Tag Archive: law enforcement


swat raidLet’s face it folks, with the increasing militarization of our public law enforcement we are now seeing more and more SWAT team style ‘raids’ on homes and businesses. Right, wrong, good, bad or indifferent, it’s a growing trend that unfortunately, I do not see ending but increasing in numbers in the coming months and years.
At a highly regarded blog site that I regularly read, someone wrote in about looking for information on how to prepare children for a SWAT team style raid on their organic farm (yes, it happens because of federal regulations, Mr. I HAVE A PEN and a PHONE loves to use regulations to further his Agenda 21 plans and Fascist policies). But this is a side note. It got me thinking about my own situation about 2 ½ years ago which I have blogged about in the past, when State officials decided to raid my house with the SWAT team and FBI, early one morning due to some content that an ex of mine had posted on his facebook page. Mind you, he was no longer living in the house and I was cooperative with the State Police when they first made contact with me regarding my ex and his behavior. I was and still am deeply effected by the SWAT raid on my home in the early hours of a January school morning. My children however, I don’t think they even blinked an eye about it. So, with this person’s question, ‘how do I prepare my children for a SWAT style raid?’ I had to ask myself why my children were completely unaffected by it and why I am still suffering PTSD from it. What is it that happened before the SWAT raid on my home that allowed my children to emerge unscathed?

Interestingly enough, about the ONLY answer that I can come up with is that we, as a family had run a few drills involving ‘home invasion’ by strangers with guns in hand. Now this may sound strange to you, but at the time I owned a bailbond business and live in the middle of nowhere where the average LEO response time is at least 10 minutes. My ex, who had experience in these matters, set out to teach us how to respond and ‘what to do’. Kinda like a tornado drill or nowadays, an active shooter drill that they do at schools. Think in those terms.
My own children were taught to stay absolutely still unless given a directive by an ADULT when there was a potential threat. We practiced different scenarios on what to do depending upon point of entry and time of day. But the bottom line is and still is: following INSTRUCTIONS given immediately and without question. So they stayed right at the breakfast table without moving, because that is what I told them to do. I had no warning, just the red dots on my chest before being manhandled out of the house and out of sight. Just enough time to tell them to STAY PUT.

To my children’s credit, they remained at the table until they were brought out by a female agent into a ‘safe vehicle’ and actually looked very calm. I will emphasize at this point:
MY CHILDREN WERE AND ARE USED TO SEEING FIREARMS IN THE HOME.

So two things to ‘prepare’ children for a SWAT style raid on your home:
1) Get them used to seeing firearms in and around the home. If it is ‘normal’ to see this and be around them, then most likely they won’t freak.
2) Practice what to do if you experience a home invasion (legal or not).
3) And I should mention, that if you do have firearms in the home, be safe regarding them. But at some point, as a LEO told me, they need to understand how to use them and what they do, seems to prevent accidental shootings in the home and takes away the ‘fun’ and ‘I am not allowed to do this’ factor.

These three things will make it easier for you and them. You practice fire drills, tornado drills, and at school they practice ‘active shooter’ drills, why NOT practice home invasion? It’s a growing trend, both legally and illegally so it makes sense to do this. What you do and how you do this is up to you and your unique home situation, but increasingly, home invasions are becoming common place. So, what’s your plan?

Next, I would like to address the otherside of this equation. Having an understanding myself of the legal system and the steps that have to be taken before action can be taken (though more and more it seems like shock and awe is standard operating procedure) I do KNOW for a fact, that you will have contact with some form of law enforcement BEFORE a SWAT style raid occurs. There’s your tip off, your ‘advanced’ warning. If state police, federal agents or regulatory agents are knocking at your door then your alarm bells need to be going off and my advice, at least for the moment is to be polite, answer their questions and do NOT BE HOSTILE. Cooperate and be beyond reasonable with them. If you appear to be a threat then they will react to you as a threat and their law enforcement training now demands overwhelming force to neutralize a potential threat to THEM. This includes your facebook posts, emails, etc. While it is okay to voice your opinions make sure you are not making threats, or even veiled threats. Trust me when I tell you, they do their homework on threat assessment (ie your potential for violence). In my case it wasn’t about my own personal threat to them, but my ex’s potential for violence and I got painted with the same brush. So its not just you, but who you associate with, your family and those who may or may not be there at the time.
Much can be avoided with clear communication and cooperation. Yes, it can be a hassle boarding on pure harassment and irrationality on their part, but if you want to head off a SWAT style raid, then do all you can to avoid it.

