Alexander Cockburn at Counterpunch fucking nails it - isn't he on "teh Left"?
The Virginia Tech terrible massacre should prompt a radical review of the utility of SWAT teams which now infest almost every community in America. Each time there's a hostage taking or a mass murderer on the rampage, one sees the same familiar sight: overweight SWAT men, doubled up under the weight of their costly artillery, lumbering along in their body armor and then hiding behind trees or cars or walls while the killer goes about his business. SWAT teams perform most efficiently when shooting down unarmed street people menacing them with cellphones.
The answer is to disband SWAT teams and kindred military units, and return to the idea of voluntary posses or militias: a speedy assembly of citizen volunteers with their own weapons. Such a body at Columbine or Virginia Tech might have saved many lifes. In other words: make the Second Amendment live up to its promise.
In 2005 I listened to some earnest ACLU type at a meeting in Garberville, an hour from where I live, deliver a judicious speech about Taser guns--a new toy for the cops, whereby a person can be zapped with 50,000 volts. The ACLU guy was torn. On the one hand, he reasoned that the Taser -- being purportedly, though not actually non-lethal -- is better than a 12-gauge or high powered rifle. On the other hand, there is the possibility of "improper use". His answer: more regulation. He didn't entertain the actual course of events, namely that Tasers have now been added to the means whereby the police can kill or terrorize people and that regulation will be zero.
The left complain about SWAT teams, but doesn't see that the progressives bear a lot of responsibility for their rise. If you confer the task of social invigilation and protection to professional janissaries--cops -- and deny the right of self and social protection to ordinary citizens, you end up with crews of over-armed thugs running amok under official license, terrorizing the disarmed citizens. In the end you have the whole place run by the Army or the federalized National Guard, as is increasingly evident now with the overturning of the Posse Comitatus laws forbidding any role for the military in domestic law enforcement.
I cannot tell you how happy I am seeing somebody on the left identify progressivism as part of the problem. The central task in the evolution of leftism in this country, now, is to rid itself of the vestiges of progressive thought - managerialism, professionalism, large-scale organization as an end in itself - and get back to its decentralized, populist roots.