Dear Conservative,

You might not agree with this, but it has to be said. Our Constitutional rights are too important to just allow this to go unspoken…

Let me ask you a question: When was the last time you drove past your local police station? When you looked out your window, did you see any new hardware sitting in the station parking lot?

Chances are that your police station has been the recipient of some new military equipment courtesy of the Department of Defense.

You see, when Barack Obama ordered our military to leave Iraq before the mission was completed, the Pentagon was left with tonnage and tonnage of war fighting equipment that was no longer needed.

This military equipment – ranging from fully automatic weapons to armored personnel carriers – is already paid for, however the federal government doesn’t want to pay for its maintenance. So, the Pentagon has been giving it away to local police forces.

Billions and billions of dollars of equipment have been distributed to police departments since the late 1990s. But it isn’t just the police who are getting in on the party…

Los Angeles Unified School Police are one of at least twenty-two other school districts in eight different states that have received Iraq War equipment free-of-charge from the feds! This school got a free Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, multiple machine guns, and even some grenade launchers!

The school eventually realized the error of its ways and admitted that it would never really need to have grenade launchers in its arsenal. So, the grenade launchers are being returned to the Pentagon. However, the machine guns and armored ‘tank’ are going to stay because apparently, they’re necessary…

This has grown out of control! Tell Congress to STOP the militarization of American police!

The police in LA County kill one citizen every week, you see, so apparently it’s necessary for a local school to have this type of firepower…

Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t hate police officers. A lot of these men and women are just doing their jobs and doing everything they can to make sure they make it home to their families. Most police killings are justifiable homicides, meaning the officer was legally justified to defend him or herself with deadly force.

I don’t hate the police officers, but I do hate the system that allows police to roll up on unsuspecting civilians in the dead of night, carrying weapons designed for war, only to shoot-first and ask questions later…

I want to introduce you to the story of Marvin Louis Guy, a 50-year old man living in Killeen, Texas.

The local police suspected that Mr. Guy was a drug dealer. Actually, that makes him sound more dangerous than he actually is. Marvin Louis Guy was suspected to sell marijuana from time to time.

He isn’t a drug kingpin, just a 50-year old man trying to get by. The police believed that this alleged crime warranted what is known as a “no-knock” raid. This means that instead of knocking on the door and announcing their presence, the police just bust down the door.

The Fourth Amendment protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures and generally requires that searches be accompanied by a warrant. No-knock raids deliberately avoid announcing the warrant in order to catch the target off-guard, usually in the middle of the night or early morning when they’re sleeping.

So, the police executed the no-knock raid against Mr. Guy and, not surprisingly, he was caught completely by surprise. However, he thought he was being robbed. He caught an armed, shadowy figure trying to break into his home through the window and did what anyone else would do: he defended himself. He shot and killed the armed man trying to break into his domicile.

Unbeknownst to him, Mr. Guy had just shot a police officer. And now, the local prosecutor is seeking the death penalty against this man, all because he defended himself against what he believed were home invaders!

I want you to think about this for a second… I want you to ask yourself whether you want to live in a country where police officers can just break into citizens’ homes, unannounced…

I want you to ask yourself whether you want to live in a country where defending yourself against this unknown threat can get you the death penalty!

It doesn’t matter that you aren’t a criminal or a drug dealer… This can happen to YOU! It can happen to any of us!

This has grown out of control! Tell Congress to STOP the militarization of American police!

The sad part is that these tragedies happen more often than not. And I could write for days, detailing all the lives that have been destroyed by heavy-handed and unnecessary police tactics.

I could tell you the story of Henry Goedrich Magee, a man who had to fight murder charges after he killed a police officer who did not identify himself during a no-knock raid…

I could tell you the story of Bou-Bou Phonesavanh, a toddler who was critically burned and almost killed when police threw a flashbang grenade into his crib during a no-knock raid. Even though they never found the drugs they were looking for, the locality still refuses to pay the child’s $800k medical bills…

Or I could tell you the story of how police used an armed SWAT team to raid a Florida barbershop and check the stylists’ barber’s licenses…

Look at that: three stories in three paragraphs. I could literally go on and on listing all the lives that have been destroyed by these militarized police tactics… We live in a time when crime rates are dropping precipitously. The country is apparently the safest it has been in decades. Yet, you wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at the country’s police forces.

The fact of the matter is that these raids and heavy-handed tactics are unconstitutional. They violate citizens’ rights and only lead to people being killed over victimless crimes. More importantly, they are facilitated, at least in part, by the federal government’s willingness to give military equipment to local police departments.

Your tax dollars bought these weapons to fight our country’s enemies and now they are being turned on you!

You have the power to turn the tide! You have the power to ensure that tanks, machine guns, and grenade launchers stay on the battlefields where they belong and not in the hands of local police!

This has grown out of control! Tell Congress to STOP the militarization of American police!


Joe Otto

Conservative Daily