Wednesday, October 30, 2013

SWAT Team Report: Snipers in the Bay Area

An EPJ reader reports:
Enjoy your site and your piece reprinted on LRC today.  I live in Bay Area city and have two kids in a Catholic school down here.  My 1st grade girl’s class seems to be half populated by cops’ kids.  I was talking with one of the dads at a school festival a couple weeks ago and found that the dad was in charge of the snipers on the local police SWAT team.  I tried to hide my dismay and avoided asking why in the hell a small suburb like ours needed police snipers.  Even more disturbing was that his two police snipers were former military snipers.  I’m a former Army officer (in my dumb, misguided youth) and am more than a little uncomfortable at guys trained to kill in the Army being put in an armed role supposedly to protect people now.

I’ve really taken a Rothbardian view of cops lately (seeing them as similar but less preferable to the mob), and see SWAT cops in particular as grown boys just using federal grants to buy their new toys to play their make-work SWAT games


  1. Did you guys see this?:

    Pumpkin Festival Snipers: Part of the Police State or Protecting Citizens FROM the Police State?

    [At] “The Keene, New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival [...] the deployment of 4 city police sniper teams made headlines across the country.”

    Pardon me if I already posted this.

    - RothbardianamericanHelot

  2. I can see a need for snipers in the event of, for example, a hostage situation. If a sniper can kill a kidnapper thru a window and save a life I think that is acceptable. Assuming police have given the kidnapper the opportunity to surrender and he refused, and assuming significant probability that he is going to harm or kill the hostage, then using a sniper would be OK.

  3. Yeah, but.... There are 50,000 swat raids a year. None of them are this situation. If this was the only use for swat/snipers they might have some justification. Instead, we get no knock raids killing the occupants because of "officer safety".