NH Police-State Checkpoint This Coming Weekend

Beginning this friday in Tilton, NH there will be suspicion-less checkpoints where people must stop, display their papers, and submit to a thorough questioning about what they’re doing roaming about.  Every question asked is designed to incriminate the answerer.  I only wish the soon-to-be answerees knew that they have the constitutional right to not utter a single syllable in response to questions by government agents.

“According to local authorities, the “sobriety checkpoint” is the most effective method of detecting and apprehending an impaired operator. The program, approved by the New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, provides federal highway safety funds to support these checkpoints.”

So that makes it okay to do police-statish things in the “Live Free or Die” state?

“Those Who Would Sacrifice Liberty for Security Deserve Neither.” – Benjamin Franklin

*clicks heels*

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22 Comments

  1. Check out this post from a year ago (if I may shamelessly self promote) documenting more such police-statish encroachments nationally (hint: click on the links).
    http://ringingliberty.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/yo

  2. Cool blog man.

    I've actually been to Checkpoint Charlie. It's way cool.

  3. Have they preserved Checkpoint Charlie? I went through it when there still was an East and West Berlin (1987). It was almost comical, actually. To get your passport checked, you had to enter a small building. It was kind of like a police line up. You stand there and in front of you is a dividing wall, the upper half of glass, kind of like at a bank. On the other side is some guy in a military-like uniform who has your passport. He looks at it, looks up at you, looks at it again, squints his eyes (looking as sinister as possible) then you get waived through. Most interesting things I remember from East Berlin:
    * Many buildings with exterior walls still riddled with bullet marks from WWII (never fixed up)
    * A multi-story shopping center, complete with escalators, but no stores! Just a restaurant or two and lots of places to sit and hang out.
    * The ride in was interesting – on the train over from W. Germany, around midnight (I guess when you cross into the East), a pack of soldiers/police invade you train car, with dogs, demanding papers. After they see them, they are gone as fast as they showed up.

  4. Observer,

    Yes indeed they did preserve parts of it. I'm jealous that you got to do that. I was only seven years old at the time.

  5. Mark,

    Thank you for reading and thank you for getting involved with us here!

    I think repealing this law (or modifying it) would be the only option on a state level: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XXI/265/

    Individual government bodies at a local level could forbid their law enforcement agencies from participating or establishing one of these checkpoints.

    Awesome to hear that you are a mover! Your home and friends/family await!

  6. Question for Bradley or anyone else:

    Can these checkpoints be abolished at the local or state level via direct involvement in government? Meaning when I move to NH, can I get elected and help eliminate these checkpoints? Can anyone? Is the agency responsible accountable to a particular governmental body? Or is there another, more efficient way to eliminate checkpoints?

    First post here. I like this blog. Keep up the good work!

  7. I quit my job because I realized how much of a police-state this country is becoming and realized how I was playing a part in it. I also came to the realization (thanks in large part to Free Keene owner Ian Freeman) that initiating violence is always wrong… and that is all the police do. I am not a violent person… but every day at work I was using violence to coerce people into doing or not doing things that don't harm anyone else.

    Sadly, in New Hampshire judges are appointed for life until the constitutionally mandated age of seventy. Once said attorney gets the job they can be as tyrannical and cruel as they please, with little consequence.

  8. I understand why people get angry and want to lash out violently. The thing is though, we're better than that. The state is the one being violent. I used to be violent at the behest of the state.

    We don't need to stoop to the petty level of violence that the state does to help make the world a better place.

    We just need to educate people that using violence is never the answer.

  9. I basically agree with you. Yet I am torn. How is lashing out violently different from a revolution? It seems with the more I read and understand, the more likely it is a revolution is necessary.

  10. Violence begets violence.

    Rather than have a revolution… why don't we have a peaceful EVolution?

    We don't need to revolve back to how this mess started in the first place. We need to move forward. We need to evolve into a society that doesn't condone initiating violence to solve problems.

    Revolving is so counter intuitive.

  11. I see what you are getting at. But if there was a choice to kill or be killed which would you take? I think there might be some Darwinism at play here. Now I understand I am on FreeKeene and that Keeniacs have a slightly different slant on say politics than a random sample at FSP. But if you owned a gun would you let the govt. take it? I certainly wouldn't, not without a fight.

  12. So people are going to go out there and hold up signs, warning people about the checkpoint, right?

    Right?

  13. I am not a Keeniac… I am a believer in the Free Keene movement (something much larger than Keene) and a contributor to the site.

    If the state came to take my guns? No, I wouldn't be violent. I'd film them doing it and use the photographic evidence to show the world that they were being violent thugs.

    Using violence against an apparatus that thrives on violence is ineffective and silly.

    If you're talking about "what-if's" like the Nazi's coming to take people off to death camps, that is a different story. It is also outside the realm of reality, in my humble opinion.

    Violence is never the answer. Never.

  14. I agree Brad, nicely said.

  15. Bradley, thank you for the response. I read it and I am quoting the law here.

    ‘no law enforcement officer or agency shall establish or conduct sobriety checkpoints for the purposes of enforcing the criminal laws of this state, unless such law enforcement officer or agency petitions the superior court and the court issues an order authorizing the sobriety checkpoint after determining that the sobriety checkpoint is warranted and the proposed method of stopping vehicles satisfies constitutional guarantees.’

