Sunday, October 21, 2007

I wrote this about a year or two ago, when I was arrested in Rhode Island for possession of marihuana. It's interesting how this stuff is always relevant, no matter when it's written;

I am a young adult. I work in your retail stores, your movie theatres, I wait on you in your restaurants. I am twenty years old. I attend college. I get good grades, maintain honor roll, and try to stay out of trouble. I also live in suburbia and I smoke dope. Yes, in fact, I like to occassionally smoke that harbringer of police sirens and handcuffs; marijuana. A lot of people are like me, and yet the government and the media would like everyone to believe that people who smoke dope are fiends or criminals. Today, marihuana usage for Americans aged 12 and up is at 39.6% You tell me; are nearly 40 percent of our society criminals? If so, then perhaps those police officers who knocked on my door could knock on theirs as well.

A recent “casualty” of this country’s ongoing Drug War, I finally came to
realize how oppressed we youth really are in today’s modern American society because of an incident i recently had with the Middletown Police Department The amount of control of the police today frightens me. Recently, I was enjoying a beautiful Saturday morning on a friend of mine’s back porch. Apparently, a nosy neighbor detected a scent of an illegal substance, marijuana, and called the police. Within minutes Police Department sent two officers, to the residence to investigate the complaint. The first officer came around the side of the house into the enclosed back yard, without a warrant, demanding us all to give him our IDs. We were all young people, the average age probably 19, so of course the police, as is seems they always do, assumed we were up to no good. My impression was that it was innocent until proven guilty, not the reverse, but the Middletown Police Department seems to be following a separate doctrine.

These officers had no right to barge into private property and order us to
show identification. It seems to me that the official procedure would be to knock on the door and wait for the owner to answer. While the first officer was examining the IDs which he took afterwards to his car to run scans on, I politely asked him who made the complaint, as I was under the impression that it was his duty to let us, or at least the homeowner, know. He brushed me off and continued gathering IDs. The second officer also began demanding IDs. When I began to ask why all of the identification was necessary she immediately told me to shut up and that I smelled of burning marihuana and told me to stand up. As I stood, she told me I reeked and she grabbed my arm and thrust it behind my back. Unaware of what was going on, I pulled my arm out of her restraint and asked why she felt the need to search me. She again, told me to shut up and at this point her partner jumped on the deck and threw my arms behind my back. He searched my pockets and found a baggie of marihuana in my pocket. I was handcuffed, and thrown in the back of a squad car and charged with marihuana possession and resisting arrest.

However, while we are students of your high schools and middle schools,
praised by teachers and counselors for being all around good kids, this is not what police officers see. And when one of us asks politely why our rights our being violated, the police officers do not see a taxpaying citizen worried about their civil rights given to them by the Constitution, they merely see a cocky, young, teenager, who doesn’t know any better. Well, officer, I do know better. I know that I am protected from illegal search and seizure by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

It is unfortunate the way we are treated these days by the police, but many adults feel that we deserve it, especially the police. To them, we are guilty until proven innocent rather than the reverse. It’s a shame that the youth of today, the D.A.R.E. generation, has to FEAR the police, the men and women who are supposed to protect and serve seem to only intimidate and detain. Will this ever change? Probably not. Many youth think that they can’t change a thing. This too is a shame. We CAN change things, but society doesn’t want us to, they need us youth to be docile and tame. If our rights are being stripped from us at this rate today, imagine that rate moving exponentially for the next ten years where the police get more and more power behind things like the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act. Please, citizens, watch your back. The police state is on its way.

“I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as
necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” – Thomas

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