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Check the Constitution before setting up checkpoints

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Jordan, I feel inclined to comment on your article in the most recent issue of YES! Weekly entitled “Seatbelt checkpoint nets one arrest” [June 3, 2009; by Jordan Green]. I must ask you if you’ve heard of this thing called the Constitution, because apparently none of the police involved in this gross violation of our rights, nor many of the unfortunate drivers harassed that day have either. “The right of the people to be secure in their person, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.” Amendment 4, US Constitution Were these police carrying out warranted searches? No, they were not. They were fishing the pond, looking for revenue for their masters all under the guise of “Click it or Ticket.” What a nice cliché, huh? This is despicable and you are complicit in their activities by endorsing this behavior and giving an entire page of your magazine to covering illegal police activity. Recently, a fellow freedom lover and I approached some off-duty police officers that were personally known to us and asked them how they get around the 4th Amendment protections of privacy and invoke these warrantless checkpoints and violate of our most basic rights to privacy. They shrugged their shoulders as if they hadn’t ever heard of the Constitution, which is not surprising to me at all. They then began to recite us their internal policies regarding location, procedures, internal memorandum, number of officers required, DOT involvement, yada yada yada while never dealing with the question, how is this not a violation of our Constitutional rights? I dare ask the question that few sane persons in our society seem to be asking: Why is it necessary for police to condition us to accept a daily, relentless violation of our rights under the guise of seatbelt checks, DWI checks, license checks and on and on the list of justifications for flagrant violations of our rights? It is a sad day in America when the public servants sworn to uphold the Constitution institute policies that utterly disregard our inalienable rights. Around the nation, DHS, border patrol, state and local law enforcement are consistently pushing the limits in this issue with their so-called “Constitution free zones,” and yet media outlets such as yours willingly participate in propagating the idea that this is perfectly acceptable and part of a normal day-today operation of our police force by the seeming endorsement of this practice in your article. It’s as if you’re saying, ‘We got one arrest so it’s all justified.’ Are you serious? Are you trying to convince me that one arrest justifies the use of these police and public service resources? This is a ridiculous claim and you should question your participation in putting forth the notion that this is acceptable behavior for our men in uniform. Simply getting in my car to run to the store or to go to work does not provide the state or local police a justification to invade my privacy while en route, period! The right to locomotion (travel) is such a basic right it need not be explained or defended. Yet, you seem to endorse such activity, I don’t understand your mindless groupthink, sir. What’s particularly disconcerting is the precedent these checkpoints set. If we as citizens continue to allow our public servants to violate our rights, then we should not expect we will long have any rights at all. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. You are a gifted writer and I normally enjoy your articles, sir, but this is disgraceful. Aren’t you the least bit embarrassed to have participated in this practice of conditioning us “slaves” to surrender our rights under false pretenses? What happened to liberty and freedom in America?

Vince James lives in High Point.

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