Next, lets talk about home/land security. Do you have motion detectors? Security lights? Cameras? How about a mouthy dog who will alert you if something or someone who doesn’t belong there? You can go as far as you want in this matter including denial of entry type setups. But the main thing is this: you are more likely to face in this day and age a true illegal home invasion than a legal one and THIS is where you should aim your security at. But it will also come in handy ‘just in case’. The point behind all of this is to give you, the adult a heads up and a few precious moments to make a decision. Unfortunately, many people have been killed in their homes because they simply did NOT know who or what was coming in and reacted in such a manner that put themselves and their family in harms way.

And finally, lets talk frankly, the thought that if you are doing ‘nothing’ wrong will keep you ‘safe’ needs to go out the door. Unfortunately this mindset gets people killed. Because you feel ‘safe’ because you are doing nothing wrong, therefore there is NO WAY they would come knocking on your door ergo something happens and you pull out your firearm because only someone intent on doing you harm would kick your door in. WRONG. Go back to the above statements and understand one thing, shock and awe works for them, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. Is it potentially used wrongly? Yes, but on the otherhand see their side of it. Most LEO’s are just following orders and commands from higher ups who most likely will forget to mention that you were cooperative, etc. All they know is they are there and wouldn’t be there unless someone knew you could be a threat. Just saying…that is how it is, right or wrong. Better to argue in court and go broke than into the ground.

On the otherhand, illegal activity of any sort can and will get you into trouble. Stay on this side of the line people. If you have had contact with law enforcement or a regulatory agent, then they perceive something is going on and if you are belligerent, uncooperative, etc. then you become a threat. Regulations carry the force of law and while I in no way support even half of the ‘regulations’ that are place, at this moment in time, tis better to argue in court. GET IT? Tis better to let them do their job, see you are not a threat and then sue their butts off later, than to fight back when everyone is running on adrenaline.
Been there, done that, in the heat of the moment, YOU need to be running your own threat assessment. Which is why I make it a point to suggest that you look for tip offs and get in place an early warning system so you can differentiate between an illegal threat and law enforcement threat. That way, you can make an informed and appropriate decision on ‘what to do’ when the invasion comes.

As a side note, in my own experience, those who entered my home unexpectedly that weekday morning were very professional. While I am still angry and I am personally still dealing with their actions (which I did receive an apology for later on), I can say that they treated my children very well. One agent even sat down with my girls and painted finger nails with them! After I got a grip and figured out what was going on I was then able to do what was necessary in dealing with them being there and my own calm in the moment allowed my own children to feel safe and relaxed which allowed everyone else to feel safe and relaxed.

Seriously, its up to you how you want things to turn out.

Home security first and foremost, situational awareness, making sure your children are NOT scared of firearms in the home, practicing ‘active shooter’ drills and attitude will determine the outcome. Unfortunately we no longer live in Camelot and we aren’t in Kansas anymore. While I see the over reaction and mistakes that get made, I have come to understand that I (YOU) truly have control in whether or not you become a victim and in turn, your children.

Stay safe and aware and prepared.

swatLife just tends to bump along at its own little pace…we get into our own habits, routines and ways of being and then THUNK! WHACK! BOOM! Our habits, routines and ways of being and/or thinking about and in the world get rocked to the core…something totally out of the ordinary and unexpected happens and you are left with zero ways of coping with the situation…such is the case when you or someone you once loved/do love has done something so ‘bad’ (and I use that term relatively and loosely) that the ‘government’ makes the decision to go full shock and awe and break bad on you, the innocent person who has just been bumping along.

This coming January, 2014 will mark a month that changed my life and way of looking at the world. I always believed that cooperating and doing the right thing would keep me and mine out of harms way. I believed until that point that we were still free to say and do things without becoming subject to police action, that the First Amendment was REAL. With that said, I do understand that you can’t run around making specific threats, or yelling fire in a movie theater or bomb on airplane. I get the fact that you can’t make death threats either…okay, I get the idea and purpose behind that…but merely stating one’s opinions and feelings? Geez? Really? Two years ago I believed that my opinion could be mine and I could, within reason, express my thoughts, opinions and feelings openly. But that all changed in January of 2012.

 

One cold morning in January of 2012 I was visited by an investigator with the State Police…I fully cooperated with them, after all, I had done nothing wrong…why not cooperate? If you got nothing to hide then you got nothing to fear right? They weren’t after me (per se) but my ex whom I have spoken of previously…they wanted to talk to him and they wouldn’t say why…well, okay, no biggie, as a bailbonds man (my ex) I could see how they might want to speak with him and while I knew there were issues going on between my ex and a magistrate about the way he did business (and to be honest, I never knew him to do anything illegal at least business wise) I didn’t really think anything about that ‘visit’. I told them what they wanted to know (ie his cell phone number and where he was staying) and even got my ex on the phone so they could talk. End of subject right?

