Gabrielle Giffords, the “surprise witness” at the January 30 Senate hearing on gun violence, was among thirteen people attacked by a deranged gunman in the parking lot of a Safeway in Tucson two years ago. Vanessa Guerena, another Tucson resident whose husband was murdered in an act of gun-related criminal violence in their living room about four months later, was not given an opportunity to address the Senate panel. That’s because her husband’s killers – who remain at large – committed that crime under the color of state “authority.”
Guerena, a former Marine and Iraq combat veteran, was gunned down by a Pima County SWAT team who committed an illegal home invasion on the basis of a spurious search warrant. When the invaders arrived, Jose was asleep after finishing a graveyard shift at a local copper mine. It’s difficult to believe that the 26-year-old father of two would be working the graveyard shift if he had been at the center of a large marijuana smuggling operation, as the Pima County Sheriff’s Office later claimed on the basis of unalloyed speculation.
The Sheriff’s Office was aware of Jose’s work schedule, because they had kept his home under surveillance for several weeks before the raid. If an arrest had been justified, it could have been carried out, using conventional means, at practically any time. In fact, the Sheriff’s Office conducted a conventional, low-profile arrest of three of his relatives. The suspects – two small women and a man well into middle age – were taken into custody by plainclothes detectives without a SWAT team laying siege to their homes. But this occurred nearly a year after the fatal SWAT assault on Guerena’s home.
The Sheriff’s Office never explained why a SWAT raid was supposedly necessary in order to carry out searches that didn’t result in arrests until nearly a year later. The unspoken but obvious answer was that the raid wasn’t necessary – but it seemed like a fun and relatively low-risk outing for the armored adolescents that compose the local SWAT team. Their attitude as they approached the Guerena home doesn’t suggest that they were genuinely concerned about the possibility of danger. The officers were cheerful and light-hearted as they were decanted from their armored vehicle to inflict terror on an innocent family.
After being shaken awake by his terrified wife, Jose grabbed a legally-acquired AR-15 rifle and told his wife and their four-year-old son, Jose, Jr., to hide in a closet while he confronted the unidentified intruders.
Read more at LewRockwell.com. By William Norman Grigg.