Sunday, March 30, 2008

Slippery Slopes and My Cold Dead Hands

While the Supreme Court deliberates, the Washington DC police are out frantically going door-to-door asking for permission to search for handguns. They claim that they will not act on any other evidence of illegal behavior they might find while looking (without warrants) for firearms, but as Drug War Rant asks,

If they find a few kilos of heroin, piles of cash, or a severed head, they're not going to ask any questions? Even if they make no immediate arrests, what guarantee is there that they won't be back later, with a warrant ostensibly based on an independent source of information?

Even the DC Black Police Officers Association thinks this is a BAAAD plan:

Ron Hampton, of the Black Police Officers Association, said he doesn't expect many in the community to comply.

"This is one of those communities where the police even have problems getting information about crimes that are going on in the community, so to suggest, now, that the police have enough community capital in their hand that the community is going to cooperate with them, I'm not so sure that's a good idea," Hampton said.

Meanwhile, as we careen down the slippery slope toward total gun confiscation, is it any surprise that the Boston Police Department is pursuing a similar strategy? Perhaps the real surprise is that the citizens of Boston (ala 1776) are resisting this idea in the spirit of Sam Adams:

Boston police officials, surprised by intense opposition from residents, have significantly scaled back and delayed the start of a program that would allow officers to go into people's homes and search for guns without a warrant.

The program, dubbed Safe Homes, was supposed to start in December, but has been delayed at least three times because of misgivings in the community. March 1 was the latest missed start date.

One community group has been circulating a petition against the plan. Police officials trying to assuage residents' fears have been drowned out by criticism at some meetings with residents and elected officials.

In some ways it is NOT surprising to find the New Black Panther Party channeling the Sons of Liberty:

"Police are like vampires. They shouldn't be invited into your homes," said Jamarhl Crawford, chairman of the New Black Panther Party in Roxbury, who moderated the meeting.

"Vampires are polite; they're smooth," he said in an interview the following day. "But once they get in, the door closes. Havoc ensues."

Other comparisons have been no more favorable.

"The community doesn't want this," Lisa Thurau-Gray, managing director of the Juvenile Justice Center at Suffolk University Law School, said at the meeting. She likened the police persistence to a sexual aggressor who refuses to stop assaulting a victim despite her pleas. "What part of no don't they understand?" she said.

The larger Constitutional issue here is not only the Second Amendment, but also the slippery slope of using gun confiscation to open up a gigantic hole for warrantless searches of the homes of law-abiding citizens.

You know, all you folks who are so upset with George W. Bush and FISA surveillance, where's your outrage at Boston and Washington DC for trying to give the police the right to toss people's homes at will?

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