On May 11, 2014, Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, an 18-year member of the Killeen Police Department in Texas and 15-year SWAT Team veteran, died from injuries received in the line of duty. In the early morning hours of May 9, 2014, members of the Killeen Police Department Tactical Response Unit and the Bell County Organized Crime Unit attempted to serve a narcotics search warrant. When the members of this team were breaching a window into the house, a 49-year-old male occupant of the house opened fire, striking four officers. Two officers received only minor injuries, Officer Otis Denson was struck in the femur and required surgery. Officer Dinwiddie received a critical wound to his face and later died.
The man who shot and killed Officer Dinwiddie was Marvin Louis Guy. Guy had been arrested in 2011 for assaulting a family member. He pleaded guilty and served 40 days in jail in 2012. Guy had no police record for drug offenses. The Killeen Police Department were executing a no-knock warrant based on the information of an informant who claimed to have seen bags of cocaine transported to Guy’s house. The Killeen Police found no cocaine or any other narcotics in the Guy residence. They recovered a glass pipe, a grinder, and a safe. While perhaps this is evidence of drug use, it is hardly a sign that Guy was a dangerous drug kingpin. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Guy.
Officer Chuck Dinwiddie bravely served and protected his community, and he died in the course of doing his duty. But consider this from the point of view of the middle-aged African-American Marvin Louis Guy. At 5:30 am, he is awakened by loud sounds. He witnesses what appears to be a home invasion. His significant other is in the house, and he wishes to defend her and himself against these intruders. There are no drugs or any other contraband in the house. Perhaps Guy has used cocaine in the past, but why would a petty drug user with one small criminal offense years earlier expect a SWAT Team to bust into his house to execute a simple search warrant? It is not like the Killeen Police knocked on his door and presented their badges and a search warrant. Simply stated, how could Guy possibly know these were police officers and not home intruders? If he had assumed that anyone breaking into his house with guns before dawn were police officers and they turned out to be criminals and not officers of the law, would it have been exemplary of Guy to forfeit his life and not defend himself? Could one not argue that the Killeen Police were reckless and unnecessarily put Officer Dinwiddie in a position where he might be harmed? Could it not also be argued that the Killeen Police Department is just as responsible for Officer Dinwiddie’s death as Marvin Louis Guy was?
Human beings have natural unalienable rights to life, liberty, and property. These natural rights entail that human beings have the right to self-defense, and this includes the right to bear arms. Marvin Louis Guy had the right to defend his life, the life of his significant other, his liberty, and his home. Given that the apparent home invaders were well-armed with guns, Guy had a prima facie right to employ deadly force in self-defense.
Officer Chuck Dinwiddie and his companions were officers of the law executing their official duties. Of course, one cannot be permitted by law to engage in gun fights with officers of the law just because these officers are armed and could potentially pose a significant danger to a suspected criminal. However, the Killeen Police were not acting as officers of the law. In not identifying themselves, they were essentially going rogue. In the case of a building controlled by known members of a violent drug cartel, perhaps a no-knock warrant is appropriate. Perhaps. But in the case of someone like Marvin Louis Guy, a no-knock warrant is totally inappropriate. No-knock warrants in almost all—and perhaps in all—instances are nothing but totalitarian heavy-handed tactics more appropriate to the Gestapo than American police.
Marvin Louis Guy does not deserve to die for killing Officer Chuck Dinwiddie. In fact, he should not even be charged with a crime. He killed in self-defense, exercising his natural right. Even if he had been using cocaine, human beings also possess the natural right to liberty which includes the right to ingest any substance that does not directly harm anyone else—e.g. any substance other than highly radioactive material, explosive devices, contagions, etc. The true murderer here is the unjust and unconstitutional War on Drugs that causes police to act like soldiers storming American homes like they are GIs storming German bunkers on Normandy Beach. It is the War on Drugs and drug prohibition in general which should face the death penalty. Not a man exercising his right to self-defense.
(For a much more detailed discussion of natural right to self-defense as well as the immorality of the War on Drugs, read my new book The Real Culture War: Individualism vs. Collectivism & How Bill O’Reilly Got It All Wrong. Available now on Amazon in both print and Kindle.)