Warehouse C
The Goldfish Bowl
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The Destruction Of Our Fourth Amendment Rights


By James Donahue


We didn’t like it when the Supreme Court ruled in 1991 to legalize random police roadside sobriety checkpoints as part of the effort by authorities to get drunk drivers off the road. Because the problem of drunken driving has been a national concern, most Americans tolerated the annoyance of driving into unexpected “checkpoints” and police inspections.


But that case, The Michigan State Police vs. Sitz, set a precedent that has led to random police searches of our cars without a warrant, the groping of our bodies and ravaging through our personal luggage at airports and the raiding of our homes by police it riot gear . . . all under the guise of protecting us from the off chance of a terrorist bomb, a narcotics operation or some other illicit action. In short, the court is saying it is ok for the police to act like thugs, break down our doors and arrest us without warrants because of a need to protect us from ourselves.


New rulings also have opened the door for police and other government agencies to conduct intrusive surveillance of our telephone calls, e-mails and all other electronic transmissions without a court order as part of the nation’s so-called War On Terror.


In a span of less than 20 years the Supreme Court and our U. S. legislators have passed laws and issued rulings that have blacked out the Fourth Amendment of our Constitution. And that amendment was one of the things that made the United States unique in comparison to most other nations. We were once free to live our lives without the fear of government surveillance, police raids and getting stopped at road checkpoints and having some uniformed and armed officer demand to search our cars and see our papers.


In case you forgot, here is what our Fourth Amendment says:


“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 searched.”


A report on this issue in the blog page New America Now complained that: the most depressing aspect of this is not the shitting all over the Constitution by the men charged to preserve and protect it. Rather, it is the slavish badge-licking endorsement of the same by “freedom-loving” Americans.”


The anonymous writer strongly suggested that “there are large numbers of people out there who either don’t understand the Constitution or (worse) just don’t give a damn.” That is because we all appeared to roll over and let each court infringement of the Fourth Amendment occur without marching on Washington with pitchforks in hand.


Well, young Americans are awake now. They are attempting peaceful protest in what has been termed the Occupy Movement. And they are meeting tough resistance by the police and even the media. There is a growing demand in this country for a return to normalcy. The people just want jobs, a chance to earn an honest wage, send their kids to college, and live freely in a civilized society without fear of the police.


They want the gangsters out of our government and out of the Supreme Court. And if at all possible . . . a little privacy please.