COPS or LEGISLATORS: Who's Protecting Your Rights?

COPS or LEGISLATORS: Who’s Protecting Your Rights?

In the last two Florida legislative sessions we have seen legislation created that has passed and been signed by the governor that infringes not on one, not on two, but on three different protections we supposedly enjoy in the US Constitution.Last year it was the 2nd Amendment under fire in the School Safety Act.This year the 1st and the 4th were assailed in name of the greater good.Again, the bills passed and have been signed into law.

The 1st amendment problem comes in the education bill that adds religious discrimination to the list of education offenses that are now unlawful.The problem comes when the truth of an American who spies for Israel can’t be described as an American citizen who places the interests of Israel over those of the United States.Yes, the law defines Anti-Semitism that way.There are other equally troubling definitions in the law.

The 4th amendment issue is contained in the texting while driving law.How does a policeman seeing a telephone in your hand while you are driving equate to probable cause to stop you for the texting offense?One sponsoring legislator said this is how the law was intended to be enforced.

When I attended the West Virginia State Police Academy to obtain basic police certification, the United States Constitution and ensuring we did nothing to violate the rights of US citizens was heavily emphasized.We learned that probable cause was not seeing one thing and jumping to a wild conclusion that it automatically meant something else.Probable cause is a set of circumstances that lead a reasonable person to believe that an offense was likely committed.It’s pretty simple:A+B=C.It’s not A has to mean C when there is no clear correlation between the two.Yet, these laws skip that critical analysis.

These laws have convinced me that the legislature, and by their signatures this and the last governor, are woefully unprepared to make these kinds of decisions for us all.If rookie police officers can clearly understand the difference between supposition and probable cause, why can’t these elected officials? It may be because they have no training or background in the Constitution (but many are lawyers).Or maybe it’s that their personal political whims are more important to them than your rights.Or perhaps the political pressure that falls on them when opposing such intrusive measures causes them to act out of fear of losing political clout.

Whatever the reason I ask you, who’s better prepared to protect your rights, cops or legislators?


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