Recently by David Hathaway: Storing Nickels
There is a lot of chatter amongst conservative "2nd Amendment cops" and military folks about how they will not obey the orders when the grand pronouncement is made to take guns. It will be a cop sit out. What will really happen is quite different. Your Republican cop or military buddy will gladly and patriotically take your guns.
Gun grabs and grabs of anything else — children, money, real estate, raw milk — don't come down the chain of command as such. There is not an edict that comes out saying:
Obama Executive Order 666:
All federal, state, and local law enforcement officers and all active duty military personnel are hereby ordered and required to seize firearms from all persons whose only crime is non-compliance with the firearms transfer provisions contained in the Children's and Puppies' Omnibus Health and Safety Act of 2014. Operation Patriot Crush will commence at midnight on June 1, 2014. All will be required to participate from that date forward and to actively engage in door-to-door gun seizure operations against fellow Americans. Constitutional objections by officers will not be recognized and are hereby deemed meritless.
What really happens is that good ol' patriotic cops are told by their bosses to show up at the police department at o dark thirty for a briefing about the execution of a search warrant. This happens hundreds of times every day. These law enforcement agencies often have military personnel and resources dedicated to assist in their mission as well. No one ever objects. There is action afoot against n'er do wells. It is based on a hush-hush deep dark sinister undercover deal. It can't be discussed because cooperators are "in deep" and it's all "need to know."
Fortunately, your buddy gets to be in on the action the day that the door kicking is done. It will be cool. It's like black ops. It's like a video game. It's like a military adventure against the ferreted-out scum of society. It's exciting and he gets to be there. He can meet his cop pals at Pizza Hut later on for lunch and brag about how he punched a guy who "had an attitude" and made him throw up and said, "How'd you like that home boy? Get used to that. You are going to get a lot more of that in the joint, if you're lucky!" Before the raid, he is already getting a few comic one liners ready to go with the catchy punch lines to be thrown in later describing something like how a perp soiled himself when your cop buddy demonstrated his manhood by pointing an M4 at his forehead. These guys are scum and he has to get his licks in and deal firmly with them before those pansies in the courts get ahold of them and dismiss everything on some technicality.
On the day of the raid, there are lots of cops milling around until the master of ceremonies begins the sermon. The M.C. is someone who is praiseworthy due to rank; somebody like the Chief of Police. A general tirade slowly builds from the orator about what various scum infiltrators have done to our communities. Veiled references to politics are made. It is mentioned how "the current administration, I won't name names" is mollycoddling the crooks and not keeping our children safe. Then a hush of silence comes over the room as the M.C. introduces the plain clothes detective, investigator, or case agent.
The detective, in a dramatic almost whispering voice, says that no details can be given to the mass of assembled cops. People are in deep. There are sensitive infiltrators inserted in the group that need their identities protected, "So we can't talk in detail but, just let it be known that these people we are going after today are the worst. They walk amongst our families at the mall. They go to school with your kids. They are a thorn in our side." He looks over at the Chief of Police and begins a reciprocated round of suggestive head nodding, like yeah boy, I hear that. The uniformed crowd stays silent in awe of the plain clothes guy who has risen in the ranks to the point where he can sleuth together paper cases, even when no crimes are apparent, and bust down doors with another piece of paper. The detective says, "Seize computers, papers, and containers. Take cell phones and address books. Take reading material like gun magazines so we can show the judge where these people's heads are at. Separate the subjects and get down incriminating statements. If there are any minors present, we have social services on standby to take the kids."
The detective continues, "These folks have been given the chance to work things out and they refused to cooperate. They have been approached and would not comply. They were blatantly hostile. They very likely have it in for us. They didn't say so in so many words but, we are dealing with fringe people here folks, so assume that their intentions are hostile to be on the safe side. We have people posted watching this place and there is not a lot of movement over there. They are lying low. That is not normal. These people have something to hide. We don't have any arrest warrants but, we may file charges depending on what we find today."
None of this is defined by the detective. This is a pre-game pep talk. Specifics will get in the way. Details are not given concerning how mama met the cops at the door one day holding her baby and said, "I do not consent to any searches" when they asked her to open the door and let them in. Why were they there? Well, that doesn't matter for purposes of the briefing either. The family had returned a vaccination consent form to the school unsigned. The cops, responding to a request by a social worker who had been contacted by the school, were making a "welfare check." In other words, they were going to snoop around and try to have a lengthy coerced conversation and get some juicy quotes for somebody's collectivist social agenda. No one had observed a crime but, these people must be brought in line.
