Critiquing the Boston Lockdown: The SWAT Goons Meet Sheriff Andy Taylor

Sheriff-Andy-Taylor

Sheriff Andy Taylor

Critiquing the Boston Lockdown: The SWAT Goons Meet Sheriff Andy Taylor

“When a man carries a gun all the time, the respect he thinks he’s getting might really be fear. So I don’t carry a gun because I don’t want the people of Mayberry to fear a gun; I’d rather they would respect me.” ~ Sheriff Andy Taylor

According to the Urban Dictionary, the definition of the word “goons” is: “Gangstaz and killers. Partners who ride and die together.”

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of the word “goon” is “1. a stupid person. 2. a man hired to terrorize or eliminate opponents.”

The Free Dictionary defines the word “goon” as “1. a thug hired to intimidate or harm opponents. 2. a stupid or oafish person.”

20130419-boston-lockdown-09

Goons in Boston

The old television comedy program “The Andy Griffith Show” demonstrated two methods of policing in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina. The first was the wise and correct method used by Sheriff Andy Taylor and the second was the foolish and incorrect method used by Deputy Barney Fife.

These two methods of policing were contrasted in most, if not all, episodes of the program, and was the major factor that made the program both interesting and comical.

Contrasting Sheriff Taylor’s wisdom with Deputy Fife’s foolishness in virtually each episode easily made for a lot of laughs.

One of the first noticeable distinctions between Sheriff Taylor and Deputy Fife could be made simply by looking at the two of them standing together: Deputy Fife was always in full uniform with pistol and Sheriff Taylor was not.

Sheriff Andy Taylor was a wise man and he knew, since Mayberry had no violent crime or criminals, he didn’t need to carry a pistol. He had a pistol, which he kept in his office, in his desk, and he also had a gun rack full of various rifles, which he kept locked up. He also got his pistol and one of his rifles whenever he needed them, on those few occasions when Mayberry did have a violent criminal who needed to be apprehended, which was usually someone from out of town, such as fugitive on the loose in the area.

Prisoner_of_Love_and_Barney_Fife_12

Deputy Barney Fife

In contrast to Sheriff Tayor, Deputy Barney Fife was a foolish man who always carried a pistol even though he didn’t need to do so. And he was always wanting the latest law enforcement gear and technologies the big cities, such as Raleigh, had, even though he didn’t need these in Mayberry. Barney was also incompetent with his pistol, and Andy made him keep his bullets in his pocket so that he didn’t accidentally shoot himself or a citizen of Mayberry.

Deputy Barney Fife’s method of unnecessary overkill is exactly what we saw during the recent Boston Lockdown. And it’s not just Boston but every large city and small town in America which has adopted this foolish, unnecessary, and dangerous method of “policing”.

Uniforms are important in societies, which is why people wear uniforms, and people who wear military uniforms are what they appear to be: soldiers, whether they call themselves police or not.

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Mexico? No: USA :(

SWAT team uniforms, gear, weapons, and vehicles communicate the message: “We are soldiers”, not “We are police officers”.

And it’s not just these, it’s also the reasons for having these, as well as the use of these which communicates the same “We are soldiers” message to citizens.

There is a very important difference between police officers and soldiers: a police officer is supposed to shoot only after he is first shot at, whereas a soldier shoots at anyone who is considered the enemy, and asks questions later. The job of a soldier is to protect himself whereas the job of a police officer is to protect the public.

SWAT teams, unlike police officers, are geared to protect themselves, not the public.

two-police-officers

Two good police officers

Police officers wear blue uniforms and badges. They also knock on doors when serving warrants, because they respect people’s constitutional rights.

Even Deputy Barney Fife was wise enough to know the jeopardy a police officer was required to put himself into in order to properly uphold the law and protect the public:

“An officer of the law shall enforce the law and order without regard to personal welfare and safety.” ~ Deputy Barney Fife

SWAT teams don’t knock, they enter homes by breaking down the doors and pointing loaded weapons at peoples, after first throwing stun grenades into the home.

This SWAT tactic is similar to the urban combat tactic I learned at Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia, where we were taught to toss hand grenades into a building, break down the doors, and spray bullets into the building (on full auto) before entering.

SWAT uses military, not police, tactics, because it’s safer for them. Unlike police officers, who must risk being shot at, SWAT teams have all but eliminated this risk to themselves – disregarding people’s constitutional rights in the process.

