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The Thin Yellow Line that Protects Us

by Carl F. Worden

I dedicate this article to the late Ashley Villarreal of Houston, TX, who was just taken off life support after trigger-happy plain-clothed federal drug agents shot her in the head. She was only 14 years old, and probably thought the idiots chasing her were trying to attack and rape her. She was not the suspect they were looking for.

With the increased use of "dynamic entry" for even the most ordinary, nonviolent white collar crimes, it occurs to me we are not witnessing an increase in Nazi-type police operations as much as we are a dramatic increase in cowardice among our police officers and their leaders. A job in law enforcement always came with a known and accepted risk, and those who tended to gravitate toward law enforcement jobs more often than not, reveled in that risk. These were real men and women who took crime head on. They placed themselves between us and the bad guys, and we all looked up to them as heroes when we were children. Weconsidered each officer to be an upstanding, participating member of the community. Some of us even dreamed of growingup to be just like the people portrayed in the television series The FBI. Of course, that was before the FBI murdered Vickie Weaver and incinerated the congregation at the church in Waco.

Now cut to the present day...

Police officers today are quite different from those I knew when I was growing up. The emphasis is more on college degrees today and less on traditional, face-to-face law enforcement.

One major difference is that these new police officers want the job and the benefits, but they don't want to accept the risktraditional police officers did. The risk is still there, but they have shifted that risk over to the population they have sworn to protect.Here are a few examples:

In the days of yore, cops would develop a case against a known suspect, wait for the right moment when he was vulnerable, and then arrest him. It usually only took two cops to do the job. Nowadays, cops will obtain a no-knock search warrant based on nothing more than an anonymous tip from an anonymous source. (And the judges who issue those search warrants on such flimsy evidence have a lot of explaining to do.) Anyway, rather than develop any kind of hard evidence against the criminal beforehand, they use the no-knock search itself to make or break their case. It's a fishing expedition.

The typical scenario involves up to twenty police officers dressed in black paramilitary combat gear who break down your door at around 3 AM, drag you and your loved ones out of bed screaming in terror, handcuff you and stick a fully automatic MP-5 submachine gun in your face.

You get to lay there naked, or nearly so, while these police officers search (destroy) your premises looking for the evidence they didn't bother to develop before this eventful morning.

There is a rule to estimate how long you're going to be left terrified on the floor like this: If you're clean, you're going to be on the floor for a very long time, because the cop who obtained that baseless no-knock warrant is feeling a lot of heat, and he's going to tear your house to shreds looking for any evidence of any crime whatsoever to make him look better. If they find evidence of criminal activity involving a completely different kind of trespass, they simply leave you hog-tied on the floor while they obtain a search ! warrant to look for what they've already found. The cop is not going to be the loser, even if he did make a mistake: You are.

In another scenario, you hear them breaking down your door, you grab your weapon in self-defense as they burst into your bedroom and ... oops, you're dead!

Or worse, you're up taking a leak when you realize something is going on outside. You grab your semi-auto AR-15 with its 30-round clip and head downstairs to find out what's going on. As you approach the door, it is kicked in and you open fire,killing two police officers and seriously wounding two more before the others retreat to safety.

Like the Branch Davidians, you allow the cops to drag their dead and wounded away while they, unbeknownst to you, plot how they are going to make you look like Charlie Manson to the whole world just before they get around to killing you. And make no mistake about it, killing you is the immediate goal in a case like this, and if you're innocent of any wrongdoing, killing you becomes even more expedient.

But what led to all this? It is cowardice, ladies and gentlemen; pure unadulterated cowardice on the part of our "new" police generation. Let's face it, what kind of real, manly courage does it take to join 19 other heavily armed men to break into a soft target like the average house or apartment and subdue the sleeping residents?

You see, the police have changed department policy of days gone by to virtually exclude the normal risk that comes with the territory of police work. The intended consequence of that policy change has been to shift all the risk to the criminal, which is an acceptable motive. However, with the relaxed standards for obtaining no-knock search warrants based upon pure hearsay, and when you combine simple human error with a no-knock attack, that risk has also been transferred to innocent, law-abiding citizens, and that is not acceptable.

We pay our police officers to take risk, and they are expected to accept that risk while protecting us against the criminal element in our society. But that's not happening.

Look back at the 1993 Los Angeles riots for a moment. Here you had an entire police department that refused to enter certain hot areas of L.A. for reasons of personal safety, knowing there were law-abiding citizens trapped in those areas immediately subject to serious injury or death!

Is that acceptable to you? I'll tell you something. If I were the mayor of that city, I'd have fired every one of those gutless, yellow-bellied cowards as fast as I could replace them. Oh sure, they're real tough looking when you see them grouped up in their battle gear, or when they're deliberately intimidating you, knowing that you are unarmed and completely defenseless against them. That doesn't take courage or bravery, and it doesn't say much about their manhood either.

The NRA had it all wrong: These aren't jackbooted, government thugs, these are just everyday cowards with a strong yellow streak down their backs that shows every time they run into someone with the guts to hit back.

Take another look at Waco, The Rules of Engagement, and watch how those BATF agents went slinking back down the road with their tails between their legs after they'd been shot up and repelled from the premises. Look at their demeanor: The second someone fired back with any kind of effect, those agents lost their stomachs and their will to fight, just like any schoolyard bully does.

So let's not call them Jackbooted government thugs anymore, because they take too much pride in that. Let's call them what they really are: Yellow-Bellied Cowards with no stomach for a fair fight. These are fearful -- little fractions of men -- who are willing to place the lives of innocent, law-abiding citizens at risk in return for a modicum of their own safety. My heroes!

2002 SierraTimes.com (unless otherwise noted)

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