Missouri SWAT Video Reveals The Real Drug War

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Drugs, Law, Law Enforcement, Missouri, Video

The following video is heartbreaking, especially since it happened in my state. Still, this is happening every day in every other state over completely victimless crimes.

Here’s a quick explanation if you can’t watch the video (via Radley Balko)…

SWAT team breaks into home, fires seven rounds at family’s pit bull and corgi (?!) as a seven-year-old looks on. They found a “small amount” of marijuana, enough for a misdemeanor charge. The parents were then charged with child endangerment. So smoking pot = “child endangerment.” Storming a home with guns, then firing bullets into the family pets as a child looks on = necessary police procedures to ensure everyone’s safety.

Just so we’re clear.

And now…yeah, wow…



And yet people can smoke and drink to their hearts content around their kids and nobody bats an eye.

Here’s E.D. Kain’s take on it…

How can we give our government the authority to trample on its own citizens like this over what is by every sane and rational argument – not to mention every piece of scientific data – an incredibly harmless substance used consensually without any real side-effects? It boggles the mind.

Here’s the original story, which happened back in February…

Whitworth was arrested, and his wife and 7-year-old son were present during the SWAT raid, Haden said. A second dog, which Whitworth’s attorney Jeff Hilbrenner described as a corgi, also was shot but was not killed.

“The family is concerned with what happened,” Hilbrenner said. “We don’t feel like what happened in the home was appropriate. The priority right now for us is the misdemeanor charges.”

Police discovered a grinder, a pipe and a small amount of marijuana, Haden said. Because the SWAT team acts on the most updated information available, the team wanted to enter the house before marijuana believed to be at the location could be distributed, she said.

Long story short…if the right wing, Constitution-loving crowd really wanted to fight tyranny…well…here ya go. This is it. Shock and awe in the face of some pot and some pets.


This entry was posted on Thursday, May 6th, 2010 and is filed under Drugs, Law, Law Enforcement, Missouri, Video. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

21 Responses to “Missouri SWAT Video Reveals The Real Drug War”

  1. Chris Says:

    The truth is, Justin, as you very well know, that they don’t care about protecting anyone’s rights. They care about forcing their moral values on everyone else.

  2. the Word Says:

    Despicable.

  3. the Word Says:

    Three things are responsible. 1) Republicans who would crucify anyone trying to change the laws (or even discuss changing them) 2) Democrats who are too gutless to do the right thing and 3) People in both parties who KNOW the WOD is total BS. Shame on all of them.

  4. kranky kritter Says:

    The truth, as most folks well know, is that there is a substantial portion of conservatives that lean libertarian and despise this kind of stuff. And libertarians generally find more common cause with conservatives. Let’s face it. as soon as libertarians start talking about lower taxes and smaller government, every good liberal blanches

    Like Chris paints it, though with far too broad a brush, there is a substantial portion on the right that is big on law and order and moral values and so on and so forth. But it’s not all conservatives.

    On the other side, there are plenty of liberals and blue collar democrats who are also big on law and order and very against drugs. Like it or not, the “war on drugs” endures because it enjoys fairly broad support across the spectrum of the middle class, especially among families. If you’re on the left, it’s jolly good fun to blame this stuff on right wing jack-booted thugs. But it’s enabled by broad support from middle class families.

    I think the way the drug war has been conducted is a tremendous waste of resources. But I also think it’s naive to think that the right wing is solely or even predominantly responsible.

    Of course, I;ll cheerfully acknowledge that and democrat who tried to liberalize drug policy would get immediately demagogued by the right. No doubt about that.

  5. bubbaquimby Says:

    As a fellow Missourian I was also disgusted by this video.

    But like KK said, let’s not pretend that this is some exclusively right wing problem. The War on Drugs in the 80′s, increased clamp down on crime 70′s were enacted by the help of both sides. The increased tactics of law enforcement also seem to be on a progression not just from the War on Drugs but pretty much starting from the riots of the 60s.

    Here is the thing though, A) we may have an increasing population that is ok with pot (44%) there is no way we would get even close to acceptance of coke, meth, herioin, acid, etc B) so even if we legalize pot there are going to be raids.

    So from my perspective it isn’t just whether this is a harmless crime but how do we want law enforcement to handle these types of thing.

    To me this first comes down to how law enforcement uses tips. This tip was way way off first they didn’t even know he had a kid, and second he not only wasn’t a major dealer but he didn’t even have pot on him. All they had was a pipe with resin. So they need much better intelligence and if a SWAT team is actually called there needs to be firearms suspected not just called on for a routine bust.

