Well, why not?
If the occasional
random roadside stop n’ frisk is a good idea – and not
a violation of anyone’s rights – why not make such gantlets
ubiquitous – and permanent? That’s the nut
of San Antonio Deputy Police Chief Anthony Trevino’s argument
in favor of establishing permanent DWI checkpoints. He’d
like them in the vicinity of what he calls “hot spots”
– that is, establishments where alcohol is served, such as
restaurants and bars. (See here
for the news story.) But why not everywhere? After all, “drunk
driving” is a possibility anywhere.
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
– 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 – sanctified by the black-clad priests
of legalese – that it is not “unreasonable”
(and so, not a violation of the Fourth Amendment) to stop vehicles
at random – that is, without any specific probable
cause – and require drivers to roll down their window, provide
ID, answer questions and – at the arbitrary discretion of
the costumed enforcer – 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’t
“drunk.” As opposed to the old-fashioned idea that it’s
up to the law to prove you are.
If all that
is “reasonable” – and not a violation
of the Fourth (and Fifth) Amendment – then surely
what Trevino is proposing ought to pass muster, too.
Which is why,
in all likelihood, it will pass muster.
logic is as relentless as a ripe tide. Trevino says permanent checkpoints
will (drumroll, please) “save lives.” How can anyone
even attempt to gainsay this? It is impossible to do so. One cannot
prove permanent checkpoints won’t “save lives”
– 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’d have to successfully run
a gantlet of goons.
decide to stay home instead. It’s just not worth the hassle.
Like traveling by air. The exact figures are hard to pin down, but
it’s pretty clear fewer people are electing to travel by air
– and electing to drive instead – precisely because
traveling by air entails the certainty of humiliation and
hassle for absolutely no real reason beyond the vague possibility
that “someone” (anyone) “might” be a “terrorist.”
Thus, take off your shoes. ID. Arms up! Prostate massage.
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automotive columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2013 Eric Peters
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