Keene Activists Neutralize Police Checkpoint

On Saturday, September 4th, 2010 Keene New Hampshire liberty activists respond to a state and local police “sobriety” checkpoint where police check drivers license, registration, tags, and do a plain sight search of the car to ensure the driver is sober.


In NH the checkpoints are filed with a petition at their Superior court that names the date, time, and place of the checkpoint. We held signs at the traffic circle 100 yards away informing people of the checkpoint. They are disclosed in advance, and unable to change locations, which makes sign holding very effective.

  • Curious

    So….. What I am hearing from Sam here is: If someone is just standing there holding a sign (interfering with what someone is trying to do) the person should just be left alone? Not accosted, their personal space invaded, their personal property destroyed and their personal safety threatened? I see, this is just another example of the now famous Sam double standard! Well done sir!

  • http://www.obscuredtruth.com Sam Dodson

    Are you serious? Still can't let go can you? The two are entirely different events, but thanks for playing.

  • Curious

    You just keep telling yourself that and maybe it'll help you sleep at night. Perhaps a nice cup of coffee might help.

  • BiggerintheATX

    Next Time dress up in a NAZI Uniform and wave a flag ! Great work guys- I am going to do everything to stop these tyrannical laws from passing in this year's TEXAS Legislative Session.

  • freeman420

    Great job guys as always, love it!!!

    Curious holding a sign is not interfering, checkpoints are interfering with the right to travel on the public right of ways.

    Peace

  • Wes Sayville

    While I applaud most liberty activists activities, this issue in a horribly painful one for me and rips at my emotions due to loss.

    I don't find efforts to keep drunk drivers off the road a bad thing. I lost four very close friends in separate events to drunk drivers over the years . Keeping drunks off the road is actually a very good thing and something the police should be doing a lot more of, so that us who enjoy freedom we continue to live it with our friends and loved ones and not loose our friends and families to irresponsible drunk drivers. Its hard to explain all this this unless you have actually dealt with the horrible tragedy of loosing someone to an irresponsible drunk driver.

    Sam, you probably never had to deal with the kind of heartache I am still feeling. The fact is, you do so many good, liberty minded things; this one does not get my support at all – it's the wrong battle. Please reconsider. With respect for the good that you do in so many other areas, -Wesley

  • http://www.obscuredtruth.com Sam Dodson

    Thanks for your comments Wes. I lost my tutor growing up to a car accident. Her funeral was my first, and it left an impression that is hard to describe.

    I agree with you, Police should be taking dangerous driver off the road.

    I don't agree with restricting everyone's freedom (or a random sample) in the name of security and safety. I think police could more effectively catch dangerous drivers on patrol instead of a fixed location, randomized checkpoint.

    On the other hand, I bet they are far more likely to tow people's cars for registration, ticket passengers for open containers, hall some people off to cages for warrants, and write a few vehicle citations. None of this has anything to do with sobriety.

  • Sad

    Wesley, My heart goes out to you in your loss and I pray for the healing you desperately deserve.

    Sam, you should be ashamed of yourself for rationalizing away Wesley's concerns to twist into your own warped agenda which appears to be "stick it to the man at all cost". Very compassionate way to deal with such a sensitive subject. OH, that's right……. Sam's self serving crusade is the only thing that really matters! Looking good big guy

  • Matt

    If the cops were really interested in preventing drunk driving, they would OFFER free breathalyzer tests outside of the bars, and call the guy a cab if he had no ride home. Instead they set up "checkpoints" to wiggle around the illegal search and seizure rule, waiting until AFTER people get on the road, so they can stop and harass EVERY citizen, whether they are drunk as a skunk or driving home from bible class.

    Make no mistake – this is all about the police demonstrating their power and adding to their coffers. Calling someone a cab home who has had too much to drink might keep a drunk driver off the road, but it does not bring in revenue or help them make their monthly quota of arrests. So you'll never see it happen.

