Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bringing a Tank to a Cockfight

Robert McNamara, The Fog of War:

Proportionality should be a guideline in war.

If war is merely the use of violence (usually by a party or group) in order to effect a desired political end, then what is law enforcement but domestic war? We don't need to debate long on this; a look at any SWAT team's garage will do. Or you can ask real life lawman Steven Seagal.

At the time, the use of several armored vehicles, dozens of law enforcement officers, and, of course, Steve Seagal riding in a tank to raid an unarmed chicken farm, level a surrounding wall, and smash out the windows of Llovera’s home was immediately derided as gross misuse of force and funds, all authorized by self-styled celebrity Sheriff Joe Arpaio in order to play up to the reality TV cameras—an argument that Llovera’s subsequent minor arrest for “suspicion of cockfighting” did little to quell. Llovera is now finally fighting back, filing the notice of claim as the first step toward a lawsuit that his lawyer says will seek $100,000 in damages and “a formal written apology” from Seagal to Llovera’s children for killing their puppy. Here’s hoping that Steven Seagal, puppy-killer, never meets Steven Seagal, guy from Out For Justice, because that dude would be pissed.


  1. Man, they even admit that much of law enforcement is domestic war - War on Drugs, anyone? Proportionality, though, seems to be a secondary consideration to things like safety of the policemen involved. It's a dangerous job, though! Thin blue line, and all that. Where would we be without them cleaning up the streets?

  2. You touch on a good point. I often hear about how cops need to err on the side of protecting themselves--this is usually said after an accusation of excessive force, or the shooting of an unarmed person, or so forth. But the thing is that we need to ask ourselves what the moral difference is between erring on the side of killing US citizens and endangering the lives of police officers. This is a war in which "we" are on both sides, no?

  3. This is a war in which "we" are on both sides, no?

    Excellent point! I suspect that, at least among cops, that's not the case; that criminals - and presumably suspected criminals - exist as a separate category of being, a blight on society rather than a part of it.