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posted by azrael on Friday July 11 2014, @02:27PM   Printer-friendly
from the time-to-rethink dept.

A report at Alternet gives some context to the amount spent by the U.S. on its drug policy.

  • 1,100 - The number of Americans that die each year due to violent crime caused by the drug war
  • $51 billion - The amount that the U.S. government spends each year on the war on drugs
  • 61 percent - The percentage of individuals targeted by drug-related SWAT raids who are people of color
  • 82 percent - The number of Americans who believe that the government is losing the War on Drugs
  • 18 months - The age of Bounkham "Bou Bou" Phonesavanh, a recent American casualty of the drug war

The article goes into further details on the number, including:

On May 28, a team of police officers raided the Phonesavanh's home, with the mistaken belief that the residents were involved with drugs. As they entered, they tossed a flashbang grenade that landed directly in the crib of baby Bou Bou, which exploded within point-blank range - critically injuring him.

In a harrowing article, his mother, Alecia, described seeing "a singed crib" and "a pool of blood", and later being informed by medics: "There's still a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs". Alecia said that the sole silver lining to this story is that it may "make us angry enough that we stop accepting brutal SWAT raids as a normal way to fight the war on drugs".

Fortunately, Bou Bou has been making a gradual recovery, but his family is relying on donations to support their living and medical costs.

 
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by CirclesInSand on Friday July 11 2014, @03:02PM

    by CirclesInSand (2899) on Friday July 11 2014, @03:02PM (#67608)

    In this particular case, no drugs were found.

    In this particular case, police threw a grenade at a child's crib.

    In this particular case, there might be some prosecution and some scapegoats.

    But that is not is important. What is important is that there is a policy that allows police to engage in raids with no reliable evidence. What is important is that police have a policy of throwing grenades blindly into people's houses. What is important is that people allow the police to do this, not that in this one case the outcome was this enraging.

    Policy has to be changed. This is reckless endangerment, and every drug raid like this where someone wasn't injured is also reckless endangerment. Everyone from the officers present to the officers managing to the judge signing the warrants should be answering to charges of lethal reckless endangerment. Every one of them that isn't tried by the courts should be tried by a mob. In every case, not just the one where someone was injured.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Snow on Friday July 11 2014, @03:17PM

    by Snow (1601) on Friday July 11 2014, @03:17PM (#67618) Journal

    Furthermore, it's despicable that the family is forced to rely on donations after the state barged in and ruined their lives. The police should be charged with terrorism.

    • (Score: 2) by The Archon V2.0 on Friday July 11 2014, @04:49PM

      by The Archon V2.0 (3887) on Friday July 11 2014, @04:49PM (#67691)

      Didn't you hear? "Terrorist" is the new team name for the "them" in "us vs. them". You can't be a terrorist working for the government, any more than you can be a square circle. You can, however, be a terrorist without actually engaging in activities to terrorize people. You just need to be wearing the other team's jersey.

      • (Score: 1) by NickM on Friday July 11 2014, @06:32PM

        by NickM (2867) on Friday July 11 2014, @06:32PM (#67758) Journal
        Wait, there is a way you can be a square circle!!!! But you must be ready to abandon Euclidean geometry and project yourself unto the correct Riemannian space:P
        --
        I a master of typographic, grammatical and miscellaneous errors !
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12 2014, @04:28AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12 2014, @04:28AM (#67976)

        You just need to be wearing the other team's jersey.

        And, sadly, team jerseys are determined by skin color.

    • (Score: 2) by Alfred on Friday July 11 2014, @05:33PM

      by Alfred (4006) on Friday July 11 2014, @05:33PM (#67719) Journal

      It is a wonder that there aren't more Keyser Soze types out there.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyser_Soze [wikipedia.org]
      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114814/ [imdb.com]

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Friday July 11 2014, @03:39PM

    by Sir Garlon (1264) on Friday July 11 2014, @03:39PM (#67638)

    Since at least the early '60s when SWAT was invented, the trend has been for politicians to curry votes by being "tough on crime." This is the result. This is what previous generations voted for.

    If you're unhappy with the current state of affairs, please realize that we didn't get here overnight. It was fifty years of incremental change. There is plenty of blame to go around, from the media who sensationalize violence in order to get ratings and destroy the public's sense of proportion, to the politicians who are supposed to safeguard civil rights but find it easier and more profitable to play to that fear, to the voters who are fine with police kicking in doors and throwing grenades as long as they do it in another neighborhood, to people of a different color.

    --
    [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
    • (Score: 1) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11 2014, @10:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11 2014, @10:24PM (#67873)

      the media who sensationalize violence in order to get ratings and destroy the public's sense of proportion

      People who consume lamestream media AND THINK THEY ARE GETTING USEFUL INFORMATION are the problem.
      Since Helen Thomas retired, all that the White House press corps^W^W steno pool will ask is softball questions; they don't want to be barred from the 5 o'clock follies. [google.com]

      Ad-dependent media won't do ANYTHING that jeopardizes their revenue stream.
      They won't do ANYTHING that might offend a potential advertiser (read: megacorporation).
      You'd have to be a fool to think that when you plop down in front of your TeeVee that you have any chance of getting any truth.
      TeeVee became mindless entertainment decades ago, yet it is still the primary source of "information" for many people.

      The vast majority of "journalists" are simply presstitutes.
      They are more than willing to bend over for the gov't. [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [rall.com]

      -- gewg_

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11 2014, @05:58PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11 2014, @05:58PM (#67736)

    But that is not is important. What is important is that there is a policy that allows police to engage in raids with no reliable evidence. What is important is that police have a policy of throwing grenades blindly into people's houses. What is important is that people allow the police to do this, not that in this one case the outcome was this enraging.

    Six years ago, Atlanta police mistakenly invaded the home of Katherine Johnson using a no-knock warrant. She was alarmed by strangers entering her house, and fired a "warning shot" over their heads. They shot her 39 times, winning a great deal of negative press. I'm sure the good officers of Habersham county, just up the road, came to the conclusion that stunning or disorienting the invadees before entering would reduce the chance of such accidents. Injuries due to explosive devices are certainly a better outcome than 39 bullet holes.

    Somewhere, there's a committee of good officers secure in the belief that they have a good policy with occasional, regrettable incidents of collateral damage. Each incident of collateral damage is an opportunity to improve the flawed execution of an excellent policy.

    Tyrants never think they're evil.

    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Saturday July 12 2014, @12:29AM

      by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 12 2014, @12:29AM (#67911) Journal

      I'm not sure about that. I rather think that Stalin thought he was evil, and enjoyed it. But I'll agree that it's unusual.

      --
      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Saturday July 12 2014, @02:51AM

    by sjames (2882) on Saturday July 12 2014, @02:51AM (#67951) Journal

    In this particular case, the police ignored the obvious signs that there was a child in the house (toys in the yard).

    In this particular case, the person they were seeking did NOT live there.

    In this case, they severely burned a baby.

    In this case they haven't even said they were sorry and haven't even attempted to pay for any of the medical costs.

    Some of that is important. It shows that they have no sense of responsibility whatsoever when they harm the people they're supposed to protect and serve. It shows that they're nothing but goons in uniform. To me it demonstrates that they aren't fit to be police officers at all.