24
May
11

u-turn

Holly used to say that she looked forward to being an old lady because then she would be able to get away with being as eccentric as she wanted to be. Because Holly died at age 44, she never got her chance. So now it’s up to me to live the vision.

Yesterday as I was driving into town, from a high point on the road I could see flashing red and blue lights almost a mile ahead on the highway. It looked like a roadblock or traffic stop and I was curious. Who and why? What are these guys doing to us now?

About an eighth of a mile from the flashing lights I could see it was our local deputies conducting a traffic stop. More surveillance. A sign said I would have to show my license and insurance. But all I could think of was that damned red plane.

I pulled onto the shoulder and came to a dead stop. No way I’m going to submit to a search. Weren’t these stops ruled unconstitutional? I thought I remembered hearing something about that a few years back. So I made a u-turn to return home.

Sure enough, because this happened under the deputies’ noses, one of them came after me with lights flashing. It was Patrick the new deputy, a big beefy and earnest cop straight out of central casting. I could see from his serious demeanor that he probably had visions of bagging a drug smuggler or gun runner and that he did not remember having met me at least a couple times at the Grub Shack.

I gave him my driver’s license and my insurance information when asked.

“Why did you turn around?” he asked me suspiciously.

“I didn’t want to be surveilled,” I said, and told him about the red plane and how its flyovers had pissed me off. “There’s too much official intrusion.”

Being a cop, Patrick was still suspicious and asked if I had any weapons in the car, and I told him no. He asked if he could search the car to see for himself and with a shrug I told him I didn’t care in a tone of voice that said “knock yourself out.”

Now I know I could have demanded that he get a search warrant, but I didn’t want to create an enemy who would remember me as the guy who made him work too hard. I’d already got him to chase after me, and Paul the second deputy just pulled up too, leaving their checkpoint unmanned. These guys really wanted to find something, but I knew all they had was an eccentric old guy with a long beard who was asserting his desire to not be interfered with.

I was careful not to do anything that could be interpreted as fear or defiance. By this time Patrick had me standing outside the car on the side of the road, and I think I made him nervous by wandering off the spot where he told me to stand. I was curious and wanted to observe what the deputies were doing. However this encounter turned out, it was going to make it into the blog.

While waiting for Paul to verify my paperwork, Patrick returned to the car two or three times to poke around for contraband and to ask me questions. All the while I kept telling him about that damned red plane, about the guy whose welding work they’d shut down just days before, and about the inspectors who had shut down the Grub Shack, costing Jerry and Eva lots of grief and money, and just plain meddling in our happy lives. I won’t say he got an earful (because I was pretty laid back and unperturbed in my attitude), but Patrick could not have failed to understand that he and his sidekick were doing the same kind of thing about which I was complaining. Yet my deportment conveyed that nothing personal was intended.

A long time ago I learned that the best way to talk to cops is to be assertive without being oppositional, to stand your ground as if you have nothing to fear or about which to feel guilt. You cannot give them an opening to exploit. You’ve got to be fearless and friendly and keep talking without admitting to anything they can use against you.

Patrick reached the conclusion that he would uncover nothing unlawful and finally drove his truck back to the checkpoint. Paul emerged from his truck and gave me back my license and insurance papers.

“You didn’t have any reason at all not to drive through our checkpoint,” he said quizzically. I could tell he just didn’t get it, and I started telling him about that damned red plane.

“Do you understand why we came after you?” Paul asked. “Do you know how suspicious that looked to us?”

I agreed, and then returned to my riff about the official intrusion. Paul changed the subject and cut me short to send me on my way.

I made another u-turn and passed through the checkpoint. “So you decided to go south after all,” Patrick commented as I crept by.

“Yeah, he said I could,” I answered, gesturing in the direction of Paul’s arriving truck. Patrick waved me through.

As I drove into town I felt sure that those deputies will remember me after this and will not waste their time hassling me. They know I’m just a harmless old crank, an eccentric.

As I drove north through their checkpoint forty-five minutes later, Paul waved me through with an exaggerated flourish.

