WHOOPS! SORRY. WRONG HOUSE.

Posted in Quick Hits on September 10th, 2013 by Ed

The title comes from Jello Biafra's final line in the classic Lard song "Drug Raid at 4 AM." The musical stylings of Lard may not be your cup of tea, but this is one of the best War on Drugs songs around. It's at once subtle and completely unsubtle with its anti-anti-drug message.

The element of black humor in the song comes from the fact that police in this era of No-Knock Warrants and battering rams through front doors do end up saying "Whoops! Wrong house!" with regularity that can only be described as alarming. The Cato Institute – I know, strange bedfellows – has an interactive map of how often these "isolated incidents" and "tragic mistakes" occur.

It turns out that sloppy police work extends beyond the zealous enforcement of drug laws (to say nothing of municipal governments' enthusiasm for civil forfeiture) and that using Maximum Overkill levels of force has become standard operating procedure in the most pedestrian matters.

A few weeks ago, police in Leander, TX raided the home of James and Renata Simmons and ended up shooting their dog before realizing that the person named on the warrant, one Bradley Simpson, doesn't even live in the same town let alone at that address. Simmons, Simpson, close enough. Guns out!

The warrant was for an unpaid vehicle registration.

The saddest part is that the raw incompetence and stupidity of most police is only like 4th on the list of things about them that are terrifying, behind the corruption, violence, and racism.