Reader Mail

Who Goes There?

State your name -- or else. Plus much more, including the real Margaret Sanger.

6.25.04

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COVER GAL
Re: Shawn Macomber's Walk This Way:

One of the first things I saw this morning when I made my news rounds was Granny D's picture on the Spectator. What a terrifying way to start a day...
-- unsigned

NAME, RANK AND I.D. NUMBER
Re: Brian Doherty's What's In a Name?:

Refusal to identify oneself to the police makes who more free? Makes who more safe? How does having a national ID card make anyone less free? Besides we already have National ID cards. Their called Social Security Numbers. It's a little late to be complaining about national IDs.

In a country that refuses to enforce immigration law and during an international war on terrorism where the enemy hides in the shadows, does anyone really believe this is a problem?

The same people that are in an uproar over this are the same people that twist and mangle the Constitution to find things such as "Abortion Rights" and "Welfare Rights."

What makes people less free is ACLU types that want to forcefully transgenderize the whole world, turn freedom of speech into a hate crime, and continue the legacy of institutionalized racism and sexism. Oh yeah, they want to remove all vestiges of religion from a society and government that was only made possible because of its religious heritage.
-- RW

Am I supposed to take Doherty seriously that "a huge part of what made America great was it was a land where free men minding their own business could count on being able to tell our public servants to buzz off unless we were accused on probable cause of a crime"? This is a childish notion of liberty. Maybe Doherty's notion of freedom is telling the playground monitor to shove it; but even in frontier times a marshal's ability to keep the peace depended in part on knowing who was passing through town. So too today, solving crimes depends a great deal on knowing who was in the area so that the police can go back and question those people to find out what they may have seen.

In any event, Mr. Doherty can save his hand wringing for the future. It will not be long before even the lowest flunky of the state will be able to know precisely who you are by instant iris scans. No documents or I.D. cards will be necessary. With ever increasing miniaturization, vast amounts of information will be available instantly just be glancing at the representative of the state. Perhaps Mr. Doherty will adopt the ancient practice of averting one's gaze in the presence of the King.
-- M. Dooley

The Supreme Court has just opened up a neat new legal defense. Here I am, a felon, going about my unlawful business. A policeman with no knowledge of my crimes stops me and demands identification. I refuse, am arrested, and am subsequently charged with my real crimes.

Ah-hah! But! Since I had in fact committed a crime, my Fifth Amendment rights are in full flower. So the policeman's demanding my name caused me to incriminate myself by getting arrested and investigated for not supplying it. Therefore, since it is clearly coerced self-incrimination, the demand for my identity was plainly unconstitutional and it, and all the subsequent evidence from the ensuing investigation, as fruits of the poison tree, are inadmissible and I can walk out of the court whistling.
-- Richard McEnroe

There sure seems to be a lot of hyperventilating over the Hiibel decision. A cop gets a message that some guy with a pickup truck is pounding on some woman at a certain spot. He goes there, there is a guy, a truck and a woman. So he asks the guy his name. (Is this guy on the scene of a reported crime out under a fugitive warrant maybe or a restraining order, or what have you.?)

Sure seems a reasonable request to me.
-- Richard Trochlil

God! This one really makes my blood boil! Watch the video referred to in the article and see if you don't agree.

Unfortunately, Mr. Hiibel and his attorney apparently missed a fundamental fact in their zeal to fight his arrest on Constitutional grounds.

The Supreme Court's Opinion characterizes the "Terry Stop" as follows:

The sheriff's department in Humboldt County, Nevada, received an afternoon telephone call reporting an assault. The caller reported seeing a man assault a woman in a red and silver GMC truck on Grass Valley Road. Deputy Sheriff Lee Dove was dispatched to investigate. When the officer arrived at the scene, he found the truck parked on the side of the road. A man was standing by the truck, and a young woman was sitting inside it. The officer observed skid marks in the gravel behind the vehicle, leading him to believe it had come to a sudden stop. The officer approached the man and explained that he was investigating a report of a fight. The man appeared to be intoxicated. The officer asked him if he had .any identification on [him],. which we understand as a request to produce a driver's license or some other form of written identification. The man refused and asked why the officer wanted to see identification. The officer responded that he was conducting an investigation and needed to see some identification.

