The Truth By Reason
Senior Editor Radley Balko at Reason magazine (“free minds and free markets”) authored two excellent articles for the January 2011 issue. Both touch on key motorists’ rights topics.
Mr. Balko’s “The War on Cameras” is the cover story. It details several instances where people who recorded their interactions with the police were harassed and threatened with significant financial penalties and even prison time. A sidebar to the story delves into options for recording police activity.
Many of you reacted strongly to the subject matter of last June’s NMA Newsletter #77, “YouTube Video vs. Wiretap Laws.” That newsletter outlined the situation of Anthony Graber, a Maryland resident who posted a video of his traffic stop and was harassed and threatened with up to 16 years of prison time for violating the state’s 30 year old wiretap law, which requires consent by all parties before a conversation is recorded. (A Maryland judge subsequently dismissed the indictments against Graber, ruling that there was no reasonable expectation of privacy by either offender or police officer during a traffic stop on a public highway.) The Graber case is one of those discussed in the Balko article. Read it for a dose of reality regarding police/citizen interactions.
“Abolish Drunk Driving Laws” is Mr. Balko’s opinion column in the same issue of Reason. The neo-prohibitionists like MADD no doubt will see that title and scream that he is condoning drunk driving. But Balko makes a strong and reasoned argument that to save lives, the legislative and enforcement efforts should focus on impaired drivers, not zero tolerance alcohol use. That is in accord with the NMA position.
If you think that the distinction between impairment by alcohol and alcohol use is a minor one, consider current programs by Florida and other states where “no refusal” checkpoints are being conducted. Any driver who is stopped at the roadblock, and who declines a breath alcohol test, can be served with a warrant by a roadside judge. The warrant allows the police to perform an on-the-spot blood test.