Tyler Harrell was found guilty of a charge of aggravated assault today in a case that should concern anyone who cares about the right to self-defense.
Back in 2016, Harken grabbed his AK-47 after being awaken by a loud bang. With him and his mom believing his house was being broken in to, he went on to shoot one of the intruders in the knee. Unfortunately for Harken, the people that broke down his door had government badges. The Austin SWAT team, allegedly responding to Snapchat photos of Harken with drugs, guns, and cash, were conducting a no-knock raid on the house. Their search found no drugs, but Harken faced the assault charge as well as an even more ludicrous charge of attempted capital murder, of which he was found not guilty. He now faces thirteen-and-a-half years in prison.
While it’s a shame that someone was hurt during the police raid, Harken is the clear victim in this situation. After all, what is a reasonable person supposed to do when armed men knock down your front door without any sort of announcement? Anyone who favors gun rights must concede that the natural reaction is to defend yourself and everyone else in the home. Unfortunately, the overlap between the Blue Lives Matter and NRA crowds mean we are unlikely to hear many national voices come to Harken’s defense.
Unfortunately situations like Harken’s are not all the uncommon, as the government continues to wage its absurd war on drugs. As Tate Fegley noted following the disastrous Utah vs Streiff Supreme Court case:
To read the decisions of the Court regarding the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits the government from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures, is to read of its slow death, with drug prohibition playing a role almost every step of the way.
Consider, for example, one of the most odious developments in modern American policing: the no-knock SWAT raid. There are, on average, over 100 raids per day and the majority of them are to serve low-level drug warrants. Such a dangerous procedure inevitably has led to a huge number of botched raids, resulting in unnecessary property damage and death. It is a common law principle that officers of the law “knock-and-announce” themselves prior to the search of a dwelling in order to give the occupant time to compose himself and answer the door. The Supreme Court has created exceptions to this principle, such as the possibility that suspects could destroy drug evidence, thus providing a necessary condition to the environment that allows a raid-happy style of policing to exist. In consideration of this, it is not hard to imagine how the Strieff decision could lead to widespread pretext stops and ID-checking in order to go on fishing expeditions for evidence.