Setting aside the fact that this "investigation" was proceeding from an anonymous phone tip from an unidentified witness (much has been litigated and written about the differences between an unknown witness and a "qualified" witness insofar as Probable Cause is concerned), we have two interesting observations by the arresting officer. One, there were skid marks behind the truck, and Two, "The man appeared to be intoxicated." These totally gratuitous facts are prime examples of what defense lawyers call "Creative Writing" in police reports when, after the heat and passion of the arrest have subsided, the officer sits and fills out his Arrest Report and realizes that he needs to pad the circumstances a bit to justify the arrest. But the Supreme Court sees fit to mention them as if they had any bearing on whether or not the stop was lawful.

The Court notes that:

The caller reported seeing a man assault a woman in a red and silver GMC truck on Grass Valley Road. Deputy Sheriff Lee Dove was dispatched to investigate.

Investigate what? A suspected Domestic Violence event! If there was no evidence of domestic violence, there was no need for any identification. But did Deputy Dawg (Oops! I meant Deputy Dove) find out if there had been any violence? Did he ask the woman in the truck if Hiibel had "slugged" her? But nooo! As most cops do, he went straight for the jugular and asked for ID, knowing that a failure to produce the same would be a violation of Nevada law and lead to an easy "collar." At this point he was massively uninterested in whether or not a crime had been committed.

The Nevada law cited by the Court states:

Any peace officer may detain any person whom the officer encounters under circumstances which reasonably indicate that the person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime. [….]
The officer may detain the person pursuant to this section only to ascertain his identity and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his presence abroad. Any person so detained shall identify himself, but may not be compelled to answer any other inquiry of any peace officer.

So wouldn't it be a "reasonable circumstance" of his investigation first to ascertain whether or not a crime "had been, is being or is about to be" committed? Simply asking a question of the woman in the truck would have determined this essential fact before demanding identification of someone seen standing at the scene.

The rest of the Opinion rambles on about the legal history of this sort of "stop and frisk" law as far back as vagrancy statutes in jolly old England, citing a 1744 statute on the subject. As such, I suppose these exceptions to Terry v. Ohio (1968) are inevitable as more and more laws are passed by well-meaning legislatures attempting to make certain that no guilty bastards slip past our diligent minions of the Law simply because of some pesky constitutional rights.

I cry out in alarm that this sort of encroachment on our civil rights is accelerating, and eventually, if not stopped, will place us in the unenviable position of hearing the English language equivalent of "Ihrer Papieren, Bitte," a demand which you will ignore at your peril.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

PLAYING THE UNIFIED FIELD
Re: George Neumayr's My Demons:

The Theory of Everything and the Holy Grail of Modern Physics are other names for the unified field theory, in physics. It's an attempt to connect all known phenomena to explain the nature and behavior of all existing matter and energy. Perhaps non-physicists or even some physicists would say its real name is God.

Regardless, it appears Mr. Clinton lives uniquely in some alter-universe, where more than the strong, electromagnetic, weak, and gravitational forces of physics can be described or their interactions examined. That space is dominated by the Clinton Force.

The CF is a situational-focused energy, a chameleonic force that depicts reality exactly opposite to what occurred-regardless of when and where in space and time it occurred-if, of course, such description is advantageous socially and/or monetarily.

And the CF always attaches a positive spin to the rotation of its words-unless, of course, its inherent self-promoting functionality deems it necessary to remove any perceived negativity.

Too, CF has victimology as well as embellishing and bamboozling aspects that universally impact anything coming into or tangentially striking it.

