Manna Storehouse SWAT, part 4: Did police really enter “with guns drawn”?

Manna Storehouse sheep - from Manna Storehouse website

Manna Storehouse sheep - from Manna Storehouse website

NEW DEC. 17: Manna Storehouse 7: The Stowers tell their story.

On the Complete Patient blog, “An Observer” asked the question  whether “...with weapons drawn and trained on Katie Stowers and her children.” was an accurate description of the “event”.

David E. Gumpert  replied: “An Observer’s questioning of my description of the event raises an important journalistic issue. The problem is I only had one side of the story: Katie’s. I tried three government sources to try to obtain their side of the story, especially as regards the law enforcement tactics. ODA wouldn’t talk about it, and referred me to Lorain County Health Department. Those people wouldn’t talk about it, referring me to county prosecutor. He didn’t return my call. In that situation, I could say it’s not clear what happened, since I didn’t have the government’s side. But isn’t that really giving the government’s refusal to discuss the matter preference over Katie’s version? I decided it was, and went with Katie’s version. If someone from the government told me the officers hadn’t drawn their weapons on women and children, and simply requested they stay seated in the living room while a search warrant was executed, I would have said that. But the government officials clearly didn’t want to talk about it….”

David goes on to talk about how he doesn’t consider that murder of inspectors in 2000 enough of a rationale for the universal adoption of this style of policing eight years later. Read it all here (towards the end of the comments).

In an earlier post David describes receiving an award for journalistic integrity: “... I’ve wanted to mention a couple of personal items from the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Wise Traditions conference in early November. I was honored by the WAPF with an award–its first-ever Integrity in Journalism Award, “for dedication to accurate reporting on raw milk.” I wasn’t able to be present for the actual ceremony because I had to leave for Germany, so I want to say here how truly gratified I am to have been honored in this way…..”

An Observer is not the only one who’s found the Manna Storehouse story difficult to believe. Here’s a blogger who seems to be working though her own disbelief that something like this could happen in present-day America:

This is from The Back Forty blog:

“A day or so ago, I posted a question trying to verify if an email I’d received was correct. It stated that Manna Storehouse, located in a private home, had been raided and their inventory and computers, etc, confiscated while the family was held at gunpoint. The reason I was particularly interested in this story is because the family business/buying co-op is the sort that helps others buy grassfed meats and organic foods at affordable prices. I was wanting to separate the fact from the fiction.

I am waiting for an official press release, which will come soon. When it does, I’ll post it.

I have concerns for our constitutional rights and freedoms and that there may be some blatant injustices in small farmers, etc, being targeted in differing ways. I found it very difficult to believe that a dispute over licensing details could have actually resulted in a family’s home being searched in the way it seems (by the accounts I’ve read) to have been. I’m still waiting for details.

An online friend of mine posted her concerns that this particular news story be correctly verified, and expressed her personal perspective as the wife of a law enforcement officer who each day is often required enforce the law while at the same time protecting himself. It is the reality of every family member of loved ones in law enforcement that their job requires the risk of their own lives. Her comments spoke to this and to the fact that often police are following orders. She also stated that she has a concern that farmers and homesteaders are being unfairly targeted more and more. She made her comments respectfully. They reflected her opinions, and the last time I looked, this is what our Constitution protects the right to express. Therefore, I thank her. I am thankful for our Constitution.

As a rule, I seldom edit or refuse to publish comments based on whether I agree or not with them. This will be one of those exceptions. Here is why–

I came home from work to an In Box with several more comments, all of which I appreciated reading. The part I had a problem with was that rather than address the content of my post, which was to get to the bottom of what really happened at Manna Storehouse, it began to be a dialogue among the commenters. Whatever has really happened, it has touched a nerve and involves very important issues. These issues include the role of law enforcement, Constitutional rights, the targeting of small groups (even families) without grounds or due process, potential abuses of privacy and other rights in the name of “security” or “compliance,” and the ethical conundrum of those involved (law enforcement, etc) when the choice must be made to participate (or not) if it’s obvious an injustice is being perpetrated under the guise of law.

These are tremendously important concerns!

Though I had no idea this would bring about such important discussion, I welcome it…within the confines of respect. That’s the rule here… you can say hard things and I don’t have to agree with you, nor do any commenters have to agree with each other. BUT. It has to be expressed respectfully.

I know…if you’re the friends of the family who just got held at gunpoint, you’re entitled to rant. Please do! But let’s put things on the table without attacking others. That’s my requirement.

