*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
One of the greatest problems with ignorance in America is that far too many Americans lack even rudimentary comprehension of the U.S. Constitution with specific emphasis on the Bill of Rights. It’s little surprise that most ignorant Americans are rushing to support Donald Trump who is as deficient in the fundamentals of the Constitution as his racist acolytes or he would hesitate proposing national policies that violate the law of the land. The truth is that Trump likely understands the rudiments of the Constitution, but as an aspiring dictator, the Constitution and Bill of Rights run counter to his plan to impose East German Stasi or Gestapo police state tactics on Americans who are not Aryan Christians.
To get an idea of just how clueless Trump is about the Constitution, or the state of society where African Americans are being targeted for death by rogue police, he proffered a proposal that is patently unconstitutional and was already struck down by a federal court. Trump thinks imposing “stop and frisk” nationwide is what the nation needs under his leadership, and in light of the recent racially-motivated killings by police officers it appears that Trump has designs on increasing the frequency of death by cop.
First, according to the Fourth Amendment, there is no legality in targeting any American for detainment or illegal searches without probable cause. The Amendment states:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The fundamental flaw in any “stop and frisk” action is that it violates the fundamental right of the American people to be “free of being stopped and searched without probable cause.” It is particularly so since about 85 percent of stop and frisk victims in New York where it was struck down in federal court were African Americans and Hispanics. To further demonstrate that Trump’s plan is not about combating crime but waging war on minorities is that stop and frisk has been shown that it does not work to reduce crime or take guns off the street. It did, however, create greater mistrust and animosity for police tasked with being American Stasi.
A national stop and frisk proposed by a racist bigot like Trump would also target “suspected” adherents of the Muslim faith based on his past statements calling on Americans to spy on their neighbors and turn them in to law enforcement – another Stasi tactic. And, to punctuate that point a few months ago Trump actually said that Americans who refuse to report what “they think” might be their neighbors involvement is “suspicious activity,” like a woman wearing a hajib or families attending a mosque instead of a church, should face justice.
There is little doubt that Trump is devoid of awareness there is already targeting of people of color by law enforcement and it is curious that he would propose a national stop and frisk policy when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court just handed down a ruling suggesting that African American males are justified in running when approached by law enforcement officers due to being racially profiled.
The Massachusetts Court ruled that African American men in Boston who avoid run-ins with police officers may be justifiably motivated by a desire to “avoid the recurring indignity of being racially profiled,” (or shot and killed) and that fleeing from the cops should not be automatically interpreted as evidence of “criminal activity.” The court said:
“We do not eliminate flight as a factor in the reasonable suspicion analysis whenever a black male is the subject of an investigatory stop. However, in such circumstances, flight is not necessarily probative of a suspect’s state of mind or consciousness of guilt. Rather, the finding that black males in Boston are disproportionately and repeatedly targeted for FIO [Field Interrogation and Observation] encounters suggests a reason for flight totally unrelated to consciousness of guilt.
Such an individual, when approached by the police, might just as easily be motivated by the desire to avoid the recurring indignity of being racially profiled as by the desire to hide criminal activity. Given this reality for black males in the city of Boston, a judge should, in appropriate cases, consider the report’s findings in weighing flight as a factor in the reasonable suspicion calculus.” (author bold)
Of course, a Massachusetts court can only comment or rule on the targeting of African Americans in Massachusetts, but the “recurring racial profiling” is, and has been, an ongoing nationwide atrocity long before Donald Trump took over the Republican Party. The court’s statement is contrary to Trump’s Stasi-Gestapo idea of implementing “stop and frisk” nationally.
The Massachusetts court even referred to aspects of the Fourth Amendment that Trump’s plan would violate on principle; none the least which is illegal searching or detaining any American without “probable cause” or a warrant. And no, being an African American male, a Hispanic American, or an American suspected of being a Muslim is not probable cause to violate the Constitution.
Donald Trump claims all of his proposals are intended to “make America great” again but there is nothing whatsoever American or great about systematically targeting specific demographics for law enforcement intrusion into their lives. What Trump is proposing is making America like 1930s Nazi Germany, 1950’s East German Stasi and the current state of affairs in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. And, if any American believes for a minute that a stop and frisk imposition would end with people of color or people worshipping in the “wrong” faith, they are deluded.
There is no group in America that will be safe from a tyrant like Trump because if he is willingly proposing abolishing the 4th Amendment, there is nothing to stop him from attempting to abolish the rest of the Constitution’s Amendments. If gun zealots believe he won’t attempt to confiscate their firearms to advance his tyrannical policies unchallenged, they failed to pay attention in history class or how tyranny emerged in ISIS-controlled Iraq, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, or Putin-controlled Russia.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.