Tuesday Tussle: Part 2, Shooting Dogs During Police Raids Might Be Justified

Categories: Tuesday Tussle
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You're a cop trying to focus on a potentially dangerous guy. What would you do about the dog?
The Columbia Police might have been totally justified in shooting Jonathan Whitworth's dogs while raiding his house for marijuana.

First of all, it's true that the young man only had a pipe and a bud or two. But the important thing is not what he had. It's what police thought he had. According to gathered intelligence, he had tons of pot and was a major dealer.

That's why they showed up armed and ready for battle -- major dealers and their muscle usually pack heat, regardless of the drug. Unless cops show overwhelming force, the bad guys might decide to fight for an escape route.

Just listen to cops' voices in the video -- they're all shouting aggressively. It sounds harsh, but they were obviously expecting resistance. (According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, they didn't expect the child to be there). Maybe this same unit had recently got into a firefight with dealers and didn't want to take any chances.

Secondly, the video shows that one shot was fired when the SWAT team entered the house. A dog -- presumably the pit bull -- squeals in pain. Then, just a few seconds later, you hear several shots, and the squealing stops. 

The fact of the matter is, we don't know what happened in those few seconds. Was the dog attacking one of the officers? And if you've got a child and the mother in the house unexpectedly, maybe you're wondering who else is in the house. Having an uncontrollable dog might distract the officers and make things more dangerous for everybody.

Obviously, it would've been ideal to just use a taser on the dog. But maybe they didn't have tasers. It's also possible that the dog was so badly wounded, that an officer decided, right there in the moment, to euthanize it. Again, we don't know the details yet. But surely some of them own dogs. Do you really believe they set out to kill a dog that night. It might be a question of training. But not a question of murderous conspiracy.

Lastly, before we condemn the police for their actions, let's recall that we citizens are the ones that are ultimately responsible the so-called War on Drugs. We're the ones who elect politicians who promise to get tough on drug dealers. We're the ones who complain to police when traffickers make the neighborhood less safe. The Columbia police department gets paid with public tax dollars to correct the problem that we perceive.

It's our duty to criticize public servants and keep them honest. In this case, it looks like something went wrong, though it's not clear what. But let's not forget why they're out there, and who they're fighting for.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed herein should be construed only as argument for the sake of argument, and not as the personal opinions of the authors. In fact, the authors' positions in "Tuesday Tussle" are decided by coin toss.  
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