Last night Six Minute Century played a show at BFE here in Houston, Tx. There is nothing new to that, we play BFE a few times a year and have for the last several years. Last night, however, was a new experience. I got to witness the “Police State” in action.
We were done playing and just hanging out watching my friends perform as the evenings closers. I was sitting at a table having a water since I was the driver for Muffin and I that night. It was then that I saw a couple of uniformed officers enter the bar. They looked pissed. They looked like they were looking for someone. Of course, I immediately assumed they were looking for me..haha.
A few minutes later, more officers entered the bar. They also had the look of someone who had just discovered a rabid badger in their underwear and had yet decided how to best deal with the situation. At this point, I now assumed that some horrible rapist or murderer or felony jay-walker had infiltrated our show. I did not want The Frenchman to get raped by some ne’er-do-well so I was secretly hoping that they found the guy prior to unspeakable acts of sexual violence being unleashed upon my guitar playing friend. More than once. Without mercy.
Turns out that they were not looking for father-rapers and mother-enders. Nope. They were looking for (add drumroll here)…….for….for…nobody in particular. What the FUCK.
These ball-sucking, starched ass-baskets of mulefuck gathered up the I.D.’s of more than a hundred bar patrons. They then took them over to one of the five or six portable computers they brought into the damn bar with them JUST TO FUCKING SEE if maybe somebody MIGHT..just might…have a fucking warrant.
This boys and girls is wrong. It is not legal either.
I know a bunch of people are saying the same thing, and some folks are debating it. But here on Frothtonomy, I’m going to tell you exactly why all but TWO people last night had their civil liberties smashed in ways that used to be reserved for folks living under the Gestapo in Nazi Germany.
Lets start with the whole concept of just gathering up a bunch of mother fuckers’ I.D. cards for nothing more than shits and giggles.
Here is an excerpt of Texas law:
Sec. 38.02. Failure to Identify. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person and requested the information. (b) A person commits an offense if he intentionally gives a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has: (1) lawfully arrested the person; (2) lawfully detained the person; or (3) requested the information from a person that the peace officer has good cause to believe is a witness to a criminal offense. (c) Except as provided by Subsections (d) and (e), an offense under this section is: (1) a Class C misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a); or (2) a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (b). (d) If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that the defendant was a fugitive from justice at the time of the offense, the offense is: (1) a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a); or (2) a Class A misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (b). (e) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under Section 106.07, Alcoholic Beverage Code, the actor may be prosecuted only under Section 106.07.
O.K. kids…so what does this tell us?
This portion of the law states that the fuzz can not make you hand over your I.D. or personal information unless you are either under arrest or lawfully detained. Nobody was arrested last night so I guess that is out. What about lawfully detained? What in the fuck does that mean? I had to do some research to find out…but I did track down the answer to that question. Here is a quote that explains this amazing esoteric concept:
“A Detention is a non-consensual temporary denial of liberty. A police officer must have “reasonable suspicion” that
- you are about to commit a crime
- you are in the act of committing a crime, or
- you have committed a crime
in order to Detain you. The officer has the authority to temporarily deny you the ability to leave while he investigates his suspicion. You may still refuse to answer any questions, but you have no right to leave. The officer must use a reasonable amount of time to investigate his suspicions until the detention elevates to the level of “probable cause” to arrest you. If the officer fails to determine there is probable cause for an Arrest, he must release you in a reasonable amount of time. The courts have determined that what is a reasonable amount of time is relative to the criminal activity being investigated. If you attempt to leave a detention without the permission of the police officer, you may be subject to Arrest. During a Detention, absent certain circumstances, a police officer may not move you to another location or the Detention becomes a de facto Arrest.”
Hmmm….looks like we can not be “legally detained” unless the cops have a pretty good idea that we are about to fuck some shit up, we are in the process of fucking the shit up, or we have fucked the shit up already.
There is no argument that you can give me that will make me think for ONE FUCKING SECOND that these power-hungry fuckbags had reasonable suspicion that all hundred plus patrons of the bar were about to engage in a criminal act, engaging in criminal acts during the exact moment of the raid, or had just completed the act of evil prior to the arrival of the police.
Oh…well…so they were just looking to make sure there were no drugs or bad shit going down. What is wrong with that? If you are not raping babies in the bathroom stall between meth deals you have nothing to fear…right? BZZZZZZZST. Wrong fucking answer. The reason this is bullshit has nothing to do with stopping bad shit from going down and everything to do with taking away your rights. They should not be doing this because of this right here…you might have heard of it before…a little thing called the FUCKING CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
People toss around the word “constitution” all the fucking time on the internet so instead of being one of those bastards I will point out the specific part I am referring too.
