Well, now, that's a pretty damn stupid question....

>> Tuesday, May 04, 2010

"Why would they want to hurt the legal citizens? You and I, and everybody else in this state. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever to me."

Arizona Premier Governor Jan Brewer expresses
wounded and self-righteous confusion over the inevitable national
boycott of Arizona's new experiment in running a police state,
"Cities, Businesses Boycott Arizona Over New Law,"
Peter Dowd, NPR Morning Edition, May 4th, 2010.

Well, Gov. Brewer, the snarky and cynical answer to your mentally-deficient rhetorical question is that they don't want to visit a state that's apparently full of racists.

The optimistic, giving-your-state-the-undeserved-benefit-of-the-doubt answer is that they've realized that the only way your state can enforce it's xenophobic new law without resorting to racial profiling is by having law enforcement officers stop and query everybody they don't recognize, especially if these strangers exhibit "suspicious foreigner" behaviors like not knowing their way around, stopping to gawk at local landmarks as if they've never seen them before, displaying unfamiliarity with local laws such as the local tax rates on goods and services, and speaking with an out-of-state accent. You know, tourist stuff. And who wants to go on vacation with a bunch of extra paperwork?

Now, personally, I think y'all are a bunch of damn racists down there, Governor. Of course, maybe I'm just a white Southern liberal who's been over-sensitized to allegations of racism by the troubled history of my part of the country. It's possible y'all aren't really as racist as you're made to appear on TV shows made with the cooperation of your local law enforcement agencies--

--and that what y'all really are is a bunch of morons who wrote a statute that, without racial profiling, can only be enforced by harassing every visitor to the state. Which, y'know, unless you were planning on putting a big fence around the whole state with gates at the entrances marked "WELCOME TO STASILAND!" seems, you know, sort of, uhm, retarded. Just saying. And if you were planning on turning the whole state into a police-state themed theme park? Well, you should probably consider that people who emigrated from actual bona fide police states don't seem to be too nostalgic about that whole part of their lives.

So, y'know Governor, I guess my question is whether your question was serious--in which case you're a moron--or rhetorical, in which case you think I'm a moron and so fuck you, too. Either way, your unconstitutional little law is a disincentive to visit your state; between you and me, Gov, am I really expected to bring my birth certificate with me if I ever make it out your way, or were you lying about not just harassing the brown people. 'Cause either way, y'know, you can go kiss my lily-white ass.


Eric Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 11:55:00 AM EDT  

I'm going to clarify something here instead of in the main post because I think some folks looking at the embedded video may think they're missing something. The clip does not appear to include anything remotely approaching reasonable suspicion for the stop and the officer isn't shown asking for license, registration, or bringing even an infraction to the driver's attention. She appears, in fact, to be saying that she's bored and is going to "make something happen" and to initiate a fishing expedition once the vehicle is stopped.

It's possible, of course, that the clip has been edited to make her look bad, but this is from a TLC show called Police Women of Maricopa County made with the cooperation of the notorious Sheriff's department run by Joe Arpaio.

If it hasn't been edited to screw the cop, ask yourself what the hell she's doing.

And then ask yourself if you really think she'd be doing it to a white driver.

Leanright,  Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 3:31:00 PM EDT  

Seriously Eric, I travel 3 to 5 days a month, usually buy car to Phoenix for work. Not sure how it is in North Carolina, but I would venture to guess that the illegal immigrant situation is a bit different here in the southwest than it is in the mid-atlantic.

I have 30% of my clientele in Arizona, and 5 of those are latino families. Each and everyone has supported Brewer regarding the new state law, but yes, have expressed concerns about profiling. One client whom lives in Cave Creek, AZ told me that if he's legal, then he's got no problem with the law.

I don't think a birth certificate will be necessary. Heck, you don't even need one to be president! (Oh shit, I'm gonna hear about that)

AZ, especially Maricopa County is VERY tough on crime; just to share with you, Arpaio will send drunk drivers to tent city for 10 days on a first DUI offense.

My two cents.

