Time of search and seizure

The children’s soccer game was about to start when a group of uniformed darkly clad agents emerged from an unmarked black bus sitting in the school parking lot. The insignia on their uniform identified them as TSA agents (Transportation Security Agents) and with no explanation they milled through the crowd of parents, players and coaches asking for ID, going though purses, handbags and athletic equipment bags. Most in attendance followed directions and complied with their requests, but several people questioned the authority of such searches and surprisingly were detained for further questioning. Two coaches on the opposing team were apparently detained regarding an illegal alien issue, from what those of us who could make out regarding the conversation they were having with the TSA agents. Both eventually were zip tied and placed on the bus.  After the team had left our local police chief announced on the PA system that this kind of security was truly helpful in ridding the community of illegals and potential security threats. On the way home my wife encouraged me to make sure all of our identity papers were in order, in case it happens at the next game.

  The above paragraph is fiction. But how far away is it from becoming reality at the next sporting event you attend? A lot closer than you might expect. According to published reports, the expansion of the TSA is inevitable and the agency now employing over 56,000 people is set to move beyond just doing airport security. Doing that with its VIPR teams (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Teams), established in 2005, which can now be found at major or even minor public sporting events as well as outside subways, weigh stations and NASCAR events.

The VIPR Teams are authorized to be anywhere people might be traveling or gathering in mass. How you feel about this intrusion into your personal space has little to do with it, should you suddenly find yourself being pulled aside and asked questions or being searched. And as for Congress getting upset with any intrusion into your personal freedom regarding unlawful search and seizures; forget about it!  Congress is more concerned about the program’s cost effectiveness! Bottom lines it would appear are more improtant than citizen rights!

Our personal rights and guaranteed freedoms are in trouble, and as long as we are all considered guilty until proven not guilty there is little hope many of the rights we have today will be around for our children to consider theirs. And if you are wondering what rights you have or don’t have anymore, then maybe you better start to find out. You could easily be on a no fly list but have no idea until you try to fly. Your phone and public personality on Facebook could be going through close scrutiny and you would have no idea. The fact that you place anything in view of the public is legal precedent to allow anyone access to it (read the small print.)

Unlawful search and seizure are protections you have in the Constitution and having someone just walking up to you out of the clear blue sky without reason or provocation and searching or seizing you on a general idea you might be guilty of something is not legal. Reading your Facebook post and using that information against you is not. Or is it now?

For sure, no matter what conversation you start regarding rights anymore, it seems the tipping point for most people was “911”. It was at that point somehow Americans lost ownership of many of their rights. We went to war and suddenly Habeas Corpus went the way of the Model T Ford.  In fact any right that seems to be an impediment in the war against terrorism is a right many feel we can collectively do without!


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