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Old 03-09-2005, 06:50   #1
Kai Nui
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Home land security?

It is 10:30 at night. My wife and I are asleep aboard our boat. A knock on the hull. I go topsides to find the US Coast Guard requesting permission to board. The usual questions, have you been boarded recently? We need to see your documantation. We need to see your photo ID's. We need to check you bilge.
OK. Not pleasant, but Coast Guard boardings have their purpose. However. This happened in our legal, livaboard slip in a marina at 10:30 at night. Our vessel is clearly safe and seaworthy, and we are clearly not underway.
I will attest to the professionalism of the Coast Guard personel who boarded us. They did make it as painless as possible, however, this blatent, unamerican invasion of privacy, not just allowed, but encouraged by our government is out of hand.
What next? A knock at the door of the American home in the middle of the night? Demands to do ID checks and verify legal residence in the home? Maybe some of you have a name that is "similar" to that of a "person of interest"? Then what? Off to Guantanamo for "questioning"?
I will not raise my ensign again unless required to by law. Certainly not out of pride.
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Old 03-09-2005, 07:46   #2
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Yikes!!!!
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Old 03-09-2005, 07:49   #3
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I know, I get grouchy when rudely awakened. Still seems out of line to me.
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Old 03-09-2005, 11:39   #4
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WOW where are you?
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Old 03-09-2005, 18:30   #5
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Monterey Bay, Ca. According to the Coasties, this will become SOP. They told me dockside boardings were one of the new measures instituted by the homeland security act to "keep us safe". I sure feel safer, how about you?
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Old 04-09-2005, 01:02   #6
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A bit more information. Appearantly the Coasties were looking for something specific, however what or whom is still a mystery. The search did result in one incidental arrest, completely unrelated to the cause of the search. Speculation is that the ID check produced a warrant.
I am not very political, and tend to keep my political opinions to myself, but when I see such a blatant invasion of my personal freedoms, I feel a need to voice it.
While I understand the need for safety checks, and even support boardings at anchorages, and underway, and would even consider it within reason to board transient vessels in a marina, I find it reprehensible that such searches would be done on established legal livaboard vessels while in the marina, and such an unreasonable hour. For those who would say it is a vessel, and falls under different rules, I would equate this to a motor home vs a commercial truck. The rules, as they are enforced, with commercial trucks, that are often the residence of the driver, are regularly searched at weigh stations and ports of entry. When is the last time anyone heard of the local police or hiway patrol randomly searching through RV's at the local RV park? I have always thought this to be a class prejudice. A lot of well to do people retire, and cruise the country in RV's. Wouldn't want to upset them! Someone might loose their job.
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Old 04-09-2005, 02:53   #7
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I wonder what would have happened if you had said it is too late and not granted them permission to board? An officer asked me if he could look in my trunk once and I told him "no" unless I have no other choice. He said asked me if I had anything to hide? I told him I thought I was just excercising my rights and would rather not. He held me there for another 15 minutes, then let me go. VERY annoying, but Iam the guy who has been pulled over 5 time on my bicycle! Ahh the joys!

Keith
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Old 04-09-2005, 05:21   #8
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I did make them recite the federal code that allowed them to board. I have not looked it up, but with the "Patriot Act" in place, I am sure they would have forced the issue. There were 6 Coasties on board, and I believe 2 more on the dock. After over 10 years of wearing a patch with a motorcycle club, I learned a long time ago when the cop will take no for an answer, and quite frankly, I have more important things to do this weekend then spend it in jail.
It was apparent that they were there because they were ordered to be, not because they thought it was right.
The worst part is that the general consensus around here is they were looking for a meth lab, and the most likely culprit is a boat that was vacated about a week ago. Not only that, but the residents of that vessel have caused enough aggrevation, and are so far in arrears on their slip payments that the harbor had them removed. Unfortunately the same legal system that allowed us to be boarded is the same one that allowed these people to get by for 6 months obviously dealing, and possibly manufacturing drugs, before the harbor could have them removed.
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Old 04-09-2005, 23:15   #9
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Those laws are in place that allow people to slide under the radar were put in place by people who were fighting the tyranny of a king. Those people understood the need for insurrection. This is the reason for the right to keep and bear arms. The attitudes of passivity and acceptance are what allowed Germany to slip into the stranglehold of Nazism. There are many examples of the subtle transition from freedom-loving to freedom-taking but probably the biggest is that people have better things to do than sit in jail for the weekend.
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Old 05-09-2005, 00:45   #10
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Those who would give up freedom for security deserve neither.
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Old 05-09-2005, 01:58   #11
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For Shame...

The trouble, as I see it with the law enforcement folks from time to time is they make so many mistakes.

Ideally, they would have properly completed the investigation and dertermined which boat in the marina was a floating drug lab before boarding you.

This happens all too often. Without looking anything up, or jogging my memory at all, I can think of a couple incidents from when I lived in New York City:

Diallo: An unarmed guy was at his door struggling with his keys and was approached by several officers. He was new to the USA and he pulled out his wallet to show them his ID. They shot him 41 times right at his own front door. Apparently, some officer made a mistake and thought the guy had a gun. When one fired once, they all fired many times.

Some Grandmother: Same story as yours. Some lady had a drug lab near by and they got the wrong apartment. They threw in a flash grenade as they broke the front door down. The flash and noise scared this lady so much, she had a heart attack and died.

I think the problem is more with the MISUSE of law in your case than with the law itself. The enforcement officers, lazily did not complete their homework, and then thought they'd nab someone by force. If they had put in any effort or had half a brain, they would have known all the things you were able to find out about the boat producing the drugs.
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Old 05-09-2005, 02:12   #12
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Protecting against this sort of "fishing expedition" (no pun intended) is precisely what the Fourth Amendment was designed to do. But that is one of several freedoms Americans have gleefully given up under this president. Not to get too political, but 200 and some odd years ago, John Q. Adams was roundly turned out of office for allowing this sort of thing.

Oh, but don't worry, this administration will defend your right to keep a gun - so, just keep your mouth shut about it!
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Old 05-09-2005, 06:24   #13
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We rather smugly used to think that 'gun happy' police were an American phenomenon, but the gunning down of that totally innocent Brazilian on the London Underground by the police acting in an 'anti-terrorist' capacity has shaken us and then the later attempted cover-up, lying about the circumstances leading up to their actions has shaken us still further.
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Old 05-09-2005, 07:26   #14
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My concern is that we as citizens are so quick to allow new laws restricting our freedoms in the interest of security. Misuse of power is human nature. Allowing others to gain power over us as individuals is learned. This sort of power over it's citizenry is what makes our government so dangerous. Our only hope for salvation is the vote. Unfortunately, our government's use of terrorism for it's own benefit has influenced even that.
The legal authority to search my vessel was granted by the "Patriot Act". This interesting piece of legislation is not supported by anyone I know, and it's few supporters seem to site fear. Fear perpetuated by government propaganda.
Kind of makes you wonder who the real terrorists are.
As for gun happy cops, I never thought it was uniquely American, it is just more obvious in our culture, as from Europes perspective, we are the wild west, and from Central America's perspective, shoot first is a fact of life for many of them, and they hold us to a higher standard.
The thing that is new, is the authority to use such force provided by suppossed democratic governments, based on the need for security over the need for freedom and privacy.
Absolute power currupts absolutely.
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Old 05-09-2005, 07:39   #15
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well said!

if his intent was to totally disrupt american society, osama bin laden has won
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