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- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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Opinion

“The Man’ is a term that garnered usage in the 60s as a description of law enforcement and the authoritarian practices often associated with it. For many in that volatile social era, “protect and serve” was code for “harass and detain.” Perhaps today, it’s deja vu all over again as the authority of law enforcement finds itself under increasing scrutiny and criticism.

The militarization of law enforcement and the ensuing estrangement of the general population accelerated following 9/11 but I like to point the finger to 70’s TV program ‘S.W.A.T.’ (I also blame the TV show ‘Flip this House’ for the housing bubble.) Every week, in what looked like a pimped-out UPS truck, a special police squad would race into action, thwarting hardcore evil-doers in an unidentified California city. In the early 80s there were an estimated 3,000 Special Weapons And Tactics raids per year in this country. That estimate has now climbed to 50,000, mostly involving drug-related crimes. Unfortunately, along the way there have been numerous innocent people literally “caught in the cross fire.”

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I want to talk politics. First and foremost, I am by no means a political pundit, but I do consider myself observant. As a reporter, I believe that I notice things that others may sometimes overlook.

I recently received an email from candidate for the 11th Congressional District Cecil Bothwell's campaign. The email featured a side by side comparison of his primary challenger Hayden Rogers.

In my opinion, almost every point of distinction Mr. Bothwell attempted to give to separate himself from Mr. Rogers is a complete fabrication. I fully understand that from local to Presidential, a part of the election process is to “expose” the opponent. It doesn’t just apply in politics, but in all competitions, and while I can fully appreciate the strategy of identifying the weakness of a challenger, I believe it should be done truthfully, and with a little bit of dignity, aspects of the process Mr. Bothwell seems to ignore.

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In January, the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out a criminal conviction because Washington, D.C., police had failed to obtain a search warrant before placing a GPS tracking device on a suspect's car.

North Carolina police departments would do well to consider that ruling as they use cell phone technology and records to track people. Cell phones utilize both cell towers and global position satellites to allow communication. Using the technology, it is possible to track the movements of cell phone owners even when they aren't using the phones.

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In a devastating 5-4 ruling that not only condones an overreach of state power but legitimizes what is essentially statesponsored humiliation and visual rape, the U.S. Supreme Court recently declared that any person who is arrested and processed at a jail house, regardless of the severity of his or her offense (i.e., they can be guilty of nothing more than a minor traffic offense), can be subjected to a strip search by police or jail officials without reasonable suspicion that the arrestee is carrying a weapon or contraband. The five-man majority rationalized their ruling as being necessary for safety, security and efficiency, the government's overused and all-too-convenient justifications for its steady erosion of our freedoms since 9/11.

 

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published: 10/18/2013
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