Dead wrong….a few mornings later I was up and getting my children ready to go to school, doing my usual routine, not yet dressed, cup of coffee in hand going to the side door of my home to smoke my morning cigarette before getting dressed.

At 8:15 in the morning with coffee in hand I see out of my kitchen window in the corner that looks out in the back yard a couple of guys with assault rifles in hand, red dots coming through the window, dressed all in black with face masks on rounding the corner of the house to the back deck area. I register this slightly as I keep going to the door and then get the shock of my life…several red dots on my chest and shouted commands…door busts open and there I stand with my mouth open being drug out of my house roughly, to see a slew of law enforcement of all types all over my yard, driveway, etc…right down to the fricken’ dog catcher. No joke…my hands are zip tied behind my back and all I can do is freak out…what the hell had I done? Then the worst…as I am trying to gain my bearings while freaking out I see a bunch of armed SWAT go in my house fully armed…my kids, then ages 1, 6 and 8 are at the table eating breakfast. It goes on and on, but suffice to say that it was a very unpleasant experience and no one gives ANY information and if you think getting robbed by someone is violating…try having the FBI, State Police, local law enforcement and ATF in your house at 8:30 in the morning with your pajamas on knowing full well you have done nothing wrong and being asked a billion questions and being told nothing. Have all your personal items gone through, frisked in front of your kids, a bomb sniffing dog that wants to eat your dogs in your house. Have 2 3 month old puppies yanked out from under the bed and put into the back of the doggie catchers truck. Have people you KNOW drive by your house and wonder what is going on…try standing there talking straight to some guy who claims authority with no bra on and everything on your cell phone, computers, laptops, tablets and ipod down loaded for review. You need to ask me why I developed PTSD? Have strangers ask you about your sex life, your tattoos, your reading material, why you have camping propane and where the timers are…REALLY? YEP! And this is the short story…and by the way, you are also in charge of making sure your kids are safe and sound at the sametime cause honestly, at this point they don’t care.

Just writing that still makes me mad, angry and scared that maybe, just maybe this will get me in hot water again. But the truth is the truth…It got resolved, but not before the damage was done. I also forgot to mention that they didn’t bother to give the search warrants (which were EXTREMELY VAGUE) until right before they left, as an after thought I think.

Did I do something wrong? Nope…I just happend to be ‘collateral’ damage in their quest to get my ex out of the bailbonds business where we lived. He didn’t even live there, but because he had previously I was suspect. Come to find out he had posted rants and raves on Facebook and some really demeaning things about women. That was it. Things were blown out of proportion because ‘they’ take everything seriously. Welcome to the New Age of Homeland Security. In all fairness, after the initial rush and invasion, when they felt safe, it wasn’t too bad, a lot of questions, a lot of watching my things gone through by strangers…not like I had anything of question in my house or on my computers. And I will say that I got good and pissed after I figured out WHY they were there and what was going on (though no one ever said it outright). And I wasn’t just pissed at my ex, but at them too for the complete overkill…but that is what they do…act first and assess later.

A couple of months later they pulled the same crap at another guy’s house, for the same reasons, but that guy was smart and prepared…everything was caught on video tape. Good for him. But I see more and more of this happening around the country, even to 11 year olds who are making statements on Facebook…really? Big Brother is watching and ready to pounce like a big cat.

Long and short, I do believe we will see more and more of my experience happen as more laws and executive orders are put into place in the name of ‘public safety’ and in the interest of ‘national security’. While I understand the need for safety and security I do question the reasoning, laws and tactics that this ever growing ‘need’ for ‘safety and security’ are beginning to dictate. I question the militarization of our police force through various means. I question what it is that ‘they’ are so afraid of that they feel the need to send in 40 people to a house where there is no threat and children present when contact was already made and cooperation was given. That single event changed my LIFE forever and not necessarily in good ways and it set in motion a string of other life changing events that have left scars that will never be healed. But after this passage of two years since this occurred I have found a strength of will that I did not know fully know I had. I survived and am ready for what may come in the future since I will not be quiet nor compliant in the future if attacked unjustly in the future. Hell, I even joke that ‘next time they better come in the middle of the night with helicopters’ because their last invasion has made me aware and wiser. And there is some truth to that statement. Not that I go around doing things to provoke the beast, I live a law abiding life (okay, I don’t always wear my seatbelt and do speed on the highway) and try not to make provocative statements. But I am aware that my political views and my lifestyle have probably got me on the ‘potential terrorist’ list. Sigh…and? I can’t go around being afraid of living and living authentically and according to my beliefs just because someone in authority might have an issue with my opinions and lifestyle (which at this point in time is not illegal).

