100% All-Natural Composition
No Artificial Intelligence!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sheriff's deputy goes "berserk" and kills 6 innocent teenagers

And the death toll might be 7, if another hospitalized victim loses the fight for his life.

Here's one story that I've found so far about Tyler Peterson, a 20-year old off-duty sheriff's deputy in Wisconsin who, overcome with anger after an argument with his girlfriend, stormed her house with a gun and opened fire on ten teenagers, who were having a party with movies and pizza. At least seven were hit, with six dead including Peterson's girlfriend.

I'm hearing some reports that in spite of his age, Peterson was already a member of the sheriff's department's SWAT team. Which if true would add an even worse angle to this story. Nobody that young and inexperienced needs to be put into the situation of being a SWAT member. Personally, I think that SWAT teams are something that lend themselves toward tremendous abuse anyway: the trend is that we see these ninja-suited thugs with way too much weaponry, who don't think anything about shooting first and asking questions later. A lot of innocent people have died at the hands of these goons in the past few years ("rack 'em stack 'em", some SWAT types call it) during supposedly "official" business.

It just comes with the nature of being given too much power: something that most people can't adequately handle without being corrupted by it. So giving it to a 20-year old kid - if Peterson indeed was a SWAT member - who lacks the self-discipline to understand not only how to use that power but how not to use it, is only asking for trouble.

Sadly, this reinforces my arguments from a few days ago, when I wrote that without law enforcement officers (another thing that is wrong: calling them "law enforcement" officers, which automatically suggests that an empowered government is of utmost priority over all else) being as much in fear of common citizens as the citizens have been led to be in fear, then there becomes something worse than a state of anarchy. There is no reason at all why Peterson shouldn't have been made to wonder if any of his intended victims might be able to strike back at him. As it is, it took another law officer to take him down (Peterson is now dead also).

Either we are all equal, or we are not. Either we have the right to defend ourselves, or we are forced to rely on officers of the law who cannot guarantee that they will be able to immediately heed our call for assistance. Either we depend on our own ability and initiative, or we depend on a government which in spite of its promises cannot possibly provide for our safety and well-being.

As I said in that earlier post, there is a role for duly-sworn officers of the law in our society. And the ones who understand that role and the responsibilities that come with it do deserve our full respect. But the fact remains that we can't depend on them to keep us entirely safe. And to expect that would be no more fair to them than it would be to ourselves.