I didn’t even have to stop.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Ben Folds and Regina Spektor performing “You Don’t Know Me”


10 Responses to “u-turn”


  1. May 24, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Danny –

    It reminds me of a scene from ” Smoky & The Bandit ”

    I wish i could have been there; it reminds me of our old days in your “Z roadster”
    running all over Mpls/StPaul. If we hit a roadblock then …..Well…. !!!

    Love & Blessings,
    Your old road pal

  2. 2 Debbie
    May 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Holly would be proud!

  3. 4 maxsscoutservicesllc
    May 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    good for you, Dan!

  4. 5 Tim
    May 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Might want to watch out for Officer Gil at the check station. He insists on knowing where you’re going and if you refuse to answer he likes to dig through your dog’s food. At least, he did ours. Tell Otto to leave his food home.

    Tim

  5. 6 Val
    May 25, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Happened to me as well, like a week ago. Got checked by that new guy Patrick and that Sheriff from around down in town, think his name´s Martin?

    Patrick said he could smell Cannabis in my car, wanted to know if I had some in my car and/or had recently smoked some. He must have gotten confused by my relatively long hair and the colorful Tie-dye 70ies-hippie-shirt I was wearing. Anyway, he wanted to sniff around in my car…told him he wouldnt find anything besides tobacco, my dog and some trash. Sure enough he didnt find anything suspicious. The other guy couldnt even smell anything, so they let me go. And the whole time they were telling me to stand back, especially the new guy. What are they afraid of…hes like 4 times my mass and THEY are the grim-looking ones with the guns.

  6. 7 abram
    May 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Just too funny.

  7. 8 andy rea
    May 25, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Sobriety Checkpoint Laws
    May 2011

    Sobriety checkpoints (also called DUI checkpoints) are locations where law enforcment officers are stationed to check drivers for signs of intoxication and impairment. Many jurisdictions utilize sobriety checkpoints as part of their larger drunk driving deterrance program.

    Due to legal issues surrounding their use, not all states conduct sobriety checkpoints. Some states have laws authorizing their use. Others forbid them or are silent on the issue.

    Learn More About Drunk Driving
    State Laws
    Drunk Driving
    Drug Impaired Driving

    Issue Brief

    Survey of the States Published 2001

    Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.

    Related Links

    States with no explicit statutory authority may or may not conduct checkpoints. In many states, the judiciary has stepped in to uphold or restrict sobriety checkpoints based on interpretation of state or federal Constitutions.

    38 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands conduct sobriety checkpoints.
    In 12 states, sobriety checkpoints are not conducted.
    In 5 states, they are are prohibited either explicitly by state law or by interpretation of state law
    They are illegal under the state Constitution in another 5 states.
    Texas prohibits them based on the its interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
    Alaska lacks state authority to conduct them.
    State Checkpoints Conducted? Frequency Legality
    Alabama Yes Throughout the year Upheld under federal Constitution
    Alaska No No state authority
    Arizona Yes At least once per month Upheld under federal Constitution
    Arkansas Yes Weekly Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    California Yes Once or twice a month Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Colorado Yes Once or twice a month Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Connecticut Yes Upheld under state Constitution
    Delaware Yes Monthly January to June; weekly June through December Upheld under state law and federal Constitution
    D.C. Yes Once or twice a month Upheld under federal Constitution
    Florida Yes Between 15-20 per month Upheld under federal Constitution
    Georgia Yes Weekly Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Hawaii Yes Weekly Authorized by statute
    Idaho No Illiegal under state law
    Illinois Yes Several hundred per year Upheld under federal Constitution
    Indiana Yes Upheld under state Constitution
    Iowa No Not permitted – statute authorizing roadblock controls does not authorize sobriety checkpoints
    Kansas Yes Once or twice a month Upheld under state law and federal Constitution
    Kentucky Yes Weekly Upheld under federal Constitution
    Louisiana Yes Upheld under state Constitution
    Maine Yes Upheld under federal Constitution
    Maryland Yes Weekly Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Massachusetts Yes Year round Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Michigan No Illegal under state Constitution
    Minnesota No Illegal under state Constitution
    Mississippi Yes Weekly Upheld under federal Constitution
    Missouri Yes Once or twice a month Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Montana No Statute permits only safety spotchecks
    Nebraska Yes 6 – 10 per month Upheld under state law
    Nevada Yes Once or twice a month Authorized by statute
    New Hampshire Yes Weekly, weather permitting Authorized by statute (must be judicially approved)
    New Jersey Yes Once or twice a month Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    New Mexico Yes Upheld under state and federal Constitution (law enforcement must follow guidelines)
    New York Yes Weekly Upheld under federal Constitution
    North Carolina Yes Weekly Authorized by statute
    North Dakota Yes Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Northern Mariana Islands Yes Twice a month
    Ohio Yes Year round Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Oklahoma Yes Once or twice a month Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Oregon No Illegal under state Constitution
    Pennsylvania Yes Several hundred per year Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Rhode Island No Illegal under state Constitution
    South Carolina Yes No state authority
    South Dakota Yes Weekly Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Tennessee Yes Once or twice a month Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Texas No Illegal under Texas’ interpretation of federal Constitution
    Utah Yes About every other month Authorized by statute
    Vermont Yes Weekly Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Virgin Islands Yes Monthly and during national mobilizations and local festivals and carnivals
    Virginia Yes Weekly Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Washington No Illegal under state Constitution
    West Virginia Yes Weekly Upheld under state and federal Constitution
    Wisconsin No Prohibited by statute
    Wyoming No Prohibited by interpretation of roadblock statute
    Total States 38 + D.C., Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands
    Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Offices.

