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The squad came at dawn, Remington model 870 shotguns at the ready. They broke down the door, rushed in and handcuffed a man before shoving him into a police car. One might think they were after a terrorist, escaped convict, or murderer. In reality, this was a raid by the enforcement division of the office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education. The target was a woman wanted on some student loan issue. She was not there, but the armed squad carted off her estranged husband Kenneth Wright and their three kids. Such armed raids, the DOE explains, are necessary to combat issues such as bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds.
An armed squad decked out in bulletproof vests worked their way through a crowded train station and an observer might have thought they pursued an armed attacker. Actually, this was an operation of the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response squad of the Transportation Security Administration. Tasked to screen airline passengers, the TSA has expanded to sporting events, music festivals, rodeos and train terminals. With bomb-sniffing dogs in tow, the armed VIPR squads stop people at random, which amounts to an unwarranted search that violates constitutional protections.
The sniper adjusted his scope and squeezed off a round. The target never heard rifle’s report before dropping dead from the kill-shot. One might think this was a scene from American Sniper, perhaps in Iraq. Actually, it was Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992. The shooter was FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi and his target was Vicki Weaver, who was holding her infant daughter and was not guilty of any crime. The next year the FBI used military tanks to attack the Waco compound and the 75 casualties included women and children.
The federal government increasingly deploys military force and thuggish tactics against civilians, and this should be the context for the recent raid on the offices of President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen. He had been cooperating with the probe by former FBI boss Robert Mueller, but the federal armed squad burst in and confiscated many items and documents. As Alan Dershowitz noted, civil liberties types were pretty quiet about the raid. Everybody ought to be concerned, especially with former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens calling for repeal of the Second Amendment.