Save the Pieces

When I was a child, my mother would (upon hearing, but not seeing, the violent activities of her children) implore us to “Save the pieces.” I am reminded of that when I read yet another article where law enforcement appears to have used excessive force while executing a no-knock warrant. While no one was seriously damaged in this particular raid, the number of innocent people who are injured or killed in such raids seems to be increasing.

While so many are concerned about the damage which guns can do in the hands of the crazed shooter who goes on a rampage, it would seem as though very few are concerned about the damage which is being done by peace officers who are, as it were, killing mice with RPGs.

We all ought to be concerned with offenses against persons and property regardless of whether that offense comes from someone whose sanity is only so-so, or a sworn officer of the law (not to mention what happened in California when those two categories were joined in a single person). And, in fact, the uproar should be greater when law enforcement is the perpetrator of unnecessary violence.

If those who enforce the laws are not held to them as carefully as everyone else, then people soon come to believe that there are two sets of laws: one for us and one for them. While there are many in our country who are working diligently to divide us into groups, the future rule of law rests upon the equitable enforcement of the law and the careful treatment of the citizenry by law enforcement.

I am not saying that there is never time nor place quasi-military police tactics. I’m in touch with reality enough to understand some of the dangers of our present world. Nonetheless, such tactics should be used when other approaches have proven insufficient to address a particular, defined threat to public safety.