Vice Squad
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
More Thoughts on Drug War Victim

Yesterday I mentioned the shooting death of a woman during a police raid that took place in my native territory. I just wanted to mention another victim in this tragedy, the police officer who fired the fatal shots. While few details are available, it may well be the case that the officer's judgment to fire was sound, given the circumstances of facing the armed woman. But what is hidden in that "given the circumstances". There was absolutely no need to employ an early morning commando-style raid in this case, even if drug prohibition is worth enforcing. By using this tactic, not only is a woman dead -- a woman who was very unlikely to threaten any non-intruder with a gun -- but a police officer has to live with the knowledge that he or she killed someone, someone who was well-respected in her community and not perceived as any sort of threat by her neighbors. The drug war has done this officer a significant disservice, too.

And what is the noble purpose served by these 5AM commando raids, as Vice Squad is wont to ask? To make it a little bit harder for some of our friends and neighbors to consume a substance that they want to consume. Pursuit of this laudable, altruistic goal leaves a trail of victims in its wake -- but think how well-intentioned the prohibitionists are. Surely we should judge public policy by its intentions, not by its results. And all these victims?....well, their victimization was unintentional -- but it was not unforeseeable.

[Update: Maybe the officer's judgment was unsound.]

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