Friday, June 13, 2008
American Citizen Obedience Training
With government and Department of Homeland Security checkpoints sprouting up in a few places like DC and roughly within 50 miles of our Southern border some people have suggested that what is slowly happening is that the American people are being "trained" to be obedient in producing documentation to government officials, or to be de-sensitized to being stopped and questioned, or even searched.
We have security cameras being put on roadways and intersections, and even in school classrooms. There is airport security. There are x-ray machines at amusement parks.
We are being watched; we are being stopped; we are being questioned.
All without probable cause.
And because authorities can no longer "profile" people (even though they really do that anyway) then everyone has to be stopped.
There is something terribly wrong with this picture.
It's bad enough that you have to routinely give your driver's license to the store clerk when using a check to pay for your groceries or clothing. A driver's license is not meant to be identification. It is meant to show that you have the privilege to drive a vehicle because you passed a test and showed that you were competent to do so. A Social Security Number is not meant to be identification either. It is only meant to show that you have an account with the government and will be eligible one day (perhaps) to receive benefits from that system. Using a drivers license or Social Security Number as identification to buy anything is a gross misuse of those documents, and yet it is allowed to be done every day and all the time. And we allow it. We say,"What's the big deal" and we produce those documents obediently and without much fuss. As we speak we have the prospect of REALID looming over us as a means to have a standard ID that every person must have. Isn't that what a passport is for?
It matters little whether you are handing over your passport, or a REALID card that looks similar to a drivers license - both actions constitute handing over "your papers" to the authorities asking to see them.
It seems as if our 4th amendment rights are evaporating.
In some stores there are signs that say "we card everyone who buys alcoholic beverages". So you no longer even have to look younger than 21 to be carded. You just automatically have to produce ID.
Well... and so what's the big deal if you are stopped in the street and asked to produce ID by the authorities. They must have a good reason to ask you for it; right? But honestly, how automatically obedient would you be to that request? Would you ask them for a reason first? Would you bother to ask what the probable cause is for them to want to know?
If you are stopped by the police while driving and you haven't done anything wrong, like speeding or having a broken tail light, is it reasonable for the police to demand that you open your trunk? Would you obey, or would you tell them that you do not consent to being searched? I would wager that most people do not even know that they have a right to refuse. Most people do not know what rights they have under the 4th amendment at all. I also doubt very highly that they teach anything about that right in schools today.
If you don't think you are losing your civil liberties or your right to privacy, you ought to think again. Think about it every time someone asks you for identification.
If you are brave enough - find out what happens if you tell them you don't have it with you, or that you do not wish to show it to them.
Will they still sell you those groceries?
Will they still let you pass through the checkpoint?
Think about how easily you have learned to comply.