 

So my point here to you and your take away?

 

  1. Law Enforcement when set in motion is a machine that will not stop and does not care. It is like a pitbull in a fight…it will use any and all means to subdue you. Be ready for that in the coming years. Know that they can and will do whatever it takes to make themselves ‘safe’. YOU are nothing and in fact, simply by breathing a potential threat and/or enemy.

 

And before anyone gets their dander up about that statement, understand that I UNDERSTAND what law enforcement is facing today in this world. I know law enforcement officers, hell, I have a background in criminal justice! There are a lot of good men and women in law enforcement who are there for the right reasons…but they have a job to do and they WILL DO IT regardless.

 

  1. Be careful of what you say online…even jokingly…because ‘they’ take nothing as a joke. Texting, emails, all of it…if you have learned nothing just look at Eric Snowden and other examples over the past couple of years about the extent of big brother watching you. This isn’t to say that you can’t express yourself, just do so with full knowledge that anything you can and do say will be held against you in the future. Running your mouth publicly WILL get you in trouble…save the emotional crap for private.
  2. Know those around you, and know them well, especially be watchful of your partners and children. If you see a problem or even THINK there is a problem, please, take care of it before something happens or things get out of hand and ‘officials’ become involved. You are responsible for your own life and while you can’t stop people from doing things you can take measures to protect you and yours and others.

 

Now that may sound a bit like the ‘see something, say something’ campaign DHS       has got going, but its not meant to be that way. I am specifically speaking to you being willing to seek help for your family members if you are seeing things that could point to a problem. I know, easier said than done…but you gotta at least try. And if you can’t then YOU take measures for your own safety.

 

  1. Be polite, be cooperative as much as possible, but be firm and don’t allow yourself to be twisted into a pretzel. This takes a mind set and strength of character to stick to the facts. But that’s what you want to do. Don’t be a jerk if you ever find yourself face to face with tyranny. Resist but do so in a polite way okay? No sense in making matters worse.
  2. Know your rights and make sure they are being observed and if need be, don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t be rude, just speak up.
  3. Be aware that our law enforcement is being trained and funded with money and ‘help’ from DHS and thus has become a defacto extension of  them. It is what it is people, just sayin’. And again, don’t get your panties in a twist if you are one of the good guys okay? I am just making a statement of fact, no matter how nasty it may seem.
  4. Be aware that there is a whole generation of law enforcement that has combat and/or military experience. That does not mean that they (law enforcement or the military) is bad, it just means that the days of the ‘officer friendly’ is on its way out. The mindset being brought to you via law enforcement is everyone not on your side, ie my buddy, is a potential threat/enemy and is thus treated so.
  5. Run through some potential senarios in which you may find yourself on the wrong end of the stick, be it a traffic stop or home invasion as in my case. It won’t be ‘real’ but it could help you get through it with minimum problems (just like a fire drill).
  6. Be cooperative, but don’t roll over. That is important!!! The more you roll over and bend over backwards to be ‘nice’ in the hopes that they will just leave you alone the more liberties will be taken with your civil and lawful rights.
  7. Know the laws in your area/state and at the federal level so that you don’t unknowingly trip some wire unintentionally. Also, pay attention to other little things. I have a concealed carry permit. In my state, that concealed carry is tied to my drivers record (meaning if an officer runs my tags he sees that I have a CC license). If I am stopped for some reason, the officer will be on guard. Best to head off a potential ‘problem’ and let them know up front if you do or don’t have a firearm on you, even though by law you don’t have to. It just makes life easier and them less likely to see you as a threat.

 

Lastly and probably most importantly, develop a solid relationship with yourself and your higher power. Because in the end, that is really all you got between yourself and them and they can’t take that away from you. It will give you a sense of peace if and when you find yourself with that red dot on your chest and maybe, just maybe, if your open to it, you just might be given the knowledge of how to handle your particular situation in the moment.

These are just my thoughts on my experience. There are books, videos and other material out there that deal with what to or not do in given situations that go in depth and maybe helpful to you too so if you are interested in going there, go there on how to protect yourself further….

 

Stay safe and good luck…