  • http://www.unitedcivilrights.org Kinley

    Screening out dangerously impaired drivers is a legitimate means of protection, but they also use that as a cover, excuse and opportunity to control, intrude, pilfer and to use a net to go on a fishing expedition for other crimes, revenue and traffic violations as Sam pointed out.

  • http://www.qualityrental.com JamesButabi

    Ive lost some very close friends due to drunk driving. Unfortunetely, many people will give up their rights under the guise of safety. I can think of 100 better ways these police officers could more aptly keep drunk drivers off the roads. These blockades set a dangerous precedent. They need to use better solutions. Maybe then most people would not fear police and rather feel protected by them.

  • trippwhyre

    Nice job, Sam, et. al. !! I agree with BATX: Dress up like Nazis at these check points. Start goose-stepping up and down the sidewalk on both ends of the checkpoints. It would make a good point.

    Here in S.Korea, where I'm currently living, sobriety checkpoints are very common. However, they are significantly different. Drivers simply slow down, blow into a breathalizer to show they are not drunk and drive away. It's all very quick. The checkpoints are not used to search vehicles or check licenses, etc. I'm not saying that the Korean way is noninvasive, just less invasive.

    Korea is a very socialistic, controlled society. I've seen hundreds of cops decked out in full riot gear to deal with TWO, that's TWO, "protestors", meaning people sitting on their butts saying nothing, maybe holding a sign. Anytime there is a vigil downtown Busan, there are literally six buses full of 20-30 cops each waiting to deal with the "unruly masses".

    In spite of the general controlling nature of Korean society, in a few ways, namely the aforementioned checkpoints, things are less restrictive.

    I'm looking forward to moving back to New England in March and joining you in NH.

  • Paul

    Stopping anyone and everyone and demanding papers is not a valid way to stop reckless driving. It's just the excuse they use.

    As far as the activism goes, I loved 280's interaction with the cops, and loved the sign holding. Sam's interaction I thought could use some work. Perhaps fewer words, more carefully chosen.

    Here's one idea for a reply regarding the "we're trying to save lives" response: Point out that all kinds of invasions of privacy can be justified in the guise of preventing crime — why not go through people's homes, and personal effects on a regular basis, etc?

    The fact is, a person has a right to privacy, and that right is recognized in the 4th amendment. Your motivation to stop crime before it occurs does not give you the right to invade people's privacy, or demand identification from people who have done nothing wrong.

    As Jefferson said, "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."

    And as Franklin said, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    We need to be secure in a persons and effects. Crime prevention is not a valid excuse to violate innocent people's fundamental rights.

  • http://www.nolanchart.com/author677.html Chaz Munro

    Checkpoints are the LEAST EFFECTIVE way of catching drunk or impaired drivers.

    Only by ignoring that very obvious fact, would anyone state that Sam "did a naughty". With that in mind it is still the same old story:

    What masquerades as respect for "duh law" and cops with nothing better to do with their time, is actually just a poorly disguised worship of power for power's sake.

  • yeahwhatsthat

    While checkpoints are in general a innefective way in catch drunks. I think trying one in Keene when the school is back is a good way to show that drunk driving will not be tolerated.

    In reality the police are tolerating more and more in terms of "liberty' based activities.

    I agree with wes. I've lost a close friend to a drunk running a red light and hitting him on a crosswalk. Not cool. Lock'm up.

  • http://www.obscuredtruth.com Sam Dodson

    Paul – as far as the checkpoint comments go, I think other commenters are doing a great job, but yours could use some work. Perhaps more leading by example, less second guessing after the fact.

    While I agree with your position, I don't think there's a perfect way to state an idea. As I have shown over and over again, the best way to get more effective is through practice (i.e. doing).

    Perhaps suggesting where you would like to see the conversation go, and the points you think the cops need to hear would be a more effective way of providing your feedback.

