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  Achtung Doobie!
Buffalo’s Boys in Blue do Blitzkrieg Bop

Speaking of unfortunately named initiatives, police recently carried out “Operation Shock and Awe” in the Buffalo theatre in the war on drugs. Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson’s 3-day secret police raid swept across the city, netting an unimpressive amount of drugs, guns, and cash, and resulting in 78 total arrests. Some Buffalo residents are confident the raids provided the nearly incomprehensible levels of massive destruction needed to dissuade all future drug use in the city, while others feel the operation was a tragic waste of perfectly good narcotics and pit bulls.

The Buffalo News reported that the raid netted “about six pounds of marijuana, seven ounces of crack cocaine, five guns and more than $11,000” in the execution of 38 search warrants. If you break that down, it’s 2.5 ounces of pot (that evil drug that causes countless Buffalonians to enjoy Cartoon Network programming more than they really ought to), 0.18 ounces of crack, 0.13 guns and 289 bucks per warrant executed—not exactly an “awesome” rate of return. Divide the total take by the amount of people arrested—78—and it’s hard to imagine what all of those people were actually charged with, especially since I’m pretty sure money is not classified as a schedule 1 narcotic.

The brutality of the News article’s wording is worth remarking. It leads off like this:

“A loud ‘flash bang’ concussion device is detonated inside a Kensington Avenue house as Buffalo Police SWAT officers, clad in black armor and brandishing automatic assault rifles, storm a lower apartment.

“…Within seconds, there are multiple shotgun blasts. At the same instant, another officer cradles a 1-year-old boy out the front door and down a flight of steps to safety.

“When the smoke clears, three large pit bull terriers lay dead, in pools of their own coagulated blood.”

Jesus! So this is good police work, huh? The cops just stun-grenaded a friggin’ baby and shot three dogs dead for a teaspoon of crack, and we’re supposed to cheer?

“Shock and Awe,” or “Schlag und Awe” in the original German, was a term developed by the Nazis and first put to print in the glossy WWII era propaganda magazine Signal. As expounded upon in a United States' National Defense University report from the mid-‘90s, the military goals of Rapid Deployment are "to affect the will, perception, and understanding of the adversary to fit or respond to our strategic policy ends through imposing a regime of Shock and Awe." In Nazi Germany and modern America, the “adversary” is both the defined enemy and the news-consuming public at large. The Buffalo police are trying to scare the shit out of you with an inappropriately named, historically disconnected bit of military marketing might. (This isn’t a new tactic: a previous campaign of police intrusion was dubbed “Operation Clean Sweep,” after a search-and-destroy campaign in Vietnam.)

The News is, ahem, signaling, there will be a lot of "flash bang grenades” and “multiple shotgun blasts,” initially. If Gipson is in fact following the doctrine of Rapid Dominance, he is seeking to “paralyze” the dealers’ “will to carry on” in the face of such an overwhelming use of force.

But fear not, fellow fiends; as it’s been demonstrated historically, the shock fades and people fight back. Supplies will not dry up, nor will Buffalo police officers be shouting “Vere are your rollink papers?!” in your face any time soon. The law of supply and demand cannot be denied by mere mortals, even with badges and guns. Trying to stem the flow of narcotics to any city by attacking supply is like trying to stop water from leaking through a sieve. Yes, Joel Giambra is actually right about something.

And fear not brave dealers; although the News is quick to tell you, "The word out on the street is that Buffalo is very hot with narcotics raids and no one knows who is going to be next," you should continue to supply, uh, your customers with powerful drugs. OK?

If the pentagon’s 2003 Iraq operation of the same name is any indicator, the raids will play well in the media, having the desired, noisy effect of signaling the enemy’s imminent defeat, and then slowly but surely lead to intractable quagmire and defeat. Let’s just hope they don’t douse the city in white phosphorous. Try to act impressed when they declare “Mission Accomplished.”

 

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