Pubdate: Wed, 28 Jul 2004
Source: Mountain Xpress (NC)
Copyright: 2004 Mountain Xpress
Author: Eva Scruggs


I am infuriated, but not surprised, at the lack of respect and sensitivity
of our so-called law enforcement for its citizens.

Early in July, I was outside picking berries with my daughter when our
airspace was invaded by what appeared to be a military (Black Hawk)
helicopter. This incredibly loud and foreboding war machine flew so
low that I was astounded, and threw my arms up in a gesture of "What
are you doing? Can't you see there's a small child here? You're
frightening us!"

The helicopter continued down the cove, then turned back repeatedly,
until finally it flew in a continuous circle around and around our
house. Often, it was so close I thought it would surely land in the

I wanted to help. I called the Citizens Hotline, which connected me to
Sen. John Edwards' office in Raleigh. Clueless, they directed me to
his Charlotte branch, who, in turn, suggested that I call the local
sheriff's department, which had me call the Civil Air Patrol. No
answer there. Meanwhile, the aircraft circled above like a vulture
over a trapped animal. So loud it was that, at times, we had
difficulty hearing each other inside the house.

Exasperated, I took my daughter and drove away, halfway expecting to
be pursued, like O.J. Indeed, in my mind, the only thing that might
justify such severe surveillance is a murderer on the loose. I learned
from neighbors that the flying continued in our cove for over two
hours; that their homes and land were also targeted; and that many of
them were forced to flee as well, or face insanity.

Evidently, a small patch of marijuana was found on a neighbor's land
up the mountain. I wonder, was this enough to traumatize this entire
farm community? Is any amount enough to justify such flagrant
disregard for our constitutional rights to peace and privacy? I
continued making calls, hoping for answers or at least some
accountability. I even called the FBI, who finally gave me the number
of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

I thought for a minute, "The DEA; the monster. Am I ready to take on
the monster?" I think so. Because I am innocent and still free (though
a lot less free than four years ago), I must stand up to the monster
and say, "This is not OK! I will not be treated like a criminal when I
am not one, and how dare you terrorize us in the sanctity of our
home?" Do we as taxpayers employ our law enforcement to serve and
protect us, or to intimidate and humiliate us?

I realize that taking on the DEA is like grabbing the tail of a viper.
It is the ultimate manifestation of Big Brother. But fear feeds it,
and apathy nurtures it. The "war on drugs" is nothing less than a war
on you and me. We should recognize it as such and stand together in
opposition and outrage.

Eva Scruggs

- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin