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Posts Tagged ‘police’

Today I was having a gyro near the Colorado capitol in downtown Denver, and a policeman all in black with “HOMELAND SECURITY” written across his chest in grayish white was wandering around our restaurant.  I didn’t think much of it until I realized he was carrying a little black box the size of a deck of cards that was ticking erratically.  My friend I was with said he was looking for something, investigating.  And I’m a little silly, but I didn’t think so, and I ignored it.  My friend, she has more experience than I do.  She was right.  A little later he explained to the owner – a round-headed short man with silver hair and kind eyes and an apron – that the radiation levels weren’t high enough to be anything serious (a bomb like those in nightmares).

 

I suppose the owner was worried that there was something wrong with his shop, or that someone was plotting terror from one of his tables, and he hovered just behind the officer’s shoulders.  The all in black man was very calm, telling the man that his sensor had sounded an alarm as he drove by…  My friend asked people if they’d recently been though those out of control full body scanners at the airports.  Probably someone eating there must have had something medical done that day, said the man with the little black ticking box. And he didn’t ask all of us sitting there, but he also didn’t look like he was going away.  So the lady in the corner raised her hand half way and confessed to having had a PET scan that morning. And apologetically, “My doctor said I should be fine to go out.” People look around kind of nervously. Some joke. Some are puzzled.  Ms. Radiating wants to know if he really could sense her from all the way outside.  The officer (who was probably wearing a lead vest, himself) reassured the rest of us that we weren’t in danger.  Then he shows the woman his Geiger counter (how frightening) to prove to her that yes, the numbers were quite high enough for him to have detected.

 

The officer was DRIVING BY and his radiation detector picked up the woman’s aftereffects of the PET scan. (I always wondered what our law enforcement actually did to try to keep dirty bombs from going off.)  Most likely following protocol, he reported the mildly increased radiation. The report went straight to Washington, DC. We’re talking Pentagon and Homeland Security. Probably not Obama, since he has much more important things to worry about than nuclear scares at home and abroad.  The woman cooperatively provided the officer with her name and contact info in case anyone needed to follow up on his report and confirm that she wasn’t a terrorist, just a patient in the tech-y US of A.

 

True story.

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

 

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It seems to me that if there is a law, however silly, and if a person is accused of breaking that law but goes to court and a judge agrees that their behavior did not trespass the law, that such a precedent should serve as a guide to that person and all in the district for acceptable behavior. These people should not be repeatedly accused of breaking that law for the same offense ruled to be legal in prior cases. I would call that harassment.

Those are my opinions, but they do not seem to be shared by our local government. For Planned Parenthood, who is trying to shut down the pro-life voices outside their clinic, has been pressuring the government in every possible means (save making brand new laws; Obama is a bit to busy to keep his promise of passing FOCA, thank Jesus) to harass us. The latest, from Wednesday last week, was to call code enforcement about our ladders. Now pro-lifers look pretty extreme a lot of times not only because we have the unpopular belief that people have a right to life, but because we are trying to be law abiding behind ridiculous restrictions. To save lives we are not allowed to enter a medical facility, or its property. We cannot peacefully sit in the driveways or roads, or in front of the doors. Politics has found us inconvenient. So have police*, it seems.

So we have to yell at women, because we can’t get close enough to them to talk (8 foot bubble law within 100 feet of an abortion clinic). And we have to have big signs because kids aren’t taught the truth in school, at home, or through media. We wear t-shirts because no one else is talking about it. And we use ladders because, unlike any other medical facility in the country, these have tarps surrounding their parking lot. Men who practice wickedness like to hide. They want to block out the light and the truth. So we put up ladders and talk over the black tarp fences. (Yelling is certainly not preferable. If they park close enough, or walk by, we do talk to them. And we try to make eye contact with the mothers.) We heard one account from this past year where a baby was saved partly because of ladders. The girl couldn’t believe the man talking to her was so tall!

Code enforcement came by Wednesday. He rolled down his window and addressed me at my perch on top of a ladder. “You can’t have those on the sidewalk,” he said.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked, with naivety. I mean, I’ve been doing this a year and a half. The people who own the ladders have been coming out for decades. I’m sure if it was illegal, they would have been stopped already.

He added, “They can’t block the sidewalk.”

“People can get by.” I looked down at the three feet of space between my ladder and the road.

“You can’t have the ladders on the sidewalk.”

I then directed him to the owner of the ladders, whom I knew would know what to say. “Yes I can,” was the thing. “We’ve been to court 100 times, and we’ve won every time about the ladders.”

“I can take them,” he said.

“No you can’t,” she replied. I mean, this is hard for Christians. Because in a constitutional republic, where we have laws that guide our behavior and not arbitrary men telling us what to do, we have the right to act in accordance with those laws. But bossy little people with no real authority try to tell us what to do, and they are working for the government, so should we comply? Do we have to comply every time they talk to us, until we look up the law again and go back to doing it until they stop us again? The court told the sidewalk counselors they could use ladders on the sidewalk. So that’s what she stood for. And she threatened to call 911 if he tried to take her ladders.

