There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. My mother an astute observer of me used to remind me after one of my exploits that “the Devil makes work for idle hands.” That is absolutely the case when it comes to the FBI. It is the only thing that can account for some of its behavior. If I were an agent I would be ashamed and embarrassed if I participated in these actions but apparently many are not.
I was involved in well over a hundred investigations involving arrests of drug dealers, gangsters, and criminals who had a potential for violence. Most of these we figured out how to do so that little notice would be taken of them. Against those thought most dangerous we rarely used more than six officers or troopers. The idea was to do the job safely, quickly and efficiently. If we had to seize a lot of items we would do it quietly and bring them away from the scene and back to the base to examine. We treated those we arrested with dignity; often taking them into custody away from the location where they resided without much ado.
When we did searches we did them with as much concern as we would want someone doing a search in our own homes being respectful to those found inside who weren’t involved and doing little to no damage. More than once the guys who were on the raids were thanked by the targets and their family for being courteous.
I suppose that is what you do in a civilized society. You accept your role. Mine and the law enforcement people I worked with knew our job was to investigate, apprehend and prosecute. The punishment was left up to the courts. We weren’t in the show boating business; we did our jobs quietly without fanfare and went on to other things of which there were many.
Unfortunately the FBI seems drawn to the idea of showboating, harassing, destroying and humiliating Americans who present no threat of violence. Its puerile actions in arresting people suggest that many among its numbers are frustrated bullies stuck to their desks at most times doing paper work, bored, with little to do, and biting at the bit to get their 15 minutes of looking like the Eliot Ness tough guys who they watched at the movies hopeful they will be called to carry a military type weapon and wear a jacket with the big yellow letters FBI on the back into a situation where there is absolutely no danger.
Unfortunately whoever is running these shows is mostly concerned with publicity rather than doing the job right. The last I knew that was James Comey. It is hard to understand why a person with his background finds nothing wrong with being brutal to his fellow Americans.
It does not have to be that way. There are some in the FBI who apparently know how to do it right. They are found in places far away from FBI headquarters. They apparently have enough to keep them busy and do their jobs expeditiously and quietly like they should be done.
Take this case out in California where the agents found out the location of a wanted guy who they could easily assume had a huge stash of weapons in his apartment. He was known as being violent and had been charged with being involved in murders. If they wanted to put on a show they could have rounded up their SWAT teams, plowed into the neighborhood, blocked off streets, surrounded the building, set up a loud speaker system telling him to come out, engage in a street battle like in the old-time movies with spotlights and tear gas filling the air, and eventually subdued him after destroying half of the other apartments in the three-story brick building.
Or, they could have said let’s come up with a ruse and tried to grab the guy without incident. That’s what two or three of the West Coast agents did. Low key, clever, and quickly. They set a trap, lured the target in, and made the arrest. That was how they got Whitey Bulger. They conducted their search of his apartment and went on their way. They were too busy to play games. A job well done. Unfortunately, that’s the exception not the rule.