Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- -On 26 February, 2019, the Chandler Police SWAT team raided a home where the children were sick. The parents had not committed any crime, nor was any child in any substantial danger. The raid itself created far more danger than the danger it was supposed to mitigate.
It was a perfect storm of the conflict of rights and the Nanny State, parental responsibility and bureaucratic fear of liability. In short, it resulted from the basic conflict in our society between those who insist on perfection, and reality. It shows how creeping tyranny is advancing in society.
Here is a summation of the events leading to the raid. The parents took a two-year-old child to the doctor on Monday, 25 February, 2019, because it had a fever of more than 100. Some accounts say it had a fever of 105. Others accounts are far less precise. It is not clear what the highest fever was. The doctor contacted other doctors, who recommended the child be taken to the emergency room. From azcentral.com:
The doctor contacted Banner physicians who recommended the child be “taken to the emergency room as soon as possible,” according to police records. The doctor told the mother that meningitis can be life-threatening and said the hospital would contact her when the mother arrived.
After they left the doctor’s office, the child was laughing and playing with his siblings. The mother took the child’s temperature again. It was near normal.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m., the mother called the doctor and told her that her toddler no longer had a fever so she wasn’t taking him to the emergency room.
The mother also said she was worried about getting in trouble with DCS because her child did not have vaccinations.
You can see how the liability fears are stacking up. The child had a fever. Some doctors say it should be checked out at the emergency room. If anyone in the bureaucratic system allows the child to stay at home, they risk losing their career and everything else if the child is seriously injured or dies. On the other hand, if the physician calls the Department of Child Safety (DCS), his liability is gone. It is transferred to the bureaucracy. There is *no* risk to the doctor for transferring his liability to the state.
I talked to a former DCS caseworker. I was told that caseworkers do not generally make the decision to go to the police. That is done by a supervisor. So there is another step, and another stack in the liability fear pile, from someone more removed from the case. If the caseworker does not refer the case to a supervisor, they risk their job, everything, if the child dies. Then the supervisor faces the same risk. So they refer the case to the police. If, as in this case, the parents don’t want everyone rousted out at 10:30 p.m. on Monday, after everyone is in bed, for what they see as a non-existent problem, the police ended up going with a SWAT team and forcing their way in at 1 a.m. on Tuesday.
All of this could be short-cut if the parents obeyed the orders of what the various people in the bureaucracy ordered them to do. But the parents had information the officials did not have, and they refused to do what appeared stupid and unnecessary to them. They exercised their parental authority and rights. They feared the DCS bureaucracy would take their children. Their fear appears to have been justified.
When the parents tried to assert their rights, the gloves come off and the police used force to make them comply. It could have been avoided if the police were willing to believe the parents. Liability bias worked against that outcome. If the police accepted the parent’s word, and something bad happened to the child, the police would be in trouble.
40 years ago, before we moved into liability insanity, it was the parent’s job to manage the risk. The parents are closest to the problem. If the child died, the liability would be on the parents, and it would mostly be criminal liability.
That approach worked very well in Western Civilization. We have far less child mortality (once the child is born) than we had a hundred years ago. Parents have enormous incentives to take care of their children. But, and this is important: we can never achieve perfection.
Those promoting the Nanny State demand perfection. It is their lever for more and more state power. They demand that no one ever get hurt. Proponents of state power, because of the utility to politicians of “it’s for the children!” especially demand that children never be hurt. This works especially well with women voters, especially single women voters. It ignores the danger and hurt that is done by the state, and state procedures, to children. It moves more and more power into state hands.
Voting for something does not make it so.
Removing children from a home with intact biological parents often puts the children at risk at foster homes. My former DPS case worker source said they estimated the percentage of foster homes that appeared to be in the system primarily for the monetary rewards, at about 50%.
At each stage of the liability stack, the stack is biased toward state action and away from parental rights. Each official actor faces less liability from state action than they do from not taking state action.
Every step along the way is relatively small and incremental. The doctor called other doctors. They recommended a trip to the emergency room. When that did not happen, the doctor called the Department of Child Safety. DCS called the police. The police got a warrant. The police called out the SWAT team.
All of the state action is expensive. This is where the movement to state action fails. What the state does is orders of magnitude more expensive than what a parent does.
Contrary to what State promoters claim, resources are limited.
My former DCS source told me that caseworkers are enormously overburdened, because of the requirements of the bureaucracy. The government simply cannot afford to have caseworkers take the place of parents. Perhaps more clearly, all of society cannot afford to have the government take the place of parents.
This case is extraordinary and newsworthy because the parents’ exercise of their parental rights collided with the state actors fears of liability, resulting in a dramatic video. The child was never in any real medical danger, making the state action appear harsh and unnecessary. In this case, it was harsh and unnecessary.
The case shows the power of recording police actions. A functioning recording system is as powerful, in some ways, at protecting your rights, as a firearm is. The father had a shotgun by his bed. In this case, the video recording was a far more powerful tool to protect his rights.
As a society, we must accept that resources are limited, that parents are fundamentally closer to children than the state can be. Preventing SWAT raids at 1 a.m. to check on a child will depend on changing the liability stack, so that a better balance of risk and liability exist.
It will mean accepting the idea that perfection is impossible, and risk is always a reality.
For example, if the parent says the child is not at risk, a notification of civil and criminal liability might be made to transfer the liability from doctors, DCS, and police to the parents. Virtually every official phone call is recorded. There is no additional cost to this approach. There may be a slight additional risk to children. There might be slightly less risk to children. It is impossible to know.
We face a similar problem with Second Amendment rights. Those promoting state control, for their own purposes, demand perfection. They demand zero risks, but ignore costs. They use the “its for the children!” argument to advance their agenda.
- Voting for something does not make it so.
- Perfection is not possible.
- Resources are limited.
Acknowledging the reality of those three things goes a great way in defeating creeping tyranny.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.