Sunday, May 22, 2011

Arizona Cops Murder Iraq War Veteran

Last week a SWAT team in Pima County, Arizona, violently invaded Jose Guerena's home, fired 71 bullets at him (only 60 hit their target), and refused for an hour and 15 minutes to let paramedics work on the injured man. Now the cops are assiduously doing their best to slander the dead by saying he had it coming, what with his being involved with a drug gang and everything. Except there's no actual evidence Guerena was; no drugs or paraphernalia found in his home, and Arizona authorities are now reduced to saying Guerena might have been involved in drug gangs because he owned a picture of Jesus Malverde, a sort of Mexican Robin Hood apparently revered by millions of Mexicans today. However, some of those Mexicans are narco-traffickers, ergo anyone with a Mexican name and a picture of Malverde is assumed to belong to a drug gang (especially when cops need after-the-fact justification for staging a home invasion and murdering the home's inhabitants).

I look forward to the day police use similar logic to bring down the Mafia: he had an Italian last name and owned a rosary! You know how Catholic those Mafiosi tend to be. We had no choice but to pump 60 bullets into his body, then keep the paramedics at bay. How else are we supposed to protect innocent people from murderous thugs?

I have officially lost what few remaining shreds of respect I had for "police work" as a profession. The noble stories I heard as a child all turned out to have parentheticals attached: Police work hard to get murderers off the streets (assuming those murderers don't have police badges. When they do, police do all they can to cover up for the murderer and slander his victim). Police protect us from thieves (except the thieves in the police department who use civil asset forfeiture to confiscate money and property from people never convicted of a crime).

I'll concede the possibility "a numerical majority of police have never personally used their badge as a license to rob, rape or murder." But even those who never directly inflicted suffering on innocents are still complicit, by allowing themselves to become bricks in the blue wall of silence. There are thousands of corrupt-cop stories out there -- journalist Radley Balko has made an entire career out of documenting American police abuse, and for all that I admire Balko's work I firmly believe his career has no damned business existing in an ostensibly free country -- yet how many policemen became known for blowing the whistle on their corrupt colleagues? Off the top of my head, I recall Frank Serpico. That's all.

Jose Guerena, dead at 26 and leaving behind a widow and a toddler child, would've been better off killed by an IED in Iraq. At least then, the government would pay his widow a pension rather than posthumously slander him. (Granted, you might say I should not blame "the" government for the localized actions of the Pima County Sheriff's Department. But unless and until the Department of Justice spends at least as much time and effort taking down murderous SWAT teams as it does arresting cancer patients who smoke pot, I consider the federal government complicit in every SWAT-team atrocity Radley Balko ever reported.)

Were Jose Guerena a blue-eyed blond named Joe Whitebread, he'd probably still be alive today. Here in the year 2011, the belief "Mexicans aren't fully human, so it's no big deal if they die" is de rigueur for any effective drug warrior. Just ask Michele Leonhart, the oddly moralistic sociopath currently heading the Drug Enforcement Administration: last month the Washington Post reported that Mexican drug cartels are now targeting and killing children, in order to terrorize the populace. Leonhart considers that cause for celebration:
“It may seem contradictory, but the unfortunate level of violence is a sign of success in the fight against drugs,” said Michele Leonhart, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The cartels “are like caged animals, attacking one another,” she added.
See? No innocent children are being slaughtered in Mexico; they're just caged animals dying south of the Rio Grande, and our world presumably a better place now that they've stopped breathing. And Jose Guerena wasn't just a Marine veteran, hard-working husband and devoted father; he was one of those people. You know, the ones who engage in suspicious activities like having a Hispanic name and owning pictures of the wrong Robin Hood.


Blogger Charles Pergiel said...

I would like to know how this turns out, or what happens next, if anything.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

The SWAT team cops might be punished by a paid vacation -- I mean, suspension -- for a few days while the incident is investigated. Then the investigation will conclude they acted according to procedure and they'll return to full duty.

The only shred of hope comes from knowing that "cops can do no wrong" apologists typically lionize the military, too. Maybe that means they'll decide murdering an Iraq War veteran is Going Too Far.

11:21 PM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

The rule is that anything with a union is corrupt.

4:46 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Interesting how, when cops murder someone, their internal PR machine kicks in to libel the victim -- exactly the same way a bureaucracy circles the wagons to portray a whistleblower as a "troublemaker" or "disgruntled."

Gosh, you'd almost think we were working for those motherfuckers, instead of the other way around.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Simeone said...

"The rule is that anything with a union is corrupt."

Oh, what a crock of shit. I'm a member of AFTRA. Big, bad, scary radio & TV union. I oppress lots of people. And I'm corrupt.

I love how union-bashing is the preferred activity du jour on so many blogs, while the country is going down the crapper due to actual abuses such as the ones Jennifer writes about.

Thank you for posting this, Jennifer. I re-posted at Elliott Blog in reference to the recent Jefferson Memorial arrests:

And I hope you saw the article in the NYT yesterday about the anarchist who FOIA'd his FBI file. The overreach of the National Security State continues unabated.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Oh, most definitely, rhhardin. There's not a day I don't complain about my corrupt union president who makes a $50 million salary and laid off half the work force to goose his stock options. It's those rotten unions that are responsible for decades of stagnant hourly pay while productivity doubled.

9:04 PM  

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