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My mouth is agape as I read this, found over on Twitter.  How could this happen?

From DPS helicopter opens fire during chase; 2 dead

A Texas Department of Public Safety sharpshooter opened fire on an evading vehicle loaded with suspected illegal immigrants, leaving at least two people dead, sources familiar with the investigation said.

DPS spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger confirmed a DPS officer opened fire during the pursuit north of La Joya, but had no information as to whether the officer shot anyone inside the evading vehicle.

“We do not want to speculate on any other issues at this time and have no further information,” Cesinger said in the email.

However, law enforcement sources said troopers found three people shot inside once the smuggler’s vehicle stopped along Farm-to-Market Road 2221 near Mile 7 Road. Two of the suspected illegal immigrants died from their injuries, they said.

“This is going to get big really, really fast,” a local law enforcement official said of the DPS incident. “You have a law enforcement official shooting at an unarmed alien. This is not an excuse for deadly force.”

Why is this not major national news?  Does this happen all the time? Does a person that swims from Cuba to Florida get shot in the water if spotted off the coast of Miami or the Florida Keys?  Are we just picking people off like oxen like it's the fucking Oregon Trail?  Is a car chase enough to have a sharpshooter assassinate unarmed civilians inside a moving truck, civilians that may or may not be children?  Is this what "public safety" now means–open assassinations?

What the fuck is wrong with us as a society?  How can we justify assassinating human beings for doing little more than being on one side of an imaginary border, seeking a little bit of freedom only to be met with death?

Is this really who we want to be as Americans?



Originally posted to therehastobeaway on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 10:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Police Accountability Group.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The political costs of violence or so much higher (9+ / 0-)

    than people realize.  This is a big loss for the image of the U.S. in Mexico.  THanks for reporting.

    I hate hate. I love the look in peoples eyes when they realize, for the first time, that they have power.

    by 4democracy on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 10:53:49 AM PDT

    •  It appears the individuals may have been (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4democracy, Lujane, Bob Love, chimene, George3

      Guatemalan.  I just found this WaPo link:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

      Follow me on Twitter: @THTBAW. I crush trolls with truth, boredom with snark, and ignorance with links.

      by therehastobeaway on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 10:54:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have to say (12+ / 0-)

      To hell with the 'political costs'. What about the human costs??

      These were unarmed human beings who were desperate enough to leave family behind and risk being smuggled into the US.

      Even if it were the best 'political' move in the world it would still be unconscionable.

      •  I couldn't agree with you more. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        afisher, Lujane, George3

        However I think many are so desensitized to violence and humanitarian suffering that the only way to make them realize the damage is to bring it back to their own self-interest.  It's a little scary that so many are like that, and it explains how much work we have to do.

        I hate hate. I love the look in peoples eyes when they realize, for the first time, that they have power.

        by 4democracy on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:07:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Let me tell you about (5+ / 0-)

        the "Drone War" . . . they've been killing unarmed civiians for years now (who just happened to be in the "wrong place at the wrong time").

        And regardless which way you vote you're about to vote for more of it.

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:42:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have an unpopular perspective on that (4+ / 0-)

          Based on the death tolls we've seen in conventional warfare, I'd be willing to bet up to my annual salary that drones have actually saved civilian lives compared to the actions that would have been taken in the absence of those drones.

          I would like us the heck out of all of these conflicts sooner than humanly possible so please don't paint me as 'supporting killing of civilians'. Nothing could be further from the truth.

          But to me blaming the civilian deaths on the drones pretty much misses the point: 'no civilian deaths' is an argument worth making but if you just argue 'no drones' you will increase civilian deaths not decrease them.

          •  I share your view; I actually think that (2+ / 0-)

            America is strangely weird about this issue: we demand near-absolute safety, but don't fund our intelligence (e.g., CIA) or diplomatic efforts (e.g., embassies) enough.

            Then, when calamity strikes, we get upset about a breakdown of intelligence or about diplomacy not working.  And we demand justice.

            So what is left to do?  Well, gee, if we don't fund intelligence or diplomacy enough, yet we want to prevent terrorism, what do we think is the available option?  Duh: to kill terrorists before they kill us.

            Intelligence, Diplomacy, and War are the only things that can keep us safe.  Obviously, if we didn't butt our heads into so many countries and have such a long history of empire behavior, the enmity abroad might be much less, but either that ship has sailed, or we can try to reduce that enmity by improving our public image overseas (though that is not enough).  In the meantime, we have to either be serious about preventing terrorism by any means necessary OR cut back on drones, disposition matrices, and other war-related methods BUT ALSO be okay with the fact that shit will sometimes happen.

            I don't see an easy answer here.

            Follow me on Twitter: @THTBAW. I crush trolls with truth, boredom with snark, and ignorance with links.

            by therehastobeaway on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 01:14:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Only if we indiscriminantly attack random (0+ / 0-)

            people. If real troops were required to confirm that targets were hostile enemy combitants, we'd have far fewer. but that is not how we wage war.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 01:39:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Oh my God. This has got to fucking stop. These (7+ / 0-)

    people are human beings. They are not fucking aliens goddamn it! Please keep us updated.

