Stockton SWAT Raid Over Student Loans
June 10, 2011
By JOHN SEILER
Editor’s note: This article was rewritten to reflect more recent information, which corrected some of what was reported.
The evidence that America now is a full-blown police state keeps pouring in. Governments short of revenue even are assaulting those with alleged school-loan problems.
In Stockton, original reports were that local police launched an assault on a man’s house, searching for his wife. Her offense: she didn’t make her federal student-loan payments.
Reported News10.net on Thursday (the link includes a video):
The resident, Kenneth Wright, does not have a criminal record and he had no reason to believe why what he thought was a S.W.A.T team would be breaking down his door at 6 in the morning.
“I look out of my window and I see 15 police officers,” Wright said.
As Wright came downstairs in his boxer shorts, he said the officers barged through his front door. Wright said an officer grabbed him by the neck and led him outside on his front lawn.
“He had his knee on my back and I had no idea why they were there,” Wright said.
According to Wright, officers also woke his three young children, ages 3, 7, and 11, and put them in a Stockton police patrol car with him. Officers then searched his house.
“They put me in handcuffs in that hot patrol car for six hours, traumatizing my kids,” Wright said.
However, later reports told a slightly different story. Reported FoxNews.com:
A California man who initially claimed to a local television station that he was roughed up by “SWAT team” members who allegedly battered down his front door to execute a search warrant related to his estranged wife’s unpaid student loans was targeted due to an ongoing probe into alleged financial aid fraud.
The search allowed for the seizure of any student financial aid documents, W2 forms and electronic communications….
One of Wright’s neighbors, a woman who identified herself only as Becky, saw the raid, which started at 6:45 a.m. and lasted until at least 10:45 a.m., she said.
“They surrounded the house; it was like a task force of SWAT team,” she told the station. “They all had guns. They dragged him out in his boxer shorts, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him.”
Multiple calls to a Stockton Police Department spokesman were not returned on Wednesday. According to ABC 10/KXTV, the Stockton Police Department said it was asked by federal agents to provide one officer and one patrol car for a police presence when executing the search warrant.
“All I want is an apology for me and my kids and for them to get me a new door,” Wright said.
It may be some days before the exact nature of what happened becomes clear. However, we do know already:
1. A raid occurred involving numerous heavily armed officers who assaulted Wright’s home as if he were a Taliban member in Afghanistan.
2. Given that he was not an armed criminal, only allegedly involved in a financial impropriety, the size and potency of the assault on his home was far in excess of what was necessary to arrest him. Just a few years ago, this situation would have been dealt with by plain close officers knocking on his door and issuing him a subpoena or a search warrant.
3. Governments at all levels refuse to disclose what really was going on even to respected members of the meida.
This raid also shows how the federal government now has completely taken over our lives. Localism is dead. A federal program that seems to most people to be benign, promoting learning and jobs skills, turns out to be another police-state enforcement agency. Maybe more people now will wish that President Ronald Reagan had fulfilled his 1980 campaign promise to complete abolish the U.S. Department of Education (De-Ed).
What America’s founders feared, that state and local governments would be dissolved into a gigantic edifice of oppression, has occurred — enforced even against alleged student loans improprieties.
It’s worth noting that student debt has gotten out of hand. Student debt is the latest “asset bubble” that soon could burst, following the real-estate debt bubble, which burst in the mid-2000s, and the dot-com bubble, which burst in 1999.
Too many kids go to school for too many worthless degrees. They waste four or more years that they could use building a career and piling up experience and savings, but instead end up with a pointless diploma and a mountain of debt.
When Michelle Bisutti, a 41-year-old family practitioner in Columbus, Ohio, finished medical school in 2003, her student-loan debt amounted to roughly $250,000. Since then, it has ballooned to $555,000.
It is the result of her deferring loan payments while she completed her residency, default charges and relentlessly compounding interest rates. Among the charges: a single $53,870 fee for when her loan was turned over to a collection agency.
“Maybe half of it was my fault because I didn’t look at the fine print,” Dr. Bisutti says. “But this is just outrageous now.”
Let’s note that number: $550,000. That’s not a home loan that you might pay off over 30 years while you live in the place. It’s an unsecured loan. And there’s worse:
Unlike other kinds of debt, student loans can be particularly hard to wriggle out of. Homeowners who can’t make their mortgage payments can hand over the keys to their house to their lender. Credit-card and even gambling debts can be discharged in bankruptcy. But ditching a student loan is virtually impossible, especially once a collection agency gets involved. Although lenders may trim payments, getting fees or principals waived seldom happens.
One of the reasons America’s economy developed rapidly was because people could go bankrupt. They could make mistakes and start over. By contrast, in Europe, even to this day, it’s hard to get out of bad debts. You effectively become an indentured servant, a slave, to the banks.
Now the same has happened in America to federal-backed loans to students. You become the government’s slave — for your whole life. Because unless you win the lottery, there’s no way you can pay back that $550,000 loan. The education you thought would free you into a life of a well-paying, interesting vocation, instead enslaves you.
And could bring a SWAT team barging into your home, guns pointed at your nose.