The Fourth Amendment


by Gunnery Sergeant John McClain, USMC, Ret., ©2013, blogging at Gulf1

(Feb. 19, 2013) — We are constantly told “the constitution is outdated, it was designed for simpler times, it no longer fits; the list of excuses goes on forever.  Two plus two has equaled four all my life, and the mathematical principles which make it so have never, as far as I know, changed.

“The right of The People to be secure in Their Persons, Houses, Papers and Effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, Shall Not be violated, and No Warrants issued, but on Probable Cause, supported by Oath or Affirmation, and Particularly describing the Place to be searched and the Person or Things to be seized.”

I ask you, what part of this exact stating of this enumeration of one of our innumerable “Natural or Endowed Rights” is made obsolete by any act or change in this world since our Nation’s inception?  Is there a demonstrable cause for calling for searches and seizures without a specific and exact reason?  To do so removes the “rule of law” from all “search and seizure” acts, and they become nothing but acts of Tyranny.

Is there any reasoning away the demand for a specific and exacting accusation, made before an official of the court, with the accuser being held to the standard of truth we must demand in court, lying being subject to charges of perjury?  Is the issue so pressing, is time so precious, we can’t have an actual recorded accusation before issuing a warrant?  Government has done so with impunity; however, it has yet to even confront the issue, much less justify its actions.

How is it there are places which “must be searched,” “things which must be seized,” yet they are not of sufficient importance to put the facts before a court and have a warrant issued?  We knew of the presence of all the supposed 9-11 hijackers, their apparent bizarre behavior in flight school, their discussions, the dozens if not hundreds of signs and signals which would easily pass muster of “probable cause” in any reasonable court, but the reason there was never a hearing wasn’t for lack of faith in the system, or the belief warrants would not be issued.  The entire failure was the complete lack of supervision over these green card holders, who came with sufficient actions and markers to get a dozen worthy and substantial “warrants,” but no one ever thought to look.

We don’t hear about challenges to search and seizure regulations when real criminals have been located, tracked, and procedure followed, for two disparate reasons.  First, it happens so seldom it isn’t newsworthy; we don’t figure out the enemy until after he announces himself in his death throes.  Secondly, when it does happen, when someone notices something amiss, reports it, and the police follow through and get someone who is truly a threat, they make full use of “the rights we afford all but the innocent,” and it is generally only after many sessions in court that we even get to know the charges and the challenges from the accused’s lawyer.

We are confronted with the choice of relinquishing our rights quietly, without fanfare, standing in line awaiting our turn to be groped or letting our person be searched, all because not doing so makes what is almost enough to make travel not worth the effort for the average person.  It falls just short of what it would take to drive us all into civil rebellion, or claiming our “right” and spending the next five or six hours dealing with petty tyrant bureaucrats whose focus is to ensure everyone kowtows to the demands and no one causes an interruption by “getting out of line.”

We are denied our rights only because it is inconvenient according to the official plan, “security,” for anyone to have “rights” at the point of departure.

On 9-11 we watched one example of success and three examples of utter and complete failure. On Flight 93, the passengers ensured that missile did not strike its target; nothing else changed the intents and plans for that day.  Why do we not respond to the ongoing and continued threat according to the single example of success for that day? It is because the government had no control over that outcome; no other reason.

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