Overkill

Monday, July 17th, 2006

balko_whitepaper_300x394.jpgToday, my paper on SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics is finally released. You can read it here. I hope you’ll take a look. It’s been the thrust of my research for nearly a year, now. It’s free to download. If you want a slick, bound copy, you can order one for ten bucks, and you’ll also get a copy of Gene Healy and Tim Lynch’s paper on the constitutional record of George W. Bush (call it “Cato’s left-flank package”). I love the cover. Cato art director Jon Meyers did a terrific job.

We’re also launching an interactive map to accompany the paper. And I frankly think the map is what’s going to convince most people of the scope of this problem. I’ve plotted every botched raid I found in my research, with a description of what happened and a list of sources. You can sort the map by type of incident. So, for example, if you wanted to see only those raids where an innocent person was killed, it would look like this. If you wanted to see raids where a nonviolent offender was killed (a recreational gambler or potsmoker, for example), it would look like this. If you wanted to see all of the “wrong door” raids where no one was killed, it would look like this.

The map is also searchable by year, state, and type of incident. Lots of people have emailed me over the last year to ask what they can do to change policy at the local level. The map I think is a good tool. Do a search on your state, then fire off a letter to the editor listing the botched raids that have occured near you.

I owe some thanks for the map, too. Cato’s web guru Lee Laslo did an amazing job, both in turning the concepts I described to him into something workable, and in putting up with my constant tweaks and adjustments to get the thing to look like I wanted. Thanks also to my intern Killian Lapeyre for copyediting much of it, and a big thanks to my former intern Victoria Kurzweg, spent put many, many depressing hours entering incidents, fact checking, and copyediting.

UPDATE: Here’s the press release.

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