Pubdate: Fri, 17 Dec 2004
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Copyright: 2004 Madison Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Bruce Rideout


I was enjoying Wednesday's Progressive Dane editorial when the writer
suddenly careened. Somehow, the writer forgot what the term "probable
cause" means. Two examples were used, a loitering ordinance and a city
worker testing positive for cannabis. According to the writer's logic,
drug testing of city employees is warranted to protect us from the
potential horror of a snowplow running over an elderly citizen in a
crosswalk. Just how many elderly, or for that matter any age,
residents of Madison have been run over by any city truck or vehicle?
By the writer's interpretation of probable cause, all of us fall under
suspicion if it means preventing all possible human infraction.
Constitutional justice requires an act, not merely the potential of an

The same goes for loitering ordinances. We are asked to take it at
face value that virtually all loitering is related to drug dealing,
and all drug dealing is done by those who stand still on street
corners. Move along and you are OK; stop and you get a hefty fine for
. standing still. All drug dealing has plummeted and our roads are
safe from maniacal city truck drivers, all due to suspecting everyone.

Bruce Rideout

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