Leanright,  Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 4:08:00 PM EDT  

The road she pulls the vehicle over on look like I-10, which crosses the entire state from California to New Mexico. Perhaps she know how many people were in this 7 passenger SUV, and that 9 was unsafe. The majority of that road is not lit at night. I can't imagine that she could tell that the driver was hispanic.

I would think that the 1 minute, 2 second video isn't a full example what what may have or not have happened. I would venture to say that this could happend to drivers of any color. It's likely that since Maricopa has a very high population of Mexican and (American)Indian, the chances of the person you pull over being that decent, is more likely to occur here, than in, say....North Carolina?


Eric Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 4:10:00 PM EDT  

Thanks for the input, Dave. I realize that a majority of Arizonans favor this law--indeed one would suspect as much given that AZ lawmakers weren't afraid to pass it. Hence the condemnation of the state-at-large, tho' it's admittedly unfair to the substantial minority in opposition. (Hey, I've been there: a majority of my fellow North Carolinians sent Jesse Helms to Washington year after year, and I had to put up with the condemnation that came in my state's general direction as a result.)

While North Carolina has a substantial illegal immigrant population (estimates vary and seem to be highly politicized), the situation is obviously going to be different and incomparable in a border state. And while I'm prone towards favoring amnesty and a fast-track to citizenship, Michael Lind's argument today in Salon that open borders are incompatible with a strong welfare state is provocative and perhaps compelling (I need to digest it, and he may just change my mind). However, none of that changes the fact that the Arizona law is unconstitutional, unconscionable and just plain sucks. Whether borders need to be strengthened or not, regardless of whether there's a nexus between illegal immigration and drug smuggling violence that justifies some action by Arizona, the bottom line remains that Arizona has enacted a law that either:

(1) mandates racial profiling;
(2) mandates the harassment of all individuals within the state borders by law-enforcement;
(3) mandates the harassment of all strangers, including tourists, visitors and transients; or
(4) is simpy unenforceable and must be ignored.

The problem with #4 being, of course, that law enforcement officers who choose to enforce the Constitution over the statute are at risk of being sued under the law, which gives anyone who believes the law isn't being enforced a cause of action. So you're really stuck with the first three options--harass brown people, strangers, or everybody.

The fact Arpaio's a prick almost goes without saying at this point.

Finally, there's no real need for you to hear about the birth certificate crack, Dave. Hell, it's almost funny.

Eric Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 4:19:00 PM EDT  

Dave, the sheriff's deputy in the video is far more likely to have been able to spot the driver's skin than the number of passengers. C'mon.

However, regardless of that point: there's no sign in the video at all that she has reasonable suspicion of any kind. Granted, there may be something that was edited out; on the other hand, you can watch the video yourself and see if there was any obvious bad driving--the only thing that may not be determinable is the rate of speed. But if she made the stop for speeding, why the questioning about the number of passengers? Where's the classic, "Do you know why I stopped you, sir?" The familiar, "Sir, do you happen to know how fast you were going?" Not even an informal, "Driving a little fast there, weren't you buddy?"

Now, in the interview portion she talks about not knowing what might happen in a stop. Fair enough, except that's not the tenor of her questioning, either. Questions about the number of the passengers aren't followed by a request to step out of the vehicle or a routine question about weapons or contraband. She proceeds through a fishing expedition clearly proceeding from an assumption these people have no business being on the road together.

And, again, if you think that's how the stop would have proceeded if an Anglo had rolled down the window, I have some primo real estate in Brooklyn I'd like to interest you in.

As depicted, that was a textbook bad stop, Dave. I'm calling shenanigans.

Leanright,  Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 3:09:00 AM EDT  

That was also a made for television presentation, Eric.

Stone Russian Imperial Stout.....Le's wrap this up with something we both would love.

Eric Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 9:21:00 AM EDT  

That was also a made for television presentation, Eric.

Hence qualifying language such as "appear" or "in the video," etc. Of course it's possible the video has been edited in a way that makes the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department look bad, though I wonder if they've complained about being betrayed by the show's producers if that's the case.

And yes, I haven't had Stone Russian Imperial, but stouts are wonderful beers.

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