    Disclaimer: The information on this page is for general information purposes only and is not to be considered legal authority. For clarification on any law, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.

    © 2011 Governors Highway Safety Association, 444 N. Capitol Street, NW, Suite 722, Washington DC 20001-1534
    phone 202.789.0942 , fax 202.789.0946, headquarters@ghsa.org

  8. 9 andy rea
    May 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    f you check the case law, you will see that the Supreme Court has ruled that they are not an infringement of your rights, provided that the authorities follow certain guidelines. Among these are publicizing the checkpoint location in advance, allowing an alternate route, etc. They can’t just plop one down unannounced on a road with no exits and check everybody. “That’s profiling, and profiling is wrong!”
    Unregistered Bull

  9. 10 andy rea
    May 27, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Report: Marine Never Fired On Officers Who Fatally Shot Him
    Comments (6) By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in News Friday, May 27, 2011, at 11:20 am
    Share
    24
    1digg

    Photo: CNN
    Jose Guerena was shot up to 60 times by five police officers. There was nothing illegal in the house.
    ​A United States Marine who died in a flurry of bullets in a botched drug raid near Tucson, Arizona, never fired on the SWAT team that stormed his house, according to a new report from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

    The revelation added to national outrage over the death of Jose Guerena, who died May 5 after a SWAT team descended on his home with a search warrant, reports Chuck Conder at CNN. Guerena’s home was 0one of four that police claimed were “associated with a drug smuggling operation” in the area.

    A video released Thursday by the sheriff’s department showed the SWAT team showing up with sirens on, banging on the front door, kicking the door in, and opening fire upon entering the home.

    Officers fired more than 70 shots, according to the investigation. Deputies claimed they opened fire after Guerena, 26, “gestered at them” with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle.

    Some of the officers claimed they believed that Guerena fired on them, but the investigation showed no shots were fired from the weapon and it was never taken off the safety position.

    Initial news reports indicated that Guerena had been struck by more than 60 bullets. According to CNN, an initial report from the medical examiner details 22 bullet wounds.

    A lawyer representing the deputies defended their actions in slaughtering Guerena.

    “If you are faced with that type of deadly threat, you’re allowed to respond,” he said.

    Guerena served in Iraq and was discharged from the Marines five years sago. He was working for a Tucson area mining company.

    A search of the home after the shooting revealed nothing illegal.

    The five deputies who shot Guerena remain on active, paid duty. No criminal charges have been filed. There hasn’t even been any disciplinary action.


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