Monday, June 16, 2014

An idea to SWAT around...

Regardless of your feelings on the Cliven Bundy case a couple of months ago I think we can all recall one part of the ordeal that was disturbing – the BLM’s over-armed SWAT team. It is one thing for federal agencies like the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons to have them, but the BLM? What’s crazier is that not only does the BLM have a Special Weapons and Tactics team but so do departments like the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board (that’s a real thing?!?), the Office of Personnel management and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Even the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have a swat team, talk about invasive muscles.

Some of you may be thinking “Huh, the more SWAT teams the better. You never know when you’ll need to call in some help.” But helping honest U.S. citizens is not their purpose – I know from the precedent they've already set.

Remember your days of playing at the school yard? You know, you’d be on your favorite swing and all of a sudden the boy with the big belly and spiked red hair with a name like Rodney or Storm came charging up to take the swing away (for the Rodney’s and Storm’s reading this – no offense intended J). Now, imagine if he didn’t just say a few hurtful words, then pull your hair and send you packing. Imagine if that pimple faced playground ruler didn’t think taking your swing away was enough. What if he decided to tell the school principle that you were doing something really wrong and then the town police were called too? Before you know it the courts are involved and what you thought was a happy day on your favorite swing turned into a life changing legal issue.

Well, our world is crazy but I’m not sure the swing scenario has become the norm…yet. Nonetheless it seems that the federal government is currently being run by such bullies. They’re a little bit older and most of them have suits and ties so their bellies don’t pop out like the bully in our imaginations. They still want to peg you for your wrong doing and at the rate they are going I don’t think they’ll stop with the city police – they’ll bring in a SWAT team. Here are some short examples of these teams being used:

In April 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a SWAT unit to arrest Dan Allgyer of Rainbow Acres Farm for illegally shipping unpasteurized milk to customers across state lines. “U.S. marshals and other federal officers also have conducted similar actions against purveyors of unauthorized milk, cheese and even elderberry juice” (National Review).

Kenneth Wright of Stockton, Calif., was “visited” by a SWAT team from the U.S. Department of Education in June 2011. Agents battered down the door of his home at 6 a.m., dragged him outside in his boxer shorts, and handcuffed him as they put his three children (ages 3, 7, and 11) in a police car for two hours while they searched his home. The raid was allegedly intended to uncover information on Wright’s estranged wife, Michelle, who hadn't been living with him and was suspected of college financial-aid fraud (National Review).

In January 2012, when financial questions arose regarding the Mountain Pure Water Company, 50 federal agents, led by U.S. Small Business Administration special agent Cynthia Roberts, swooped in with guns drawn. According to Mountain Pure’s comptroller, Jerry Miller, one pistol-packing agent answered his questions by saying: “We’re the federal government. We can do what we want, when we want, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” (The Trumpet).

These teams are already in place. There’s most likely nothing we can do about their existence but let me offer this – we are in an election year. You have the power to fully research the candidates you are considering to endorse. Learn first their take on freedom, personal responsibilities and STATE’S rights. Our current culture is frightening. Our government chooses to pile on bigger and bigger measures to keep its citizens from getting out of hand. Is that because we have presented ourselves as a dependent nation unable to live without government programs and subsidized products?

We can’t change things nationally in one day. We CAN change the things going on in our homes and then our communities and then our counties, states and regions. It’s up to us. National SWAT teams, you’d say no to that on a dime – what about a well polished, local political candidate who is power hungry?

- Trinity Lewis

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