This series of posts will address the conditions that have, will and are occurring in America, they are in no particular order, all are important. Some will be based on fact. Some will be based on possibilities. Some will be based on opinion. Some will be based on my life experiences. Some will be based on my interpretations of events. Some will be based on a combination of all. If you are reading this post, you will have to decide which is which and you must arrive at your own conclusions. Some of this post and subsequent posts in this series will cause you to do some research on your own.
We begin with the continued erosion of and constant attacks on the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment concerning search and seizure, the requirements and limitations.
The recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding traffic stops by Law Enforcement based on anonymous tips about reckless or drunk driving. Allowing and then upholding this practice removes the long-established practice of the accused not having to prove his innocence, but the state having to prove the guilt of the accused “beyond a reasonable doubt”, now the accused will be forced to prove his innocence. This practice is being touted as a useful tool in the arsenal to protect the public, but it has a “dark and sinister side”, when does promoting public safety turn to endangering the public. As to the matter of an anonymous tip about an alleged reckless driver, it could be true but it could be also “someone with an axe” to grind, possibly as simple as a bumper sticker that they disagree with or take offense to. This was obviously a “politically motivated” ruling as there are lingering and still unanswered questions. How much of the available resources will be used to investigate the tip? How many will show up? What could possibly go wrong? Let’s just suppose that a gun hating environmental loving liberal is driving down the road in their hybrid car behind a big gas guzzling truck with a big NRA sticker in the rear window. The liberal has just encountered in one place at one time everything they hate, a person that is pro-gun, obviously hates the environment as demonstrated by what is being driven and most likely a conservative. The liberal does the right thing, at least in the mind of a liberal, they call in an anonymous tip just to teach the pro-gun environment hating conservative a lesson. What they report is a reckless driver, give the tag number, and just for good measure to insure a response from law enforcement they also report that the driver was brandishing a firearm, but will say “gun”, and just for added insurance of a response they will say they heard the driver shouting slurs and threats out of the window. You can rest assured that the response from law enforcement will be a large effort after all the public must be protected areas will be locked down the time of day and the area will determine that and how many could be effected. If the DMV search of the tag number reveals a local address law enforcement may just go there and wait for the driver to show up at his address. If the DMV search shows a distant address in the same state more resources will be needed, some to look for the vehicle and some to wait for his arrival at home. If the tag is out-of-state the matter becomes more complicated. Now throw in a political rally or that a national politician is in the area. For arguments sake, I will say that a police helicopter spots the suspect truck on the highway, and radios the information to the patrol units looking for the truck. The driver of the truck sees all the flashing lights coming from all directions, glances down at his speedometer, not speeding, and quietly says “they are not coming for me, I wonder what is going on.” But he doesn’t know about the angry liberal and the anonymous tip. They are coming for him. The vehicle stops, law enforcement is everywhere with weapons drawn and trained on him, rifles, handguns and shotguns he is confused, he has done nothing wrong. Traffic is stopped in all directions. Helicopters are circling above. Noise and confusion. The driver is ordered to exit the vehicle, he does, he has always been a law-abiding citizen. The law enforcement officers begin shouting orders at him, he is trying to obey the orders, but there are too many and too fast further confusing him. The confusion overwhelms him and he stops complying. You know what happens next. The fact that he had broken no laws has little meaning. Another bit of America is extinguished.
As to the matter of the alleged drunk driver it could be true or not. A neighborhood “do-gooder” sees a car leaving a bar full of obviously drunk and rowdy people and calls in an anonymous tip. The tipster doesn’t know that the vehicle is being driven by a designated driver who had not been partaking of the adult beverages, or that one of the revelers may have called a friend to come pick them up and take them home. Going down the road the “revelers” soon start falling asleep, the driver quietly says “quiet at last” and continues on his journey feeling good that he had a part in preventing his friends from getting into trouble, doing jail time, not to mention the embarrassment and expense of getting a DUI. The driver sees the flashing lights approaching and glances down at his speedometer, not speeding, and quietly says “they are not coming for me, I wonder what is going on.” He doesn’t know about the tip from the “do-gooder”. They are coming for him. The vehicle stops, the officers approach, there is the strong odor of alcoholic beverages. The driver is ordered from the vehicle, he complies, the “passed-out revelers” begin waking. You know what happens next. The fact that the driver had broken no laws has little meaning. Another bit of America is extinguished.
The ruling by the Supreme Court will have far-reaching and dire consequences for America. Will we as Americans be forced to spend the remaining days of our lives proving our innocence? How can a person even accomplish proving their innocence every day and from every accusation? Like so many ideas, proposals and practices introduced for public safety they all began with good intentions, but as we all know the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. This is only the beginning of the things to come. If you are still with me, you may be wondering what the hell all of this has to do with the Fourth Amendment. If you have not read the complete ruling I encourage you to do so, then consider the following, mere suspicion and probable cause.
The ruling will have no effect on the Justices. No one will call in an anonymous tip on their car and their behavior, they will never see the flashing lights approaching glance down at the speedometer, not speeding, and never have to quietly say “they are not coming for me, I wonder what is going on.” They have a “special” tag and even if someone had the nerve to call on them, the tag makes them immune. Another fine example of the “Privileged Few” never having to live under what they say is okay for the little people. Good job on this one what will you force on us next, can’t wait for you to rule on the rest.
DHS and the “See something Say something” campaign may be greatly effected by the “anonymous tip” ruling. Look around the surrounding area, you may find yours like mine. Homes going up for sale for many reasons mainly the piss-poor economy or people reaching the age where they are just ready to move to a retirement community. The people who are buying the homes and moving into my area are seeking an escape from the city life and all of its problems, even if it is only a week-end home. They are more than welcome, but they sure do stand-out, given time they may even fit-in, some of the things they do I find odd to say the least. We call them “come lately’s” I was even one once. But I am also sure they think the same of me. My getting up early during hunting season, wearing camouflage and loading guns into my truck is NOT unusual behavior. Coming home late in the evening, wearing dirty camouflage, unloading guns from my truck and “cussing” is NOT unusual either, some times I come home empty-handed. When I do good you are invited to supper. I truly hope that going to my favorite hunting spot I never see flashing lights approaching, because I won’t be speeding and they can’t be coming for me.