Rusty Hair And A Rusty Heart
These are the thoughts that keep me awake nights. But then the dawn breaks, and by the clear light of day I realize my nighttime terrors are ridiculous: government wise? Sane? Incorruptible? Clearly, if I’m going to live in fear I should at least find something less stupid to be afraid of.
Here's a gently snarky piece I wrote for my paper this week, highlighting the pointless unconstitutional bullshittery of random police checkpoints. Before y’all read it, bear in mind this was written for a non-libertarian audience that, despite disagreement on issues like the drug war, generally believes that Government Is Good. That’s why I waited for a few paragraphs before introducing the whole “innocent people should not be harassed” idea.
Before 1990, checkpoints in America were mostly seen on television, when low-rent stations aired old black-and-white movies about life under the Nazis or Communists. “Your papers, citizen.” Pre-1990 civics teachers bragged to their students that Americans are protected from that sort of thing by the fourth amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees: “The right of the people to be secure … against unreasonable searches and seizures … but upon probable cause.”
In other words: you can’t be stopped for searches or questioning unless the cops have a warrant or at least a very good reason to suspect you’re up to something. No “fishing expeditions” netting the innocent in hopes of catching a few guilty along with them are allowed.