We're All Iraqis Now
"Why Did Police Kill My Dad?"
"Mom, was my dad a bad guy?" four-year-old Joel Guerena plaintively asked his mother Vanessa after her husband, 26-year-old Jose, was killed in a withering barrage of gunfire during a SWAT invasion of their home. "They killed my dad! Police killed my dad! Why? What did my dad do?"
To the extent the question posed by that traumatized child dealt with a moral justification for the killing, a good and sufficient answer would be: "Nothing." Jose Guerena was killed because he had the temerity to defend his family from a criminal assault carried out by armed strangers.
When the stormtroopers arrived shortly after 9:00 a.m. on May 5, Jose had just surrendered to well-earned slumber after working the graveyard shift at the nearby Asarco Mine. Jose, a former Marine who served two combat tours abroad, had taken that job to provide for his young family after mustering out of the Corps. Jose had devoted the last hours of his life to producing wealth. Meanwhile, his killers were planning to lay siege to several homes in the neighborhood as part of the Regime's Narcotics Price Support Program, the murderous charade sometimes called the "War on Drugs."
Jose was able to get just a tiny amount of sleep before being startled awake by the terrified screams of his wife, who had seen a large party of armed men approaching them. One of them pointed a rifle at her; another shattered a window. None of them, she insists, identified himself as a police officer – not that this would make a substantive difference in moral or even legal terms.
“I saw this guy pointing me at the window,” Vanessa recalled in a subsequent television interview. “So, I got scared. And, I got like, ‘Please don’t shoot, I have a baby.’ I put my baby [down]. [And I] put bag in window. And, I yell ‘Jose! Jose! Wake up!’”
According to his wife, Jose's last words were: “Vani, go into the closet with the kid. Go!” He then grabbed his AR-15 and went to confront the people who threatened his family. Seven seconds later, he was dead. His killers unleashed a fusillade of 71 shots.
Given that the marksmanship of the typical tax-feeder is on a par with that of the Imperial Stormtroopers from Star Wars, it’s likely that only a handful of the gunshots hit their marks, but that was enough. Jose was killed before he could pull the trigger. That doesn't alter the fact that he died on his feet, with his face to the enemy as he shielded his family against criminal aggression.
In the immediate aftermath of the murder, Jose’s killers -- in keeping with established custom -- began to traduce the victim's reputation, claiming that the slain husband and father was a violent suspect who had fired the first shot, and that a ballistic shield had probably saved the life of one of the assailants. This version of events was dutifully regurgitated by an initially uncritical local media.
Jose’s reputation was allowed to steep in that falsehood for several days before the PCSO grudgingly admitted the truth. “A deputy’s bullet struck the side of the doorway, causing chips of wood to fall on his shield,” recounted the Arizona Daily Star, paraphrasing an account provided by PCSO functionary Michael O’Connor. “That prompted some members of the team to think the deputy had been shot.”
The PCSO wasn’t through bemerding the memory of Jose Geurena, however.
In the new version peddled by the department, Guerena supposedly used his final seconds this side of eternity to channel Tony Montana, crouching down and growling: “I have something for you!”
The people who gunned Jose down – who are hardly disinterested witnesses – claim that he knew that he was drawing bead on law enforcement personnel. This is not what happened, even though Jose had every moral and legal right to use lethal force to defend his home from an unlawful invasion."