On police and grenades
In 2006, we drafted a letter to The Journal regarding the use of incendiary/explosive flash-bang devices by law enforcement. This was after the Tri-County Drug Task Force raided the wrong apartment, tossing in one of these flash-bang devices prior to breaking the door down and rushing in with guns drawn and terrorizing the innocent occupants.
Our epistle cautioned that one of these deadly explosive devices might end up being tossed onto a sleeping child and cause incredible harm or even death. We further stated that these flash-bang devices should be banned as cruel, inhumane, unnecessary, uncivilized and barbaric.
Our letter was promptly answered by a defender (we shall not embarrass the person with a name) of the drug task force who stated that both the probability and possibility of injuring a child with a flash-bang device were zero, and that our prediction of such an event’s occurring was both absurd and something akin to a fantastic, rabble-rousing anarchist’s scare tactic designed to hamper law enforcement and allow drug dealers to run rampant in the realm.
But play with fire, and inevitably someone will get burned. Those who read the Dubuque Telegraph Herald May 31, or who have watched the unsettling television coverage, will take heed and hesitate to question our sanity or ability to predict inevitable disaster. Officers raiding a Georgia home used a flash grenade, which severely injured a toddler who was sleeping just inside the door.
The sheriff said that officers were looking for a drug suspect who might (italics mine) have been armed and followed the proper procedure to “confuse and distract suspects.” The device landed in the toddler’s playpen and exploded on his pillow right on his face, according to his mother. At last report, the child was in a medically induced coma in a hospital.
The sheriff said officers used the proper procedure in utilizing the flash-bang device to confuse and distract suspects. No doubt the toddler was confused and distrated. We hope the sheriff has the intestinal fortitude to tell this to the boy, who if he lives will go through his life looking like something from a Frankenstein horror picture show.
There is never — I repeat, never — any proper procedure for the civilian use of military explosives on children or anyone else, and there is absolutely no excuse for it. It is barbaric, unconscionable and inexcusable for any law enforcement agency to possess incendiary explosive devices, let alone to chance using them to kill and/or permanently disfigure innocent children.
How ironic it is that the child victim was from Wisconsin … and that the authorities, in their infinite, infallible reason, once again raided the wrong residence. I am not one to say I told you so, but …
Dr. David E. Miller
1070 N. Water St., Platteville
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