Clinton Era Fun

James Rogers jamesr at
Mon Apr 21 16:14:19 PDT 2003

From: Christopher Herot
> Even if the killing was premeditated, these were hardly 
> innocent civilians. As I recall they had plenty of guns and 
> had been taking shots at the various law enforcement 
> personnel arranged around the building.  If I were to start 
> shooting at police officers I wouldn't expect to live very long.

AFAIK, the only shots taken by the civilians inside were when the ATF agents
shot at them.  In many jurisdictions, and almost certainly in Texas,
returning fire on the ATF agents under the circumstances at that time was
very possibly a legally protected action. Courts have traditionally held
that when police initiate violent action, the person on the receiving end
has the right to respond in kind even if the police are nominally serving a
legal function.  This is one of the stronger arguments against "no-knock"
raids and similarily aggressive paramilitary police actions.  They create a
legal pretense for a firefight that the government hopes to win through
superior firepower.  The police often kill people doing this that the courts
would have held innocent if they'd survived the firefight no matter how many
police they killed in the process.  

That makes for an odd calculus of dubious utility.  The courts assert that
whoever escalates the violence is not protected from consequences in like
kind. But because the police have easy access to superior firepower by law,
the police often decide to forego the protections of taking the non-violent
high ground and do an unnecessary Rambo routine instead.

To add insult to injury, a number of the ATF casualties are believed to have
been "friendly fire" incidents.


-James Rogers
 jamesr at

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