The excuse to violate your rights

When you come right down to it, there seems to be one standard excuse to violate constitutional rights in the United States. Although it sounds like it is in the best interest, there are no laws, ordinances, policies, or security procedures that trump the highest laws in the country being the Bill of Rights.

The United States has come a long way since the first use of the word ‘Terrorism’ found its way into the media. From that very first roadside bomb and the first hijacked aircraft, things have progressively been getting worse. Yet in every case of terrorism, every attack started from stealth and unfolded in just a matter of seconds. The time it takes for someone to pull a gun from a backpack and start shooting or detonate a hidden bomb takes less time than it does to read this sentence. Other than someone in a uniform who goes rogue who is expected to be armed, all other acts of terrorism were never announce by displaying weapons in advance.

So when you consider that constant, you can rule out people with cameras filming legally from public space that are protected under the First Amendment. You can also rule out a person exercising their right under the Second Amendment to openly carry firearms. As neither of those behaviors are in anyway stealth, they do not match the profile of terrorism or in police terms Modus Operandi (MO). Yet suspicion of terrorism is implied as an excuse to violate the rights of those people.

It often starts off by someone calling the police to report someone suspicious. This is being encouraged by Homeland Security under the catch motto ‘See something, Say something’, and certainly that is both fine and prudent. The flaw in that is the general public is generally unaware of what is protected behavior under the Constitution. So seeing someone with a camera filming in public, or open carrying a firearm, calling the police is the first reaction.

Correctly the police should ask if this person is on public or private property before dispatching someone to investigate. If someone is dispatched, they should be able to visually ascertain if that person is within their rights even before making contact. Moving past that and making contact to be sure is also OK,  however this does provide the setting to violate rights.

Point of note, if it is just someone with a camera on public property, making contact is totally uncalled for in all cases with no exceptions unless they just want to check out what camera gear they have. That however is more of a personal thing that is common between photography enthusiasts and not an excuse to start an interrogation.  However someone openly carrying a firearm is a bit less common the more northeast you go, so making contact is seen as slightly more justified.

Other than showing a proper permit if required by the State, it should end there. Using that as a springboard to start detainment and to violate Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights is uncalled for. If the person has satisfied by law any required task, that should be the end of it.

Connecting the Dots is broadly covering violation of rights in the United States. To identify those posts search for the tag ‘violation of rights’.

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