Pubdate: Thu, 01 Jan 2004
Source: Miami Herald (FL)
Copyright: 2004 The Miami Herald


Does the United States envisioned by our Founding Fathers exist anymore? 
The Supreme Court in a December decision made it legal to arrest anyone in 
the vicinity of contraband, without probable cause that any particular 
individual possessed this contraband (You can be arrested even if the drugs 
aren't yours, Dec. 16 Herald). Decades of legal precedent were just thrown 
out of the window.

Now police can arrest anyone near contraband, even if that person did not 
know it was there. If one has the misfortune to get into a car that was 
previously driven by a friend's child who left marijuana in the glove 
compartment, everyone who gets in the car the next day can be arrested and 
detained until the police get a confession from someone.

Not only that, but, once you are arrested, you can be searched. Heaven 
forbid that you are carrying a pair of scissors or part of a prescription 
that your doctor gave you, but not the pill bottle in which the pharmacy 
delivered the same; you could be prosecuted, respectively, for carrying a 
concealed weapon or for possession of a controlled substance without a 

What is going on here? Someone has stolen our government "of the people, by 
the people and for the people" and replaced it with a police state. If the 
people of this country don't do something to restore our Constitution, none 
of us will be safe from government intrusion anywhere.

The Patriot Act allows the FBI to ask your librarian what books you read. 
How can we even be attempting to create a constitutional democracy 
elsewhere in the world?

It seems that the constitutional democracy we used to have here has 
disappeared right before our eyes.

Arthur Spiegel, Miami
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