A New “Boston Tea Party” Is Needed

This trampling of the Constitution must not be allowed

Boston police are launching a program that will call upon parents in high-crime neighborhoods to allow detectives into their homes, without a warrant, to search for guns in their children’s bedrooms.
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The program, which is already raising questions about civil liberties, is based on the premise that parents are so fearful of gun violence and the possibility that their own teenagers will be caught up in it that they will turn to police for help, even in their own households.
In the next two weeks, Boston police officers who are assigned to schools will begin going to homes where they believe teenagers might have guns. The officers will travel in groups of three, dress in plainclothes to avoid attracting negative attention, and ask the teenager’s parent or legal guardian for permission to search. If the parents say no, police said, the officers will leave.

There exists too much potential for intimidation by the presense of armed officers. There is no way this unconstitutional plan should be allowed to go forward. Do they really think a parent, perhaps on parole themselves, will be able to freely choose to turn a group of police away?
What a horrible program.

13 Responses to “A New “Boston Tea Party” Is Needed”

  1. Skyler says:

    What makes you think it is unconstitutional? They ask for permission before doing anything.
    I think it would be wiser to request permission away from the home to eliminate all color of coercion, but even without it, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of unconstitutionality.
    I think it’s a dumb idea, but I’m not sure a court would find it unconstitutional. They already do the same with cars, asking people for permission to search their cars. Anyone who agrees to that is a fool but it’s still perfectly legal.

  2. Dave E. says:

    I don’t know, Bingley. I think a lot depends on how much the communities themselves want something like this and also follow-up with help for families that can’t control their kids.
    This type of program would be unwelcome, to say the least, where I live. We don’t have the problem of teens possessing guns and defying their parents though. Yeah, it happens to a small degree just like anywhere, but the community so far keeps it in check without having to implement broad measures.
    If I lived in a community that couldn’t keep it in check anymore, or God forbid it was my own home? I guess I’d probably welcome something along the lines of this program, as long as the follow-up help was also there.

  3. The_Real_JeffS says:

    That it might be constitutional (and I agree that it probably is, although I ain’t a lawyer) doesn’t mean it’s ethical or moral. Y’all have already discussed “dumb”.
    “Intimidation” might be hard to define, but no matter how polite and well dressed they are, police showing up on your doorstep in force without a search warrant, and implying your child may be a criminal, is borderline intimidation at the very best. And certainly it’s heavy handed, no matter how well intentioned.
    I understand that they have a real problem, but I can’t help but think this will be a major self-inflicted wound….especially if the majority of parents tell them to eff off. Intimidating or “pressuring” the kids through the parents could trigger irrational family solidarity regardless of the circumstances.

  4. Gunslinger says:

    It’s a lame brained idea that’s only going to end up with people getting hurt (or worse).

  5. A typical hare-brained idea concocted by a bunch of so-called policemen.
    The term ‘intimidation’ is well selected for this idea, as it is but one step away from the tactics of the Nazis some sixty years ago.
    You in America ought to get down on your knees and send thanks to the guys who wrote your Constitution, because they gave you the right to challenge any idea which seems good in theory, but is just downright sinister in practice!
    The call should always be, “No warrant, no entry!”

  6. Dave J says:

    “No warrant, no entry!”
    Mike, could you please point to where in the Constitution a warrant is required for every search? Last I checked, there were two prongs to the Fourth Amendment: 1) that searches and seizures be reasonable and 2) that warrants be supported by probable cause and specifically describe the place to search and/or things to be seized. The case law essentially turned the two together into presumptions that warrantless searches are invalid and searches with warrants are valid, but of course these are rebuttable presumptions based on the facts of each individual case.
    That said, I’ll agree with those above who’ve previously said that while this idea may be constitutional, it’s both stupid and dangerous.

  7. Are the Police really going to overlook other criminal issues like ‘small’ amounts of drugs. Who decides where the line is drawn.
    I think the bigger problem here is that citizens are buying more and more into the idea that Government has to solve every problem. People can search their own house and throw out whatever guns they find. People need to cleanup after themselves even if that means throwing out your own kid who is keeping the guns and stuff in your home. Get the kid some professional and spiritual guidance.

    Maybe America just needs to follow Chuck Norris’s advice on the 2008 election.

  8. I muffed the link- now it should work: Chuck Norris’s advice on the 2008 election.

  9. What are the consequences if mom and dad ‘just say no’?

  10. The_Real_JeffS says:

    That’s the silly part, Sis. Legally, all the police can do is LEAVE. So, a wasted effort that most likely results in hard feelings about heavy handed or intimidating tactics.
    IMHO, a lose-lose scenario.

  11. major dad says:

    I would bet anyone saying “NO” to the search has just invited a whole bunch of extra scrutiny. What parent could not know if junior has a gun in his room? I don’t know about Boston and it’s gun laws but when I was a teenager I had a whole closet full of guns and no they weren’t flintlocks Bing. Anyway, still a stupid idea however you look at it.

  12. Dave E. says:

    In principle, I think you guys are right. That said though, it’s pretty clear from that article that they are talking about a limited number of neighborhoods and that at least some community leaders and citizens in those neighborhoods want and need police help. They are saying that teens possessing guns is a real problem in their community. So if this program isn’t a solution to the problem, what is?
    If cops get a tip that a minor has a gun in a house but it’s not enough for a warrant, should they ignore that? I don’t think that anyone here, myself included, would want to see the threshold needed to grant a warrant lowered, so what do they do, nothing? Wait until the kid commits a crime with that gun? That may be comforting to one’s principles but as a practical matter, it’s not so comforting to the victim on the wrong side of the gun.
    From the perspective of my nice quiet neghborhood, this program looks stupid. And it would be for my community. In my younger days I lived in some shitty neighborhoods though, and I can see how something like this program could be a good thing. I wish that wasn’t the case, but you need to look at the world as it is, and not strictly from principle.

  13. Skyler says:

    Dave E,
    You’re right and from their stated context and intent it would appear at the least reasonable.
    However, I find their concern for these poor parents to be a bit disingenuous.

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