Apparently the new standard procedure for responding to shooting events in cities is to go door-to-door, and to raid private property. Gone are the days of isolated crimes and constitutional police investigations governed by due process. Search warrants are no longer required, and if you refuse to allow the officers into your home, you might just end up with a hostile occupation.

police waiting to search your home without a warrant

Remember that there was a day when British soldiers occupied the homes of American colonists. This was so unacceptable we fought a revolution over it, but somehow today people are welcoming this aggressive, invasive policy, and it is becoming the new norm!

This is unacceptable

What has happened to us? The Boston Marathon bombing was a horrible, tragic event, and it necessitated a special reaction, given the fact that the suspects were still carrying explosives and apparently had further plans to commit more terror. However, it did not require our constitution to be laid aside for martial law. Innocent people’s homes were forcibly entered in the name of protecting the inhabitants of the city.

Now it has happened again, yesterday, in Louisiana. This time, no one was even killed, yet the local and federal police put the whole city on lockdown, just like in Newtown, CT after the Boston bombing. Let me repeat, this is horrible! It is tragic that we are having to deal with these situations at all in our own country, but what is perhaps more tragic is that we are setting up ourselves and our children for an even more dangerous world.

A world in which a suspect is not innocent until proven guilty, but even those not suspect to any crimes at all can be subject to their homes being forcibly entered if they do not comply with law enforcement demands.

A better option

at Slate.com argues in favor of the suspension of the Fourth Amendment during periods of compromised public safety, and stated recently, “In exigent circumstances, or emergency situations, police can conduct warrantless searches to protect public safety. This exception to the Fourth Amendment’s probable cause requirement normally addresses situations of “hot pursuit,” in which an escaping suspect is tracked to a private home.”

She goes on to say this ‘public safety exemption’ should apply to the Boston bombing because they might have caused further harm or injury. And that seems to be the ruling philosophy. Something really bad might happen, so we’re going to break into your private homes in order to prevent it.

This contradicts so many founding principles I don’t even know which to identify. For starters (and finishers), in this country called America, we believe that suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. We believe in due process. This isn’t a conservative idea, it’s an American idea. The Democrat party for the last half a century at least has portrayed itself as the party of civil liberties, but it took a Republican filibuster a la Rand Paul to get the Democratic White House to admit the President does not have the authority to order a drone strike against an American citizen not actively engaged in combat.

But what can you do that is within the scope of liberty, and still manage to serve justice?

Some of my fellow wacko birds in the libertarian movement seem to be so outraged by the violation of liberties during the search they come close to saying there shouldn’t have been any coordinated search at all, but that doesn’t work either.

Instead, for starters, the streets can be shut down without police going into peoples’ homes. By searching their homes, you make them the criminal. If in our efforts to prosecute criminals we subject law-abiding citizens to the same measures that are ordinarily reserved for criminals, we defeat the purpose of having a criminal justice system in the first place.

It’s the same problem we have with the TSA intrusive body scans and pat-downs. They treat us as though there is probable cause to search us, just for flying on an airplane.

I’m willing to be okay with a voluntary door to door search in situations like Boston, but there is not justification for abandoning our foundational principles as a country in the name of security.

I hope you can see a pattern forming in these mass- (or not so mass-) killings. I hope this pattern is as disturbing to you as it is to me. Do you want it to be your home next? It’s time to start taking local elections of our sheriffs seriously, because what some of them are doing these days is seriously unacceptable.

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