Tuesday, June 5, 2012

he Growing Police State: How Dare You Drive Edition

Why is it that the Government seems bound and determined to make me an ally of the ACLU?  I despise the ACLU.  For most of my life one of my guiding philosophies has been, "If the ACLU is for it, I'm against it; if the ACLU is against it, I'm for it.  I'll figure out what 'it' is later."  And, until the last couple of years it has generally served me pretty well.  Now, however, in case after case, I'll find out about an issue, research, decide to oppose it, and then find out I'm on the same side as the ACLU. 

Really, guys?  Help me out here.

Case in point.  In Utah, the DEA wants to place stationary cameras on I-15 to photograph the license plate of every car that drives on that corridor.  Now, their reasoning is to track and capture drug smugglers.  However, do you think they're going to look at those pictures once and then throw them away?  No, they'll keep them for at least two years.  And, given how good our Federal Government seems not to be when it comes to keeping citizens' information private, that should concern you.  More importantly, though, is the violation of the 4th Amendment.

You know that one: A person shall be secure in his person and his papers, blah, blah.  Yeah, part of being "secure in his person" means being able to go wherever he wants without being tracked by the government.  If you want to know if I'm going to be driving down I-15, you should have to get a warrant.  They don't want to do that, though.  They want to be able to gather evidence without a warrant.  If they just came into your house and went through your trash, any evidence would be thrown out of court.  However, if they do this it is, for some reason, completely okay.

To make matters worse (yes, I'm piling on, here): this is the same DEA which was an integral part of Operation Fast and Furious- that would be the "let's use tax-payer dollars to send guns to Mexican Drug Gangs and allow them to kill people" operation that lead to over 300 Mexican civilians being killed and two Americans, including Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.  Yes, I trust them implicitly, don't you?

At what point do our Representatives in Government start representing us?  At what point do they understand that while they're making moves like this- moves that are doomed to failure- the only thing they're succeeding in doing is limiting my own Liberty?

Did I just say "doomed to failure?"  Why, yes, yes I did.  Let's count the ways this could fail.  First, drug smugglers could simply start renting cars.  With enough different mules using enough different rental agencies, you'd likely never see the same car twice.  Use cash and a false name, and it's even harder to track who smuggled the drugs.  Drug smugglers could simply use an alternate route.  What, are we going to put these cameras on every Interstate and US or State Highway?  Wait- I'd better not suggest that, the Government might try.  The drug smugglers could revert to using private, low altitude air-craft.  Such aircraft are largely not regulated nor monitored by the FAA, and would be very difficult to stop.  I'm sure people even more devious than I could come up with even more ways.

So, for no real gain, the Federal Government wants to record the comings and goings of everyone who travels on I-15 for the crime of driving on a public highway that drug smugglers also happen to use.

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