This confusion and conflating of roles is dangerous and has already led to the deaths and injuries of countless US citizens who were needlessly raided by militarized SWAT teams. I suppose, as in combat, these civilians are considered collateral damage?

“Detroit police officers serving a search warrant broke into the wrong apartment in a duplex discharging a stun grenade inside just before they entered. As the officers rushed inside, one of them fired his gun after he collided with a disoriented and confused grandmother standing in the living room. The fatal shot struck the girl in the neck as she was sleeping on the couch.”

See: Police Shoot And Kill Seven-Year-Old Girl In Night Raid – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Aiyana_Jones

During the recent Boston Lockdown, we saw Watertown swarming – not with police officers but – with soldiers. And these soldiers, like Barney Fife, were needlessly endangering – as opposed to protecting – the public by needlessly pointing loaded weapons at hundreds of innocent peoples, while supposedly searching for one, lone man. These soldiers were protecting themselves, not the public. They were endangering the public.

Soldier pointing loaded weapon at innocent civilian in Boston

Soldier pointing loaded weapon at innocent civilian in Boston

Police officers protect and serve the public. Soldier SWAT teams endanger the public and force – at gun point – the public to serve and obey them.

The soldiers in Watertown, once a citizen helped them to find the man they were looking for – unarmed, injured, and cowering in a boat – proceeded to unleash a needless fusillade of (assault rifle) gunfire, which struck the unarmed man, needlessly injuring him, and turned the boat he was hiding in into “swiss cheese”, which needlessly ruined this helpful citizens boat.

VIDEO – 2nd suspect fired on by “police” – http://livewire.wcvb.com/Event/117th_Running_of_Boston_Marathon/73838475

Boat where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hid ‘looked like Swiss cheese’ after shootout

“Tsarnaev was found when Watertown man looked underneath tarpaulin and found the Boston bombing suspect inside.”

See: Boat where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hid ‘looked like Swiss cheese’ after shootout – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/20/boat-watertown-dzhokhar-tsarnaev-swiss-cheese

Police in Mexico - Is the US turing into Mexico?

Police in Mexico – Is the US turing into Mexico?

“In 2007, journalist Radley Balko told a House subcommittee that one criminologist detected a 1,500% increase in the use of SWAT teams over the last two decades. That’s reflective of a larger trend, fueled by the wars on drugs and terror, of police forces becoming heavily militarized.”

See: How Cops Became Soldiers: An Interview with Police Militarization Expert Radley Balko – http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/police-militarization-an-interview-with-radley-balko

“The police chief who oversaw Seattle’s crackdown on WTO protesters learned the dangers of militarization. His advice for a creating a police force that truly serves and protects communities.”

See: Lessons of a Police Chief: Militarization is a Mistake – http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/lessons-of-a-police-chief-militarization-is-a-mistake

“We’ve known for a while now that American neighborhoods are increasingly being policed by cops armed with the weapons and tactics of war,” said Kara Dansky, senior counsel at the ACLU’s Center for Justice, which is coordinating the investigation. “The aim of this investigation is to find out just how pervasive this is, and to what extent federal funding is incentivizing this trend.”

See: ACLU Launches Nationwide Police Militarization Investigation – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/aclu-police-militarization-swat_n_2813334.html

“Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.”

See: Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America – http://www.cato.org/publications/white-paper/overkill-rise-paramilitary-police-raids-america

“Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is an international 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization of criminal justice professionals who bear personal witness to the wasteful futility and harms of our current drug policies.

“Our experience on the front lines of the “war on drugs” has led us to call for a repeal of prohibition and its replacement with a tight system of legalized regulation, which will effectively cripple the violent cartels and street dealers who control the current illegal market.”

See: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – http://www.leap.cc/

mayberry

See: The Andy Griffith Show – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Andy_Griffith_Show

See: The Andy Griffith Show Book (Beck & Clark, 1985) – http://www.amazon.com/Andy-Griffith-Show-Book/dp/0312661770

See: Barney Fife’s Guide to Life, Love and Self-Defense – http://www.amazon.com/Barney-Fifes-Guide-Life-Self-Defense/dp/156530103X

See: A Militarized “Policeman’s” knowledge of the US Constitution – http://youtu.be/oBuPQgV8yBM

 

“From examining the behavior, philosophies, and statements of Deputy Fife, it becomes apparent that he followed the ideals of the professional police officer. Barney’s main inspiration came from the county rules for sheriffs, rule 1: “An officer of the law shall enforce the law and order without regard to personal welfare and safety,”

See: Professional and Community Oriented Policing: The Mayberry Model – http://www.albany.edu/scj/jcjpc/vol13is1/Dobrin.pdf

“Deputy Fife also moved to upgrade and modernize the technology of the department. He tried to purchase more guns, cameras for “high-speed photographic surveillance and reconnaissance,” bugging devices for the jail cells, motorcycles, bloodhounds, anti-riot gear, tear gas, a fingerprint set, and more jail cells to hold all the people caught with the new technology.”

