Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.
The issue was whether a jail’s blanket policy of strip searches for all suspects arrested is constitutional. Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Roberts, Alito, and Thomas must believe that public safety always trumps personal privacy. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, that strip searches improperly “subject those arrested for minor offenses to serious invasions of their personal privacy.”
First, I am not anti-cop. Most law enforcement personnel are decent men and women whose goal is to make it to end of their shift alive. Too many of them don’t. In arrests involving drugs, weapons, or someone who is suspected of major crimes, strip searches on incarceration make sense. My problem is that the majority opinion in this case removes an important protection against unreasonable searches from those of us who habitually uphold the law.
Nor am I anti-nudity. I write highly sensual romances. My characters get naked. The point is, they get naked when they want to, unless they are being threatened by the bad guy. Rape in main-stream romance went out years ago, because like in real life, a good romance heroine knows when she’s being abused.
The choice to remove clothes is highly personal. When that choice is taken away and one is forced to strip, it is humiliating and degrading. In fact, before your collective brain fart on Monday, forcing someone to take their clothes off was considered a form of sexual harassment. Now, it it’s what? Our tax dollars at work?
I am decidedly anti-people-touching-or-looking-at-me-without-my-permission. I’ve been this way ever since my 8th grade science teacher pinched my ass in front of the entire class. Everyone else thought this was hysterically funny, but my first impulse (regrettably, one I didn’t give in to) was to break the jerk’s pointer across his face. Let’s just say I’m still mad.
The TSA’s policy of public gropage in the name of security is bad enough. It seriously squicks me out six ways from Sunday. I am going to have to fly somewhere eventually, but I dread strangers touching zones that should be reserved for my husband in the privacy of our home. I’d rather go through the pornoscanner. Or even strip down to my skivvies in line if it will keep people I don’t know from handling body parts about which I am highly territorial.
It’s not that I’d feel any less humiliated, it’s simply a matter of which revolting experience gave me more control in the long run. Being forced to strip by someone carrying a weapon, even another female, makes my blood run cold. In the ‘someone is going to pay for this’ way. And that would be unfair to both parties in this scenario. I shouldn’t be forced to remove my clothes for something as trivial as a bench warrant or unpaid fine, and she shouldn’t have to force me to do so.
What’s next? Are we going to change the national anthem from ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ to ‘Bow chika bow bow’? Come on, Kennedy & Co. You are all judicial scholars and you can do better. The decision you handed down Monday is wrong, just as Dred Scott v. Sandford and Plessy v. Ferguson were wrong. Man up and fix it.
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.