Andrew McCullough's Blog

Saturday, January 07, 2012

War on Drugs hits home

January 7, 2012

It has been a while since I have updated this blog. Hope to do better, but so very busy fighting the "man".

This past week the War on Drugs came to Utah with a vengeance. And it was a real war. The Ogden area, like others in the State, maintains a militarized "task force", supposedly to fight drugs. These guys train for battle, are heavily armed, and wear body armor, in anticpation of a firefight. This week twelve of them planned a "raid" of a home where they reputedly had information that an occupant was growing his own marijuana (and may have sold some - it still is not clear). They broke in his door at night; and things did not go as planned. One is dead, two others are in critical condition, and three others were wounded less seriously. The community has come together for candelight vigils and other expressions of support of these heroes.

I want to make it clear right now, that this was a tragedy. It should not have happened. But I look around and I do not see any heroes, just more victims of a drug policy which creates so many of them. What possible reason was there for this military assault? Was anyone in immediate danger of serious harm? The tactics themselves make little sense. They knew who lived there, and that he worked a graveyard shift at Walmart. Why not wait until he was not home? Better yet, why not try and arrange to go there during the day and talk to him in a civilized manner? Or even better yet, why not ask if such a "raid" was even necessary? Marijuana possession is not s serious crime, even in Utah. When twelve heavily armed men charge a house with guns drawn, doesn't it seem likely that SOMEBODY may get hurt? Is grabbing a few marijuana plants worth ANYONE'S life?

I am reading a book about a man who grew up with drug addicted parents in New York. Wouldn't have had a chance in life except for a friend who helped him get out and lead a real life. The drug war went on all around him; and those police who were fighting it never had a snowball's chance in the hot place of winning. So lives were destroyed and nothing got better. I do not like drugs. I do not use them. I also do not, however, believe that I can force you to do as I do. I have wateched the drug war lose ground from the day President Nixon decared it. A whole generation of young people have been made criminals, and it is NOT getting better.

We should mourn the fallen officers; and we should mourn the man whose life has been destroyed by defending his home against a nighttime breakin by men he likely did not know were police officers. And then we should talk about how to fight the evil effects of drug addiction without destroying more lives.

Please consider doing something to help. I am gearing up to run for Utah Attoreney General. Yes, I have done this before; but this incident reminds me that we need new ideas in law enforcement. Join me in my fight for common sense. And demand a stop to the violence.


  • At 8:56 PM, Blogger Jon R Smith said…

    Here here Andy. I also do not know the details about this raid. Not many do or probably ever will outside of the "need to know circle." The word overkill does come to mind and if at least one of your suggestions would have been considered or even tried, this tragedy and the resultant deaths may have been prevented.

    We have become a "Go to war" society and Utah is a real 2nd amendment defender so with just these two components in place are we really surprised at the results of Ogdens drug raid?

    I mourn the deaths of any person in the line of duty. My prayers go out to the families of those souls lost.

  • At 5:14 PM, Blogger Megan said…

    I'll help you fight that fight! I love you Andy!

  • At 5:14 PM, Blogger Megan said…

    I'll help you fight that fight! I love you, Andy!

  • At 10:39 AM, Blogger Eapen said…

    We should talk about this raid. I am particularly interested in reforming the civil forfeiture laws that incentivize this kind of conduct.

    Eapen Thampy
    Executive Director, Americans for Forfeiture Reform
    3630 Holmes St., Kansas City, MO, 64109
    Phone: 573-673-5351
    Email: or
    Web: and

  • At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I always thought a citizen was innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Apparently Matthew didn't qualify for that right.

  • At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "One is dead, two others are in critical condition, and three others were wounded less seriously."

    It's pretty hard to take you seriously--both intellectually and rhetorically--if nowhere in the article you mention that the suspect was shot four times, too.

    Given the tone of the rest of your piece, that seems like a central point which you omitted for some reason. Oversight?

  • At 5:52 PM, Blogger REdHEaD AGnST DrUGWaR said…


  • At 8:38 PM, Blogger Andrew McCullough said…

    Anonymous asked why I did not mention the four wounds the resident received. Simple. I didn't know. All I had heard was that he asuffered from "non-life threatening injuries." Obviously I did not intend to treat his injuries as less important than those of the police.

  • At 1:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Fair enough. I certainly didn't and don't disagree with the tone of the article. I had trouble with the rhetorical construction and argumentation.

    Irrespective of intent (simply because the suspect's injuries are mentioned nowhere), the reader is left with the impression that his injuries do not tally in the tragedy.

    I also should apologize for the tone of my first post. That was more aggressive than I intended; I'd hoped to offer editorial advice rather than dismissive criticism.

    Your blog is thoughtful and thought provoking. Thanks for posting on this and other subjects

  • At 2:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The problem is, as you've implied, is that these task forces escalate the potential for violence. That's done for two reasons: Incompetence and thrill seeking.

    Of course raiding the house when the occupants were gone would have been safer, but it wouldn't have been as fun. There would be no one to point a gun at and yell at to get on the ground. To raid a house in para military dress is fun, it's a thrill.

    But the incompetence comes from believing that you're the only one with a gun. If you constantly go looking for a fight, armed to the teeth, eventually you're going to find one. That's what happened here. Escalating the potential for violence increases violence. It's basic logic; if people go about expecting and looking for a certain situation, no one should be surprised when they find it.

    These officers didn't deserve to be shot. And I don't deserve to be robbed if I walk through Rose Park while wearing a Rolex. But both events are foreseeable and regrettably, preventable.

  • At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Mike Gross said…

    The drug war is such a waste.

    Guns don't give you much protection in the home.

  • At 6:13 PM, Blogger Erna said…

    Mr. McCullough,
    My name is Erna Stewart, Is there an email address of yours that I don't see? I'd like to talk.

  • At 6:27 PM, Blogger Andrew McCullough said…

    My e-mail address is Watch for more blogs soon as political season warms up.

  • At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Doncha figure those trigger happy cops actually shot each other? It's hard for me to imagine one guy could take out so many supposedly well-trained LEOs. Why haven't we legalized and taxed that plant yet? How did it go from one of our nations largest crops and medicines to an illegal plant, in the first place. Henry Ford was making autos AND auto fuel from it according to Popular mechanics circa 1957 or so. Ending oil dependence and the business of locking up non violent 'offenders' sounds good to me.


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