Land of the Free…?

onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers|EinsteinOver the past couple of weeks I have noticed a shocking—and disturbing—lack of discussion regarding the constitutional disaster that occurred in Boston after the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon. One would think that wanton disregard for the United States Constitution in the city that birthed the American Revolution (just as the “shot heard around the world” was about to celebrate its 238th anniversary) would be a really hot topic.

Or at least worthy of comment.

But, no. The best I have seen is some shifty eyes when the conversation drifts in that general direction—and then a quick change of topics to talk about gardens, or butterflies, or the new playground.

Where is the outrage? When even one person—let alone a whole city—loses their rights, we all do.

Where is the grandstanding? About half of my friends ought to be waiving an American flag in one hand while insisting that if a pack of police came to their door, waiving guns and demanding entry that there would be, “no f***ing way they would get in without a warrant!”

Heck, no one is even claiming relief that the alleged bombers have been eliminated, or expressing sympathy for the residents of Boston and Watertown.

Instead there is silence.

Fear.

You can’t stand around lauding law enforcement when the thought of heavily armed police-soldiers roaming the streets of your neighborhood, pointing guns at your children, and forcing you out of your own home (for your own good, of course) sends a shiver a terror down your spine.

And you can’t really bluster when the police state that you have been proudly promising to stand up to (from the safety of a backyard barbecue, and behind a glass of Chardonnay) is, in fact, a reality.

A police state? Really?

Come on, guys. Pull your heads out of the sandbox for a few minutes.

What else would you call it when there are armored vehicles rolling down the streets, helicopters circling overhead, and men with guns demanding entry to your homes?

What else would you call it when the media is pushed away into “safe zones” and completely prohibited from doing their jobs? The streets of Boston were made too dangerous for the men and women of the media—the people who face down hurricanes and report live from war zones—by a teenager who might or might not still have a bomb?

I smell bullshit. 

 

First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Apparently at least one of the major networks was airing on a five second delay and said they would only air broadcast feeds that the “police are comfortable with.”

What, I wonder, might the media have shared that the police were uncomfortable with?

SWAT teams entering the homes of ordinary citizens who had not been accused of any crime?

Guns trained on barefoot civilians?

Terrified children clinging to cowed parents?

Police in full military get-up brandishing guns and shouting at people to keep their hands up as they are forced from their homes?

The few photos and videos that have escaped the media choke hold are chilling…

They show that the violation of the First Amendment was, at least in part, to hide a totalitarian regime-style disregard for the Fourth Amendment.

Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers|1776 quote

 

I am not trying to say that the bombings weren’t horrifying, or that the idea that the suspect might be loose in your neighborhood wouldn’t be frightening.

But the suspension of your rights and liberties because something scary is happening should be far more frightening.

The Fourth Amendment is supposed to keep the so-called good guys from participating in this sort of thuggish behavior. And the First Amendment is supposed to allow the media to document, and the people to decry and demand redress, of any thuggish behavior that might still occur.

So, why is no one decrying?

But what about the “exigent circumstances” we keep hearing about?  For that to apply the police must need to take official action, but not have time to get a warrant—and still must have probable cause. It is just not possible to say—with any degree of credibility—that the police had probable cause to search each and every home they burst in to.

What about the idea that people consented to searches? If people had consented, their Fourth Amendment would not have been violated. However, for that to be a valid argument, the consent must have been given voluntarily and not resulting from coercion or duress. Is it really possible to give consent at the point of a gun? Or with tanks rolling down your street?

We have set a dangerous precedent here by allowing this violation of our rights to happen without protest and outrage. We should be criminalizing the police who participated in the suppression of the Freedom of the Press, and who conducted warrentless door-to-door searches–not lauding them as heroes.

We have simply accepted the notion of a police state.

We have assured our rulers that, if things get scary enough, we will allow them to trample any freedom we might have.

We had better start unassuring them. Now.

Before it is too late.

onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers|King

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3 Responses to Land of the Free…?

  1. Tom Briggs says:

    I would guess that the vast majority of students in high school and college over the past twenty years or so have never read the U.S. Constitution nor have they studied it to any great length nor has it been a required cirriculum unless you were a law student or perhaps pre-law. Obviously, legislators have been writing laws to redefine the original Amendments for years and I find this at least unlawful if not down right illegal. There is a legal process and it requires a super majority however this has been ignored. I would guess that we are on the verge of anarchy. This occurs when lawmakers ignore certain laws that they deem inconvenient or there are just too many laws and it causes confusion and frustration by the citizens they were meant to serve. My best guess is that we are very close to a police state if we are not already there.

  2. J.B.Weaver says:

    If I had been living in Boston, they would not have entered my home without a warrant unless they were willing to use extreme force. Wake up America!

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