Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another Lesson from the Death of Kathryn Johnston

No doubt everyone knows by now about the tragic death of Kathryn Johnston, the 92-year-old Georgia woman who opened fire on officers after Atlanta police performed a no-knock raid on her home on suspicion drug deals were going down in the house. The news is slowly emerging that Ms. Johnson, God rest her soul, may well have been gunned down for a prevarication:

Atlanta police Chief Richard Pennington confirmed Monday that the informant now claims police asked him to lie about his role in an alleged drug buy that led to the shooting.
The informant, who has not been identified, complained to department officials that the drug investigators involved in the bust had asked him to go along with a story they concocted after the shooting, said Pennington. He said the informant had been placed in protective custody.
The informant told an Atlanta television station that the officers asked him to lie to provide them cover in the shooting.
Pennington confirmed the television station's account of what the informant had claimed and said it mirrored what the informant had told his internal affairs unit over the weekend.

Several other bloggers, among them David Codrea, Firehand and Tam, have already provided excellent commentary on this whole situation and some of the issues that desperately need to be discussed because of it -- the the overreliance on SWAT and tactics like no-knock raids, the utter futility on the War On Some Drugs, the police mistakes making the general public more likely to distrust them. As for me, though, I've been thinking about it from a slightly different perspective.
We all know just how successful the War On Some Drugs has been; they could send a bunch of teenagers with slingshots up against the 101st Air Assault Division and the teenagers would fare better against the 101st than the drug warriors have against drugs in this country, all things considered. We should have learned this lesson back during Prohibition, but, of course, we haven't, and we all see where it's gotten us, with Kathryn Johnston being only the latest victim.
It's bad, oh yes, it's very bad...but can you imagine, just how much worse it would be, if these kinds of tactics were employed (and you know they damn sure would be) in the aftermath of any kind of gun ban and confiscation? We all know (or at least we should) that untold amounts of weaponry would be squirreled away in the leading up to such an order, and we all know just what would happen during (and after) any kind of resistance, organized or not. The War On Some Drugs has indeed turned into a clusterfuck of epic proportions, but if they went after guns like they did drugs in the aftermath of a federal gun ban with no grandfathering, comparing the escalated War On Guns to the War On Some Drugs as it is today would be akin to comparing the storming of the beaches of Normandy to a holdup on the New York subway. It would be a nightmare, unlike anything we've ever seen in this country, at least on a widespread scale. My prediction? The morgues would fill up, likely with many innocent people. And, of course, so would the prisons. We just think we have prison overcrowding now. My money says we ain't seen nothin' yet, and God forbid we ever go down that road. No doubt the economy would tank, and society would go down the tubes as increasing numbers of people distrusted police more and more until they got to the point of seeing the police as the enemy. We'd likely see civil war (and not these tempest-in-a-teapot skirmishes the media are now calling "civil war" in Iraq, either.) And the Bradys, the VPC and their ilk have shown no sign of giving a damn about any of the possibilities, either. A pox on all their houses. I renewed my NRA membership today, and a membership in Gun Owners of America is in my future...I hope it's in yours, too, if you're not already a member (or an NRA member, for that matter). I would much, much rather be fighting these people on the state and federal government levels. And I know the NRA is a damn sight far from perfect...but change begins with us.