Breonna Taylor’s death does not call for a SWAT solution

The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that this era will be remembered for two things: First, for our newfound capability to instantaneously analyze zettabytes of data to find ready solutions to the common problems of humankind. Second, for the stunning capacity of our leaders to implement the opposite of whatever the data suggest the solution ought to be.

Take, for example, last week’s Courier Journal report that the outgoing Louisville Metro police chief believes that the no-knock warrant that led to Breonna Taylor’s murder should have been handled by a SWAT team. The reasoning is that “the SWAT team requires a very thorough briefing before acting on a warrant,” which I suppose is true, in the way that the troops of Pyrrhus of Epirus were likely given a thorough briefing before being slaughtered by the Romans.

Sure, use SWAT to serve more warrants. This must seem like a great idea if you’re the kind of person who thinks arming teachers is going to stop school shootings, using plasticware in a crowded restaurant is going to prevent the spread of COVID-19, or the solution to global warming is for everyone to start building boats. Future anthropologists will marvel at our ability to examine a situation like this, in which the last few decades teach us painful lessons about the dumb shit we’re doing and conclude that we need to do more of the same dumb shit.

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