Eric Peters Autos
January 12th, 2013
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Well, why not?
If theÂ occasionalÂ random roadside stop nâ frisk is a good idea â and not a violation of anyoneâs rights â why not make such gantlets ubiquitous â andÂ permanent?Â Thatâs the nut of San Antonio Deputy Police Chief Anthony Trevinoâs argument in favor of establishingÂ permanentÂ DWI checkpoints. Heâd like them in the vicinity of what he calls âhot spotsâ â that is, establishments where alcohol is served, such as restaurants and bars. (SeeÂ hereÂ for the news story.) But why not everywhere? After all, âdrunk drivingâ is a possibilityÂ anywhere.
If Trevinoâs wish is granted, the price of going out to dinner will include not merely theÂ possibilityÂ of having to submit to an unwarranted (and unwanted) interrogation and inspection by the likes of Trevino and his pals. It will be aÂ certainÂ thing. TheÂ new normal â part of the routine. Just like being forced to assume theÂ I surrenderÂ pose at the airport, spread your legs and let a blue-shirted goon have his (or her) way with you as the price of getting on an airplane.
It has already been established in law â sanctified by the black-clad priests of legalese â that it isÂ notâunreasonableâ (and so, not a violation of the Fourth Amendment) to stop vehicles atÂ randomÂ â that is, without any specific probable cause â and require drivers to roll down their window, provide ID, answer questions and â at the arbitrary discretion of the costumed enforcer â remove themselves from their vehicle and submit to a sobriety test of one kind or another. To prove to his satisfaction, in other words, that youÂ arenâtÂ âdrunk.â As opposed to the old-fashioned idea that itâs up to the law to prove youÂ are.
If all that is âreasonableâ â andÂ notÂ a violation of the Fourth (and Fifth) Amendment â thensurelyÂ what Trevino is proposing ought to pass muster, too.
Which is why, in all likelihood, itÂ willÂ pass muster.
The logic is as relentless as a ripe tide. Trevino says permanent checkpoints will (drumroll, please) âsave lives.â How can anyone even attempt to gainsay this? It is impossible to do so. One cannot prove permanent checkpointsÂ wonâtÂ âsave livesâ â because, after all, how would youÂ know? And it is probably true that fewer people would risk driving after consuming even the slightest nip of alcohol if they knew beforehand that it was aÂ certain thingÂ theyâd have to successfully run a gantlet of goons.
Probably, theyâll decide to stay home instead. Itâs just not worth the hassle. Like traveling by air. The exact figures are hard to pin down, but itâs pretty clear fewer people are electing to travel by air â and electing to drive instead â precisely because traveling by air entails theÂ certaintyÂ of humiliation and hassle for absolutely no real reason beyond the vague possibility that âsomeoneâ (anyone) âmightâ be a âterrorist.â Thus, take off your shoes. ID. Arms up! Prostate massage.
At least when youâre traveling by car,Â you’veÂ got a decent chance of being able to go about your business without being treated like a Soviet-era prole.
NowÂ thatâsÂ on the way out, too.
Because once the idea behind all this is accepted âÂ which itÂ already has beenÂ â then things roll onwardÂ toward their dreary, unavoidable terminus: The criminalization of the potential and the general as opposed to the actual and specific. Pre-crime. Limitless prior restraint. WhyÂ notÂ have cameras (and microphones) installed in every room of your house, wired directly to the staatspolizeiâs central monitoring facility? It might save lives. WhyÂ shouldnâtÂ any cop who wishes to be legally entitled to simply enter your home, at random, to conduct a âsafety checkâ?Â Children might, after all, be âat risk.â
We are in fact alreadyÂ atÂ the terminus â itâs just not been made overt, official and comprehensive yet.
But, theyÂ areÂ working on it.
The day will come â not long from now â when someone of Trevinoâs ilk will demand that all cars (not merely those of convicted drunk drivers) be fitted with alcohol-detection devices of some kind. This technology already exists. WhyÂ notÂ make it mandatory â for everyone? Lives might be saved. There isnothingÂ beyond the scope of possibility â including shock collars for travelers (something actually considered by the TSA; seeÂ here). And perhaps, drivers too.Â After all,Â why not?
It is merely a question of conditioning and browbeating the populace to accept it.
Most people already do â in principle, at least.Â Which is exactly why they can expect to be on the receiving end of the actuality, in all its full-blossomed gory glory.
Throw it in the Woods? Â Â
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
Contributed by Eric Peters of Eric Peters Autos.
Eric Peters is an automotive columnist and author who has written for theÂ Detroit NewsÂ andÂ Free Press,Â Investors Business Daily,Â The American Spectator,Â National Review, TheÂ Chicago TribuneÂ andÂ Wall Street Journal.Â His books includeÂ Road HogsÂ (2011) andÂ Â Automotive AtrocitiesÂ (2004). His next book,Â âThe Politics of Driving,âÂ is scheduled for release in 2012. Visit his web site atÂ Eric Peters Autos.
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