Drug Checkpoint Outrage

I was shocked and outraged to see two “Drug Checkpoint Ahead” signs this evening along Highway 36 northbound ahead of the Church Ranch exit (in Westminster, Colorado). Even worse, the police had pulled over two vehicles along Highway 36, and another four vehicles along Church Ranch, and were in the process of searching those vehicles.

I do not know which police agency or agencies were involved in this frankly fascistic violation of the civil rights of the citizens. I called the “Administration” and “Desk Officer” lines of the Westminster Police Department but got a recording. (This was at 10:21 pm; I doubted that those at dispatch would be in a position to answer my questions on the subject.)

Apparently the police were pulling over cars totally at random; they did not pull me over (as they all seemed to be occupied searching others’ vehicles).

What is especially angering about this is that the police are spending MY tax dollars for the purpose of violating people’s rights.

Ironically, I witnessed this travesty as I returned from Liberty In the Books, where we had just reviewed an extraordinary set of lectures by Ludwig von Mises on the importance of limiting government to the protection of rights. In those lectures Mises criticizes America’s first “experiment” with Prohibition; I will conclude with his commentary:

[T]he notion that a capitalist form of government can prevent people from hurting themselves by controlling their consumption is false. The idea of government as a paternal authority, as a guardian for everybody, is the idea of those who favor socialism. In the United States some years ago, the government tried what was called “a noble experiment.” This noble experiment was a law making it illegal to buy or sell intoxicating beverages. It is certainly true that many people drink too much brandy and whiskey, and that they may hurt themselves by doing so. . . . This raises a question which goes far beyond economic discussion: it shows what freedom really means. . . .

[O]nce you have admitted [that government should stop people from drinking too much], other people will say: Is the body everything? Is not the mind of man much more important? Is not the mind of man the real human endowment, the real human quality? If you give the government the right to determine the consumption of the human body, to determine whether one should smoke or not smoke, drink or not drink, there is no good reply you can give to people who say: “More important than the body is the mind and the soul, and man hurts himself much more by reading bad books, by listening to bad music and looking at bad movies. Therefore it is the duty of the government to prevent people from committing these faults.”

7 thoughts on “Drug Checkpoint Outrage

  1. denverlite

    Ari,

    This is the first time I saw the check point on my way to boulder, my first instinct was to take the exit expecting a long delay. As I slowed down, I saw a line of cars just around the horizon slowing down but not stopping

    I decided to stick to the lane and drive. The car you saw stopped had no one in it, the doors were all open, but no occupants, the cop cars had no one in or around it. Clearly a fake to get people to exit to church ranch and search based on probable cause.

    Also what was funny was a state trooper vehicle sitting on the median down from the on ramp with a trooper or a mannequin with shades on. It took me a while to figure this out, i thought they had some new fangled night vision thing going, but i am convinced it was a mannequin.

    That said, the action was on church ranch, not on hwy 36. BTW Fake drug checkpoints have been ruled constitutional

  2. Civil Sense

    @denverlite, that makes it even worse. I typically take the Church Ranch exit, so I would have been a suspect merely due to where I live. But, at least I know to go out of my way on the highway if I see a “drug checkpoint” sign to prevent unwanted contact by agents of the state.

  3. Ari Armstrong Post author

    That’s an interesting theory, “denverlite,” but I can confirm that at least part of it is wrong. There were indeed both civilians and police officers surrounding the two cars on Highway 36.

  4. Gladys W

    Having expended some effort to become a credit to my society, I resent being treated like a miscreant. Maybe worse is to see this treatment as commonplace, and merely indicative of geography not of character.
    None of my friends use subterfuge to accomplish goals.
    This adversarial relationship is not indicative of a free society. It is not how I want to live.

  5. Cindy

    What we should do is clean our vehicles out completely. And wrap up stacks of constitution booklets in ways wrapped like drugs would be. And when they open them up they’ll see what a shameful act they are doing. Just an idea.

  6. Alex

    It wasn’t a fake checkpoint. When I pulled up an officer stopped me and requested a breath/drug test. I refused and they had me pull off to the side and get out of my car. I had to repeat that I did not consent to any searches or tests about 10 times before the officers finally gave up trying to get into my car and let me go. 2 years ago in MA I was in a similar situation but the cops decided they didn’t feel like obeying the law and just tore through my vehicle while I sat handcuffed on the ground. I had done nothing wrong and after 3 hours the cops uncuffed me and let me start picking up the pieces of my destroyed car interior. The police aren’t responsible for anything(everything) they destroy so they don’t care if they toss you’re $1000 laptop on the pavement. Ever since that incident I’m always extremely wary of the police and will NEVER allow them to search my car or person, much less let them administer a faulty drug test and throw me in prison. Luckily the cops let me go this time, but I have no doubt it was due to laziness rather than respect of the law. During the entire ordeal I felt constant worry that they would just decide to violate me for laughs. The police do not protect and certainly do not serve. I am disgusted that the public stands idly by and allows these gross violation of our rights.

  7. scott

    What can we do to end this travesty? We have the constitutional right to drive down the road unimpeaded as I understand it. We have a right to privacy. We have the right to refuse to be searched. Yet these rights don’t seem to matter to law enforcement. What action can we the citizens take?

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