Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

From the South Salt Lake, Utah Police Department. Have we really reached the point where no one in the department looked at this picture and said, “Uh, guys, there’s really something wrong, here”?

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48 Responses to “Happy Holidays!”

  1. #1 |  Unga | 

    “Happy Holidays?”

    SWAT team with guns pointed at Santa?

    Bill O’Reilly is right! It’s a war on Christmas!

  2. #2 |  David | 

    I wonder how a “no knock” chimney descent plays out? Would the PD try to claim “ho ho ho!” as an announcement?

  3. #3 |  chance | 

    I think you’re being a little overly sensitive on this one.

  4. #4 |  David | 

    How so? They could’ve chosen to send a Norman Rockwell “Policeman with Santa” rather than Operation: Elven Freedom over there.

  5. #5 |  chance | 

    How so? So its a SWAT team with gear on, and Santa is in the picture. They aren’t threatening him, he isn’t being cuffed, they aren’t shooting his reindeer. Where’s the offensive part? I guess you could argue it glorifies the militarization of police forces, or desensitizes the populace to SWAT tactics, but that’s a stretch in my opinion. The article link uses the “think of the children” argument. I’m just not understanding the offensive nature I guess.

  6. #6 |  Noel St. John | 

    The South Salt Lake, Utah PD is proud to introduce the new Anti Pre-Marital Sex Task Force.

  7. #7 |  nobahdi | 

    Someone must have phoned in a tip about Santa’s magic dust.

  8. #8 |  MacK | 

    I saw the entire picture of this, and what you do not see under the blue greeting is Rudolf laying in a pool of his own blood from the 30 rounds that hit him, because one of the fine officers was in fear for his safety.

  9. #9 |  David | 

    Those antlers are sharp!

  10. #10 |  Mattocracy | 

    They still celebrate Christmas in Utah, not happy holidays.

    I also don’t find this all that offensive either. It’s in poor taste to those of us that hate the SWAT team thanks to Radley, but I don’t think they were trying to be jerks here.

  11. #11 |  Michael Chaney | 

    As has been said many times before, it’s obvious that the basis of SWAT is that guys like to dress up in their cool clothes and play army. All the better when we have a villain (druggies) to attack…

  12. #12 |  Z | 

    SLC Police reviewer:

    “Hehe. Cool.”

  13. #13 |  Cynical In CA | 

    It’s reached the point where they don’t give a fuck.

    Merry Kristmas, Amerika!

  14. #14 |  Steve Verdon | 

    So its a SWAT team with gear on, and Santa is in the picture. They aren’t threatening him, he isn’t being cuffed, they aren’t shooting his reindeer.

    If someone points an assault weapon/sub-machine gun at me I’d consider it threatening. Hell just having it out would make me really nervous, as a general rule. I suppose if I was in an area where terrorists were killing people willy-nilly I’d feel differently seeing a SWAT team rolling into the area returning fire. But of course, what would really happen is SWAT would corden off the area, I’d get shot and killed, and the terrorists would probably attain their objective.

    I guess you could argue it glorifies the militarization of police forces, or desensitizes the populace to SWAT tactics, but that’s a stretch in my opinion.

    No, its at best tone deaf. There is a small but growing concern over such units, their tactics, etc. There are serious issues surrounding their actual use vs. their theoretical use, their efficacy, and so forth. My guess is they thought it would be funny, but it is rather disappointing.

    The article link uses the “think of the children” argument. I’m just not understanding the offensive nature I guess.

    Not quite. The article notes that one agency decided not to display the card for that reason. And children are part of the problem with SWAT teams. Scroll down to the Terika williams case where she was killed and her infant son had his hand blown off. Or look at Columbine, instead of going in and killing Klebold and Harris they cordoned off the area letting them continue their killing spree. The justification for the SWAT unit is that these guys go into harms way against heavily armed opponents and take them down. Now it all about force protection and if “civilians” die, well they are just “civilians”.

    I’m just not understanding the offensive nature I guess.

    Probably because you are tone deaf too.

  15. #15 |  nemo | 

    The lead SWAT guy is pointing his weapon at ‘Santa’s groin. Hope his finger’s out of the trigger well…

  16. #16 |  Eric | 

    “I guess you could argue it glorifies the militarization of police forces, or desensitizes the populace to SWAT tactics, but that’s a stretch in my opinion.”

