Taking Liberties with our Liberty

15 03 2010

A few days ago, George Orwell was again proven prophetic. The police in Medford Oregon surrounded a home in the hours before dawn, then summoned the sleeping resident by telephone out onto his porch, where he was taken into custody (for his own protection), handcuffed, and transported to the local Government mental ward for “evaluation”. His “crime”? Glad you asked. It turns out this gentleman had been suspended from his job with the State government and then had the effrontery to use his tax refund check to purchase three firearms. The police insisted that he had been taken into “protective custody” and had not been arrested. They claim that they were being “proactive instead of reactive”. Our victim of this soviet-style inquisition, who was released after a few hours of “evaluation” by State mental health professionals, somehow doesn’t see it that way. He’s publicly demanding that his five firearms (the three new purchases and the two he had already owned) be returned, and he is looking for a good attorney.

For those of you who slept through high school Civics & Government classes, this man- who was never charged with any crime- had his Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights violated by Government agents who were concerned that he might be planning something. In plain language, those are (in order): the right to keep and bear arms, the protection against unreasonable search and seizure, and the right to due process of law.

I sense that some of you still don’t get it. Allow me to explain. The police arrested a citizen with no warrant, had him involuntarily committed for “evaluation” with no court order, and seized his legally owned and obtained firearms without probable cause. Please point out where these actions are considered Constitutional. Here’s a hint: It won’t be in THIS country.

The really scary part about this story is not the bit about a US police agency trying to get away with such gross violations of civil rights. The truly wet-your-pants frightening bit is the large number of people in this country who don’t have a problem with the cops getting away with it. Assuming this bullshit is allowed to pass unchallenged, it means that our liberties- previously guaranteed (but not granted) by the Constitution- will be instantly revocable at the whim of some police officer who thinks you might be up to something.

“Excuse me, citizen. I notice you just purchased a six-pack of beer at that convenience store. Do you have a driver’s license?”

“Yes,officer, but I’m not driving. I only live a few blocks away, so I’m just going to carry the beer home and …”

“There’s a possibility that you could drink one or more beers and then try to drive, or even drink one or more beers while walking home. In either case, I’ll have to take you into custody- for your own good.”

“What? That’s ridiculous! I haven’t broken any laws!”

“Well, I think you might be planning to break either the drunk-driver law or the drunk in public law, so I’ll just put you in cuffs and haul you down to the State Sanitarium for evaluation.”

“Wait a minute! Aren’t you supposed to read me my rights? Why not take me to jail?”

“No need for that, citizen. We’d rather let the docs at State keep you under observation for a while. No need to go through all the paperwork and bother of a booking.”


Before this story broke, I would have laughed at the yarn above and claimed smugly that it couldn’t happen here. Guess what? It just did. Worse, the folks who generally make the biggest outcry at any infringement of Constitutional protections are largely wondering why this is a big deal. Here is an actual quote from more than one commenter on a generally left-leaning message board: “He could have been planning to replay Virginia Tech. He was in possession of the means to commit a massacre. The cops may have prevented a tragedy.”

Really? By that logic, every female should be arrested for prostitution, every computer owner should be arrested for cybercrime, and every driver should be automatically charged with DUI. They are all equipped for committing those crimes. Might as well lock them up to “prevent a tragedy”. Just think of it as being proactive instead of reactive.

By the way, there used to be a country where this sort of Byzantine abuse of authority was common. The USSR used to have dissidents and other non-conformists tossed into mental institutions on the grounds that anyone who didn’t agree with the all-powerful State had to be insane. The Soviet Union crashed and burned after seventy years, but I bet  Old Joe Stalin must be laughing in his grave at the idea that his greatest enemy is keeping his legacy alive.

In Medford, Oregon. USA. Ungood. Doubleplus ungood.

Bitte zeigen Sie mir Ihre Papiere, mein Herr.

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Current status: Locked, loaded, and liquored up.

Current music: Landslide by Fleetwood Mac



2 responses

16 03 2010

The average american should have the name american stripped from them.Our forefathers would slap us silly for the outright cowardice we portray.
We are so scared that we would rather have others rights abridged.
They have no concept of where this can go.
Reminds me of Carlin’s routine about how we really have no rights just allowances. We are allowed to practice religion freely, we are allowed to have guns, until somewith more guns says we cant.
These officials that allowed this should be brought up on charges and I hope the guy sues the pants off them and wins!!!
But at the least the guy who signed the orders should be charged and jailed.

21 03 2010
The BoBo Carnival of Politics – March 21, 2010 Edition | The BoBo Files

[…] presents Taking Liberties with our Liberty posted at A Dark and Sinister Force for Good, saying, “Where is the outrage? How long will […]

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