Apparently the California Highway Patrol will be working with members of the Marines (as in the member of the armed forces Marines–the few the proud the brave) Military Police in the San Bernadino Valley of California during the holiday season. This cooperation started ion December 12th and will last until the New Year. The two agencies will be manning DUI checkpoints in an attempt to crack down on drunk drivers and other criminal activities.
Okay, I understand that the holidays are prime time for drinking and driving. There are a lot of parties and as well as a lot of people on the road. I get that the cops would want to make sure people are safe, and while I may not agree with them, DUI checkpoints can help make this happen. However, I do not understand why the Marines have to be there. In fact, to me this seems like a direct violation of the Posse Comitus Act, which restricts and prohibits the use of military personnel for the use of law enforcement. I also wonder in what capacity the Marines will be used. Will they be armed? Will they be making arrests alongside the CHP?–THAT would be a major Constitutional violation. Are they there just to supervise and train? If that is the case, what are they doing there at all as I pay taxes so that CHP officers and receive their training and guidance from their own people, not folks outside of their organization, and certainly not on the spot training.
The Marines have said that they will not be acting in conjunction with the CHP, but that they will be at these checkpoints to take care of their own who happen to be stopped. Okay, fine, I get that–military personnel are subject to a different set of governances than civilians–but if the CHP were to arrest a Marine, why couldn’t they just call the MP? Why does the MP have to be stationed at the checkpoint, inspiring fear and mistrust among law abiding and not so law abiding citizens.
Military Police at DUI checkpoints may seem like a small thing, and maybe even a good idea, but the truth is it is neither. It is a bad idea because it sets a precedent that military forces can be used to police American citizens (if any branch of the military has this duty it is the National Guard, and then only when dire circumstances warrant it), and it gets Americans used to the idea that this is okay, which means that if it starts happening more often we will not notice it. Things like this always start small, but they do start somewhere, and they grow into bigger monstrosities that are much harder to stop. I do not want to say that this is the first step toward the inevitability of Martial Law, but it is a first step toward that enemy free thinkers and speakers everywhere. Couple this with the fact that there is a military brigade now devoted soley to dealing with crisis on American home soil and we can see the continuation of a disturbing trend that started with the Patriot Act and the loss of some of our freedoms.
MPs at DUI checkpoints does not mean Martial Law, this is true, but it does mean that someone/or some persons in our government/military thinks that this behavior is acceptable, and unless the people of California, and the US, do something about it, they will continue to think that way. What can we do? Well, we can write letters to newspapers and magazines. We can write our State Senators and our State Representatives. We can protest in the street and inform our friends and neighbors. Our biggest enemies in stopping this military invasion into our civic lives are silence and complacency. Now is not the time to be silent or complacent. Now is the time to shout and scream. Be heard and make some changes–we just elected a man whose whole campaign was based on that idea. It is time that we, the people and citizens of the United States of America put our money (what little of it is left) where our mnouths are and make that change happen. Obama can’t or won’t do it on his own, he needs us to guide him and to show him what we care about. Otherwise all this talk of change will be for naught and soon we will have soldiers patrolling our streets. Or worse: Blackwater Mercenaries.