"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..." That's the 4th Amendment in our bill of rights... What's it really about and what happened to it? And how does ignoring it, lead to the giant prison system crisis we find ourselves today. That's what this week's short video & call to action explores...
Let's celebrate THIS 4TH of JULY by fighting for our freedoms -- just like our forefathers and mothers. Go America! Share it if you feel it!
Posted by Matthew Cooke on Thursday, July 2, 2015
During the Colonial era, the King of England looked at the American colonies as a financial investment. And so, Britain passed numerous revenue collection bills aimed at generating as much money from the colonists as possible. So those who got desperate started smuggling in an underground black market to make the money that they needed to live. Sound familiar? So the king created more laws to allow his agents to enter someone's property or home and forcibly interrogate any occupant to find out what sort of goods and licenses they were carrying, to find excuses for further taxes and levies. These searches and seizures were an egregious offense to the people of the colonies.
And in 1761, the famous lawyer James Otis who founding father John Adams called a "master of the laws of nature and nations," referred to the legal regulations justifying these intrusions "the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of liberty and the fundamental principles of law, that ever was found in a lawbook." These "legal" violations of liberty became one of the major colonial grievances that lead to the revolutionary war and our independence which we now celebrate every 4th of July.
And so in our bill of rights we have the 4th Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure... against unreasonable searches and seizures." And yet today, when one investigates the laws and their application today, we find these very same instruments of arbitrary power everywhere. They contribute to police brutality, our over-incarceration crisis and a general division and distrust of law enforcement because of this conflict of interest between public safety and using violations of law as a revenue source.