    I'll be doing my part to stop it tomorrow morning, our first day of early voting here in Maryland. I'll also get to cast my ballot for marriage equality AND the Maryland Dream Act.

    "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. We must put our hands on it and we must bend it in the direction of justice." MLK

    by mindara on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 10:57:06 AM PDT

  •  wow ... (6+ / 0-)
    A DPS helicopter was called in to assist in the pursuit and a sharpshooter opened fire on the evading vehicle — a policy permitted by the agency, two law enforcement sources not authorized to comment on the investigation said.
    There's an actual department policy that it's OK to open fire on a vehicle you're pursuing?

    I wish I could say "unbelievable" but I'll have to settle for "depressingly unsurprising."

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

    by jrooth on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:01:09 AM PDT

    •  That's what is sick: they are SHARPshooters, they (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, lexalou, Bob Love

      could go for just shooting out the car's tires -- not shooting dead the live humans inside -- if they wanted to.

    •  A matter of policy, and not all like it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jrooth, Bob Love
      DPS has taken an aggressive role on the border in recent years, increasing the number of troopers there, deploying boats and dispatching helicopters with designated marksmen armed with powerful rifles.......The agency's director has said it's been forced into the role because federal agencies aren't doing enough to secure the border and because smugglers have become more aggressive, resorting to splashdowns, using other vehicles to block pursuits and throwing homemade spikes at officers.

      But their methods have been questioned, including decisions to shoot at fleeing vehicles from patrol cars and helicopters, a tactic eschewed by other law enforcement agencies.

      http://www.mysanantonio.com/...
      Steve McCraw is the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Before taking the top DPS post in July of 2009, McCraw served as Gov. Rick Perry's chief of homeland security for almost five years.......

      ....McCraw returned to state law enforcement after a 21-year career with the FBI. In his time there, McCraw was named head of the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force, director of the San Antonio field office and assistant FBI director in Washington.

      http://www.texastribune.org/...

      "...you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem." Mitt Romney

      by Catte Nappe on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 01:14:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Breathing while brown is a capital offense! (9+ / 0-)

    Gee, wait till Sherrif Joe picks up on this new concept of 'law enforcement'.

    In answer to the question posed by the poster: simply put, as a society, we're sick, seriously sick.

    Fertilized eggs have rights, people riding in the back of a truck get shot on the whim of a police sniper in a helicopter.

    Sick, just plain sick.

    Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

    by databob on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:04:09 AM PDT

  •  Made the Chronicle online just before noon. (4+ / 0-)

    I thought I saw it last night before I went to bed, but now can't find it.  Here's a link to the Chronicle report today and the sicko responses to it.  No wonder the Chronicle endorsed Romney, their readership has apparently sunk to just the RW weirdos.  

    It is not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself. - The Declaration of Arbroath 1320

    by htowngenie on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:04:37 AM PDT

  •  I've never been to Texas.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love

    and I will never go. It's amazing what goes on in that state.

  •  Here in Nogales Az. we just had a BP agent (11+ / 0-)

    shoot and kill a 16yo kid on the Mexican side of the border because someone was throwing rocks at them....it is turning into Gaza here and no one gives a damn.....

    Not long ago a group of BP agents beat and kicked a Mexican National to death in full view of the public...it was even filmed....

    Like the BP agent just killed by another agent after the guy opened fire on him....Supposedly cking a motion sensor...Yet the first response is to open fire with no announcement?   I still sometimes get out to the open desert and am always armed (rarely though any more, body too broken but man I miss it...)....Do I now have to worry about the BP opening fire without warning?   The cartel sicarios are enough trouble without having to worry about the BP too.....

    The whole situation is insane and it isnt the migrants causing the problems for the most part.....

    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
    Emiliano Zapata

    by buddabelly on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:11:27 AM PDT

  •  Oh good grief... freepers are thrilled (4+ / 0-)

    just visited freeperland (warning, TOXIC).  Just a reminder of the enemy (warning, don't read while eating or if you have high blood pressure):

    Sounds like good shooting to me!
    Illegals are just that, NOT LEGAL in the US.
    Stealing services and benefits paid for by US citizens.
    Bringing illegal contraband into a sovereign nation.
    Kill them at the border, instead of waiting until they invade your home.
    That is the responsibility of the federal government.
    Not deciding how you will receive health care.
    As a law abiding citizen; I’m not opposed to the helicopter dispatching heat-seeking missles and killing EVERYONE in the vehicle. When the cops put on the flashing lights and siren - that means PULL OVER. It does not give anyone license to endanger everyone else on the road.

    If you want to endanger innocent American’s, who are peacefully commuting - I have no problem at all seeing you killed. That goes for teenagers out for a joy-ride, illegals, drunks, car thieves and everyone else.

