Guns Don't Kill People, Paramilitary Police Units Kill People

You've probably heard about Aiyana Stanley-Jones. She is the seven year old girl who was shot and killed during a SWAT team raid of her family home, which did not contain the suspect sought by police. In news reports of the incident, the reader cannot help but be struck by the awkward circumlocutions and passive constructions employed to avoid ascribing any agency or responsibility whatsoever to the paramilitary police officer who put a bullet through her head. Consider just a handful of examples:
Detroit Free Press: "Detroit police say an officer’s gun accidentally went off"
Associated Press: "Detroit police, searching for a homicide suspect, burst in and an officer's gun went off"
Winston-Salem Journal: "A sleeping 7-year-old girl was killed when an officer's gun went off"
CBS: "a police officer's bullet killed the child . . . when the gun went off"
Huffington Post: "an officer's gun discharged, killing the girl"
NPR: "An officer's gun went off, police say it was accidental"
WSJ: "according to police, an officer's gun discharged unintentionally and the bullet struck Aiyana Jones in the head as the child slept on a couch."
[Emphases added.]
Most Americans have probably heard some version of the old NRA slogan: "guns don't kill people, people kill people." Here we have a perfect example in which all responsibility and culpability for this killing are ascribed to the gun or bullet, which mysteriously "went off" or "unintentionally discharged." This is the language with which our corporate media avoid confronting the disturbing realities of the national security police state that has been constructed in this country over the last thirty years. William Grigg writes at Lew Rockwell:
In the antiseptic and completely dishonest language favored by the state-aligned media, the officer's gun "went off." This means, apparently, that the inanimate object simply discharged sua sponte, independent of intentional or negligent action on the part of its owner . . . Firearms in the hands of the hoi polloi, we are told, have a way of spontaneously firing and killing innocent children.
One can imagine other ways of describing the incident, for instance: a paramilitary police unit serving a no-knock warrant ambushed a home with stun grenades and gunfire, shooting dead a seven year old girl as she slept on the living room couch. But perhaps that is an unfair characterization of the situation. Radly Balko writes of so-called "militarized police" raids:
A couple of years ago after I'd given a speech on this issue, a retired military officer and former instructor at West Point specifically asked me to stop using the term "militarization," because he thought comparing SWAT teams to the military reflected poorly on the military.
A new article at Alternet argues that "paramilitary policing is out of control." This is the inevitable result of the Democratic-Republican party government's policy consensus in favor of the national security police state. Consider just one statistic:
In 1980, 2,884 SWAT deployments were recorded nationwide; the number today is estimated by experts at 50,000 annually or more.
There's probably one going on right now. Actually, there are probably five or six going on right now. And how many firearms are "just going off"?

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