The AP reports on this story for Helena, Arkansas of all places:
Officers armed with military rifles have been stopping and questioning passers-by in a neighborhood plagued by violence that’s been under a 24-hour curfew for a week.
Hmm. Ok, the rifles are a bit much and questioning passers-by seems borderline, but if this were happening in my town, I probably wouldn’t be bothered to write a letter to the mayor or the local newspaper.
However, when the mayor says the following…
“The citizens deserve peace, that some infringement on constitutional rights is OK and we have not violated anything as far as the Constitution.”
…I get angry. (Cue “The Hulk” quotes.)
Any government official or employee who says that infringing on the Constitution — even to the slightest degree — is OK should be immediately fired from their job. While the official is clearing out their desk, the citizenry should be warming up the vats of tar and opening containers of feathers.
“As far as I’m concerned, at 3 o’clock in the morning, nobody has any business being on the street, except the law,” Councilman Eugene “Red” Johnson said. “Anyone out at 3 o’clock shouldn’t be out on the street, unless you’re going to the hospital.”
If a citizen is going about his business, regardless of the time, and is not disturbing anyone else, then it’s none of your damn business what that citizen’s business is. If someone wishes to have a 3am constitutional (no pun intended) and enjoy a walk about the town, you have no authority to stop them, question them, or have anything to do with them at all, Mr. Johnson. Standing peaceably in a public place is not a crime.
The ACLU is getting involved, as they should be. This is simply intolerable — didn’t we fight a big war against fascism a few decades ago? Why are we allowing even the smallest bit of it in our own country? Yes, crime sucks, but a police state is not the answer.