Radley Balko

In my quest to do things for free, so that I both leave the house and interact with people and don’t sit here on the couch filled with existential terror (Wow, that sentence makes it sound like my couch is filled with existential terror, which, I guess, it may be. I haven’t actually looked at its guts), I went to Radley Balko’s talk at Parnassus last night.

Yes, I’m so fucking tired of my own fucking tediousness that I drove to Green Hills.

Anyway, Balko covered a lot of the same ground he covered when I heard him talk to the Vanderbilt libertarians, but it wasn’t any less disturbing the second time through. A point he made that he probably made before, it just didn’t strike me as profound the first time as it did the second time, was that the Founders were hugely concerned with the governmental strategy of leaving standing armies among the populace to arrest people and serve warrants. They were afraid of that mixture of military and policing. And Balko’s point is that we, as a country, have done a pretty good job of keeping our military from doing police work, but we’re becoming more and more adept at turning our police into a military force.

He points to the rise of SWAT teams that aren’t just used for really unusual circumstances–like hostage rescue or something–but now are the first choice for a lot of police interactions with the public.

One thing I kept thinking about as he was talking was that we may be seeing a rise in importance for the Third Amendment. I mean, when you learned about it in history class, didn’t it seem like one of those things that was important back in the day, but not now? And yet, Balko’s talk made me wonder if we won’t start seeing some challenges to these broad police activities under the third amendment, as well as the fourth. After all, if I’ve done nothing wrong, how can the police assert a right to be in my house? I’m not even talking as far as “search my house.” I just mean at the entering and standing in my house level.

Don’t I have a constitutional right to refuse to lend out my home to police activity?

I don’t know. It was just a thought I had, that we might see enterprising lawyers trying to figure out how the third amendment is still applicable.

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4 thoughts on “Radley Balko

  1. Have you seen the video of the woman who told police to stay outside her home while she got her id to prove she wasn’t the person to whom they wanted to serve the warrant? It’s horrifying. They’re police serving a warrant to a property owner wanted for not keeping the grass cut and they’re talking to the property owner’s tenant like she’s making meth in her underpants.

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