I haven’t had time to write about the awful drug raid in Ogden, Utah just yet. But the gist is that a veteran who apparently grew marijuana to self-medicate for anxiety and depression apparently shot and killed one cop and wounded several others during a nighttime raid on his home. This is the same narcotics task force, by the way, that shot and killed a man wielding a golf club five seconds after breaking down his door during a botched meth raid last year. That cop was forgiven for his mistake. Heat of battle, volatile situation, mistakes were made—you know the drill.
Perhaps we’ll soon learn that Matthew Stewart was a big-time drug dealer hell-bent on taking down a team of cops. We don’t know enough yet to say anything for certain. But from what we do know, it doesn’t appear that way. The guy had no prior criminal record. And the article below suggests that the authorities are already setting expectations for the possibility that Stewart was just a guy who grew for his own use.
Here’s a DEA flack defending the raid and pointing out the (very real, though not in the way he’d have you believe) dangers of pot smoking.
The head of Utah’s Drug Enforcement Administration spoke with FOX 13 about the recent Ogden shooting that left one officer dead and five other officers wounded. There has been evidence gathered that may point to the shooting suspect maintaining a marijuana grow operation.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Smith has been involved in the war on drugs all over the globe. He is quick to dismiss any arguments about legalizing drugs like marijuana, especially after fellow officers were shot and killed, presumably trying to take down a so-called indoor marijuana grow operation.
“They’re heroes, they’re protecting the public!” said Smith . . .
Army veteran Matthew David Stewart, 37, is the suspected triggerman. Police will not say exactly why the strike force raided his home, but Stewart’s father says his son has issues and may have been growing marijuana in his home to “self-medicate.”
Smith says that, even if Stewart had allegedly used marijuana to only self-medicate, that his drug use is not a “victimless crime.”
“It’s not a legalization issue, it’s not an immigration issue, it’s a public safety issue. If someone is willing to shoot it out with police, who is self-medicating on marijuana, what’s to say he’s not willing to walk out his house and start shooting his neighbors?” Smith says.
Jesus. How about the fact that he hadn’t harmed a soul until armed government agents broke down his door? Reading these articles is like slamming your head against the wall. People keep dying. And the drug warriors keep taking that as confirmation that they need to double down on the policies that are exactly why people keep dying.
You wonder if Smith’s even capable of comprehending the possibility that it’s the tactics that caused this tragedy, not pot’s sinister—and completely unsupported by any scientific research—effect of turning unassuming veterans into cold-blooded killers. That is, I wonder if people like Smith really believe their own bullshit?
Smith says the shooting case will be reviewed and he hopes lessons will be learned to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.
Oh, there are lessons. But they won’t be what Smith and other drug warriors take from this awfulness. Which is why you aren’t going to “prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.”
No. So long as we have people like Agent Smith in positions of power, the pile of bodies—both cop and citizen—will only get larger.
MORE: Stewart’s father is now speaking out. Here he criticizes the tactics used in the raid.
After four years in the military, Matthew returned to Ogden and got a job as a security officer for the IRS. But he began having problems with depression and anxiety. He didn’t want to use prescription drugs, his father said, and chose to self-medicate with marijuana that he grew.
He eventually left the IRS and got a warehouse job at Walmart, working graveyard shift. About two months ago, he broke up with his girlfriend.
“He was a good guy,” his father said. “He worked hard. He served his country. He tried to live his life his way. He didn’t think he was hurting anybody.”
The Stewarts say they know very little about the Wednesday shootout at their son’s Ogden residence at 3268 Jackson Ave.
“We’re devastated by this whole thing,” Michael Stewart said.
The Stewarts have not been allowed to see their son at an undisclosed hospital. And they don’t know what happened when the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force entered the house with a search warrant.
Michael Stewart said his son kept a handgun for protection. But he said that his son’s shotgun had been in his parents’ possession for years and he didn’t have any automatic weapons.
Michael and Sonja Stewart say they can’t understand why the strike force would execute a search warrant the way that it did, knocking down the door and rushing into the residence….
If Matthew Stewart was sleeping or listening to music in his back room, there is a good chance they would not have heard police announce their arrival.
“If they had done some research, why not arrest him at Walmart?” Michael Stewart said.
“I’m hoping the citizens of this state can look at what’s happened here and rethink the drug war,” he added. “Are we losing the drug war?”