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Government must respect civil liberties

Note: I made an error in my LTTE as published in the newspaper. The actual death toll at Waco was 76, not 82. That has been corrected for this post.

Printed in the Herald-Times, April 16, 2013. (Comments)

To the Editor:

April 19 will be the 20th anniversary of the massacre in Waco, Texas, when our federal government used military equipment (including tanks) against American citizens on American soil. A fire engulfed and obliterated the Branch Davidian compound, killing 76 people.

That raid ended a standoff started by an unnecessary military-type raid on February 28. Instead of dealing with the Branch Davidians in a non-confrontational manner, a commando invasion of the compound created a hostile situation that could have been avoided.

But the Waco standoff and the April 19 massacre is only the tip of the iceberg as we have seen steadily increasing use of force in the name of law and order.

Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot and killed during a SWAT raid in Detroit. She was 7 years old. Kathryn Johnston was 92 years old when a SWAT team in Atlanta shot and killed her as she attempted to defend her home against what she thought was a home invasion. The Mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland was held at gunpoint for hours by a SWAT team that killed his two dogs.

This is frightening. We should demand more restraint and respect for civil liberties from all levels of government.

Scott Tibbs.