    How is that a stretch? They chose, for their HOLIDAY card, a picture of six guys in all black SWAT gear and shitkicker boots with automatic weapons drawn. What message is that supposed to convey other than “SWAT teams are really cool?” It certainly doesn’t send the traditional holiday messages of “peace on earth” or “glad tidings.”

    I think the biggest problem with the card is that the department was probably trying deliberately to NOT be jerks: they affirmatively chose this image as how they wanted to portray themselves to the public in their annual “best wishes” message. The takeaway from that is that the department sees its SWAT team as something to celebrate and glorify rather than a measure of last resort.

  17. #17 |  Steve Verdon | 

    It’s in poor taste to those of us that hate the SWAT team thanks to Radley, but I don’t think they were trying to be jerks here…but they failed.

    There fixed it for you.

  18. #18 |  mrk | 

    Chance

    SWAT teams in popular culture and in practice have come to represent violence and at times state oppression. Santa is pretty much the opposite. It appears to the layperson that Santa is either about to be slaughtered or worse, he’s in cahoots with them (the dude’s supposedly been in all our homes).

    Personally, I enjoy the irony of the picture and its exposing the SWAT team as fools. Though it would have been much better if the gunmen were simply wearing Santa hats.

  19. #19 |  ChrisC | 

    when they came for the gypsies I didn’t say anything for I wasn’t a gypsy. When they came for the jews I didn’t say anything for I wasn’t a jew. When they came for santa claus I didn’t say anything for I wasn’t santa claus. When they came for me….

  20. #20 |  Michael Pack | 

    I wonder what they asked Santa for?Maybe some clean throw down weapons?

  21. #21 |  HTownTejas | 

    I saw the entire picture of this, and what you do not see under the blue greeting is Rudolf laying in a pool of his own blood from the 30 rounds that hit him, because one of the fine officers was in fear for his safety.

    They must have fired at least 200 rounds to get 30 on target!

  22. #22 |  Marty | 

    Santa WAS in his sleigh, but the men in black took out his reindeer (looked like dogs through the infrared goggles) and then they dumped out all his black-market fruity alcohol drinks.

    In the swat team’s defense, Santa does look suspicious…

  23. #23 |  Highway | 

    First thing I thought of is that they were going to raid Santa, since they look like they’re stacked up ready to go in the door. I guess Santa’s just lucky that he didn’t make any sudden moves when he came to the door, because then they would have thought the operation was ‘compromised’ and gone into full attack mode…

  24. #24 |  Kwix | 

    It’s in poor taste to those of us that hate the SWAT team thanks to Radley, but I don’t think they were trying to be jerks here.

    Because nothing spells out holiday cheer like men in Balaclavas, Body Armor and Semi-automatic rifles! Ho-ho-ho!

  25. #25 |  Billy Beck | 

    “…but I don’t think they were trying to be jerks here.”

    Hey: an essence of being a jerk is a completely decrepit introspective faculty. Jerks don’t know they’re jerks. Get it?

  26. #26 |  Billy Beck | 

    If they were trying, they would be straight-up assholes.

  27. #27 |  Comrade Dread | 

    In their defense, from the modern examples we’ve seen in Washington, bringing ‘peace’ frequently means bombing and shooting the hell out of some place and anyone who happens to be in the way of the peacemakers.

    And, as we all know, “good cheer” and “Holiday Cheer” have been categorized as Schedule 1 drugs.

  28. #28 |  TC | 

    This pic fully explains why a fully loaded MP5 was left on a front lawn after a recent SWAT party in SLC.

    Seems the homeowner did not desire the gift and called them to come and get it. Amazingly they did not charge the homeowner with a crime for taking it into protective custody.

  29. #29 |  OneByTheCee | 

    Just think about all the asset forfeitured loot SWAT acquired from Santa!

  30. #30 |  Robin | 

    I doubt it, but maybe this police department actually has a sense of humor about themselves. Which I would support, however tasteless.

  31. #31 |  MikeL | 

    Yes.

