appearance."
The SWAT raid came after "the Arlington Police Department received a number of complaints that the same property owner was cultivating marijuana plants on the premises," the city's statement said. So why not just knock on the door with a search warrant?

An Arlington spokeswoman said the raid was perfectly legal and appropriate. "The purpose was to improve the quality of life, to resolve safety issues within neighborhoods and to hold the property owner responsible for creating blight conditions on their property," she stated, not really explaining how this or even marijuana cultivation requires a SWAT team.

This is just one example of SWAT teams and SWAT-style tactics becoming the rule rather than the exception as police forces arm themselves with military gear. As such gear is used more frequently to carry out routine law-enforcement activities, Americans find themselves in increasingly dangerous and absurd situations.//

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