Oh, how we love our government. Friday evening (May 17) was host to an "OVI Checkpoint Ahead, Be Prepared To Stop," on Pike Street in front of the Century 21 building. According to Lt. Carlos Smith of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Marietta Post, that "From our perspective these checkpoints are more of an educational tool for the public." I'm sorry, but I don't need an "education" from my public servants, especially when it involves degrading or violating rights in the name of the "greater good." Excuse my bluntness. Read on.
The right to travel freely shall not be infringed. As should the Fourth Amendment, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and affects shall not be infringed. But, because we have an overarching government and their bureaucracies that think they own us, we are subject to blatant infringement on both rights.
While the Supreme Court does support the 4th Amendment, "by a 6-3 decision in Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz (1990), the United States Supreme Court found properly conducted sobriety checkpoints to be constitutional. While acknowledging that such checkpoints infringed on a constitutional right, Chief Justice Rehnquist argued the state interest in reducing drunk driving outweighed this minor infringement." So, I ask, where does the "infringement" end, sir?
DUI or OVI checkpoints are not simply to ask us a simple question; but have recurrently been used to submit drivers to illegal searches of their vehicles, drug sniffing dogs, random pull-overs of people to submit them to whole car searches because they naively acquiesce, and of course arrests because the driver was simply being a good friend and transporting a person who had a BAC level above the "legal limit," and unfortunately they see a beer can.
Scenario: I could put on an police costume, wear a badge and gun, get a Crown Victoria and put sirens and lights on it, and call myself "law enforcement." Then I could go out and intimidate people, pull them over and subject them to illegal searches of their vehicles and affects, and maybe an invasive cavity search, if I feel like it. Of course, this would be illegal. It is wrong. It is grossly abhorrent. Yet, "real" police officers get away with doing these things all of the time because they collect a paycheck from the state. I guess that makes it OK. If you don't believe me, take to the Internet and watch the actual videos of people getting beaten, sexually molested, and unwarrantably criminalized when a small fraction of our wonderful state employs go at their job, thinking the law is on their side. Of course it isn't, but they still get paid leave. "Bend over, sir, and spread 'em."
Besides most of the laws being blatant bull..., we have been led into believing that almost any search of us or our cars is OK and legal, because we have a goon in an uniform with a gun doing it, so it must be alright (Goon: A man hired to terrorize; enforcer. - Oxford American Dictionary, 2006). He must be "just doing his job." Are we naive and being led astray? Are we living in a police state? Again, we cannot be told that we are criminals and possibly accused as such before we actually commit an actual crime that harms others or their rights. I don't care if a car is shaped like a beer bottle and has an aroma of Belgian hops; if you didn't do anything wrong, then there is no probable cause.
I understand the mindset that says if we can "prevent" harm from happening, we can be safer. Yet are we thinking of the consequences? Which is the bigger threat? (This extends to much more than just travel!) A random person doing a reckless act, or an entire government that gains power by acquiescence and is allowed to act recklessly? I would take my chances in a free world that allows punishment and recourse, than one powerfully controlled over by Big Brother (or Sis).