So I don't really understand what the the city is trying to accomplish with the "Safe Homes Initiative." DC police officers are asking to search homes and seize guns and drugs with no warrant in exchange for amnesty. (If a seized gun has been used in a crime, then the amnesty no longer applies.)
Let me be perfectly clear about something. I have no guns and no drugs in my domicile. If a police officer asks me for permission to search my house, I am going to tell him to fuck himself. There is no way come Hell or high water that any one is going through my shit without probable cause. I value my civil liberties too much to let some cops monkey around in my closets.
Furthermore, what good do Mayor Fenty and Chief Lanier think this is going to do? If I am particularly attached to my gun or my crack (and I am because I probably went through hoops to get them), why would I just give those up to the police? And if I had used my handgun in a crime, I certainly wouldn't just give my gun, and thus myself, up to the police.
So, again I ask you, who would consent to this? Only people who have nothing to hide. I hate the people who have nothing to hide. Because they give everyone else a presumption of guilt. I have nothing to hide either. I just don't like it when authority figures feel the need to circumvent the Fourth Amendment.
I can't wait for the day when the police view certain houses and apartments as suspect because they never got permission to search there.
Ronald Hampton, executive director of the National Black Police Association, questioned the Washington effort. As a lifelong D.C. resident and a former police officer, he said, he would not consent to his house being searched.
"They haven't earned that level of access or respect from the community," Hampton said. "I just can't believe they're trying to do that. I've never heard of anything like that in my life."Good work, Mr. Hampton. Unfortunately, and in all fairness to DC, Boston and Philadelphia are also trying to implement similar programs.
Arthur B. Spitzer, legal director of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the program is "a very bad idea." He said officers might act so aggressively that residents feel coerced into letting them in.
"It sends the message to the public that the police ought to be able to search your house anytime for any reason," Spitzer said. "People will be intimidated. That cheapens civil liberties and privacy for everyone."Mr. Spitzer is absolutely right. The message that's being sent is that either you have something to hide or you're clean. There's no in between. Any token respect given to civil liberties is being ignored.
The program is scheduled to start March 24 in the Washington Highlands area of Southeast Washington. Officers will go door-to-door seeking permission to search homes for weapons. Police later plan to visit other areas, including sections of Columbia Heights in Northwest and Eckington in Northeast.
We can stop this. We can go door-to-door before March 24th and urge residents and tenants not to consent to these ridiculous searches. I don't know how many Washington Highlands and Eckington readers I have, but I'm positive that I have some readers in Mt. Pleasant and Columbia Heights. I know this for a fact. (By the way, did any of you catch the fire last night? I have never seen more fire engines in my life. Over 20 on a block. That was wild. And my prayers are with those that were displaced.)
It wouldn't be hard to distribute fliers. Or to get word of mouth going. These searches are the worst kind of bullshit. A civil liberties disaster in sheep's clothing. We should not stand for it. We should not feel guilty or be perceived as guilty if we don't want Big Brother searching under our mattresses.
Guns are bad. Addictive drugs are bad. But civil liberties are more important. Sacrificing them for a plan that will not work is the worst kind of initiative. We can not allow this to happen.