I walk a fine line between a couple of understandings. I don’t wish to live in a lawless society with no police officers. I’m certain that I can’t be the fastest, strongest, and smartest all the time, and the police serve some purpose in making sure I don’t have to worry about this understanding with each of my waking moments. That said, I can also count on a single hand the amount of times that I’ve been in a situation where the police were involved and didn’t make it worse. Essentially, I don’t hate cops, and I don’t fail to understand their utility but I do feel a whole lot better when they are not anywhere near me.
I don’t believe that there should be a Constitutional amendment against the burning of the United States flag as many (mostly Republican) congressmen seem to suggest at least once a decade. I also believe, that in a very rare wellspring of patriotism, I should be allowed to smack any person setting fire to that flag if I don’t break anything. I don’t want the police arresting the flag-burner anymore than I want to be arrested for assault. Besides, if anti-American students in unnamed countries can burn an American flag, well, I should be able to as well. Or that patchouli stinking idiot with the nose I just bloodied.
I respect the constitution, it finally got the idea of prohibition right. I’m also a big fan of a number of amendments. The First comes to mind, and the Fourth keeps, in theory, the cops away. There are others but I digress.
Police officers are not constitutional lawyers and in my experience rarely reasonable. Made less so by judges who seem to often blindly assume they are in the right. In fact, the future cops I met in high school were disproportionately sadists, or at least bullies and accused date-rapists.
Police May Seize Phone Following An Accident
But if New Jersey Republican State Sen. James Holzapfel gets his way with his proposed Bill S 2783, New Jersey police will be allowed to seize your phone following an accident if they believe it “reasonable” that it played a role in the incident. And reasonable, in this case, was painted with some broadly worded language.
Whenever an operator of a motor vehicle has been involved in an accident resulting in death, bodily injury or property damage, a police officer may confiscate the operator’s hand-held wireless telephone if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the operator was operating a hand-held wireless telephone while driving.
Now, I don’t care that the NSA is collecting my communications, it’s far too late to stop the attack I’ve been planning, but this offends me. Any result involving property damage? That’s every accident, even if it is my own property?
If I learned nothing else from the film Stand By Me, it’s that one out of every ten films based on a story by Stephen King can be good, if you give River Phoenix a breakthrough film that lands him future big paychecks he will die of an overdose, and that if you get hit hard enough by a train it can knock Roy Brower out of his shoes, specifically, Keds.
Presumably, if I were driving a Smart Car and was hit by, say, a Cadillac Escalade, my phone could end up somewhere where a police officer could “reasonably” assume that my phone caused the accident. In this case, and in the rare occasion where I lived through this, the police could take my phone? Hey man, I need I that for work.
This proposed bill also begs this question, are these going to be the same New Jersey law enforcement personnel that felt it was “reasonable” to pull over nearly every black man traveling the New Jersey Turnpike and on Interstate 95 at night? To be fair, Maryland State Troopers also showed their “reasonable” nature concerning I-95 and one trooper specifically who defended his profiling of “the coloreds.”
“I think it’s likely to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. If not from New Jersey, then from another state because many states have passed similar laws or have similar regulations like this which allow police officers to seize a cell phone and review data contained in that cell phone at the scene of an accident,” said Seton Hall Law professor Jenny Carroll in an interview with WCBS 880 (New York) on Monday.
Even though I never text and drive, did I really need another reason not to go to New Jersey?