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View Diary: On Traffic Checkpoints, Part Two, Or, When Does Safety Become Siege? (118 comments)

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  •  Since we had (2+ / 0-)
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    Fabian, fake consultant

    a bit of a set to in your first diary :) and I promised I'd read this one, I want to give you my thoughts.

    I have no problem whatsoever with the SCOTUS's reasoning in Sitz, as you describe it. It will probably not surprise you that 2 out of 134 is fine with me. 1 out of 1000 is fine with me. Get the drunks off the road.

    However, where I'm sure we'd have our biggest disagreement is what you called "subjective" intrusion. Since it is subjective, there's obviously no clearly drawn line here. When I talked in your previous diary about driving being a privilege and not a right, it was exactly the sort of "motorist annoyance and resentment" that you refer to that I don't think should apply one iota. If you partake of the privilege of driving, you can put up with being "annoyed" for the sake of making the roads safer.

    (Hell, if you're a Massachusetts driver, you're annoyed 24/7/365 anyway :).)

    That having been said, I don't at all see how this sort of ruling justifies all the other crap you detail in your diary. And I don't agree with lockdowns of entire neighborhoods, targeting minority drivers, and the like. That's abuse of a ruling I basically agree with.

    What do you call a parent that believes in abstinence only sex ed? A Grandparent.

    by ChurchofBruce on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:41:00 PM PST

    •  Neighborhood lockdowns are an issue (1+ / 0-)
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      fake consultant

      separate from enforcing driving laws because the driving laws are only used as a tool to accomplish ulterior goals due to ulterior motivations.  I have seen police literally close down certain bars and stores which they have determined to be a "bad influence" when there is a lack of citizen complaints, simply by hyperenforcement of driving laws.

      In one egregious case, a nightclub in a neighboring county was closed down by a municipal chief of police (whose authority extends to the town limits) by his driving to the club before closing time and radioing back license numbers of patrons so the checkpoint back in town knew which  cars to stop or to search.

      In his view, your car in the club's parking lot after 9PM constituted probable cause.    

      •  which is the essence... (1+ / 0-)
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        ...of the slippery slope argument that i find compelling.

        the way this power is used is exactly what concerned the framers when they set out to strictly limit the power of government, and the 4th amendment is doing its job when these sorts of things are banned.

        that may mean that laws will be broken, and we won't live in a squeaky-clean america...but to me, the freedom to move about, unmolested by authority, makes the world a much, much, better place.

        "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

        by fake consultant on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:31:00 PM PST

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    •  so here's the thing... (0+ / 0-)

      ...i distrust government to get the balance right, and we have here several examples of how very wrong it can get.

      having spent the last few years in "guantanamo country", i really don't trust government to get the balance right.

      having also seen the checkpoints now become "seatbelt" and "informational" and "god knows what next" checkpoints, i see the "slippery slope" argument coming true before our very eyes.

      now as to efficacy: i absolutely would not support a 1 in 1000 ratio for catching drinkers as a justification for checkpoints...and for just a moment, let's ignore the constitution on the explanation of why.

      how about this, instead: it's a poor use of resources.

      it's highly likely, as the dissent in martinez-fuerte reminds us, that just putting those same cops on the street would actually catch more drinkers--and it would involve targeting the drivers who are actually doing something that deserves to get them stopped.

      we could also apply this test in other areas.

      drinking is not a right, and there are people who feel that even if one alcohol death can be prevented, alcohol should be banned...and drinking kills many more americans than drunk driving.

      that proposition, however, did not fly with americans; and i would suggest that the basic concept that all rights vanish when one is driving, or engaging in any other behavior that is not an enumerated right...and if we don't like it, that's just too bad...demonstrates a lack a of basic concern for the rights of everyone else--and the specifically enumerated right to be secure in our persons, papers, and effects.

      it's a well-intentioned position you take, but it does not account for the reality that trampling on the rights of the innnocent, daily, to try and "dragnet" the guilty is not only constitutionally unsupported, but also, as the pomona example shows us, counterproductive in many ways we did not expect.

      "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

      by fake consultant on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:39:37 PM PST

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      •  I will grant (1+ / 0-)
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        fake consultant

        the possibility of the "bad use of resources" argument.

        As for drinking vs. drunk driving: you say drinking kills more Americans than drunk driving, but that's doing it to yourself. I wouldn't even care about drunk driving if was only the drunks themselves wrapping themselves around trees. But when my grandfather was killed in a drunk driving accident, he was stone sober (and driving on the correct side of the friggin' road). Look, if all the drunks want to rot their livers, that's none of my nevermind. It's when they get behind the wheels of cars that they endanger others.

        I also understand the slippery slope.

        However, I'm not nearly as voiciferous about rights as you are, and that's a fundamental disagreement we're never going to resolve :). I get into too many of these arguments with my Libertarian father (although, with him, it's usually the "right" not to be taxed :)).

        What do you call a parent that believes in abstinence only sex ed? A Grandparent.

        by ChurchofBruce on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:50:10 PM PST

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        •  one final point... (1+ / 0-)
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          ...i was looking up numbers tonight, and michigan and washington have highway fatality rates lower than california, alabama, and oklahoma.

          michigan's have been declining for a decade now; and the washington state patrol won the 2007 award for the police agency (among all us police agencies) that was most successful in "reducing deaths and injuries on the nation's highways."

          taken together, it's a strong argument for the idea that not having checkpoints might be safer than the alternative.

          "...this election has never been about me. it's about you."--barack obama

          by fake consultant on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:51:05 AM PST

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