Eric Peters Autos
January 12th, 2013
Reader Views: 2,345
Well, why not?
If the¬†occasional¬†random roadside stop n‚Äô frisk is a good idea ‚Äď and not a violation of anyone‚Äôs rights ‚Äď why not make such gantlets ubiquitous ‚Äď and¬†permanent?¬†That‚Äôs the nut of San Antonio Deputy Police Chief Anthony Trevino‚Äôs argument in favor of establishing¬†permanent¬†DWI checkpoints. He‚Äôd like them in the vicinity of what he calls ‚Äúhot spots‚ÄĚ ‚Äď that is, establishments where alcohol is served, such as restaurants and bars. (See¬†here¬†for the news story.) But why not everywhere? After all, ‚Äúdrunk driving‚ÄĚ is a possibility¬†anywhere.
If Trevino‚Äôs wish is granted, the price of going out to dinner will include not merely the¬†possibility¬†of having to submit to an unwarranted (and unwanted) interrogation and inspection by the likes of Trevino and his pals. It will be a¬†certain¬†thing. The¬† new normal ‚Äď part of the routine. Just like being forced to assume the¬†I surrender¬†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 ‚Äď sanctified by the black-clad priests of legalese ‚Äď that it is¬†not‚Äúunreasonable‚ÄĚ (and so, not a violation of the Fourth Amendment) to stop vehicles at¬†random¬†‚Äď that is, without any specific probable cause ‚Äď and require drivers to roll down their window, provide ID, answer questions and ‚Äď at the arbitrary discretion of the costumed enforcer ‚Äď 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 you¬†aren‚Äôt¬†‚Äúdrunk.‚ÄĚ As opposed to the old-fashioned idea that it‚Äôs up to the law to prove you¬†are.
If all that is ‚Äúreasonable‚ÄĚ ‚Äď and¬†not¬†a violation of the Fourth (and Fifth) Amendment ‚Äď thensurely¬†what Trevino is proposing ought to pass muster, too.
Which is why, in all likelihood, it¬†will¬†pass muster.
The logic is as relentless as a ripe tide. Trevino says permanent checkpoints will (drumroll, please) ‚Äúsave lives.‚ÄĚ How can anyone even attempt to gainsay this? It is impossible to do so. One cannot prove permanent checkpoints¬†won‚Äôt¬†‚Äúsave lives‚ÄĚ ‚Äď because, after all, how would you¬†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 a¬†certain thing¬†they‚Äôd have to successfully run a gantlet of goons.
Probably, they‚Äôll decide to stay home instead. It‚Äôs just not worth the hassle. Like traveling by air. The exact figures are hard to pin down, but it‚Äôs pretty clear fewer people are electing to travel by air ‚Äď and electing to drive instead ‚Äď precisely because traveling by air entails the¬†certainty¬†of humiliation and hassle for absolutely no real reason beyond the vague possibility that ‚Äúsomeone‚ÄĚ (anyone) ‚Äúmight‚ÄĚ be a ‚Äúterrorist.‚ÄĚ Thus, take off your shoes. ID. Arms up! Prostate massage.
At least when you‚Äôre traveling by car,¬†you’ve¬†got a decent chance of being able to go about your business without being treated like a Soviet-era prole.
Now¬†that‚Äôs¬†on the way out, too.
Because once the idea behind all this is accepted ‚Äď¬†which it¬† already has been¬†‚Äď then things roll onward¬† 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. Why¬†not¬†have cameras (and microphones) installed in every room of your house, wired directly to the staatspolizei‚Äôs central monitoring facility? It might save lives. Why¬†shouldn‚Äôt¬†any cop who wishes to be legally entitled to simply enter your home, at random, to conduct a ‚Äúsafety check‚ÄĚ?¬† Children might, after all, be ‚Äúat risk.‚ÄĚ
We are in fact already¬†at¬†the terminus ‚Äď it‚Äôs just not been made overt, official and comprehensive yet.
But, they¬†are¬†working on it.
The day will come ‚Äď not long from now ‚Äď when someone of Trevino‚Äôs 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. Why¬†not¬†make it mandatory ‚Äď for everyone? Lives might be saved. There isnothing¬†beyond the scope of possibility ‚Äď including shock collars for travelers (something actually considered by the TSA; see¬†here). And perhaps, drivers too.¬† After all,¬†why not?
It is merely a question of conditioning and browbeating the populace to accept it.
Most people already do ‚Äď in principle, at least.¬† 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? ¬† ¬†
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 the¬†Detroit News¬†and¬†Free Press,¬†Investors Business Daily,¬†The American Spectator,¬†National Review, The¬†Chicago Tribune¬†and¬†Wall Street Journal.¬†His books include¬†Road Hogs¬†(2011) and¬†¬†Automotive Atrocities¬†(2004). His next book,¬†‚ÄúThe Politics of Driving,‚ÄĚ¬†is scheduled for release in 2012. Visit his web site at¬†Eric Peters Autos.
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