SWAT Team Probably Had Very Good Reasons For Blowing Colorado House All To Hell
Police in Greenwood Village, Colorado, got the chance to try out some of their more advanced tactical toys last Wednesday as they brought a 20-hour standoff with an armed shoplifter to an exciting close in a barrage of flash-bang grenades, "chemical agents" -- napalm, we're guessing -- and a "breaching ram" that left a suburban two-story home looking like something out of Fallujah, only less dusty maybe. We just want to know one thing: Were the cops listening to "Ride of the Valykyries" or the end of the "1812 Overture"?
Homeowner Leo Lech told Denver's Channel 7 News, "There was one gunman with a handgun and they chose to turn this house into something that resembles Osama Bin Laden's compound." We should note, however, that the bin Laden compound was more sturdily constructed -- no 2X4s and drywall in that place.
Lech had recently bought the house and was renting it to his son; the police SWAT team blowed it all up in an effort to capture Robert Seacat, a suspected shoplifter who had broken into the home after a police chase. There was a 9-year-old boy inside the house at the time, but he was able to get out of the house unharmed shortly after Seacat broke in, so hooray, no hostage drama, and no babbies to get their faces burned off with a flash-bang grenade.
With nobody else in the house, and with Seacat firing at police from time to time from the house, there didn't seem to be any incentive not to just tear the place to pieces in order to flush him out:
A neighbor, who says the SWAT team used his home as a base of operations, points out that whatever the police used to blast the holes sent debris flying.
"When they used the explosives to blow apart the side of this house here, they broke our windshield," the neighbor said.
"There are holes just like this one all through the back of the house too," Lech said. "They methodically fired explosives into every room in this house in order to extract one person. Granted, he had a handgun, but against 100 officers? You know, the proper thing to do would be to evacuate these homes around here, ensure the safety of the homeowners around here, fire some tear gas through the windows. If that didn’t work, you have 50 SWAT officers with body armor break down the door."
We're not entirely sure how much the tactical advice of an aggrieved homeowner should factor into this, especially considering that tear gas canisters can also start fires, if you remember the end of the Christopher Dorner standoff. In any case, the house is a total loss, and while Lech's insurance will cover it, his son didn't have renter's insurance on the house's contents.
Lech complained to Greenwood Village's chief of police, reportedly telling him, "In any civilized nation ... this is the act of paramilitary thugs." Which is sort of true -- big dramatic explosions and a house blown all to hell over. But then, there's a guy with a gun who got captured without any cops or the gunman being killed, so we're torn. Was this reprehensible overkill or almost-justified overkill? Wouldn't just surrounding the house and waiting Seacat out have been worth a try? Does Greenwood Village spend as much on negotiator training as on flash-bangs, battering rams, chemical agents, and a tank? (Yes, of course they have a tank.) Main message for us: Lock the deadbolt and make sure to mail that rental insurance check.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.