Don't make Alaska a police state

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, January 20, 2006

Those who give up freedom for security deserve neither. Those who would give the police the power to detain you at any time in the name of checking to see if you are strapped into your car deserve to live in a police state, not this country.

Sen. Con Bunde's bill elevates seat belt offense to a primary offense, which effectively gives the police power to pull you over at any time because they thought you were not wearing your seat belt. You can and will be stopped at any time unless you paint that belt florescent orange, and even then you will need to install a camera in your car to prove when you had it on.

I was a passenger in a truck that was pulled over in Washington. Two young officers aggressively charged out of the patrol car and came to both doors. The officer asked why the driver was not wearing his seat belt. Funny thing, he was wearing it when the officer asked and had been wearing it all along. We spent the next five minutes being grilled. There were no apologies for their lack of observational skills, just attitude and lots of it.

Being pulled over and grilled by the police for no reason will never be something I take lightly, and in the great state of Washington it is now a common occurrence. Apparently Sen. Bunde is part and parcel with the thinking that we need the police to be intrusive in our daily lives to enforce what he believes is good for us. Is that the sound of founding fathers curling in their graves?

It seems to me police already have enough to do using the tools they already posses to combat real crime. We do not need to erode our personal rights and create new crimes just so some senator can say ... whatever he is trying to say. Maybe it is his version of the police full-employment act at the expense of citizens' rights and tax dollars.

Random stops by the police have been done away with as an affront to our personal rights; this measure is just a back-door mechanism to reinstate a police-state mentality that was deemed inappropriate long ago. Eating poorly and not exercising enough are bad ideas, so what's next? Are we going to have the police take care of that also? "Senator proposes police enforce government food pyramid eating laws?" Enough is enough.

The bill is now before the governor. We need to let him know right away the bill is a poor idea. We have had enough of intrusive police powers.

Robert Henricksen

Auke Bay

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