    Also many people have dogs, not all pit bulls are attack dogs. Stop thinking every dog is a trained attack dog just because drugs are involved. Cops are way too trigger happy when it comes to animals. Start carry tasers and/or they could bring animal control if they know an animal is there. For instance I think last year in KC they shot a tied up dog on a porch because it was “in the way” of a raid. Absolutely no reason for that.

  6. bubbaquimby Says:

    Police Chief responded with usual B.S.

    “Widespread misinformation about incident, we should have gone days earlier to catch the thug, it was right to shoot the pitbull cause it was aggressive.”

    Total crap. All I hear in that video is barking, they didn’t even give the dog a chance and they don’t think it was completely overkill because they think he already moved the drugs. If they didn’t even know the dude had a kid I wouldn’t doubt that the dude just smokes a little pot and a neighbor ratted him out. But even if he was a pot dealer I think it was overkill.

  7. the Word Says:

    I’d rather have every single adult in Columbia high than what went on here. Why at the end of the raid, did one of these cops not ask the logical question and quit?

    “What in the hell are we doing?”

    I think one of our past President’s said that if you hate our freedoms, you side with the terrorists. A bit like the Glen Beck quote. Occasionally, anyone gets something right.

  8. Chris Says:

    Well I’ll wait for those libertarian conservatives to start voting more.

  9. kranky kritter Says:

    More than what?

  10. Chris Says:

    Well I don’t see very many libertarian conservatives being elected, so I assume that the libertarian conservatives themselves aren’t voting very much.

  11. kranky kritter Says:

    What of my point that they represent a portion of conservative thought that you failed to acknowledge? Further, you don’t actually have any proof that libertarians aren’t voting. As you concede, you simply made an assumption.

    And don’t forget, lack of success by libertarian conservatives should also be attributed to opposition from the left. Like I said before, anyone who talks seriously about smaller government, less spending, lower taxes, and less invasive laws and regulations can depend on being immediately demonized by those among the left who want more regulations, more restrictive laws, additional and more generous government entitlement programs, and so on.

    It’s kafka-esque to blame libertarians for their lack of success simply because you don’t wish to concede that the right is not a monolith. There are many folks who vote for smaller government and so on. Why aren’t you eager to take credit for libertarian failure to stem government growth?

    These folks are anathema to you, they just don’t fit your stereotypical view of a monolithic right wing. Let me remind you what you said:

    …they don’t care about protecting anyone’s rights. They care about forcing their moral values on everyone else.

    Many folks on the right care more about protecting people’s rights than some folks on the left. Some folks on the left are really extremely paternalistic. If you were honest about things, you’d acknowledge this. For better or worse, only libertarian-leaning folks have any semblance of consistency when it comes to opposing government paternalism. The rest of us (and I include myself here) have blind spots consisting of our own particular pet issues on which we think the government should become more involved because people can’t be trusted to make morally correct or intelligent decisions.

  12. kranky kritter Says:

    Not sure how relevant their voting rate is. The point is that they represent a real and significant portion of conservative thought, contrary to the unitary bloc you imagine. BTW, you don’t seem actually have any proof that libertarians aren’t voting. As you concede, you simply made an assumption.

    And don’t forget, lack of success by libertarian conservatives should also be attributed to opposition from the left. Like I said before, anyone who talks seriously about smaller government, less spending, lower taxes, and less invasive laws and regulations can depend on being immediately demonized by those among the left who want more regulations, more restrictive laws, additional and more generous government entitlement programs, and so on.

    It’s kafka-esque to blame libertarians for their lack of success simply because you don’t wish to concede that the right is not a monolith. There are many folks who vote for smaller government and so on. Why aren’t you eager to take credit for libertarian failure to stem government growth?

    These folks are anathema to you, they just don’t fit your stereotypical view of a monolithic right wing. Let me remind you what you said:

    …they don’t care about protecting anyone’s rights. They care about forcing their moral values on everyone else.

    Many folks on the right care more about protecting people’s rights than some folks on the left. Some folks on the left are really extremely paternalistic. If you were honest about things, you’d acknowledge this. For better or worse, only libertarian-leaning folks have any semblance of consistency when it comes to opposing government paternalism. The rest of us (and I include myself here) have blind spots consisting of our own particular pet issues on which we think the government should become more involved because people can’t be trusted to make morally correct or intelligent decisions.

