Goodbye, Fifth Amendment

By Eric Peters, Automotive Columnist

Next time you get pulled over by a cop – or stopped at random in a “sobriety checkpoint” — you might want to remember the following laugh line: It’s called the Fifth Amendment to the Bill of Rights, which reads, in part, that “No person… shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”

Ho ho ho!

It’s a laugh line, because, like, so many of the other amendments to the Bill of Rights, pleading the Fifth — that is, declining to assist the authorities in your own prosecution — is a sick joke.

Or like them, is about to become one.

Because cops may soon have the legal authority to forcibly extract blood from you in order to use that blood as evidence against you in DWI cases — which are criminal proceedings.

Refuse to take a Breathalyzer (for whatever reason) or perform the trained monkey act by the side of the road (perhaps because you’re not coordinated even if completely sober and probably a lot less so under pressure and in the glow of a policeman’s flashlight) and you could find yourself thrown down across the hood of a squad car while some cop jams your body with needles in order to get the blood that will then be used as evidence against you at your trail.

Oh, but they will be Trained!

Well, sort of, kinda. A “compressed” version of the same program taken by blood techs — phlebotomists, in medical jargon — will be the curriculum vitae of these state-sanctioned thugs.

Feel better now?

It’s all part of a new federal program — yes, another one — the stated purpose of which will be to determine how effective a “tool” such tactics would be in the ongoing (and endless) crusade against drunk driving. If it is deemed “effective” (do you doubt it will be?) then it will become as commonly practiced across this formerly free land as all the other outrages against civility and basic legal due process we have already assented to.

After all, if you’re not driving drunk, what have you got to be worried about? Those nice cops would never use force against an innocent person! They will be trained! The lab people don’t make mistakes, not even every now and then.

And, of course — drunk driving is a bad thing!

It makes me shiver with dread to see just how close to the abyss we really are. The Masses — or a great part of them — have become sickeningly compliant authority worshippers who submit to anything demanded of them by the state. And who often bristle with righteous indignation when the occasional semi-sentient citizen dares to raise an objection.

No one sees — or would give a damn about it, if they did — the point. Which is that empowering cops to physically hold you down and draw blood from your body against your will — to be used as evidence against you in a criminal proceeding — is to rape the Fifth Amendment and thus, another basic and ancient tenet of the late great tradition we used to call the rule of law.

All in a good cause?

Only if you’re a fool — or the government, which knows what the real payoff here is.

“Getting dangerous drunks off the road” is no more the issue than the random stop and frisks we’re now routinely subjected to when traveling (and even when not) or the indefinite detentions of anyone the government wishes — with or without waterboardings — are about “fighting terror.”

The issue is teaching the people to Obey and Submit. To condition them to accept the idea that anything the government does, at any time and for whatever reason (or no reason at all) is acceptable — including the use of physical force against people even suspected of having committed some offense.

And if you’re not guilty of “drunk driving?”

Sorry about that, John Q. Be sure to hold that bandage against your elbow for at least the next 10 minutes to staunch the flow of blood.

Have a nice day.

As for due process: The Masses do not grasp the concept; they are too busy watching football — or keeping track of John and Kate plus Eight.

It’s what really matters these days.

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