July 22, 2005

Start walking...

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

From The New York Times. July 22:

"Much is likely to depend on the way the New York [bag searching those who take public transit] program is carried out. Police officials have said that riders who do not wish to have their bags searched will be free to leave the city's [subway] trains [or buses] without further questioning. They have also said that anyone found to be carrying illegal drugs or weapons will be subject to arrest, [italics mine] a provision that lawyers have found troubling."

Troubling? I get migraines. I get panic attacks. I carry drugs. They are legal, but not labeled. Am I going to have to explain small quantities of prescribed controlled substances to those whose education did not include an advanced degree in pharmaceuticals? My knowledge of chemistry stops at the prescription counter.

Are my rights to privacy as a rider of New York City public transit going the way of my right to board an airplane, where the TSA preempted "probable cause" and corkscrews and sewing kits are confiscated as "weapons"? Is this the taxi drivers' full-employment act?

No wonder by the time I was a schoolchild we had "social studies," not "civics." Thirty years ago, did my American History class cover the U.S. Constitution? Or was I not taught what I would lose as an adult?

We've all seen our share of Law and Order or C.S.I. I thought TV crime shows properly depicted "probably cause" (week in and week out, the good guys needed a judge to sign a warrant), but apparently that part was as fictitious as the rest of the show.


Blogger The Misanthrope said...

Noticed your comment on the Art of Getting By and decided to stop by. Nice blog.

I agree with you. It seems we are letting the terrorists win at every level, but I do want to feel a bit more protected. Unfortunately, checking bags randomly does not do it.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

All I know is that there are going to be a lot less people riding public transportation if this thing is enforced. At least the way I understand it.

I'm glad I was able to "introduce" Misanthrope to you.:)

11:39 PM  
Blogger Danica said...

Hey! You got my attention to take a look at your blog..and uhmmm i think its pretty cool..You can also check out my blogs and your comment is very much welcome.

11:47 PM  

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