J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles - November 21,
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50 State Zero Tolerance
Thanksgiving seatbelt crackdown may
cause huge traffic jams across USA.
WASHINGTON, DC -- Americans who like
holiday traffic jams will
have plenty to be thankful for during this
Thanksgiving weekend: Swarms of police officers in all 50 states will be setting
checkpoints to crack down on seatbelt violators.
bureaucrats plan to throw a roadblock in front of your holiday travel plans,"
warned Steve Dasbach, the Libertarian Party's national director. "They've
decided that enforcing seatbelt laws is so important that they're willing to
snarl traffic, interrogate motorists, write tickets, and ruin your holiday
On Monday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney
Slater announced a "zero-tolerance" policy for seatbelt violators, and said
10,000 police departments in all 50 states will be mobilized to use roadblocks,
checkpoints, and unmarked patrol cars to track down disobedient
Unfortunately, if you happen to
forget to buckle up, you might suffer from something much worse than a traffic
jam. "Thanks to draconian seatbelt enforcement policies, you might get
pulled from your car, handcuffed in front of your children, and dragged off to
jail -- all for the crime of forgetting to wear a seatbelt," said Dasbach. "And
that's no exaggeration: That's exactly what happened to Gail Atwater of Lago
Vista, Texas, in 1994."
Atwater, America's most famous seatbelt criminal, was returning
from a soccer
practice with her two small children when she was pulled
handcuffed, and jailed simply because she hadn't
buckled up. She sued,
alleging excessive force, and the case, Atwater vs. Lago Vista, will be heard by
the U.S. Supreme Court on December 4.
The one potentially positive aspect of such
random police roadblocks, said Dasbach, is that they may make many Americans
rethink their support of such meddlesome "victimless crime" laws. "Most
Americans who originally supported seatbelt laws probably never thought that it
would threaten their right to drive down the highway without being stopped at a
police roadblock and interrogated like a criminal -- but that's exactly what's
going to happen over Thanksgiving weekend in all 50 states," he said. ....
News From The Libertarian Party
George Getz, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
* Five days after the seat-belt law took effect
in California, Branson wrote a booklet entitled, "Three Reasons Why Police
Increase Crime." While the title seems shocking, its logic is not. For instance,
police action is undisputedly the use of emergency force. The health
of society is not based upon the number of emergencies it can deal with, no
more than one who has been rushed to the hospital six times in the last
year can boost that they are healthier than one who has been rushed to the
hospital only once in the same period. And as two aspirins, which are not
considered food for consumption, may be good for a headache, but a
bowl full of them with cream and sugar for breakfast will kill you. Just so,
limited police power is good for society, but in quantity it
will absolutely destroy any society. A couple of security guards protects
the profits of a store, but too many security guards will totally bankrupt the
business, leaving nothing to guard. There can be no other conclusion. His
booklet gives many illustrations of this principle, which our Founding Fathers
described as, "He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms
of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance." Dec. of
In his second reason he writes, "January 5, '93, now
five days into the new seat-belt law, the news is this moment reporting a
30-minute police high-speed pursuit throughout the City of Los Angeles after a
police officer observed a driver not wearing his seat belt. Immediately after
the driver realized that the officer showed interest in his not wearing a seat
belt, the driver started fumbling with it attempting to buckle up. However, the
distraction from his driving caused him to go through a red light. (Would it be
fair to conclude that the driver's act of attempting to fasten his seat belt
indicated an initial intent to stop for the officer? A person intending to
escape would not be concerned with seat belts).
After going through the red light, the driver unwisely
decided to flee. The chase has expanded to three or more police cars with a
helicopter above chasing this seat-belt offender for 30 dangerous minutes before
bringing him to a stop at 6th and Union downtown Los Angeles.
In analyzing this incident and concluding that the
driver should not have fled, nevertheless, a life could not have been recovered
of one who might have been killed in enforcing the seat-belt law here. After
all, public safety is the only alleged reason for this law, and the seat-belt
violation was the sole reason upon which the police had probable cause to make
the stop. Yet it was public safety -- the very object of the law -- that was
being endangered! Enforcement of the seat-belt law attacks the very purpose of
that law, i.e., public safety! While no one was killed or injured in this
particular incident -- helicopter and all, is there anyone who doubts for one
minute that there will be deaths or injuries in future incidents of this type?
It would be naive to think not."
Once J.A.I.L. becomes law, we shall certainly see many
such laws as mandatory insurance and seat-belt violations come under
Constitutional attack, placing all judges across this nation on the defensive to
protect those laws at the risk of their loosing their life-long careers. Most
will crumble, having no defense as against the innumerable Constitutional
challenges that will be made in the courts. Branson estimates the eventual
downfall of some 80 to 85% of the laws.
J.A.I.L. is an acronym for (Judicial Accountability Initiative
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