A reader writes:
I saw the post about your reader who was horrified about the dog-killing raid and looking for “other documented examples…compiled into a single place.” And I despaired. This is a blog reader, presumably internet-savvy, and he is shocked, shocked, to discover the things that Radley Balko has been writing about with clarity and passion for years. Maybe you can put a perma-link to Balko’s "Overkill" on your sidebar? Seriously, none of this is new, and it isn’t just dogs being butchered, but people. Here are just a few that I know about off the top of my head:
My partner of 20 years suffers from depression, fibromyalgia, and cervical dystonia. All of those conditions are highly treatable with cannabis. But we don’t dare. Instead, she takes a half-dozen different medications and visits a neurologist every couple of months for muscle-paralyzing shots. We have six dogs of our own, and usually have at least two fosters in the house; a raid on our house would end with all of them dead and both of us dead or in prison for defending them. We can’t take the risk.
It's crazy that it takes something from a National Lampoon cover to get us to wake up to the realities of the failed war on drugs. Maybe now that it's becoming known that it is standard operating procedure to shoot pets during a drug raid - and we have the video to prove it - people will realize just how out of control the drug war is. Perhaps it's easier for us to sympathize with our neighbor's pets than with our neighbors.
But real people die in these raids all the time. Their names are Tarika Wilson (killed with her baby--who was also shot but lived--in her arms), Alberta Spruill, and Kathryn Johnston (a 92 year-old shot 39 times). Google their names. These are just a few. And if you still haven't gotten your fill of dead pet stories, google Cheye Calvo, or Pam and Frank Myers. Again, these are examples of what happens all the time.
And don't forget that the police officers conducting the raids are often caught in broken system. They are in danger too. But they have to meet their drug arrest and seizure quotas so the mayor can get re-elected for being "tough on crime." Promotions and raises depend on it. Someone has to put food on the table.
Keep shining a bright light on this issue. Perhaps we'll finally realize that the drug war is doing more harm than the drugs themselves.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.