May 17, 2011

'Why Did Police Kill My Dad?'

Jose Guerena was a 26-year-old Marine veteran with two tours of duty under his belt, but he wasn't killed in battle in Iraq. He was murdered while heroically defending his own home and family from armed intruders looking for drugs.

But here's the catch: the men who burst into the house without warning and fired 71 shots weren't part of a gang. They were an Arizona SWAT team.

Just days before the Indiana Supreme Court would rule to deny citizens their Fourth Amendment right to resist unlawful entry of their homes, overturning common law dating back to the Magna Carta, in another part of the country the Pima County, Arizona sheriff's office sent its heavily armed deputies to invade homes unannounced to search for evidence of drugs.

Despite no criminal records or history of drug use, the Guerena family was one of those targeted. After hiding his wife and young child in a closet, Jose bravely grabbed his rifle and prepared to protect them against who he rightly thought were criminal invaders. Seconds later he was dying. The police initially defended themselves with propaganda claiming that Guerena opened fire on them, but it was later revealed that he did not shoot and even had his safety on when he was shot. His injuries may have been survivable, had the SWAT team not then prevented paramedics from reaching him for over an hour.

Now, thanks to an increasingly out of control "war on drugs", a blatant disregard for civil rights, and a trend of government-issued violence that has gone on far too long, a young boy is left with the question "Why Did Police Kill My Dad?"

We should not take this as an unfortunate but isolated event. This kind of senseless violence has claimed tens of thousands of lives in Mexico in recent years, and now it is spreading to this side of the border. This is the kind of authoritarian terrorism that we have to look forward to unless we reign in our emerging police state.

Update: Another example, this time the victim was a 14-year-old boy.

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