  13. Nick Benjamin Says:

    And don’t forget, lack of success by libertarian conservatives should also be attributed to opposition from the left. Like I said before, anyone who talks seriously about smaller government, less spending, lower taxes, and less invasive laws and regulations can depend on being immediately demonized by those among the left who want more regulations, more restrictive laws, additional and more generous government entitlement programs, and so on.

    In US Politics there’s always a tipping point. Before you get there everybody (and everything) works against you. After you get there everybody (and everything) works for you.

    This manifests itself for right-leaning libertarians in a pretty simple way: the right uses them for votes, and spews their rhetoric in a handful of situations, but on many issues it ignores them. Since in DC Right-leaning-Libertarianism is just another trick in the GOP playbook Democrats don’t take right-leaning Libertarians seriously.

    They could beat this two ways. Number one they could win GOP primaries. This would probably be easiest in UT or MN where conventions of activists are a major factor in winning primaries. States with lots of potential libertarian voters are also good targets.

    Number two they could try to strengthen the Libertarian Party. The Free State Project is their best bet there. The idea is to get 20,000 LP activists to move to New Hampshire. If they actually get 20,000 activists there they’ll be doing extremely well.

  14. kranky kritter Says:

    Historically it seeks to me that the libertarian party is run by really kooky folks who are too close to being true believer absolutists. Capital L libertarians I call them. Now, the small L libertarians don’t seem to get much play or make the ballot most times. That’s where I think the potential for libertarian success lies…carefully choosing spots to advocate “let’s move a bit this way… .”

  15. the Word Says:

    kranky—Have you READ Ayn Rand? She wasn’t exactly nuanced. There are some things we could probably all accept but Libertarians aren’t about compromise. Did you read what they just put in the platform in Maine? It’s why they are never going to be a national party.

    You are right on something though. Some of the ideas are kooky and not at all practical.

  16. Nick Benjamin Says:

    If the Free State Project ever takes off they’ll be a lot less kooky then the national party. No legalization of crack, for example. Probably lower penalties for it’s possesion, legalized weed, and regulated prostitution/gambling industries, tho. People who are actually trying to get power are a lot more likely to compromise then those who have no shot at it.

    The difficulty will be getting 20,000 libertarian activists to move to NH. The have 10,000 volunteers, and there are 800 of them already in the state, so they’ve got a decent start.

  17. Chris Says:

    I’m not seeing any overwhelming proof from yourself about these so called libertarian conservatives, so what’s your point? Why are you asking me for proof when your statements provide none either?

  18. the Word Says:

    Crack is the bathtub gin of the drug war. It would substantially disappear without the war on drugs. It’s not like there is a big moonshine epidemic in the civilized parts of the country anymore.

  19. kranky kritter Says:

    Proof of what? Their existence? All I have claimed is that they exist. You want me to prove that they exist? You question that they exist? Really? I mean, really? Seriously? No kidding? You question whether there are any conservatives who consider themselves to be libertarians?

    I submit in all seriousness that you are either clueless about political demographics in America, or you in fact acknowledge that such folks exist in non-negligible numbers. If the latter is true, then I have nothing to actually “prove.” If the former, then you can easily satisfy yourself as to their existence with a quick google trip.

    Meanwhile, I wondered whether you had any proof that libertarian conservatives votde at a lower rate than usual, as you implied. And you have already conceded that what you did was make a presumption.

    You’re still blogging like a college student trying to “win” an argument. I’m just trying to figure out what you think and where you are coming from. So far, I’ve managed to learn this: entertaining the idea that conservative thought is not monolithic just busts up your worldview something fierce.

  20. WHQ Says:

    I’m not sure who you’re arguing with, Kranky. I don’t see much written on this thread that resembles your descriptions of others’ positions. The main point is that libertarianism in the conservative and GOP mainstream these days is both highly selective and paid mostly lip service, having little influence over the broad range of issues that concern even small-l libertarians. Saying that does not require a monolith.

    Had the same SWAT team been after a cache of guns, there would have been a much different reaction from the right, or at least certain portions thereof.

  21. Chris Says:

    I don’t know what he’s arguing about either. I’m not denying that there’s some libertarian conservatives out there, but just that they apparently don’t have much of an impact. Even if you want to call the tea party libertarian – which matches with who’s funding it, Koch Industries, I don’t see that impacting the GOP and the way it does business.

    WHQ lays it out clearly. Generally KK, I just don’t have time to read your novellas and write long responses.

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