Just an interesting day

Two things happened today that caused me some political thought. Pardon me while I create an actual blog entry.

First, I read an item on the San Francisco Chronicle about the state park closings due to their budget crisis. (Yes, I read many news sources from far right to far left and lots in between.) All of the comments were arguments about the various failings of their government with discussion of whether it was the Republicans’ or Democrats’ faults. Nobody suggested that there might be a non-governmental solution.

So, I proposed one. I suggested that perhaps they could set up a ‘pack-it-in, pack-it-out’ approach to garbage, set up some volunteer ‘friends of the parks’ groups to keep the places tidy, and maybe some ‘park watch’ groups to just make sure some parks don’t get overrun with pimps and drug dealers.

Judging by the comments, as expected, that went over like a lead (Pb) balloon. Nobody in the San Francisco area seems to think that they have any personal power or responsibility in the matter. It’s all up to the government.

Which lead me to a reinforcement of a deep suspicion I’ve had for some time. That Americans in general, and maybe Californians even more so, just want their government to take care of everything. No personal responsibility, no personal power, no personal actualization.


Then the second thing happened. Being Saturday and a day off, I decided I’d take my camera and visit some back roads here in Arizona. I went for a cruise through the Tohono O’Odham reservation. For those who don’t know, that’s the second largest reservation in America, about the size of the state of Connecticut. And it was gorgeous, with mountains covered with saguaro cactus sticking out of the desert and 200-mile visibility.

So I was returning to Phoenix. I passed through the obligatory border patrol checkpoint with no problem. This area is a hot point for illegal crossing, so there are these checkpoints. Then, as I was about to leave the reservation, I was chased down and pulled over by a border patrol SUV, lights and siren.

I was informed that I was traveling on roads that I am prohibited from using. ‘What?’ There’s no signage to that effect, it’s just a highway, Indian highway 42. He says it’s ‘tribal lands’ and that I’m not permitted on them.

The officer explained that he’d pulled me over because I have Phoenix license plates and that is suspicious. ‘What?’ I’m 33 miles south of the city of Phoenix, a metro area of nearly 4 million people. Phoenix plates are ‘suspicious’??

The border patrol agent wanted to search my Toyota Camry, and I let him. Finding no illegal aliens hiding in the back seat or trunk, he let me go.

As I drove those remaining 33 miles home a few thoughts occurred to me. First, hasn’t this paranoia about illegals peaked yet? Apparently not.

Next, darned, if I’m not allowed to drive on Indian highways what gives? I paid form ’em with my federal tax dollars through the BIA. Not the Indians. They don’t pay taxes. And they won’t let me drive on ’em?

Last, what about reciprocal privileges? We residents of Phoenix and Arizona don’t tell the residents of the Tohono O’Odham that they can’t drive on our highways and streets.

I’m thinking that the various tribes that concoct these local laws might want to sharpen their pencils. My tax dollars might go to better use than highways that I’m barred from traveling. And our highways and streets could become off limits to those who refuse access to theirs.


So, it was an interesting day.



  1. Carl Nemo

    Hi Warren,

    I thought I’d give you a bit of advice. When asked to search your vehicle you should “not” have given him permission to do so. Of course he could force his position to do so and there’s nothing you could do about, but you would have asserted your Fourth Amendment right against warrantless search and seizure of your property.

    Believe it or not there’s a lot of crooked U.S. Border Patrol personnel, no different than you will find in sheriff and police departments nationwide.

    This guy could have dropped a “sneak bag” of illicit drugs in your vehicle; ie., crack cocaine, meth etc. and use his ‘discovery’ to arrest you and seize your vehicle. This happens more frequently than you can imagine.

    Enforcement personnel have cameras mounted in their vehicles to monitor their stops and many also record their interface with the stopped driver with shoulder mounted recorders.

    So by refusing the search you have not relinquished your Fourth Amendment rights against warrantless search and seizure although they have a right to do so regardless of your refusal. Believe it or not on occasion they will back down when a citizen does so especially if there’s witnesses to the refusal. They must have probable cause and if you were already stopped and checked out then this agents stop based on his hot pursuit could be an indicator that he had a personal agenda in regards to your disposition.

    The reason being, that if you are the victim of a rigged, illicit bust then you’ll still have the ability to defend yourself in a court of law whereas if you’ve given permission outright you’ve lost your ability to defend yourself predicated on his ‘discovery’ of contraband in the vehicle.

    I also advise travelers to invest in a quality, small-sized voice-actuated digital recorder so regardless of the circumstance you have the instant ability to record what’s happening in order to protect yourself and also to press charges in the event law enforcement overstep themselves in the execution of their duties.

    In the Pacific Northwest and we have our share of Indian Reservations. They truly have beautiful scenery etc., but my experience while on their lands and roads has been less than friendly too even on behalf of the Indian police which you find on the reservations. So my advice is to stay off Indian lands simply as a matter of good self protective common sense.

    I don’t care for our new era post 9/11, Patriot Act psyched Border Patrol or U.S. Customs personnel. Yes, they have a job to do, but they seem to enjoy hassling folks that are obviously no threat whatsoever. I simply don’t trust them anymore and there was a rash of motor home confiscations a few years back relative to U.S./Canadian border crossings along the lines of my afore described ‘sneak bags’ of drugs being placed in the motorhomes as a function of them pressing for a search of the vehicles. A sting was set up by higher level enforcement authority both Canadian and U.S. and they caught these border agents at their confiscatory game.

    Border Patrol and Customs agents are now stopping people within 120 miles of the U.S. border and seem to be expanding their search zone. I believe there’s an investigation concerning this matter with hopes of reigning them back in to simply the border where they belong or within a reasonable distance of say within 20 miles or less.

    America has been turned into an emergent police state as a result of the Bushistas engineered 9/11 tragedy, either by intentional oversight or direct planning, along with the instantly approved, unread Patriot Act. America’s uni-party; ie., the “republicrats” working together have seemingly succeeded in turning America into a garrison state surrounded by barbed wire, belligerent enforcement personnel, drug/bomb dogs and a host of other intimidating measures that cast a long shadow over this now not so free land. : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Warren

    Yeah, the more I think about it the less reason I can find for the chase down and stop other than pure intimidation. I guess the border patrol considers it a militarized combat zone and civilians are not welcome. I doubt that I’m important enough to warrant their trouble to set me up, but I’ll check my trunk for goodies that might have been left there just to make sure. Strange world.