    (I hope you get my intention with this; I think you post some amazing comments here Paul)

  • http://www.nolanchart.com/author677.html Chaz Munro

    yeahwhatsthat on Tue, 7th Sep 2010 7:00 am

    While checkpoints are in general a innefective way in catch drunks. I think trying one in Keene when the school is back is a good way to show that drunk driving will not be tolerated.

    In reality the police are tolerating more and more in terms of “liberty’ based activities.

    I agree with wes. I’ve lost a close friend to a drunk running a red light and hitting him on a crosswalk. Not cool. Lock’m up.

    So making a point is now more important than doing what actually works in catching drunk drivers (regular patrols). Having a big show of force is somehow better than being effective. Tell me that you're just having me on about this.

    What's wrong is now suddenly right simply because people who make it their job to exercise power over others, keep exercising that power in more intrusive and results empty, type of ways.

    No disrespect intended towards you or your viewpoint but this is just the height of madness as there is absolutely no logic whatsoever in your point.

    You say "lock 'em up" when it comes to removing drunk drivers yet you insist on doing it in a way that violates the freedoms of the innocent while actually "locking up" fewer of these people that you claim to want caught.

    This is exactly what happens anywhere when insanity becomes policy. You have willfully traded your liberty for a cheap illusion of being "safe". How ridiculously sad for everyone involved.

  • david

    awesome

  • Luthor

    Next time this happens, I'd like to come down with a sign that reads: "Need a Sober Driver?" That way we're creating an alternative that's far more effective than stopping everyone, voluntary, and still detracts from such soviet-esque check points.

  • Paul

    Paul – as far as the checkpoint comments go, I think other commenters are doing a great job, but yours could use some work. Perhaps more leading by example, less second guessing after the fact.

    Fair enough. Maybe I should just focus on complementing the positive, and not so much second guessing.

    I do think suggestions and feedback can be helpful, but I also don't want to be discouraging — action is far better than inaction.

    While I agree with your position, I don’t think there’s a perfect way to state an idea. As I have shown over and over again, the best way to get more effective is through practice (i.e. doing).

    Yeah, practice is important, no doubt.

    Perhaps suggesting where you would like to see the conversation go, and the points you think the cops need to hear would be a more effective way of providing your feedback.

    That's what I was trying to do starting with "Here’s one idea …" — though I probably could have stated it better.

    Now that I think about it, I really could have just made the suggestion without any negative sounding comment. I'll try to do it that way in the future.

    (I hope you get my intention with this; I think you post some amazing comments here Paul)

    I do get your intention, thanks for the kind complement, Sam, and thanks for your manner in this post. Blind cheerleeding's no good, but neither is nit picking. Sometimes it's hard to find the right balance between the two, and I'm sure I miss it.

    I'm really glad activists stood up to this checkpoint, I think it's an outstanding target for activism, and I hope it happens consistently at suspicion-less checkpoints in the future.

  • Paul

    Next time this happens, I’d like to come down with a sign that reads: “Need a Sober Driver?” That way we’re creating an alternative that’s far more effective than stopping everyone, voluntary, and still detracts from such soviet-esque check points.

    Great idea!

  • Brodie

    There is no statistically significant evidence that driving while "intoxicated" results in more accidents. So these police are not making the world any safer. They are just violating rights.

    Wes, it is irrelevant that you know of four people that died when getting into accidents with people who were "intoxicated". They may have also all been white. Does that mean we should make it illegal to drive while white?

  • Gabe

    Brodie – can you share some information about the study that concluded "no statistically significant evidence that driving while “intoxicated” results in more accidents."? I would be interested in reading more about it. Perhaps the citation of it?

  • Andrew

    Sam,

    While at work today I listened to Sunday's FTL that you hosted when you reported on these events. Overall it was a good show, and you did a good job reporting what happened. However, you did make one statement that I really take issue with. You had said that you told some of the activists to go to the traffic circle and hold signs. Wes and I did this without being told to by you or anyone. When I had arrived at the checkpoint I went over to engage KPD in conversation to try and get some unknown details about Yadra's arrest. It was right after that when we went to the circle. With statements like the one you made on the air, its no wonder everyone from Talkback continually says that you and Ian are the "leaders". I assure everyone Sam or Ian is not my leader. However, I have in the past supported their ideas that I agree with and will continue to do so in the future.