    It sounds like they can only put up a checkpoint if a judge signs off on it. So if I was doing something else obviously illegal yet I was sober I could still get hauled in right?

    I presently live in Washington state. I have heard of these things before but I have only heard rumors and have never seen checkpoints. They make me more than a little nervous.

    On a slightly different note I heard a story I will paraphrase here.

    A lady who had a warrant out for her arrest drove across one of our big bridges around here. A cop pulled her over shortly after that. The cop asked if ‘Ms. So and So’ was in the car. She said yes and got hauled in. It turns out that there was a traffic camera taking pics of license plates and somehow communicating with the state patrol. Does this occur in NH? Have you ever heard of this? I believe I read you used to be a cop.

  16. “So if I was doing something else obviously illegal yet I was sober I could still get hauled in right?”

    Or not so obvious. The questions the police ask at the checkpoints are designed to find inconsistencies in responses… which could be attributed to fear… which fear could be caused because the person is hiding something… which could be drugs. But yes, these checkpoints are designed to look for a lot more than just intoxication.

    I posted a link to a story a few days ago where a checkpoint in northern New Hampshire resulted in six arrests. Three for possession of marijuana. :

    Infrared traffic cameras (“highway surveillance”) are legal in New Hampshire only to “protect” the bridges in Portsmouth, NH (with a few other exceptions). Check out this law:

    http://law.justia.com/newhampshire/codes/nhtoc-xx/236-130.html

    There are some exceptions to it… but the general gist of it is that the state cannot randomly set up infrared cameras to run license plates anywhere it wants… Individual officers can randomly run license plates though.

    I used to do this and was very good at it. I could type in 20 plates for every 30 vehicles that would pass me. When an infrared camera (or officer typing in plates) runs a license plate, it checks the vehicle registration, the vehicle’s stolen status in NCIC, the registered owner’s drivers license, the registered owners wanted status in-state, and their wanted status in NCIC. (NCIC=National Crime Information Center).

    Does this answer your question?

  17. I read the law it sounds vague to say the least. I am unsure if the vagueness has anything to do with the fact that I feel like puking.

    more questions:

    Why are you not a cop anymore?

    Also doesn’t it seem like it is up to the judge about ‘determining that the sobriety checkpoint is warranted’? Therefore a liberty-friendly judge would be less likely to institute this? That would be another way to bypass this crap. I’d also guess judges are elected like they are here in Washington. Then they could be held accountable on election day for this stuff.

  18. We need more people like you. Thanks for realizing the dangers of coercion. Though in certain situations I was grateful for a police officer to be handling stuff, just not when I was being hassled.

    I do understand the whole Frodo / Gollum thing. That Frodo eventually succumbed to the power of the ring and that if it wasn’t for Gollum the ring would not have been destroyed. Also that evil tends to undo itself. This being a metaphor of the lure of power.

    But maybe it’s not time ‘to shoot the bastards’, to quote Claire Wolfe. Someday it might be. So I am unsure that initiation of violence is always wrong. At what point can you say this is payback? Or is it initiation?

    Thanks.

  19. I will leave the ideas of conspiracy alone for another venue.

    What is the difference between a Keeniac and Free Keene movement? I know one is a person and one is an idea more or less. I haven't run into a definitions page.

    As digdongdugong is asking, is the standard procedure for handling these freedom roadblocks standing with signs ahead of the checkpoint? I bet the cops like that!

  20. As far as I know…. A Keeniac lives in Keene. The "Free Keene" movement, generally speaking, is a group of people who advocate voluntary interaction between consenting adults.

    The initiation of violence, no matter for whatever reason, is never virtuous. Violence is not how problems should be solved. Violence is how the state does everything.

    The police actually are required to post signs (and publish in the newspaper) the location of these checkpoints. My idea of a sign would be something to inform the motoring public of their rights.

  21. "The police actually are required to post signs (and publish in the newspaper) the location of these checkpoints."

    The efforts at communicating the option to "opt out" are less than effective – good enough for government work though.

    If I ever get caught in a checkpoint I suspect I may be in trouble. Normally I am polite and cooperative with the police but checkpoints are illegal, at least in New Hampshire where "liberty" is a recognized and (theoretically practically speaking) legally protected right, and it should seem to me that my lawful duty would be to place anyone running a tyrannical checkpoint under citizen's arrest for using the color of authority to conspire to violate my rights. I suspect that any attempt at upholding the law would not be a popular with the should be felons holding up the public while pretending to uphold the law.

    Off topic but worth mentioning for anyone interested: speaking of poor communication but good enough for govt standards, out here in Silicon Valley there is a study going on, a medical study, I do believe being done from Stanford University (perhaps the best example of a corporatist/fascist university). It's on people with seizures who show up at the ER. To opt out of the experiment you have to wear a bracelet. They published this in the papers. No one here I've talked to has heard of it. Oh yeah, I think the study is three years long. So if you are planning to visit the area you might want to look up the study and obtain a bracelet, especially if you've had seizures or if you might have seizures or if you might have some sort of condition that could be mistaken for a seizure.

  22. Checkpoint response puts out a weekly list of checkpoints. To subscribe or let us know about checkpoints in your area, please email noretenes@gmail.com.

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