SWAT Team Ordered to “Stand Down” In Navy Yard Shooting

Usually, police and SWAT teams err on the side of killing people. How many times do we hear stories of a SWAT team raiding someone’s house and shooting and killing residents only to find out that it was the wrong address? Or they might raid the right house but shoot and kill one of the residents who they thought was armed but turned out to be unarmed. Or during one of their no-knock, middle-of-the-night break-in raids, a startled homeowner might grab his gun and rush to see who is breaking in his house only to be met with 50 rounds to his chest, courtesy of the police’s machine guns.

Police will tell you that these cases are unfortunate, but necessary because the officers obviously felt their lives were threatened. And it’s better that the police are “safe than sorry,” as the saying goes. One twitch of a person’s finger is all that’s needed to justify riddling his body with bullets.

So, usually, police would rather shoot and kill a civilian who turns out to be innocent than run the risk of waiting to find out if that person is actually guilty of a crime. Everyone else is supposed to give them a pass, because they put their lives on the line for the safety of others. They have a dangerous job. It’s better to have a dead innocent civilian than a dead police officer.

Which makes the situation at the Navy Yard so puzzling. Why was the SWAT team that was requested by D.C. Metropolitan Police ordered to stand down? Their unit was ready to act and was less than thirty seconds from the Navy Yard gate. They could have come on the scene to assist the Metropolitan Police and could have potentially taken out Alexis and saved lives. But the Metropolitan Police were on their own when they learned they wouldn’t be getting any help from a SWAT team. And one of them died trying to kill the shooter:

 “The U.S. Capitol Police say they are investigating reports that a specially trained and equipped SWAT team was ordered not to assist D.C. Metropolitan Police responding to the Navy Yard shooting rampage Monday. Two D.C. Metropolitan Police officers armed only with handguns entered the building alone after the “stand down” order, and one was shot, according to WUSA-9 News and the BBC. ‘I have asked the Capitol Police Board to lead an independent fact review of our response, specifically our mutual aid efforts,’ said Capitol Hill Police Chief Kim C. Dine in a statement to The Washington Times Thursday. ABC 9 News reported Wednesday that Capitol Hill cops were “furious,” about the order ‘believing they could have saved lives.'”

This sounds vaguely like Benghazi. Why was the SWAT team told to stand down? The Navy Yard shooting is exactly the kind of situation that the SWAT team is there for. They’re trained to deal with “active shooter” scenarios. But when it actually happens in real life, they’re ordered not to do what they’ve been trained to do? Did someone want the shooting to proceed unimpeded?  Would that really surprise anyone anymore?