I'm Going to Remain Silent
So we're in the car traveling back to Charlotte for a show right before Labor Day. We see state troopers and police vehicles every 10 miles on the I40 stretch between Memphis and Nashville. I'm driving, and I get comfortable using my handy-dandy cruise control to make certain I don't go over the speed limit. We get into a congested traffic area. The speed limit is 70. A truck/construction thing is in front of me and abruptly slows down to 62. I look in the rearview and notice a black SUV with lights in the dash. They haven't turned on yet, but I slow down even more just to be on the safe side. Ten seconds later, the lights come on. "We're getting pulled over," I said to Rob who was half asleep.
After pulling to the side, all the images and thoughts from #ferguson began to race through my head. I tried to think back for the past several miles, "Did I do ANYTHING to break the law?" I couldn't come up with anything. So I put both hands in the 10 and 2 position on the wheel and just waited. Luckily before the #ferguson incident happened, I had already done an extensive internet investigation into police misconduct and in particular, traffic stops. I was painfully aware of profiling, arrogant/condescending attitudes demonstrated by some (not all, but enough to be weary of all) police officers, and what's more sobering- the fact that they (the police) can legally lie, manipulate, and intimidate you into getting you to do what they want which most of time involves giving up YOUR RIGHTS! I prayed that I never got into a situation where I'd have to assert myself to a police officer but lo and behold it happened.
Two officers get out and approach my vehicle. They come over to the passenger side. One officer bends down through the passenger window and says, "Ma'am I pulled you over because," (get ready for the worst crock of bull I have ever heard from an officer's mouth) "your tag is partially covered and you got too close to the vehicle in front of you."
He then asked me for my license and registration. Then came The Questions.
Now, before I get into what happens next, let me tell you the real reason why they pulled us over:
1. We have out of state tags
2. We have a back seat full of stuff
3. We're an interracial hippie looking couple (enter Rob's hair) 'who probably has drugs in all of that stuff they've got in the back seat'
But he couldn't say all of that because that would be profiling. So he came up with the other lame excuse.
Back to the Story:
While collecting my documents, he starts the questioning. "Where are you coming from."
We answer and say "Memphis." I can tell from his glances that he wants to know what's in the back seat. Our back seat was pretty full. We had lots of camping supplies, my merchandise suitcase, Rob's drum, and our clothes suitcase. In my mind I'm thinking, "I'm only answering one nosy question and he better not ask any more."
Then here he comes with a second question. "Where are you headed, back home to North Carolina?" An assumption he made based on my license and tag.
I looked at him in the eyes and said, "I'm going to remain silent."
He said in a joking condescending manner "You're going to remain silent?" Almost as if what I just said was incredibly stupid and proposterous.
"With all due respect, sir, I'm going to remain silent," I repeated.
He steps away from the vehicle and speaks to the second officer. I heard him say, "The driver is not talking. They are coming from Memphis, and they're going back home to North Carolina (still going with that assumption, heh?). She gave me all I asked for though, so ..... (I couldn't hear the rest.)
He comes back to the car and gives me back my documents and tells me to drive safely. I said ok and thank you and drove off as fast as I could. No warnings, no ticket, no citation. That's how I knew his reason for pulling me over was baloney. I believe that officer really wanted to search our car. According to the Constitution, they legally can NOT search anything without a warrant or in the case of a traffic stop - reasonable suspicion (i.e. a bag of drugs laying around).
Unfortunately with the recent influx of police misconduct and murdering of unarmed individuals, I've developed a heightened sense of mistrust when dealing with anyone in law enforcement. Their job is to Stop The Bad Guys. However, the supposed "war on terror" and "war on drugs" has made innocent US citizens targets. In essence, a lot of innocent people now become The Bad Guys. Additionally, incidents like #ferguson and #trayvonmartin have fed into the racial divide and it is so easy to get caught under the cloak of racism. Don't get me wrong, racism is a huge issue on its own, but this phenomenon goes far beyond race. There are people who wish to subject everyone, not just minorities, to a totalitarian climate where no-one is free and where democracy is dead. We can see it happening everyday in laws that are constantly being implemented making it hard to vote and easy for law enforcement and government officials to kill without any repercussions - The Police State.
The Police State, oddly enough, has been foreshadowed in mainstream music. Click here to learn about that.
Pop icons like Beyonce, the Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Brittany Spears, and so many others all have performed on live TV and in their music videos with a militarized police force looking dance squad showcasing it as "glamorous" and "hip." The link I shared is a site dedicated to addressing symbols displayed in pop culture that speak to a hidden agenda. Now you may not subscribe to all of that and that's ok, but the particular article that I linked to specifically dives into facts about how the police state is being showcased in mainstream music. Anyone with eyes and ears will see the parallels between what they are showing in the music videos and what's going on in the world today. It makes you wonder if there is more to it than art mimicking life. All of this "art" was created before the recent law enforcement attacks on American citizens. And it is far from "glamorous" and "hip."
Be ready to assert those rights.
And most importantly, get reconciled to Christ. Death is not the end.