This is the fourth amendment to the Constitution, along with the explanation I gave in my post on the Constitution a couple of years ago:
4.) 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.
Though in word only, one would think that we still have this right. What has happened here is that the definition of “unreasonable” has changed to include all kinds of shit that most of us would consider unreasonable. People getting pulled over because of the way they look and having their car searched because “people that look like that usually have drugs” would be an example of this. Random searches by police dogs for drugs would be another example. What about those “insurance and driver’s license check points?” If you think about it…the police are stopping everybody just in case someone might be committing a crime. South Carolina Police raiding a T.V. station to get information used in a story about an officer that failed a polygraph test sounds like an unreasonable search and seizure to me. What about the Gizmodo iphone raid versus the California journalist shield law? What about the poor black guy who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? And now, though I support it for illegal aliens, Hispanic citizens will probably be “reasonably searched” when pulled over to find out if they are in the country legally. What happens when “middle aged, balding, slightly overweight white dude” becomes a “reasonable’ reason to pull you over a search your car? Yep…a bunch of ya will be subsequently fucked.
Just like the D.L. and insurance checkpoints, last night the police were blanket sweeping everybody just in case someone was fucking up. This is not probable cause. This is not reasonable suspicion. This is just the state exercising, AT WILL, a perceived ability to deprive you of property (the confiscated ID’s) and seizure of your person (you were not allowed to leave) that they have no real power to wield.
Only two people were “legally detained.” They happened to be Bass Players…hahahaha. These two friends of mine were the only ones that should have had to hand over their licenses to the cops. In truth though, they were only found to be someone of questionable intent do to the illegal dragnet approach used to ferret out any possible criminals. When viewed in this light, they should have never been fucked with at all. They were not arrested. It was a huge waste of time and resources.
In other countries during other times the word “criminal” in my last sentence would probably be replaced with “enemies of the state.”
Many of you might be thinking “Hey no big deal…it kind of sucked but no one was arrested so who cares.” If you are one of these, you are missing the inherent danger. I have discussed this kind of thing before. Think about what happened if it would have been in a different location.
What if you were having lunch at McDonalds with your family and twenty cops burst into the restaurant, took up everyone’s I.D. cards and checked for warrants. They would not let you leave until they were finished and you would have to be searched to go take a piss. Does this sound like the land of the free or something you might have read about occurring behind the Iron Curtin?
What if a squad of police interrupts a church service some sunday morning, right in the middle of the fucking sermon. They make the preacher shut the fuck up while the check all the I.D. cards of the blue haired old ladies for criminal vagrants.
What if 2oo cops tried this shit at Wal-Mart some saturday afternoon?
All of the above examples seem completely ridiculous, and yet it is exactly what happened. All the people in the club were there legally to enjoy a show and socialize. Nothing was being done outside of the law, and Cops did not find anything during their raid. Why did this even happen? Why are more people not outraged? Why is this not on every news station? Why are you not afraid of where this is leading?
Freedom is like the rope in the great tug of war game we play with our elected “masters.” Every inch we give them is almost impossible to get back. Look how less free you are now than you were twenty years ago. Where will you be in another twenty?
So what do we do about it? What can we do about it? Sorry boys and girls, but someone much smarter than me will have to give you those answers. Sadly, things only seem to change when a whole bunch of people die. I don’t think we are ready to die over this. Yet.
On a lighter note, I was totally petrified that I was going to get pinched by the fuzz last night. Every time over the last several years that I have had to give my I.D. to a cop I have been dragged off in cuffs. Apparently a bunch of you already knew this because several people came up to me during the raid to ask me if I was going to be alright. I had my doubts. My wife said I did not look worried, but expectant.
She was right. I was expecting to be fucked.
As they returned our confiscated I.D.’s back to us, one at a time, over the stupid P.A. system, the crowd would cheer. Someone caught video of me finally getting mine back and everyone cheering. It seems small and stupid, but this was a huge personal achievement for me and I was very proud. It was like getting a diploma. It was like getting freedom.
It was that feeling of freedom and hope that I am so afraid of losing. It is shit like last night that makes me wonder if we will.
Enjoy the video. Be safe. Stay moist.