Your papers, please

You have got to be kidding me, someone tell me this is just a stupid joke.  By way of LawDog, I learn that the DC Staatspolizei are planning on blocking off neighborhoods by designating them “Safety Zones”, and then stopping all vehicles entering the neighborhoods and getting ID from the drivers, or finding out if they have a “legitimate” reason to be in that neighborhood.  I wish I was making this up:

Under an executive order expected to be announced today, police Chief Cathy L. Lanier will have the authority to designate “Neighborhood Safety Zones.” At least six officers will man cordons around those zones and demand identification from people coming in and out of them. Anyone who doesn’t live there, work there or have “legitimate reason” to be there will be sent away or face arrest, documents obtained by The Examiner show.

I am absolutely stupefied by this, and while I can’t match LawDog’s poetic levels of outrage, mine is just as high as his.  Exactly where did Mayor Fenty and his lapdog Chief Lanier get the idea that it would be okay to tell citizens when and where they can and cannot travel in their own country?  Have we actually reached the point where armed police are going to demands the “papers” of US citizens to allow those citizens to travel to their own homes?

And how exactly do they plan on enforcing this crap?  Who’s to say that what one cop considers a legitimate reason will be considered legitimate by the next cop on a different shift?

The more I think about this, the more depressed I get – DC is supposed to a symbol of our liberty and what makes America such a great nation.  Instead, it’s a hole, a pit, where people are deprived of their liberties, their arms, and now their ability to travel without saying “by your leave”; all because some bureaurats (not a typo) have decided that they, the anointed, are in the right to deprive their subjects of said liberty in the name of “safety”.  It’s a disgusting display.


  1. This is not intended in any way to defend this anti-civil rights behavior, but I wanted to share with you what I’ve heard about this action.

    First, while the authority may be blanket, it is currently planned to be used only in one particular neighborhood where there have been a larger-than-normal number of drive by shootings lately.

    Next, the police will only be stopping cars, not pedestrians. Since you have to have a driver’s license to be driving, you have to have an ID.

    It almost tempts me to drive down there, offer them my driver’s license, but refuse to answer their questions about anything else. Not quite, though, because those aren’t neighborhoods I’d want to frequent to begin with, and certainly not unarmed.

  2. Yeah, they don’t get a pass for violating my rights just because there have been a lot of drive by shootings. Being in a crappy neighborhood isn’t probable cause for a stop and search, and it drives me absolutely fucking nuts that they would even consider this to be legal.

  3. And according to the article, this procedure, as employed in the 90s in NYC, passed constitutional muster in federal court.

  4. And according to the article, this procedure, as employed in the 90s in NYC, passed constitutional muster in federal court.

    That doesn’t make it any less suspicious.

  5. Timmeee, shooting the cops is stupid. You fight stuff like this, and you fight infringement on the 2nd Amendment in the courts, not with bullets. As long as we have a functioning court system we don’t start shooting people.

    I’m copying this bit in from a comment on the “Don’t shoot cops” thread.

    His argument was compelling that the founders only considered that right as available when there was no representation. As long as there are freely elected representatives and working courts, political action, not armed revolt, is how you bring about change.

    That’s 100% correct, and quite accurately makes my point. Advocating armed resistance against the government and police is never going to win our fight for us; while there may come a time that armed resistance becomes our only recourse, it most certainly is not now.

  6. Chris Plant (the morning 630 AM host who replaced Chris Core) did an entire show on this Friday, after Thursday one of the callers said they would be taking a microtape recorder to the checkpoints to record the cops and see if they were screwing up.

    My first reaction to this entire story is that it is rather… overly strict, and I think it’s probably unConstitutional, but then again, I think a lot of things that are common are unConstitutional.

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