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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for June 5th, 2011

Massad Ayoob


Sunday, June 5th, 2011

After a discussion that began here in late April when I mentioned that cops were not only training for terrorist attacks on the ground in the US, but citing positively armed citizens’ response in some such incidents, the matter morphed into a debate about whether the cops themselves were terrorists. Several who took that position cited YouTube videos, and I said that a tutorial on the topic of how to analyze such videos for the truth they contain might be in order. Several who commented here endorsed that idea, so here’s the first segment.

I was going to start with a non-police case, but since my last blog entry some have suggested that the recent fatal shooting of Jose Guerena in Pima County, Arizona would be a good place to begin. Fair enough. A good synopsis of this incident appears at Wikipedia, and should be read for background.

Prior to the recent release of a video of the incident from a camera mounted to the helmet of one of the SWAT cops, an aggregate of the myriad accusations against the police ran as follows.

Supposedly, the evil police (1) came silently like thieves (2) in the night, (3) wearing masks like burglars or home invaders, and (4) without identifying themselves, and opened fire on the homeowner (5) for no reason. It has also been alleged that they (6) shot him 60 to 71 times, (7) conspired to deprive him of emergency medical care until it was certain he was dead, (8) and made an illegal warrantless entry in any case, (9) should have known they weren’t in danger because the fully loaded rifle of the homeowner was recovered “on safe,” and (10) didn’t have grounds to make the raid to begin with. Oh, and they supposedly (11) “attacked” the wrong address, to boot.

Six of those eleven accusations, more than half of the allegations, are proven false on their face by the helmetcam video.

We see and hear that the SWAT team (1) announced their presence with a high-decibel siren wail that lasted for several seconds. (2) It all takes place in broad daylight, shortly after 9:30 AM. (3) Several have no gear obscuring their facial features, and all are in readily identifiable SWAT uniforms. (4) If you listen for it, you can hear the cops verbally identify themselves. (5) The body language and movement patterns of the officers are consistent with people in fear of their lives, and one officer is seen to fall, giving others the impression that he has been shot.

Other points are refuted by other documentation released from the investigation. (6) The autopsy lists 22 gunshot wounds, not 60 or 71. (7) It is common custom and practice for emergency medical personnel not to enter a shooting scene until it has been searched and secured for other armed perpetrators; if you don’t believe the cops, ask any paramedic or EMT you know. (8) Newsmen have independently investigated and confirmed that they indeed had a warrant. (9) Seen from the front (as when it is pointed at you) the AR15 rifle can’t be visually determined to be “on-safe” or “off-safe.” (10) The continuing investigation indicates that there were indeed grounds for the search warrant to be issued by the officers. Read it here (in detail, please, if you’re going to comment). And note from both film and warrant that (11) Mr. Guerena’s home was indeed the designated, judicially approved target site for the warrant service.

The lesson? Ask yourself if the evidence of your own eyes and ears confirms the allegations in question…and do the same with documented reports as soon as they are released.

Until the investigation is complete, Jose Guerena should be considered innocent until proven guilty insofar as the drug and home invasion allegations…and the police who shot him should be considered innocent until proven guilty of having done so wrongfully.


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