But perhaps the CF's most amazing attribute is its ability to transmute. In plain view, it can take true dim or corrupted energy of past human interactions and transform them into bright-but always deceptive, reinvented and not-quite-squared-away-future memories.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

NOT IN THE MOOD
Re: John Tabin's Ryan Express Ways:

John Tabin's lame attempt at humor -- that Illinois Senate candidate Jack Ryan "is no relation to the Tom Clancy protagonist of the same name" -- is not even remotely funny. In fact, it is embarrassing that a columnist for a major periodical would demean his audience with such a statement. Please inform Mr. Tabin that Clancy's Jack Ryan is fictional character and that anyone with half a brain knows the difference.
-- Terence McMahon

THE REAL SANGER
Re: Jeff Whittington's response ("Strenuous Defense") to Shawn Macomber's "Maggie Sanger and the Human Weeds" in Reader Mail's Demonic Tendencies:

Mr. Whittington's defense of Margaret Sanger approaches religious zeal, but he lacks the one virtue of the Bible: credibility.

He claims Mrs. Sanger befriended blacks by opening a birth control center in Harlem. Ironically, if you want to diminish the black population you would open a center to control their births.

He also quotes Dr. King, a quote conveniently found verbatim on the Planned Parenthood website, a striking coincidence in the name of unbiased reporting.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) apologists list quotes supposedly attributed to Sanger in error but they do not say who actually made these false attributions. PPFA uses unsubstantiated allegations by unknown offenders, contrasted against reams of damning quotes with sources from Mrs. Sanger found elsewhere. The quotes PPFA spins away appear in publications which Sanger held authorship and editorial control. These were not people Sanger was seeking to refute, but people with whom she had common cause.

PPFA seeks to explain away this particular piece of stomach-turning tripe, "We do not want word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population." They recite Sanger at length saying how blacks would be more receptive to birth control if it came from black doctors and if the topic of exterminating black populations were raised black ministers would "straighten out that idea if it ever occurs."

Mrs. Sanger had nothing but undying contempt for religion her entire career. Thus her ability to use ministers, trained by PPFA, in a self-serving, duplicitous manner is revealed. Yes, people can be made to betray their own. Remember the parables of Uncle Remus warning about the ensnaring Tar Baby: a slave that betrays an escaping slave. Note also how Mrs. Sanger wanted to straighten out an "idea," as opposed to refuting a misconception.

Mr. Whittington admits, "Her support for eugenics…was unfortunate, but considering the spirit of the times, it was moderate at best." PPFA's argues otherwise, "Sanger's critics attempt to discredit [her ideas] by intentionally confusing her views on 'fitness' with eugenics." It appears Mrs. Sanger's defenders cannot keep their stories straight and PPFA is lying because it would take volumes to chronicle the eugenicist bilge of Sanger and Co.

It is tragic to make light of eugenics. Should we entertain for a moment that "paupers, imbeciles, consumptives, morons and idiots" should be forcibly weeded out of our society by the arbitrary definitions of a self-elected elite? We each have our lists of half-wits. Mr. Whittington should thank God that I don't believe in exterminating mine but would rather reason with them under the grace of their own free moral will.
-- Rik Killeen
Sunrise, Florida

STARRY OLD DROOGS
Re: Paul Kotik's letter ("Like Clockwork") in Reader Mail's Demonic Tendencies:

I'm glad to see that my letter in reply to Paul Kotik drew a little blood.

On the point of A Clockwork Orange, a debate with Mr. Kotik along the lines of "Anglo droogs are more nihilistic than American droogs" would clearly be pointless. However, suffice it to say my objection to his point is that the England he longs for is only a tiny sample of the whole, just as the America inhabited by Brit emigrants like Christopher Hitchens and Andrew Sullivan is but a tiny sample of that whole also.

To outraged of Plantation -- agreed?
-- Martin Kelly
Glasgow, Scotland

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