culture

Check Your Rights

I used to have to go to the airport to watch the Fourth Amendment in its death throes. Now all I have to do is drive around my own county.

This weekend, I was stopped at a “sobriety checkpoint”, the definition of checkpoint being “place where you check your Constitutional rights”. The police are misusing tax dollars to stop traffic and question people under the guise of “looking for drunks”, as the cop-ette who detained me without an arrest warrant so cleverly explained.

Here’s what happened: I was driving home when I saw flashing cop lights up ahead. Soon I saw signs announcing a “sobriety checkpoint”. I slowed down and was trapped in line for about ten minutes before reaching the Gestapette who would interrogate me. First, she requested my driver’s license; you must carry your documents at all times of course. I produced it, and she proceeded to question me: Where was I coming from? Specifically, where was I coming from? Had I been drinking? (One hot buttered rum–not exactly the drink of choice for drunk drivers and other criminals–hours earlier at a Christmas party.) Where was I going? Did I still live at the address on my travel pass, um, driver’s license? Evidently, I was a disappointment, as I didn’t do anything that could be twisted into grounds for (further) arrest, and she allowed me to drive on.

Come on. This is America. People have a right not to be detained unless there is specific evidence against them as individuals. We have a right not be questioned about our plans or activities.

The Bill of Rights was born in Virginia. Now it’s dying here.

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1 thought on “Check Your Rights

  1. You can add wiretapping on demand, suspension of habeas corpus, cruel and unusual punishment of prisoners to the list…

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