  32. #32 |  claude | 

    We wish u a merry xmas…we wish u a merry xmas…we wish u a merry xmas…and a flash bang grenade new year.

  33. #33 |  claude | 

    “but maybe this police department actually has a sense of humor about themselves. Which I would support, however tasteless.”

    Honestly, that really is entirely possible, which begs the question…”Ain’t cop humor somethin’?”

  34. #34 |  OneByTheCee | 

    Gee, I wonder if Ryan Frederick, that FBI Agents’ widow or maybe Tarika Wilson’s family might also enjoy the SWAT Team’s humor.

  35. #35 |  Llewellyn | 

    This picture just serves to prove that for some guys any excuse to dress up in ‘macho’ gear and pose for the camera is better than no excuse. What’s that they say about “the only difference between men and boys” is the lethality of their toys.

  36. #36 |  albatross | 

    It’s just a lead in for the new Christmas song, “I saw Daddy shooting Santa Claus.”

  37. #37 |  Scott | 

    I really don’t see the problem here.

    What we have is a strange, heavily bearded man of uncertain nationality adorned in the costume of a particular religious festival. All reports indicate that this man has a strange fascination with children, even going so far as to sneak into their homes with the express purpose of exchanging “gifts” for “cookies and milk” (and I do believe Richard Pryor made very clear what “cookies and milk” refers to).

    He is known to employ an army of foreigners, without any records as to their pay, benefits or working conditions. He also maintains an extensive collection of exotic animals and we have not yet determined of those animals are being raised in federally approved pens, or if they ever receive their mandatory vaccinations and health-and-welfare check ups.

    Most importantly, though, the vehicle he was operating was found to be without a current DOT sticker and registration, not to mention his failure to provide proof of insurance on either the vehicle or his little enterprise.

    The lesson here is that even Santa can’t ignore the edicts of the DOT.

  38. #38 |  Jason | 

    Get thee behind me santa!
    http://rightklik.blogspot.com/

  39. #39 |  Warren | 

    It looks like they are protecting Santa, so I’d say this is a case of Elf-Defense.

  40. #40 |  Harvey | 

    Would people here be as offended if a group of morticians at a funeral home made their Christmas card them working on a lifeless Santa laid out on an embalming table. Let me know.

    Quick.

  41. #41 |  Rightshu | 

    Sure I would, Harvey — just as soon as morticians come bursting into my home in the middle of the night and embalm my dog.

  42. #42 |  David | 

    I don’t think anyone is all that offended by this, just mocking how stupid it is. I’d do the same with “Embalming Santa”, once I figured out that it hadn’t been sent by some goth kid.

  43. #43 |  Portocan | 

    I don’t find this particularly offensive as well. Not that SWAT teams themselves are a good thing, but everyone would be better served if we concentrated on the real issues, not pictures of SWAT teams and Santa.

  44. #44 |  Dakota | 

    The SLC police are so comfortable with being regarded as faceless high-impact ass kickers, they sent out this Christmas card, with that on it. Some might argue that if we aren’t offended by it the battle is already lost.

    This card demonstrates perfectly that trying to address real issues are an up hill battle. I don’t think I’m being overly nostalgic or maudlin but didn’t police departments used to put their bands and choirs on Christmas cards NOT SWAT teams.

  45. #45 |  MassHole | 

    I must say I have never received a xmas card that pictured someone brandishing an assault rifle.

  46. #46 |  chancelikely | 

    Weird Al, of all people, predicted this:

    Yes Virginia, now Santa Claus is dead
    A guy from the SWAT team blew a hole through his head
    Yes, little friend, that’s his brains on the floor
    Guess you won’t have the fat guy to kick around anymore.

    But now Vixen’s in therapy and Donner’s still nervous
    And the elves all got jobs working for the postal service
    And they say Mrs. Claus she’s on the phone every night
    With a lawyer negotiating the movie rights.

    From “The Night Santa Went Crazy”

  47. #47 |  Andrew Williams | 

    Alan Watts said that police are “armed clergymen.”
    If you reverse two letters in Santa’s name, you get–SATAN.
    Therefore, the UT police are simply trying to protect us from evil.
    Q.E.D.

  48. #48 |  Andrew Williams | 

    Three letters. My bad.

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