I did not post the following comments in full, not because I wish to edit the convictions behind them, but because they became personal to one of the commentors, going beyond the realm of this blog in its ability to adequately foster dialogue. I thought they were borderline hostile, though it was probably wasn’t meant personally. But to me, it did sound a bit too personal to other commenter’s thoughts…an attack is different than dialoguing.

Here are some of the concerns I can post, excerpted from some of the comments in my In Box. I did not include whatever other valid parts of their comments that were directed to prior commentors. The discussion is out on the table for all, not to target an individual. My thanks to those who took the time to express your concerns:

#1 I wonder to what extremes tactical teams will just do their jobs… At some point, individuals have to be responsible for their actions which further tyranny, “just following orders” is no excuse.

#2 (sic throughout) I’m baffeled at the posted dialog. What have we come to? Yes, it’s true. This family, who is providing a healthy source of organic FOOD, YES FOOD, NOT DRUGS or any kind of illegal product, was stormed upon by a SWAT team, in full riot gear, and had fully automatic guns pointed at them, including the children. No phone call, no explenation. Private property was taken, including a signifcant amount of food, valued at possibly $10,000.00. Yes, IT’S TRUE. This is a perfect example of the tyranny we can expect from our goverment in the days to come. THEY WERE GROWING HEATHLY FOOD. And every civil right we claim to cherish in this country was violated. What about those children? Did they deserve that experience? What did that teach them about thier country, thier leaders, thier goverment, thier law enforcment?

#3 At some point, even the ordinary swat team guy must take responsibility for what he does.….

I’d like to get the facts before going any further with this. ….”

Further reading:

Warrior Cops: The Ominous Growth of Paramilitarism

NEW: Manna Storehouse raid part 5 — deeper down the rabbit hole

DEC 16 UPDATE: Manna Storehouse #6

9 Comments

Filed under News

9 responses to “Manna Storehouse SWAT, part 4: Did police really enter “with guns drawn”?

  1. Pingback: Manna Storehouse “S.W.A.T.”, part 3 « The Bovine

  2. Pingback: More on ODA’s Manna Storehouse raid « The Bovine

  3. I’m not a “he,” I’m a “she” 🙂

    There is an increasing concern about many of the controls our government has used, and related concerns such as the NAIS, the Real I.D. Act, and genetically modified food-related strong-arming. The reason the Manna Storehouse story showed up on my blog at all is because the homesteading community at large WILL believe what happened not only is possible but would want to come alongside anyone who’s been targeted. My fellow-bloggers oftentimes are big proponents of the Weston A. Price Foundation and issues of protecting our constitutional rights, as am I.

    I have no problem believing this scenario can happen, and I feel a responsibility to pass the word when it does. I wrote to the contact person at the Manna Storehouse site and was given a brief rundown and told they are going to issue an official press release and that it would be forwarded to me, too. I’m not one of their customers and therefore did not receive the email they sent to customers. I’m respecting their wishes in putting on my blog what Katie said she would send me when they are ready to do so.

    Just clarifying.

    I’m respectfully honoring the family’s wish in that respect, but it does not lessen my conviction that the homesteading community at large, needs to be informed.

    Respectfully,

    Robbyn/thebackforty blog

  4. thebovine

    Thanks for the correction Robbyn. I’ve fixed it now.

  5. thebovine

    Here’s somebody else wondering what really happened in this case:

    “….I’ve been following Internet accounts of this over the weekend and haven’t been able to verify what went down.

    Some accounts are reporting a SWAT raid.

    I haven’t been able to confirm this, so I’ve been hesitant to comment. It would not surprise me to learn the “Authorized Journalists” have once more failed at government watchdoggery, but at this point not enough is known to make a judgment. Just like it would not surprise me to see organic food distributors treated like homegrown terrorists…..”

    from: http://waronguns.blogspot.com/2008/12/what-happened-at-co-op.html

  6. Pingback: ODA “swats” Manna Storehouse Co-op « The Bovine

  7. Pingback: SWAT team with semi-automatic rifles entered the private home - Page 5 - US Message Board

  8. legendre

    Since Waco Texas… any group that is gartering is going to be raided …because they don’t take the time to check people out before they jump …is this right on they are not doing there job and they are jumping the gun because they want brownie points ..with the least amount of effort …my husband is a minister and i am sorry to say if you study your bible the govement will rule us all in the end and its coming fast if people don’t do something about it .
    We raise our own food to eat and I always will .. I do not sell to anyone else even though I have been asked ..but it is the best move we have ever made … stand up for your rights people

  9. Pingback: Manna Storehouse: Lorain County December 08′ Raid Gets Norwalk’s Attention « The Erie Wire

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