So he drove away, and as we suspected he would, he called the police.


Three squad cars and an SUV came shortly, and told my friend to move her ladders. Same story. Except they could ticket her, and they had big sticks and probably guns. (They always remind me of when Jesus asked, “Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.”) She tends to remind policemen* that babies are about to be murdered just a few yards away, instead of sticking to their topic. Men should know what they are doing, she feels, and which side they are serving.


During her argument, one or two of the police officers went to chat with the abortion clinic security guard. A third, Catholic, chatted with a woman who had been praying her rosary before they arrived, when she spoke up. I went to find my camera and start taking pictures and prepare to video whatever was going to happen. My friend kept talking to the fourth policeman. Eventually she said that she knew the name of their commander, had spoken with her about the ladders, and that she would back her with permission to keep the ladders.

“You can move them into the street,” one officer suggested.


“Why didn’t you just say so?” With evident frustration, she descended her ladder for the first time and tugged the first one into the road. But once she had both of them in the street, they were going to cite her for having had them on the sidewalk. As you may imagine, this was met with further resistance. For one thing, after the last time they had been to court for the same legal action, my friend and her husband had warned the government that if they had to deal with the issue again, they would be in a federal first amendment lawsuit. This was brought up to reinforce the seriousness of her next statement: “I’m calling Commander –“ she said, and took out her cell phone. The station did not pick up my friend’s call, and the officers raced her to speak with their commander first. While the ladder-woman continued to wait on hold, the commander informed her people that as long as the path was not obstructed in a way in which pedestrians could not get by, the ladders could stay.

 
With a short apology, three of the patrol packed up and left. She returned her ladders to the sidewalk, and spent the next half hour or so talking with the Catholic policeman who was the friendliest to begin with.

I would like to point out that during the whole incident the street was rather blocked with patrol cars, including two parked facing the wrong direction.

  • Police, I imagine, got into their line of work because they wanted to defend innocent lives. To be reminded that the law protects murderers and that their official job restricts their involvement in saving lives has to be frustrating. My friend likes to invite them to join the cause, even if only when they’re off duty. And she likes to point out that they will answer to a higher authority.
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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Once upon a time there was a country that belonged to the people.  Maybe you have an idea which one I mean.  The thing about ownership is that property can be stolen.  Two of the ten Mosaic commandments address property rights.  But not only is theft no longer illegal; it has been codified.  Government itself functions on and benefits from theft.  We’re talking about private property, private rights, private liberty. 

 

 

 

It just so happens that the supreme law of this land guarantees a few rights to its people.  For example, we have the right to peaceably assemble, the right to bear arms, the right to free speech, and freedom from federal laws instituting or prohibiting religion’s exercise.  There are a few other little rights that we usually ignore, but that are in this simple list of laws all the same.  We citizens cannot be unreasonably searched, plundered, or seized by our government.  There is a right to trial by jury, prompt and in due process.  (Due process and promptness tend to be mutually exclusive in today’s courts.  But they keep everything legal by allowing you to waive your right to a free trial so that there will be no miscarriage of justice.) 

 

I’ve never been too bothered by conspiracy theories that warn, “Big brother is watching you.”  I mean, our country has ceased to belong to the people, and the rulers in charge have the power, should they choose to declare themselves free of the laws that have kept us complacent, to do whatever they want.  By the time Big Brother has put surveillance in place, you weren’t free anyway.  We were already doomed. 

 

So I’m not sounding any dark warnings here.  (Well… I guess I did begin on a depressing note…)  What I want to do is to tell you a story.  If you wish it were impossible, you are welcome to protest to your elected officials (and the unelected ones).  If instead you see opportunity and power to take to yourself, by all means, step up to the plate. 

 

You probably know if you’re a regular reader of my blog that I do regular sidewalk counseling, a ministry by which, with much prayer, I stand on a sidewalk outside an abortion clinic and try for a chance to talk with a mother about her choice, to share options with her, truth with her, and chances for help.  This is the last ditch effort to save lives – a place for me to meet hurting people and offer them love.  That love tends to look like standing on a ladder increasing my volume as the women move away from me and towards the door through which they will murder their sons and daughters, warning them about side effects, consequences, and the precious life they have this one last chance to save – that is unfortunate.  I wish that more often it looked like a girl sitting in the passenger seat of a car looking at pictures of life forming in a womb, shedding quiet tears and finding out about forgiveness, hope, and crisis pregnancy clinics that can help.  Sometimes it does, and I rejoice to see fruit in my attempts. 

