I had gotten several comments in regard to this subject, so I thought I would document it here in this blog for the heck of it...
As many of you know, there was a situation here last month where a guy who failed to show up in court to answer a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer had a warrant issued for his pickup. When deputies arrived at his house to serve the warrant, he answered the door with threats and gunfire. Officers returned gunfire then retreated to cover and called for backup. SWAT teams arrived and faced a 9 hour standoff, which saw them penetrate the walls of the house to drop tear gas and concussive devices. The surrounding homes were evacuated. This happened in a rather upscale part of town where people tend to be wealthy, long time residents, and they can sometimes appear to have some false sense of entitlement.
For more info on the incident, Google "Allen Buzdigian".
One of the residents wrote the following letter to the editor of the local paper:'Police state' response shocking
I sincerely hope The News-Journal will demand a full public accounting by an independent source of the events surrounding the death of Allen Buzdigian on Sept. 25 ("9-hour standoff deadly: Man barricades self in Ormond-by-the-Sea home," article, Sept. 26).
As a resident of Hibiscus Drive, I am shocked, appalled and frightened that a "police state" could so quickly be established in a quiet neighborhood, refusing both adults and school children access to their homes for nine hours; sent more than 20 patrol cars to be parked along just one side street, and many more on other streets; called for SWAT reinforcements from a neighboring county (was our SWAT team unable to handle this situation alone?); bombarded a private residence with gas and concussive devices; and then destroyed it with armored vehicles.
This is America, not Iraq. Al may have had some difficulties with the police, may even have had some mental problems, but he was never a threat to the neighborhood. My late husband would spend hours with him sitting on the porch and watching the traffic go by on John Anderson Drive. On more than one occasion, when Al was alone for Thanksgiving, he came and shared a meal with us. He was always clean, well dressed, articulate, friendly and relaxed. He rode his Indian at 10 miles an hour down our street and always had a wave for me when he was standing in the yard, gazing skyward.
Our law enforcement agencies were not protecting us from Al; they were issuing a show of force that I have difficulty wrapping my mind around. Many others share my thoughts and feelings about this infringement on our freedom and the huge expense to the taxpayers.
I understand that officers were put in danger, but did that give them the right to put six blocks of the residents of this neighborhood in danger from their firepower capabilities? Because that is what we needed protecting from, not Allen Buzdigian.
PATRICIA HAAS, Ormond Beach
The sense of entitlement and lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation on her part astounded me. It became a divisive subject of local interest, with most of those who were AGAINST the police not having any real data on the subject, nor an adequate understanding of police tactical procedure.
I sent the following response to the News Journal, which they published:
I am responding to Patricia Haas' letter of Sept. 29 in which she expressed her shock at the "police state" response of local law enforcement to the Allen Buzdigian home in Ormond-by-the-Sea.
What letter would she have written to the newspaper if one of her neighbors or area children had been wounded or killed by crossfire coming from the home?
It appears that law enforcement can't win on this one: The officers are damned for protecting the residents from a credible threat, and had they not taken precautions, they would have been damned for that.
I am sure that Mr. Buzdigian had his merits as a person and a neighbor, but when one bucks the system with a rifle and a pistol, I think it is fair to say that all history is forgotten at that moment.
I am sure Mrs. Haas would expect no less if she were the one in peril. This was an extraordinary circumstance, and extraordinary steps were taken to protect the innocent.
Mrs. Haas asks, "I understand that officers were put in danger, but did that give them the right to put six blocks of the residents of this neighborhood in danger from their firepower capabilities?"
The answer is "yes." The steps taken by law enforcement were calculated to prevent them from having to use firepower. That is why concussion devices, tear gas and other nonlethal methods were employed at first. It was Mr. Buzdigian who was using the firepower, and unfortunately, bullets don't stop at property lines.
HARRY SMITH, DeLand