Clearly, the answer is to protect us from the bad guys. Their job is to enforce order on society based on the laws created for that society. The police should never be the bad guys. But for several reasons, paramilitary police or SWAT team raids have been increasing and many times this results in wrong house, no-knock raids. Radly Balko at the Cato Institute has a paper out on the rise in these sickening incidents along with this map detailing botched paramilitary police raids in America. It’s both informative and disheartening to see. Not only is our government going insane, some of those who enforce order are as well. Just last month here in Dallas, SWAT was used to crack down on some terrible, horrible, bad for society poker rooms. Not surprisingly, there was a TV crew along from A&E to film it all. When police decide they need SWAT to break up a poker room, you have the recipe for disaster.
Much of this stems from the increasingly futile War on Drugs policy that greatly expands the incarceration of non-violent criminals and encourages police to perform arrests and seizures of these people and their property. The criminal justice policy of the US needs to be revisited but until the political zeitgeist shifts from how bad all those drug users are, I don’t hold up much hope.
More interesting information found over at Crooked Timber especially in the comments where it’s always interesting to see how many in Europe view our 2nd Amendment right. The day people in the US start saying the 2nd Amendment causes the police to need SWAT teams is the day you know the US headed down the tubes.