It was bound to happen sooner or later. A no-knock raid on a house, an unsuspecting resident who doesn’t realize it’s the police and goes for a weapon, then tragedy.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen it more than once. From Breonna Taylor to Amir Locke, people are dying because of this particular tactic.
And, to be fair, it’s one of my nightmares.
Each and every one of us has wondered if we were going to be one of the unlucky folks who become the victim of a home invasion. We’ve war-gamed the scenario in our heads. We’ve considered the most likely points of entry and have probably trained ourselves to respond.
Then, one night, the door bursts open. Oh God, we think, it’s happening! We reach for our gun and fire at the shadowy figures storming through our home.
Only, it’s the police.
They have a warrant, but there turned out to be some kind of error. They wanted East Main St but you live on West Main St, or maybe the house numbers got transposed and they want a house five blocks away.
Either way, it doesn’t matter. They came into your home and you went for your weapon.
That’s pretty much what happened to Amir Locke.
Or maybe you opened fire at those you believe to be illegally intruding in your home and someone gets killed in the crossfire.
That’s Breonna Taylor.
Or maybe you get swatted by someone who didn’t like the comment you made on social media and has decided to get even.
Look, I get that the police have a tough job. I’ve said it more times than I care to count right here on this very site. I get that.
However, no-knock raids in the wee hours of the morning may make tactical sense to law enforcement, but they also endanger just about every gun owner in the country.
We have conditioned ourselves to reach for our weapons at the first indication of a home invasion. We do that because, well, we’re law-abiding citizens. We shouldn’t have to worry about a police raid.
But we don’t necessarily know who lives down the street. We don’t necessarily know who used to live at our address.
There are a million reasons the police raid a house full of law-abiding citizens, many of them mistakes. That’s bad enough all on its own.
Yet we also have to contend with actual home invasions, part of the reason many of us own guns in the first place. We can’t really afford the delay in determining whether the invasion is law enforcement or a gang of thugs hoping to terrorize our home.
“But Locke was reaching for his gun,” someone has argued.
To that, I simply say that I would have, too. I believe most of us would have.
Or are we to wait and see if the people who bust into the home of a law-abiding citizen really police? I mean, I’m sure at least some of our families will remain unshot by the thugs who seek to terrorize people through such tactics.
What could go wrong?
Yet this all stems from no-knock warrants being issued far, far too often. A bang on the door, announcing that it’s the police, might well stop some of these senseless tragedies from happening. It will also prevent officers from being shot by law-abiding folks who think their home is being invaded.
Now, I’m not going to say such things should be banned. I’m sure there are times when there’s no option, such as when a human life is at stake. Rescuing a kidnapping victim or someone who has a bomb? Yeah, don’t even bother knocking them.
But for most of this other stuff, I’m not seeing a whole lot of evidence that these are nearly as essential as law enforcement seems to think.
Instead, what I’m seeing is people being killed simply because someone defended their home. That needs to end and we should all be in agreement on that. If not, the next person who gets shot might just be you.
(For more discussion, tune into Tuesday’s Cam & Company later today. Cam will be talking with Bryan Strawser of the MN Gun Owners Caucus about Locke’s death and the debate over no-knock raids.)