The Land of the Free?

Fortunately, America remains the greatest place in the world to live and call home. We celebrated the essence of that greatness over the weekend for Independence Day — the fabled anniversary of July 4th, 1776, the date that the Founding Fathers declared independence from the tyranny of King George III. It’s a celebration of freedom and radicalism, and one that we should take more seriously as a country. 

Though it’s hard to appreciate the message behind the holiday when actions that subvert our freedom occur every day. Ask yourself: Are we truly free?

Now take this video for example, which went viral this weekend thanks to sites like Reddit: 

The nearly 3 million-view video shows 21-year-old Chris Kalbaugh being harassed and constitutionally violated at a DUI checkpoint in Rutherford County, Tennessee by Deputy A.J. Ross and other officers. Despite not having committed a crime nor been charged with one, the officers swarm his car and use a K-9 to issue a “false alert” in order to search it. Kalbaugh ever expressed his rights to the officers, but no such luck. From the video:

Deputy Ross: “Are you an attorney or something? You know what the law is?”

Kalbaugh: “Yes sir, I do.”

Deputy Ross: “OK, what is the law?”

Kalbaugh: “The law says at checkpoints I have to stop. And I did. That is all. I’m not required to answer any questions. I have Constitutional freedom to travel without being randomly stopped and questioned.”

The officers continued their search unimpeded. When nothing turned up, Deputy Ross says, “He’s perfectly innocent and he knows his rights. He knows what the Constitution says.” Another officer off-camera says, “It wasn’t a very good alert.” 

This case isn’t the only recent example of the law violating the rights of citizens. Take this 3rd Amendment case — yes, you read it right — in Henderson, Nevada, where officers broke into a home next door to a person of interest they wanted to spy on and arrested the homeowner for noncompliance.

Or the case of the 20-year-old Virginia college student that was arrested and kept in jail for a night because she bought a pack of beer… except that it was a case of water.

Or the case of a 52-year-old California man who was arrested for obstructing justice after filming officers during an armed robbery call. Oh, and they killed his dog, too.

The NSA surveillance programs are to be included here as well.

These are more than cherry-picked stories. They are evidence of injustices that happen across America every single day that go unreported. Our constitutional rights are trampled quite often, both by our local police and the federal government. We are presumed guilty rather than innocent.

Ask yourself again: Are we truly free?

Content published on the Young Americans for Liberty blog is only representative of the opinions and research of the individual authors. It does not necessarily reflect the views, goals, or membership of YAL.

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