    Frankly, I’m verging on the position that if we have to loose a few Mexican nationals to stop our men, women, and children from having to die at their hands, it might be an equitable trade-off.

    Well, we know of at least three people who won’t be driving drunk tonight.

    We can shoot invaders.
    Nothing to see here. Just another day of shooting coyotes from a helicopter. Move along.
    Looks like about a 60/40 split, with the minority asking for patience and the rest ranting for blood.  I didn't really cherry-pick, this is just the pick of the top 20 comments.  

    I knew it was bad over there, but I didn't really understand how pervasive the filth is.

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:13:34 AM PDT

  •  This kind of thing is a Bush legacy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Bob Love

    You should not be surprised to see this kind of savagery from the government.

    We're just gone through a failure to enforce against numerous war crimes committed by the United States during the followup from the 9/11 incident, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  

    The Dept. of Homeland Security has institutionalized sexual assault and needless radiation exposure during airport TSA practices and procedures.   DHS also plans to conduct mass radiation exposures for those transiting U.S. land borders.   This will add to murders by DHS Border Protection in custody that have occurred.

    The U.S. Military and Justice Department saw fit to torture and then prosecute a child soldier.

    Stop torture and constitutional abuse, otherwise it will quickiy spread!!

  •  The story has made WFAA in Dallas... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, Bob Love

    But it's being rushed over really quick...No big headlines...And it's not on the Texas Tribune yet, which is really odd because they usually jump on stuff like this right away...

    The some of the comments after the story are really disgusting...Though sadly not surprising.

    2 Dead After Flying Trooper Fires At Vehicle

    Common sense is not so common.....Voltaire

    by left over flower child on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:17:56 AM PDT

    •  On the same site there's a story (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, Bob Love, enhydra lutris

      ..about a "trooper" shooting a shoplifter being led to his patrol car.

      No mention if he was in handcuffs.

      They shoot horses shoplifters, don't they?

      Austin is supposed to be awesome, but visiting Texas, ever - not on my list.

      Perhaps one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

      by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:47:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Checked San Antonio paper (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, Bob Love

        Sadly, same type of response here as posted by author via freepers.

          The article here says the status of those killed is unknown, but winger's here "assume" that anyone in a fleeing vehicle is "illegal" -

           They willfully ignore all the cases of this happening >100 miles from the border - believing (?) that red-necks in their pick-up trucks always stop for DPS and their helicopters (which they totally ignore in their hateful rants).

  •  Curious to see if this comment (4+ / 0-)

    from the article gets corroborated...

    A DPS helicopter was called in to assist in the pursuit and a sharpshooter opened fire on the evading vehicle — a policy permitted by the agency, two law enforcement sources not authorized to comment on the investigation said.
    That sounds like a pretty awful policy to me, if it can be verified.

    "Governor Romney doesn't have a five-point plan, he has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules." -- President Obama

    by tytalus on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:19:59 AM PDT

    •  I'm kinda assuming that the policy permits (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane

      deadly force in a pursuit where the driver is causing a risk to others or something.  It's probably not "you can shoot at fleeing vehicles," but has some condition re: risk of imminent harm if the fleeing vehicle isn't stopped immediately.

      I wondered the same thing, FWIW, but I couldn't find anything online w/ 5 minutes of searching or so.

      •  it was on a dirt road outside of La Joya... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        therehastobeaway

        not exactly during rush hour in Dallas.  Only harm in speeding on a dirt road in La Joya was the threat of a rollover probably.  My question, how did they know it wasn't American citizens inside that vehicle?  Would they shoot me if they thought my vehicle contained illegals?  
         

        It is not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself. - The Declaration of Arbroath 1320

        by htowngenie on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 12:05:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Precisely. If that's you with your family (0+ / 0-)

          dashing to a hospital or whatever the hell, and you don't happen to stop for the chopper, do they have the right to shoot your family to pieces?

          Follow me on Twitter: @THTBAW. I crush trolls with truth, boredom with snark, and ignorance with links.

          by therehastobeaway on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 12:13:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes they do, and even if they don't, that court (0+ / 0-)

            case will be decided only after you are ead.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 01:45:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, maybe even if they thought that it didn't - (0+ / 0-)

          don't ever disobey teh authoriteh.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 01:45:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  These same people think it is alright to shoot (8+ / 0-)

    people on a bridge trying to get out of NOLA floods.

    I give the Big Bird to those who say Obama lost the debate.

    by 88kathy on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 11:20:38 AM PDT

  •  This is what a police state looks like. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love

    Like spattered blood.

    Here's what citizens are saying about Seattle Police's plans to use drones against citizens: (skip the speech until about the 10 minute mark)

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    It happened first in Texas because there are not many observers along the border.  After a few more incidents it will be acceptable.  Eventually others will be killed in more public locations.  If Romney is elected it is because half or more of the country wants this kind of unimpeded authority.

     

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