When the cops got snubbed at the door, they got there hackles up. So they went to their in-house detective, Al, who punched his password into the post-9/11 Regional Fusion Center website and asked for a full profile on the address, the residents, and the license plates. Good thing because, although the reports came back with pages of N/A, suspect Bob had bought a gun.
The detective then went to the gun store where the gun was sold. When he looked at the store's records, he found out that Bob had bought another gun there. Detective Al always wanted to be a federal agent, so he had an excuse to drop by the ATF office, talk to the feds, and ask them to run a check. He left ATF giddy because he now had some new buzzwords to impress his bosses and co-workers.
He proudly proclaimed back at the office, "We bounced his name off of e-trace. Yup, he's in there boys. The ATF has this guy's number. His name is in their system. The computer lit up like a Christmas tree when we ran his name. We bounced him off of Operation Gunrunner too." That was another database the detective heard mentioned while over at ATF. There was nothing in there for Bob, the guy he was snooping on but, the words sounded cool. Detective Al told his bosses that "ATF is all like, yeah, we are all over this guy but, they said we could deal with him."
So, long story short, Bob filled out ATF forms when he bought a couple of guns and the information from those forms was put in a computer saying that he had bought those guns. Period. But, Detective Al needed to make some hay to get his next promotion so, he latched on to whatever was passing under his nose right then. To put the icing on the cake, the detective got some federal DHS funds from the sergeant in his department that controlled Operation Stonegarden funds and decided he would do something that would excite the bosses; send a snitch in to have a recorded talk with Bob and grab some good sound bites. Detective Al was rolling in glory now; federal funds, federal databases, and now getting in good with his bosses by sending a snitch in to throw out some ideas to a suspect.
The snitch posed as a landscape guy and offered to mow Bob's lawn. Bob said, "No thanks. I mow my own lawn." The snitch made a few more failed attempts to try to sell him some stuff out of the trunk of his car. Bob got suspicious and called 911. The police station went into Defcon 1.
The Chief called in Detective Al and said, "Shut the door. We got a call from your target's house. Your man on the inside is compromised. We've got to move on this now, pronto, ASAP!!
Al didn't want to admit that he had nothing, so he alternately shook and nodded his head to the chief, and mumbled, "That scum bag. Man this guy is trying to mess with us. I'm going to get paper on him."
"Do it!! The Chief yelled. Do it yesterday!! Get this piece of garbage out of this town. Call the paper so they can have a reporter at the raid briefing that can snap some cop pictures without faces, except mine. Ted down at the Gazette is good for that. He will hold the story u2018til we round up the perps. Get a news release roughed out about how potential school shooting violence was averted, etc."
Al then got a moment in the sun with the local prosecutor's office. He got all his fancy words ready. He made sure to work in "e-trace" and thankfully remembered "Operation Gunrunner" at the last minute. He thought the buzzwords would awe the local prosecutor but, swamped with DUI cases, he couldn't care less about the Regional Fusion Center data checks and all the ATF lingo.
The prosecutor asked Al if he had filled out the abbreviated telephonic search warrant form. Al said, "No, how do I do that." The prosecutor pointed at a form, handed Al the judge's phone number, and instructed him to just call the judge. The prosecutor told Al that he could get the telephonic warrant signed by the judge after the raid.
The detective continues talking to the assembled cops, "These people are heavy into guns, so we aren't taking any chances. SWAT will flash bang the premises and then we will hit the door and take every one down. We don't want to give them a chance to load up, chamber rounds, and start firing. Apparently their kid is a problem child at school, and the parents are backing the kid up. We have guns there and a deviant child. That is a bad mix. We are talking about something going on here that is not kosher and we don't need it to explode at the school into something serious. Need I say more? Need I say Littleton or Newtown? The psychiatrist on contract with family services gave us the go ahead to proclaim the parents and child as potentially dangerous, so we can take any guns we find."
After the plain clothes detective gins up the crowd, baiting them with spy novel intrigue, the SWAT commander takes over the briefing. Random scenarios are discussed. He gives a long-winded speech using lingo like "active shooter."
"What will we do if we have an active shooter? You will SITREP the metrics of the active shooter into the Command Post. If we have enough positive granularity, we will go green." A few older rube sheriff's deputies roll their eyes at all the military lingo and bureauspeak that had crept into police work. The younger echelon of shaved head cops from multiple agencies, nod and smile showing that they don't want to be left out of the enchanting aura of groupthink. One of the young cops says to his buddy, "Take u2018em out!" and laughs.
