Travis Selan: Questioning ordinance |

Travis Selan: Questioning ordinance

Dear editor

I’m sure everyone’s intentions are good and they mean well, but I’m concerned this social host ordinance could mean some problems for all of us, such as questions about private property rights.

Worse yet, it calls into question, and might violate, the Fourth Amendment, which states: the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects; against unreasonable search and seizures shall not be violated and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describe the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

This will set probable cause standards so low they would be able to enter any house. For what? Because they saw some kids run inside, or they observed someone carrying a six pack into a house, or maybe a group of children out in the back yard?

That could be probable cause to enter someone’s home, their private space, look through their things around their house … really?

The fact is, if they see underage drinking in a house they already could get a warrant. This lets it happen with less than probable cause and with no more than suspicion.

After all, what does an underage drinker look like? How would you know?

Maybe we should make them wear their age on their shirt, or maybe a tattoo for ID. That way we could see if they were underage.

Please don’t think I’m condoning teen drinking. I have a teenager, and I don’t want to see her hurt by or from drinking, but I also don’t want to see her apartment door kicked open and searched without a good reason and proof of wrongdoing.

I don’t want her to believe that search without probable cause is OK, either.

Which is the bigger danger to the society? It doesn’t take much to see how this could be abused and/or manipulated for other uses.

I’m curious to know what the American Civil Liberties Union will say?

The best of intentions sometimes have unforeseen dangers, and for a law that Mr. Beck and Mr. Bilodeau don’t think will be used very often, I would ask they reconsider what the downside could be, and who you are really helping.

This is the way I see it.

Travis Selan

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