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This hit Digg this morning. I love Columbia, but we’ve got a horrible reputation in a few key areas, particularly racism and the behavior of our police force (sometimes these two issues intersect in a big ball of badness). We got some major media attention for the former with the “cotton ball incident,” and now the national spotlight is on the latter.

I understand that the police have to look out for their safety. I understand that they can only act on the information they have. But I’m really not sure this was necessary. Did they really NEED to invade this house? Did they really believe there was an urgent need to confront this guy in his house in the middle of the night? If they’d been monitoring this guy, surely they knew the child was home. What if the guy had been violent and started shooting and the cops had to shoot back, and the kid caught a stray bullet? Any reason why they couldn’t snag him while he was leaving the house, or while his kid was at school?

On shooting the dogs… yes, it’s tragic. Dogs will instinctively protect their family when they perceive a threat. The cops were threatening. The cops have to look out for their own safety. That’s never a good situation. But once again, was a middle-of-the-night home invasion really necessary? Catching the guy while he’s out buying or selling, and then getting a warrant to search his property seems like a much more civilized course of action. Seems like a SWAT invasion should be reserved for situations where people are in imminent danger. Putting innocents at risk just to maybe catch a criminal… not sure that’s in the public’s best interest.