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June 2006
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Requiring the Government to be lawful is not pro-criminal

Glenn Greenwald makes a great comment about government investigative and enforcement powers.

Didn’t we all learn this point early on in school: there are criminals in the world, and allowing the police to break down our doors without warrants would help criminals be caught. Despite that fact, we don’t allow the police to break down our doors without warrants, because the police can catch criminals by searching homes only when they have warrants, a process enshrined in the Constitution in order to avoid the inevitable abuse that comes from allowing the Government to search our homes without any oversight. Thus, people (such as the Founders) who favor the warrant requirement before the police can search our homes aren’t pro-criminal. They know that criminals can be caught while preventing government abuse and lawlessness. Why is it so hard — for some people — to apply that same, quite basic reasoning to eavesdropping and all other forms of surveillance?

Now he was referring the NSA eavesdropping and Canadian terrorists, but the statement applies full well to the drug war.
I sometimes find myself wondering if I was the only one awake when that lesson was taught in school, or if, through some conspiracy, I ended up learning about a different constitution than everyone else. Because so often I hear people complain about “criminals’ rights” or spout the inane “If you don’t have anything to hide…”
Just because they claim it would make their job easier is no justification for government to break the laws that make us free citizens.
So keep in mind that when I complain about police dogs sniffing cars without suspicion, or police breaking down doors in the middle of the night because there might be some marijuana there, or randomly drug testing kids in schools, or searching people of a certain color in a certain neighborhood, it is not just about my belief that we should legalize drugs, and it certainly is not about defending drug dealers. It is about defending my country from my government. It is about protecting the Constitution of the United States, something my elected servants swore an oath to do, but that I seem to care more about actually doing.

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