No-Knock Wins Victory or Police State Ahoy

Radley Balko has been doing yeoman work over his site deconstructing the bullshit that is the recent SCOTUS decision on the Hudson case. He’s also been doing a long-running series about botched SWAT raids. The whole thing has got me thinking pretty hard.

What is the proper response of the armed citizen to an invasion of his house in the middle of the night to masked men wielding guns and claiming to be police officers? I’m not trying to be facetious, I just don’t know. Let’s take YPS Manor and the residents thereof as our example. I’ll start off with the fact that to the best of my knowledge, I am not committing any felonies and I have no stockpiles of illegal goods or illicit substances in my house. One would think that this, in and of itself, would protect me from an armed invasion by agents of the government. One would be spectacularly wrong. If the cops can go to some judge and make a less-than-credible case that I am, say, making meth out in my garage, they can get a warrant. By less-than-credible case, I mean an anonymous tip from somebody with a vendetta.

Once they get the warrant, things will quickly spiral out of control. I am known to own guns, so they will probably ignore the fact that I have no arrest record and no criminal history and try to get a SWAT team for the warrant service. Or it could just be standard policy, like in Fairfax County, VA. Either way they’re going to send a tac team in. Even if they do knock and announce, it’ll be on the order of less than a second after the announcement before they break down the door. They’re pretty much guaranteeing that I will wake up just in time to hear my front door being kicked in. I’m also well aware they’re probably going to shoot my dog, who is 13 years old, arthritic, and weighs all of 25 pounds. So what then? What’s the appropriate response, given that I know I’m not doing anything to warrant a raid? I can’t see any reason why I should presume anyone kicking my door down in the middle of the night does not have malign intent, no matter what they’re shouting.

I freely admit my paranoid tendencies are coming out again, but I simply don’t trust the government. There seems to be less and less reason to every year.


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