To the Editor: Citizen questions DUI checkpoints

The Daily Independent report of Dec. 27 about the latest DUI checkpoint stated that 479 drivers were stopped, with only one warrant arrest and no DUI arrests. Given the fact that last year we had 6-8 DUI checkpoints in town with a total of two DUI arrests out of more than 1,000 drivers stopped, it is clear that these checkpoints are a massive failure in stopping DUI drivers. The actual success rate in Ridgecrest is 0.2 percent, even though the OTS propaganda says that checkpoints reduce DUI accidents by 20 percent. So, what possible value are these checkpoints? It appears that the real success story is that 479 drivers went through this checkpoint without so much as a question of why they were being subjected to it.

In an actual free country, there would be no warrantless checkpoints where you are stopped and evaluated simply because you are out driving on the road. But these checkpoints have been pushed on us, and the citizens have submitted to them. Let me ask, did any of you 479 drivers who went through the checkpoint that night ever stop to wonder why this had to be? Did you ever consider not going through it? Did you ever wonder why you had to be stopped on your way about your business, for no good reason?

The police cannot stop you for no reason when you are driving down the road. Not yet anyway. So, why do you submit to being stopped just because they put up some cones and declare those 300 feet of road a place where your Fourth Amendment rights no longer exist? Why do you answer their questions when they have no reason at all to be questioning you? Why do you submit sheepishly instead of resisting unreasonable search and seizure?

Maybe the question about this issue needs to be this: Why do the citizens of Ridgecrest prefer an imaginary sense of safety provided by fruitless efforts to arrest drunk drivers over their most valuable freedoms? Perhaps most of you want to see even more checkpoints. Perhaps you won’t mind when they expand their methods to taking cheek swabs to nail you for drug use (supposedly) or begin taking mandatory blood samples. Perhaps you actually want to be stopped every single day at a checkpoint in order to have a false sense of safety.

If you don’t want to see more frequent and more invasive checkpoints, then some of you better start refusing to go through them. You better start asking the officers at these checkpoints why you are being stopped for no good reason. You better start resisting instead of submitting without question. Without resistance, assaults on freedom always increase. The citizens of Ridgecrest can have it the way they want it. If the DUI checkpoints resulted in every approaching driver simply turning around and refusing to go through them, how long do you think they would continue? Perhaps then the Police Dept would concentrate their efforts on doing what it really takes to nail drunk drivers. Otherwise, the checkpoints will continue and the demands at them will get more and more oppressive.

Have it your way Citizens of Ridgecrest. Freedom or oppression. Your choice. Freedom-Period.

Mike Neel

Story First Published: 2014-01-15