Unpeaceful Service by Matt Giwer (c) 1994 <2/21> As time passes old defenses of the Bureau

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Unpeaceful Service by Matt Giwer (c) 1994 <2/21> As time passes old defenses of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms return as though newly discovered rather than long discounted. The one before us now and apparently unmentioned even at the trial is that the government attempted peaceful warrant service and were fired upon. Now I am not going to say I am an expert upon what the media finds newsworthy. Much less am I expert upon the amount of local news in Waco, Texas. However, I can not see the media showing up to cover a man knocking on a door to serve a search warrant. It lacks a certain pizzaz, know what I mean? Wait a minute. It was supposed to be more dramatic than that? It really was supposed to be covering one hundred, unidentified, screaming, armed men throwing grenades and shooting dogs? That would have sort of a Rambo-esque quality about it. But I do not see Rambo shooting dogs or throwing grenades. His defense in the first movie was "They drew first blood." Otherwise he was a peaceful man. Psychotic perhaps but quite peaceful. This leaves the peaceful search warrant service idea a touch hollow. It is in the mind of the people on the receiving end of such treatment whether they were in reasonable fear of their lives. In that regard let us look at it from the inside looking out. It appears they did know that something was going to happen that morning. There is no evidence that at any time they knew what was going to happen or who was going to do it. The first indication was the above described men streaming out of horse trailers. These men start off shooting your dogs and throwing grenades at you. They climb up on your roof, break your windows and come streaming in those windows. They even throw grenades and shoot into those windows. None of these men attempts to serve a warrant or even identify themselves to you or what business they might have on your property. They simply come in shooting and grenade throwing. Some people this to be acceptable behavior on the part of the government. Others hold it should only be done to people like Koresh without identifying what a "Koresh-like" person is in the first place. There are finally those who hold the government has no right to do such a thing without justification and certainly the government has introduced no justification. Siding with this third group in a similar case where a grenade was used to initiate the service of a search warrant is the Florida Supreme Court holding such service to be improper and sufficient grounds for overturning the resulting conviction. The difference in the cases is only who shot first. As the BATF plan was to shoot the dogs it is reasonable to presume they were shooting the dogs in addition to throwing grenades. It is not reasonable that grenades plus gunshots is presumably worse than grenades alone. Of course a Florida Supreme Court decision is not binding upon the Texas Courts. It is given only as an indication of senior judicial thinking in a similar matter. The Texas case appears to have been worse than occurred in Florida. First there was gunfire in addition to grenades. There was grenade throwing into the house. There was breaking into the building and forcible entry followed by more grenades into the building and this time gunfire into the building that was not in self defense. Were there in fact convictions all around on all charges the defective warrant service would certainly suggest the strong possibility of the convictions being overturned.


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