Wilson was no paragon of virtue. He was well-known to local Arkansas
authorities, through convictions for crimes that occurred in the
1960s. Wilson did time for burglary, robbery, and car theft. He
served 5 years in Oklahoma and Arkansas prisons and was paroled
in 1968. Wilson had been dubbed a "reformed outlaw" by
one Pulaski County prosecutor.
had been involved in three shootings. One ruled accidental, one
ruled in self-defense, and one, an apparent case of spousal abuse,
although his wife refused to press charges. Wilson was a heavy drinker
and a dope-smoker. He had testified that he had few visitors to
his out-of-the-way home. "I just try to stay off up there by
myself," he testified. "Even got a sign down there where
you come in across the cattle guard: u2018Leave Me Alone.' "
Wilson was shot dead by Faulkner County deputies and a Conway police
SWAT team, acting under the direction of BATF supervisor Bill Buford.
Under the cover of a federal warrant to seize a 30-.30 Winchester
rifle, owned by Wilson for more than thirty years, the combined
team of federal and state agents performed a "dynamic entry"
(more commonly known as a "no-knock" raid) during the
pre-dawn hours, expecting Wilson and his family to be fast asleep.
raid was lauded as a model of efficiency by the usual suspects.
Lt. Bob Berry of the Conway Regional Drug Task Force opined: "I
don't see anything that could have possibly been done differently.
We put long hours into planning this before carrying it out."
Recently, an officer who chose to remain anonymous added, "Be
advised, folks, we knew he slept with a gun. We knew this was a
big deal for him with the federal sentencing guidelines, and at
his age, it was fight to the death or die in prison." In other
words, local authorities, under the command of a federal jackboot,
knew that they were invading Wilson's home as possible assassins.
They broke in via battering ram, armed to the teeth, ready and willing
to kill Carl Wilson.
often happens, Wilson didn't conform to the plan. Dazed and confused
by SWAT flash bang grenades, Wilson retained enough presence of
mind to seize a .44 magnum single-action revolver from his bedside
table and make an attempt to defend his home from the unknown intruders.
According to testimony from his wife, Wilson never made it out of
bed. He was gut shot by the black-masked home invaders. He bled
to death that very morning in his Mayflower, Arkansas, bedroom.
Wilson was no paragon of virtue. I doubt he was someone that most
of us would enjoy being in company with. He lead an unsavory life
and died an unsavory death.
overriding question remains: Is owning a gun now a death-penalty
offense in the United States? I suppose that the question must now
be answered in the affirmative.
breathy justification by the hordes of federal, state, and local
jackboots, no-knock raids are more and more becoming the norm rather
than the unusual. Hardly a day goes by where you can't read about
a so-called dynamic entry (the preferred term of art by our militarized
law enforcement community) being performed somewhere. And with greater
frequency, these raids terminate with someone being killed. Usually
a suspect, but sometimes a law enforcement officer, which only serves
to increase their paranoia and increase the cycle of federalization
and militarization of the police forces.
Wilson needn't have died on that chilly morning of January 12th,
2001. In fact, Wilson was a cooperative individual when dealing
with the law. As at Waco or Ruby Ridge, a warrant could have been
served by a peace officer in the light of day, sans black masks,
grenades, and battering rams. But that's not the preferred method
of the current standing army our Founding Fathers warned us against.
They are the dealers of death and consider themselves our masters,
rather than our servants.
Elkins [send him mail]
is a freelance consultant and writer living in North Central Florida.