Here in this country, which is supposed to be “free” and “of the people,” the police are allowed to set up checkpoints under the guise that they are keeping us safe from drunk drivers. What they are really protecting us from is more akin to outdated paperwork, uneventful evenings, and timely arrivals. As Jim Bovard points out in his article Drunk Driving Checkpoints: Every Driver Guilty, “These checkpoints, supposedly started to target drunk drivers, have expanded to give police more intrusive power over citizens in many areas.” A report of results from checkpoints in November of 2005 in Pittsburgh confirms that about 650% more citations were issued for vehicle inspections than for DUI. Confirming what Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said in a dissent of a checkpoint case brought on 4th Amendment grounds (also from Bovard’s article), “The evidence in this case indicates that sobriety check points result in the arrest of a fraction of one percent of the drivers who are stopped, but there is absolutely no evidence that this figure represents an increase over the number of arrests that would have been made by using the same law enforcement resources in conventional patrols,” the Pittsburgh checkpoint made 13 arrests for DUI while 14 were made from normal patrols.
Pittsburgh is at it again with “[t]he region’s largest DUI checkpoint” to be set up on a “major highway” in the area sometime between now and November 5 (from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). In the midst of this article is a core justification for such police-state tactics in the course of “keeping the peace.*” Cathy Tress of the Pennsylvania Driving Under the Influence Association has this to share, “Driving in Pennsylvania is a privilege, not a right. Consequently, drivers have a responsibility to themselves, their passengers and other people who are sharing the road.” But free people have no privileges, I say.
Privilege is something that is granted by some superior or controlling entity. Kids are given privileges by their parents. Slaves are given privileges by their masters. Free people have no superiors to grant such privileges; a free person has only rights restricted by the equal rights of those around them. By implying that driving is a privilege, Ms. Tress is implying that there is some controlling entity granting that privilege, presumably the State. Of course, words mean nothing, especially when spoken by governments.
If this country was what we are told it is, then the only privilege-granting entities would be the mythical “People,” granting privilege to government officials. Through verbal jujitsu the government has turned this around. But words mean nothing, and if we purport to be free, we can’t be granted privileges. Instead, we exercise rights.
In a similar vein, like the one that popped out of my head when I saw , freedom is not a privilege. If someone has the power over you to grant you “freedom” then you are not free. The picture was taken at the Canfield Fair this year in the education building. Some school in Mahoning County, Ohio has the nerve to teach children this garbage. I…um…it is….um…what the….um…I have no words. I weep (and rage) for our futures and the lives we are feeding into a carnivorous system.
*Do we have any Peace Officers anymore or are they all Storm Troopers?