    In fact, what made me decide to leave the checkpoint was that when I came back across the street to where the activists and the state police were, I came upon what I found to be a ridiculous argument between the cops and yourself about the brightness of your respective lightbulbs. I felt that participating in this was useless and a waste of time for me, which is why I left the scene. Please, in the future try to abstain from making comments that may suggest that you are somehow in charge, especially when in the spotlight on FTL.

    Kudos to you though for continuing what Wes and I started that evening. You are much more effective and practiced at that sort of thing than myself.

    Shortly after my encounter with the cops, Nick(my ride) called and said he was ready to go, although he was unaware of what happened at the time. If not for his call, I would have continued what I was doing with you joining me shortly until the checkpoint ended.

    Thanks,

  • Andrew

    Also, I appreciate your criticism. I felt shitty immediately after I told the names of my friends to the cop who didn't believe I could possibly have known some people in a car that had stopped.

  • http://www.obscuredtruth.com Sam Dodson

    That's a common negotiation/interrogation ploy. State something as not true, and you feel compelled to correct the person. (and give up all kinds of additional info).

    Plus you went straight to detained, which is the magical term. You want to ask am I under arrest, am I free to go?

    Otherwise, great job, and they left with their tail between their legs on this one.

  • Keener

    for those who are speaking out in favor of checkpoints to curb drunken driving.

    Why stop at checkpoints on major holidays? Is drunk driving an activity relegated to only certain holidays and used in conjunction with multiple useless television ads informing you that you WILL BE CAUGHT and WILL BE ARRESTED!?

    Why not stop drunk driving altogether? Have checkpoints on every street in the country. Fully manned with men and women in riot gear. They can be on these streets not a few times a year, but 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Furthermore, if you're found to be over the legal limit of consumption of alcohol, you face immediate death penalty. Wouldn't this stop the activity of drunk driving? Isn't it effective to kill those who are putting everyone at risk?

    If you disagree with going that far, why? Is human life not sacred enough to you? Don't you believe that doing so would be the ultimate in getting drunks off the street? If you disagree, are you willing to endure all those painful losses all over again simply because you chose liberty over safety?

    Probably don't agree with going that far, because maybe you like to have a few once in a while and drive home. That would effect your liberty, and we can't have that now can we?

  • yeahwhatsthat

    When and where did you learn to set up an argument? Because MAN OH MAN, you got us! There is no way to fight through that one.

  • Dan Mason

    Checkpoints are an inefficient use of police resources..

  • M_Freeman

    the statist lie, these checkpoints are about social control and revenue enhancement. If the statist really care about drunk driving there are many more efficient ways to stop it other than checkpoints. As usual more aggression against free citizens all in the name of "safety", what a hoax, it's almost as bad as their other favorite deception "for the children". Keep up the good work Keeniacs.

  • Skepticklish

    Keep up the good work. There are several states that don't allow checkpoints, it is certainly not out of the question to make NH one as well in the very near future.

  • Brodie

    Gabe,

    Here is an example of what I am talking about: http://www.duiblog.com/2004/10/23/a-closer-look-a

    The statistics spouted out all the time are grossly misleading. Driving drunk is about as dangerous as driving while changing the radio station, texting, putting on makeup, or just talking to a passenger.

  • KDus

    Maybe, some day, Sam will find that perfect activism that makes everyone happy!

  • DrXB0x

    I am made to look like a wuss because I don't let people drink alcohol in my vehicle. Sure they'll probably get away with it but I don't need the hassle that comes with getting caught.

    I understand the theory that a driver would just hand their beer to the passenger to get out of drinking and driving. Yet wouldn't a few simple breaths into the officers face prove that I am not drinking, and my passengers are?

    Maine used to allow passengers to drink in a vehicle but they made it illegal.