Another Iraq vet says, "We knew how to deal with these trouble makers in Fallujah." The vet had actually never done anything more interesting than order a 12-inch meatball sub at the Subway in his megabase in Iraq, and he wasn't sure if he had ever actually even seen an Iraqi or maybe just brown imported contractors of some other nationality that cleaned the base but, he hoped the comment would up his street cred with the other cops.
The SWAT commander continues, "Remember folks, we are in a post 9/11 paradigm here! We aren't playing games. These people are in it for real folks, and you better have your head in the game too! The SWAT commander had been briefed for 3 minutes by the detective before the mass briefing and chose to copy some of his cool jargon to help build the sinister aura of the evil organization. After "paradigm," he gets out e-trace, Operation Gunrunner, and throws in, just for fun, that "these folks might get hammered with RICO" because he heard that one before. He pretends like he is in the know but, just can't say more. He dramatically says, "I'm not going to say hate crime because, well, let's not go there, if you know what I mean." He cagily acts like he barely caught himself before accidentally revealing who the new head of Al Qaeda is. The SWAT guys in the corner snicker because they know their boss is grand-standing and knows nothing about the case.
He dramatically states, "Just keep this in mind; these people may come off all like Mr. Innocent but, they are the worst of the worst and they will shoot you just as soon as say Hello. So, remember, the most important thing, I want you all to go home to your families at the end of the shift today. Not in a body bag. If someone goes home in a body bag, make sure he is not wearing a uniform. If you see somebody going into an aggressive posture, deal with him immediately; need I say more? These people hate you and hate the government. If we have a shooting, we will have a huddle and get our story straight before anything goes out. Got it?" No one in a uniform objects to anything being said.
Different scenarios are discussed. "If we get a barricaded subject, contact me, the SWAT commander. We have ways of dealing with that. Just pull back and we will bring the armored vehicle in and we will get them out of there whether they like it or not." He puts on a big smile and there is a wide round of chuckles from the audience as each cop looks at the guy next to him with a cheese eating grin.
One cop is heard saying loudly, "That's what I'm talking about" which causes an uproar of laughter to overtake the crowd. Another one blurts out, "Crispsy critters" which gets an even bigger laugh.
Guys swagger around with their low thigh-mounted holsters that they don't always get to wear on regular patrol duty. Extended magazines are velcroed all over the web gear. Guys have extra ordnance hanging all over them that they usually don't carry on regular patrol duties. It will be a fun day for all, and they might get to pull a pin on an explosive or gas dispenser that shoots out hot flames. If they are lucky, they might even see a house burn down and have a great story to tell for months. It will all be good versus evil though, so no one will need to give in to that prick from their conscience.
After the operation, the cops discuss with each other in smug fashion how "that was a cluster." When the emotions die down and they get a clear look at grandpa lying on the ground with taser barbs in him, they all make high-minded critiques amongst themselves talking about how messed up the case was. They then conveniently forget their feelings, their lessons learned, and leave the crime scene they created and go to lunch. All these conservative cops will respond to the next call though, earn their overtime, and not ask any hard questions. The sinister hard looks will be given during the sermon to justify the next raid and they will comply with that one as well. Details will again be minimal, for security, as always but, it will be made clear that the targets are really bad guys and that legal issues don't allow the raid orchestrator to lay out the case to the door crashers.
When everyone gets sued someday, the cops didn't know any better. The perps were all scum anyway. It's a cover story they came up with. The story about the autistic son choking on smoke from a gas grenade was an intentional tear jerker to get the jury turned off on cops. Grandpa limping to the door without his crutches and then getting tasered was all an act to throw the cops off.
During these escapades, your conservative, "Christian," Republican, pro-2nd Amendment cop buddy will be raring to go. He will be ready to take someone out. He acts like he believes it all. He likes the power, the force, and the feeling of loyalty to a group identity that is unquestioningly focused on "the mission." He is ready to kick someone if they resist. And, he sure as shootin' rounded up the evil scum's guns when he broke down the door of Bob and his family, even though he had no personal knowledge of them or any illegalities committed by them.
He will use this latest war story in the Sunday school class he teaches to add to the mystique of his personal life and to show how his profession gives him a unique ability and perspective to comment credibly on Bible lessons. And yes, your cop buddy will still insist that he will never follow the gun grab orders when they come down from Obama.
David Hathaway [send him mail] is a former supervisory DEA Agent who homeschools his nine children. He enjoys writing about the injustices of the state.