 

So this abortion clinic is on the edge of an ethnic neighborhood caught between mall redevelopment and inner city tradition and railroad industry.  It sits on a wide, empty street.  Directly across is an abandoned parking lot.  On either side is a telephone company building that has no signs and gets about one visit a week, and a fire house no longer in use.  This three-story red brick building is surrounded by no trespassing signs, and displays a few large signs warning that no help can be found at the location any longer.  On top is a disaster siren that is tested on Wednesdays at 11 when the weather and season are right.  Beside that are two white cameras, rounded in a style too modern and artistic to be original to the building.  From their vantage point on the tower, these two cameras can take in the whole street – not to mention the cameras posted high on the lights above the entrance to the abortion clinic. 

 img_1489

So this building still appears to be public property, with the siren on top – but it isn’t.  Yet the police came last week to ticket another sidewalk counselor.  They parked (side by side, blocking half the road) and sat to watch us for a while.  Mostly ignoring them, we went on as usual.  They have warned us before about “stopping cars by stepping into the street.”  Now, we stand in this empty street near the curb because of sunshine.  Until about 10 AM the black tarp the abortion clinic has erected to keep the truth contained and invisible to the women it entices in with “choice” manages to shade the entire sidewalk.  So I don’t have to step into the street for anything; I’m already there.  But if I do happen to be on the sidewalk instead, I don’t step into the street.  I stand on the edge of the curb and hold out my hand in a stop signal or extend a flyer towards cars driving to the abortion clinic.  This is an effective tactic because it is non-threatening (and a little confusing), so people tend to stop.  When they stop, we go to their cars to give them the promised flyer and try to talk them out of killing children.  No one has ever been unable to access the street or the clinic due to this tactic, nor have we forcibly stopped cars or impeded traffic.  If the conversation is going well, we will have the car pull to one side so we can talk more. 

 

Last week while the police watched, I did that very thing.  I extended the flyer with a large list of facilities and people offering help to moms in need to a couple in a car.  They stopped and I headed to meet them with my paper, but was intercepted by the other sidewalk counselor, who has been doing this for decades and knows what to say much better than I do.  After a few sentences, she had them pull to the curb so she could answer their curiosity about what was going on (they were not clients of the abortionist).  Five to ten minutes after her conversation had begun, the police got out of their cars and came up to her, interrupting and requesting that she come with them.  She complied. 

 

They told her they would have to give her a ticket.  In a few minutes I joined her, confessing that I had stopped the car (which they could see).  The officer, who was considerably taller and larger than me, ignored me.  He said not a word to me, and seemed by looking over my head and addressing my friend to have brushed me aside like a bit of lint blowing across his vision.  After a short plea for the officers to save lives instead of writing tickets that would prevent her from doing so, she decided that her temper could not handle further discussion, and submitted to the citation. 

 

As the police drove away, we the pro-life team gathered around the yellow slip to discuss, question, and criticize all that had taken place.  “They showed me pictures,” my friend said.  And she pointed.  The pictures the police had used for evidence were taken from the old firehouse across the street.  “You were in one of them, standing by the car with me,” she looked at me.  But I hadn’t been by the car today, and how could they get pictures so quickly? 

 The Cameras

“What’s the date?” said another friend, an older man with a golden dog on a leash.  “This citation is written for yesterday.  At 11:38 AM.  Were you here at 11:38 yesterday?”  My friend nodded. 

 

“But I wasn’t.  I was at work…  That picture must have been from a long time ago.  I haven’t been in the street for a while.”  I added. 

 

“The officer signed as the complainant.  He wasn’t here yesterday.” 

 

“[the security guard] complained.  He called them,”  reported the owner of the ticket. 

 

“A police officer can’t be the complainant unless he was a witness.” 

 

That’s how it went.  She’s going to challenge the ticket in court (something she is rather good at by way of experience).  The incident for which she was cited was actually a mom with two little kids in her car driving by asking for directions.  My friend didn’t even do anything to get that woman to stop except to be outside. 

 

So here’s my question.  It only took a little bit of investigation to know that Planned Parenthood owns the cameras that survey the entire public street.  There is no sign on the building on which they were mounted informing the public that they are being video-taped.  Court precedent says that such surveillance is legal if it is in a place where someone can reasonably expect to be seen (parks, streets).  But since when can a private company or citizen take a picture of someone doing something that they think may be illegal, send the picture to the police with a complaint, and the police respond with a ticket?  Can you really be ticketed for something that no one witnessed? 

 

This has come up with the photo-radar machines that measure your speed and then snap a picture of you and your license plate as you drive by.  Some courts, I believe, have ruled that such evidence is shaky. 

 

And I understand that video from security cameras can be used to track down, identify, and convict criminals who rob convenience stores or graffiti buildings.  That’s ok with me.  But seriously – a jaywalking ticket after the fact?  And absolutely no one was inconvenienced?  Can I set up a camera on my street and call the police on random kids – or on cars failing to use turn signals, etc.?  It’s bad enough for the police to do it themselves, let alone a private citizen! 

 

Planned Parenthood loses money every time we educate women and help them to avoid the stain of murder on their conscience.  That wicked company is therefore applying pressure to the public government, asking them to enforce laws that they never enforce (tying up 3 to 4 officers and squad cars to deliver the citations, for some reason) on the rest of the population, so that the calloused businessmen inside can keep brutally murdering the most innocent human children alive. 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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