See: Professional and Community Oriented Policing: The Mayberry Model – http://www.albany.edu/scj/jcjpc/vol13is1/Dobrin.pdf

“Similar to the isolation that most professional police feel from civilians, Barney felt separated from non-law enforcement residents of Mayberry. He had difficulty with relationships because he felt married to his job (Beck & Clark, 1985). “We’re just plain simple men fighting… crime with raw courage-strong, determined, rugged, fearless.” (Beck & Clark, 1985, p. 22). His family was the law and his gun. This was the reason he gave for the low crime rate in Mayberry as well. “Well, I guess to sum it up… there’s three reasons why there’s so little crime in Mayberry. There’s Andy, there’s me and [patting his gun] baby makes three.” (Of course, Sheriff Taylor did not allow him to carry a loaded gun; he kept a bullet in his shirt pocket; Beck & Clark, 1985, p. 24).”

See: Professional and Community Oriented Policing: The Mayberry Model – http://www.albany.edu/scj/jcjpc/vol13is1/Dobrin.pdf

“From these examples, it is apparent that Deputy Barney Fife of the Mayberry Sheriff’s Department exemplified the professional model, and relied on the techniques and ideals of the model to achieve the ultimate goal of this strategy, crime control. The cost that both Barney and the citizens of Mayberry paid was the social distance between him and the community. This distance was exacerbated because Barney would not allow any flexibility with the enforcement of laws, which further alienated him from the townsfolk.”

See: Professional and Community Oriented Policing: The Mayberry Model – http://www.albany.edu/scj/jcjpc/vol13is1/Dobrin.pdf

Two good police officers

Two good police officers

“In contrast to Barney’s “by-the-book” ideal, Sheriff Andy Taylor promoted the image of the more approachable community oriented police officer. He was more interested in the quality of life issues that affected a small town than focusing his attentions on crime alone. He relied on common sense, patience, and good will to resolve the majority of issues he ran across as Sheriff, instead of criminal law. Andy did not wear the full uniform of the Sheriff. He forwent the hat and tie to present a more relaxed, approachable Sheriff (Beck & Clark, 1985). Another visible manifestation of his differing strategy of policing was that Andy did his job without wearing a gun. Andy said, “When a man carries a gun all the time, the respect he thinks he’s getting might really be fear. So I don’t carry a gun because I don’t want the people of Mayberry to fear a gun; I’d rather they would respect me,” (Beck & Clark, 1985, p. 10). Andy’s policing authority did not come from the threat of force, but rather from the implicit support of the community.”

See: Professional and Community Oriented Policing: The Mayberry Model – http://www.albany.edu/scj/jcjpc/vol13is1/Dobrin.pdf

“Sheriff Taylor was not married to his job and, like Deputy Fife, he found time to bond with the community as an active person in the community, not simply a police figure. He spent most of his free time raising his son Opie, but also as Deacon of his church, an officer of the bowling league, a singer in the church choir, a tuba player in the town band, an actor in town plays, a lodge member, and was active in charity for underprivileged children.”

See: Professional and Community Oriented Policing: The Mayberry Model – http://www.albany.edu/scj/jcjpc/vol13is1/Dobrin.pdf

VIDEO – Deputy Barney Fife Deals With Two Bullies – http://youtu.be/kGvM6e8Cfdw

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About ajmacdonaldjr

writer, author, blogger
This entry was posted in Accident Prevention, Activism, Crime, Culture, Drug War Violence, Entertainment, Ethics, Government, Government Agents, Gun Control, Law, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Society, Symbolism, Terrorism, Violence, War and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Critiquing the Boston Lockdown: The SWAT Goons Meet Sheriff Andy Taylor

  1. johndjasper says:

    Great article. I’ve shared it on FB.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Awful lot of cutting and pasting that excellent albany article.

  3. Because it’s an excellent article :)

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