We’re all pretty familiar with modern tyrannical assaults on our first amendment and second amendment freedoms. But were you aware of the erosion of the fourth amendment as well? Here’s an article that gives an excellent summary of the topic with links.
The 4th 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 seized.
If you want to know why this was so important to the founders, I recommend reading Against Writs of Assistance by James Otis (Feb 1761) in full. Here’s a key quote (though you should definitely read the whole letter):
Now, one of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one’s house. A man’s house is his castle; and whilst he is quiet, he is as well guarded as a prince in his castle. This writ, if it should be declared legal, would totally annihilate this privilege. Custom-house officers may enter our houses when they please; we are commanded to permit their entry. Their menial servants may enter, may break locks, bars, and everything in their way; and whether they break through malice or revenge, no man, no court can inquire. Bare suspicion without oath is sufficient.
This wanton exercise of this power is not a chimerical suggestion of a heated brain. I will mention some facts. Mr. Pew had one of these writs, and, when Mr. Ware succeeded him, he endorsed this writ over to Mr. Ware; so that these writs are negotiable from one officer to another; and so your Honors have no opportunity of judging the persons to whom this vast power is delegated. Another instance is this: Mr. Justice Walley had called this same Mr. Ware before him, by a constable, to answer for a breach of the Sabbath-day Acts, or that of profane swearing. As soon as he had finished, Mr. Ware asked him if he had done. He replied, “Yes.” “Well then,” said Mr. Ware, “I will show you a little of my power. I command you to permit me to search your house for uncustomed goods” – and went on to search the house from the garret to the cellar; and then served the constable in the same manner!
Today, the leftist attitude is, “If you’re not doing anything wrong then you shouldn’t have reason to object to any searches.” Yet the historic fact is that state powers to search citizens at will always turn into a malicious flexing of that power either to harass citizens or to dig up dirt on a dissident citizen when no other crime or wrongdoing can be identified.
Here’s the article from the Rutherford Institute showing where we are at today. The most recent you may have seen in the news is a nurse being shoved into a patrol car for standing by sound policy that an unconscious man cannot have blood drawn for police purposes without a warrant.
When I studied military law for officers, the JAG highlighted how things that were products of the suspect’s body (urine, blood, DNA) absolutely could not be obtained without a warrant, because it also fell under a 5th Amendment violation as well.
No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…
So if you are the commanding officer of a military unit and you think one of your men is endangering the unit by illegally doing drugs, you cannot order that specific man to do a urinalysis without a either proper warrant or the man’s consent. Otherwise, you are forcing the man (his body; his urine) to testify against himself. Thus, the military only runs either whole-unit urinalysis for drugs, or random selection for urinalysis. That way, it is not singling out a specific suspect. If the CO really thinks there’s a drug problem, a whole-unit urinalysis is legal and catches any offenders.
So this hospital story about a blood draw is not just a 4th amendment violation, but also a 5th amendment violation too.
Back to the Rutherford article. It goes on to detail various instances of folks being pulled over for minor infractions like rolling a stop sign or flicking a cigarette butt out the window, and then getting a full cavity search simply because the cop claims he suspects drugs. On the women, this also includes forcible cavity search of their most intimate areas. In the 2012 incident of this abuse, multiple women were searched in a row without changing gloves. Hope the person you’re riding with has no diseases or infections, otherwise the police just spread diseases you might have for life.
In another, mere suspicion that an adult woman had smuggled a sandwich into a college football stadium resulted in a total strip search.
I recently had a conversation with a fellow patriot who is a big supporter of police forces, and in the Redoubt you see a lot of that and for good reason. The police are pretty good here. But he wondered how the population in the US could ever turn against the police. I pointed out that US Marines heavily regulate their own even on off-duty hours, down to the clothes they are allowed to wear. (At least, that’s how it was when I served.) The reasoning was pretty good. If a Marine got in trouble off-duty, the news headlines would not say, “Joe Smith committed the following crime,” but “A US Marine committed the following crime…” All Marines would suffer loss of reputation for the bad behavior of one because it makes more sensational headlines.
Likewise for the police across the US. When you read the Rutherford article, every incident is ‘police committed this atrocity…’ This leads readers across the US to think, ‘If police can do that to people there, how long until they do it here?’ Thus, every story of corrupt cops harms the reputation of the good cops. Does that mean stories of corruption should not be reported? No. That would only invite more corrupt behavior unchecked. Rather, police forces should follow the example of Marines and seek to police their own more heavily. Don’t back your own if they really are corrupt and have done wrong, but also don’t railroad an innocent member of your team over bogus accusations. Those with power over the public must be held to a higher standard of justice, or else that power will become fiercely resented, as observed in the Colonial American attitude toward the state police (Redcoats) in their time.
Where is Justice?
Imagine you live in one of the more totalitarian-leaning states in the USA. You get pulled over for not using your turn signal long enough before changing lanes, and the cop doesn’t like your tone of voice. Next thing you know, you and your wife are getting a full cavity search on suspicion of “drug use” and just like in the news article linked in the Rutherford summary, cops hold her down, legs apart, while they forcibly probe her most intimate areas. What is your recourse as a citizen?
If you follow some of these cases (as I have), sadly you see cities defend these blatant abuses of power saying that the police don’t need to be expected to know your constitutional rights. You take it to court and it looks like a slam dunk case.
Sadly, the court case might not end until 5 or 10 years down the road. Do you want to continue living in an area that defends that sort of behavior in their police for up to a decade while you fight it out in various levels of court? And if you finally get your day and justice is served, ten years later, how many other people were hurt by the bad cop the government defended during those ten years? Does he still even work for the department or has he since gone on to retire and live the good life for “service” to the public while you’re still fighting for your right not to be abused by government representatives? And if the final verdict is nothing more than a hefty fine on the department for having not trained their officers better, guess where that fine is being paid from? John Q Taxpayer, which includes you if you live in that area as well as all of your neighbors. The cop who did wrong and the government who protected him are free to carry on while their constituents foot the bill.
What to do?
Change is coming for the USA, and it might be pretty painful. In the meantime, you may want to consider living somewhere with Peace Officers not ‘Law Enforcement’ thugs who know and respect your rights.
HINT: The American Redoubt!