Fourscore and Seven Laws Ago

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Amendment Four – 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 shall issue, but upon probable cause; supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

OK, so far so good. You can say what you like, protect yourself, and the army’s at a proper length instead of drinking your milk from the carton and putting their boots up on the coffee table. But of course, you still need an army, and a local police force, and they have to be able to investigate crimes and punish the guilty.

So now, in the guise of such investigations, they come barging in every few days, early or late, or else wait until you’ve gone and then waylay you. “Just checking,” they say. “If you’re not guilty you have to reason to worry!” No reason, of course, except that even though they don’t actually live with you, they’re such frequent guests that you can’t live your life, and you can’t make any protest without them showing up to “investigate” you a bunch more. Nor will anyone else back you up, since they don’t want to have regular visits of their own.

Enter the Fourth Amendment. You have the right to be free from being harassed, harried, hounded, and otherwise hassled by the powers that be. Their authority to do their job in protecting the law is itself bound to be lawful, requiring such things as probable cause and specific details. The protections of our rights build one upon the other in this manner.

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