Monthly Archives: May 2011

Ex-Marine becomes Victim of the State

Jose Guerena.

Remember his name.  Remember his face.

He was a 26-year old ex-marine who had served two tours of duty in Iraq.  I use the past tense “was” because Jose Guerena is no longer alive.  He was tragically shot to death in his own home.

By his own government.

Arizona SWAT police brutally raided Guerena’s home on May 5, presumably to fill a warrant regarding suspicion of illegal narcotics.   According to Fernanda Echavarri of the Arizona Daily Star, Guerena “was sleeping after the graveyard shift at Asarco Mission mine about 9:30 a.m. when his wife woke him saying she heard noises outside and a man was at their window. Guerena told his wife to hide in a closet with their 4-year-old son, his wife has said. He grabbed an AR-15 rifle and moments later was slumped in the kitchen, mortally wounded from a hail of gunfire.”

According to William Grigg of, Vanessa Guerena “called 911 after seeing a knot of armed men approaching her home. She insists that the assailants never identified themselves as police.”   Thus, seeing unidentified men nearing her house with guns, she naturally woke her husband to warn him of impending danger.  Like a true ex-Marine (or any truly protective husband and father for that matter), he got of bed to defend his family and grabbed a weapon, not knowing that it was a SWAT team outside.  Before he could even reach the door, “He was shot 60 times,” according to Echavarri.  A total of 71 shots were fired in the raid.

Finally, after riddling Guerena with holes, the SWAT team identified themselves as police, according to KGUN 9 news, a local news service in Tucson, Arizona.

Everything about this case is messed up, from the sheer brutality of the raid to the constant waffling on the official reports by the Arizona police.  First, police claim that Jose Guerena opened fire on the SWAT team, but then it was confirmed by deputies that the safety was never even turned off on his rifle.   It has since been determined that it was probably an initial errant shot by a deputy that sparked the deadly firestorm of bullets.  Second, according to SWAT policy, certified medical personnel are required to be on-site during a raid in order to provide medical care if needed.  Yet, Guerena’s body wasn’t analyzed for over an hour after paramedics finally made it to the scene.  Thirdly, if it is true that the SWAT team didn’t clearly identify themselves as police, as Mrs. Guerena adamantly contends, the manner in which they conducted the raid was completely illegal.  Lastly, why 71 rounds?  Why did they have to put 60 bullets into his body before they stopped shooting?  The man had a rifle, but it can’t be too hard to see (as a trained SWAT officer) after just a few rounds that he’s lying bleeding on the ground.  Heck, Osama bin Laden just took two bullets before the Seals quit firing!

Regardless of these significant doubts about the truthfulness of the SWAT team and the local police department, there is no question that the SWAT members overreacted in a grossly immoral way.  There is no difference between what they did and what an inner-city gang of thugs would do.  Each of the SWAT policemen deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law if the facts reported by the above sources and the account of Mrs. Guerena are indeed accurate.

Jose Guerena should go down in history as a martyr who died in defense of his family at the hands of men whose behavior most closely resembles Hitler’s Gestapo more than anything else.  And thus, this terrible case brings home the fundamental point: that government is force.  Anyone who says that government is not fundamentally force has to wake up and realize that government is only force and that, at any time, this is what it can easily become.  One day, you may be sleeping in your bed and the next you may be bleeding to death in your kitchen simply because men with guns use the force of law as an excuse to break into your home and commit brutal murder.  Government is not your friend; it is a great monster–a voracious leviathan–ready to be unleashed at the whims of sinful, depraved humans who brandish automatic weapons.  As Augustine once said (paraphrased) when justice is removed, governments are nothing more than great robber bands.  Sadly, this truth cost Jose Guerena his life.

And thus, we will never forget his name.

And we will never forget what his death represents.

Source Material:

“Marine Survives Two Tours in Iraq, Swat Kills Him,” by Tim Cavanaugh (May 16, 2011)

“SWAT raid fatal drama is revealed in 911 call,” by Fernanda Echavarri (May 14, 2011)

“Former Marine killed by SWAT was acting in defense, family says,” by Joel Waldman (May 10, 2011)

“Sway Team Fires 71 Rounds at Former Marine,” by FOX News (May 12, 2011)

“The Murder of Jose Guerena, Continued” by William Grigg (May 12, 2011)

“Iraq Veteran Gunned Down At Home: Coverup?” by Ghost32 (Very interesting blog post about the spurious claims of the local AZ police department)