At the point where I had to stop for the end of the line, there was a driveway belonging to the house that was there. I turned into the driveway and turned around, not wishing to interface with a trooper and present my papers in the absense of any RAS, reasonable articulable suspicion, on his part. After all, are we not free citizens?
No, we are not. RAS, by the way, means that a police officer or any other government representative may not force a citizen to interact with him unless he has what a reasonable person would consider to be valid suspicion that the citizen has or is about to commit a crime. "Articulable" means that the officer needs to be able to name the specific law he suspects the citizen of having committed, or about to commit. Not to worry, however; this is a quaint, outdated restriction that our glorious public servants no longer need to struggle under.
So anyway, wrongfully thinking that I did not need to approach these troopers with my papers in hand, I safely and lawfully turned around and proceeded towards New Market Road, planning to bypass all the congestion. At that point a state trooper jumped in his cruiser and caught me, lights flashing and siren wailing, in less time than it took me to travel the 100 yards back to New Market Road. I innocently asked the trooper, as I handed over my papers, if I had done something wrong. He said "yes", but never told me what it was, nor did he charge me with anything. Just questioned me, then went back to his car to run my papers. When he came back, he handed me my travel documents back, and told me that next time I should come on down and talk to them, as it might be fun. His words, not mine. Then he told me to drive safely, which confused me as I had been doing so before being detained and forced to interact with him.
I have three short comments about this encounter, which by the way is very common in Alabama these days.
First, if you don't live in Alabama, you might want to think about whether you really want to visit the state. I mean, seeing how Alabama uses tax money, you might not want to contribute any of your money, unless you just hate the citizens of Alabama and wish to punish us.
Second, if you drive Alabama roads and come across one of these road blocks, and you don't get a warm fuzzy feeling from it, you might want to turn around and refrain from driving through it, if you can do so safely and without breaking any laws, and if you don't have anything to hide. If you do have something to hide, of course, you are screwed either way. But if a substantial percentage of folks who have nothing to hide start turning around and driving away from these checkpoints, we could possibly cause the troopers to decide that these road blocks are not worth the trouble of chasing down all these innocent people.
Third, if you are an Alabama state trooper, what are your feelings, really? I don't mean justification. I mean, do you really think there should be no country in the world where a citizen should be able to go about his business without being harassed? I know you can; these guys in the state-supplied cars with the state-supplied uniforms and state-supplied guns are all your friends, so you probably don't feel threatened by them. And when you are off duty, you are still one of the insiders and will be recognized as a friend when you show your badge. Or at least I assume that is the case; correct me if I'm wrong. But does this state sanction make you better than us, and hence deserving of freedom and liberty? Or are those just meaningless words, useful only to lull people into complacency?
In short, what is the difference between you and the guy who used to man a roadblock in Soviet Russia? I'm asking a serious question here. Are you different from that guy because you are in America and that makes it OK, or perhaps because your intentions are better (how do you know?); are do you simply think that nobody should really have freedom to go about their business without showing government permission?
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