October 22, 2011

The 'Criminal' Who Dared to Recite the Constitution

"Loss of freedom seldom happens overnight. Oppression doesn't stand on the doorstep with toothbrush moustache and swastika armband -- it creeps up insidiously... step by step, and all of a sudden the unfortunate citizen realizes that it is gone.-- Baron Lane

For those who think that reciting the constitution is the patriotic thing to do - think again. It can land you in hot water with a state agency that has long forgotten (if they ever knew) about the oath they took to defend it. When uttering the words that form the basis for the laws under which your society is governed can lead to being charged for breaking those very laws, then one must question whether those who find themselves in positions of authority have not themselves descended into lawlessness.

Sometimes the only way to find out whether rights amount to anything is to test the system itself. Here is the eloquent diary account of one very brave individual who did just that, only to find to her dismay that the rights she fought to defend earlier in life had now become little more than a mirage.

Oct. 17, 2011
Albuquerque International Sunport Security Checkpoint:
I pass a camera crew filming the ticket counter. I stop and consider telling them what I am about to do, but decide against it. They probably won't care. Instead, I wheel my baggage to the security area.
I can feel my heart beat in my chest. I've never done anything like this. I've always said “Yes sir,” even when I didn't agree. Even this simple act fills me with conflicting emotions.
New Mexico is far warmer than my native Pacific Northwest. I'm sweating by the time I reach the first inspection of my ID. I'm sure I already look like a terrorist. The TSA agent, perched on his stool, takes no notice. I look enough like my driver's license and I have a valid airline ticket. He black lights my ID and lets me pass with hardly a glance.
I've come here to moonlight from my real job. My daughter had an operation, and I had to come up with thousands in deductible. She's in college and, so far, I've managed to keep her from becoming a debt slave, like her mother. I took eight extra weekends of work in the Land of Enchantment to cover the cost. I'm lucky, I guess, I can do that. Others, with fewer job opportunities, have no choice but to go bankrupt.
My heart kicks it up another notch when I get to the conveyor belt. Shouldn't have had that coffee this morning but thank God I didn't eat anything, or I'd be hugging the trash can right now.
Come on, I tell myself, what are they going to do? Confiscate your toothpaste? Say something mean to you? So what. Relax. You can do this. You should do this. You have to do this.
I take off my shoes and strip my backpack of computer and the baggie of incidentals. I stand in line while my armpits grow embarrassingly moist and I feel my heart race. I think, Get a hold of yourself. You're being a drama queen.
When it is my turn, I decline to go through the monitor that scans under your clothes, as I always do. The TSA agent starts his spiel about how safe it is. I've done my research. His statements are questionable, but that is not why I am doing this. I start my own spiel.
"The Fourth Amendment of the 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 warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, an particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

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