Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, remote control televisions were a rarity and you were one of the rich kids if you had cable, I used to watch a show called Hill Street Blues. My favorite character on the show was Detective Mick Belker, played by Bruce Weitz……a scruffy, streetwise undercover cop whose favorite line to perps he’d just collared was “Spread ‘em, hairball!” as he prepared to frisk them before tossing them in the back of a squad car for transport to the station. They’d be interrogated, fingerprinted, photographed, and shuttled off to bond hearings, then jail, and Belker would head back into the streets to collar more bad guys.
Thanks to the latest SCOTUS ruling, if Hill Street Blues were being made today, Belker’s tag line would have a whole new slant…….instead of a mere frisking, we’d get a scene of Belko donning the blue gloves, and when he says “Spread ‘em”, he’d really mean SPREAD ‘EM. In a (predictable) 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that jailers may subject people arrested for minor offenses to invasive strip searches, citing the tighter needs of security over privacy rights. This ruling came as a result of the case of Albert Florence, who sued after being held in two different jails for one week and being forced to endure delousing showers and strip searches after being arrested by a state trooper due to an error in the state’s records that said he was wanted on an outstanding warrant for an unpaid fine. It is notable that even if the warrant had been valid, unpaid fines are not a crime in New Jersey………. Florence should have never been put in jail in the first place. But he was, for an entire week, with invasive strip searches to boot.
And the SCOTUS says that’s OK, because 9/11 and Timothy McVeigh and WHARGARBLLLLSMALLGOVERNMENTBELONGSINYOURUTERUS
”People detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals,” the court said, noting that Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was initially arrested for not having a license plate on his car and that one of the 9/11 terrorists was stopped and ticketed for speeding just two days before hijacking Flight 93.
………………..but most terrorists are not running around everyday with their plans, box cutters, or bombs shoved up their anal cavities just in case “Go time” get’s moved up a day or two. You will prevent some smack, cigarettes, and the occasional odd implement that can be fashioned into a weapon or escape tool from getting into the jail environment, but unless someone tattoos their entire jihad plan on their body à la Michael Scofield in “Prison Break”, you are not going to stop an Oklahoma City-style bombing or a 9/11 with a strip search. You might stop it with an actual ARREST, backed up by good, shared intel from Homeland Security, but a strip search?
It might make you appear to be doing something about terrorism, it might make you feel like you’re doing something about terrorism, but in reality all you’re doing is telling your citizens “relax, honey, just go with it……. you stay distracted with how the government is ‘taking away your rights’ by allowing gay people to get married while we really take away your rights by allowing municipalities to probe your insides with a gloved finger on the strength of bogus parking fine.”.
It is just amazing to me ( I know, it SHOULDN’T be, but it is) how the Book of Faces just lit up with angry posts from conservatives about contraception and healthcare and NDAA and gun rights (in the wake of the Martin/Zimmerman case) , but it is absolute deafening silence on this. They bitch about TSA screenings and background checks for gun purchases, but apparently getting stripped searched when you forget to pay a parking ticket is just part of the American dream.
The Conservative Government…….small enough to fit in your uterus and your anus.
With a gun and a bible.