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It has come to my attention as of late that Federal, State, and municipal law enforcement officers and county sheriffs and marshals are using Homeland Security guidelines to suspend and violate the US Constitutional and State Constitutional Rights especially of the homeless.  When I use the term homeless I am not referring to illegal aliens. I am referring to US citizens who were, at one time, residents in various States. The State Constitutions are provided for by the US Constitution as specified in the following quote …

The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, provides that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The Guarantee Clause of Article 4 of the Constitution states that “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.” These two provisions give states the wide latitude to adopt a constitution, the fundamental documents of state law.”

Please note the phrase in the quote “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  Please focus on the caveat at the end of the quote “, or to the people.” This is of extreme importance when understanding  the premise for forming the United States under “The Declaration of Independence“. The Declaration of Independence begins with the first paragraph …

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

The formation of a new government was justified in the next paragraph …

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Now “The Declaration of Independence” is not the law of the land but it has been referred to our Nation’s foundation for the Nation’s justification for existing. “The Constitution of the United States of America” is not justification for the formation of a National government but instead is a living and breathing document for the rule of law, with equality and justice, as protected and limited by the will of the people! This is explained in the following quote from “The Declaration of Independence” …

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

This brings us to the plight of the homeless. Since most of the homeless are US Citizens and former residents of States, Territories, and Common Wealth(s) have rights under the Constitution of the United States. The US Constitution begins with the following paragraph …

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

This introductory paragraph of the US Constitution states the ultimate objectives of the US Constitution Articles, Bill of Rights, and Amendments. However, recent guidelines released to Federal, State, County, and Municipal law enforcement agencies by Homeland Security have outlined particular behaviors that threaten the National Security of the United States. These Guidelines were posted …

On January 31, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security’s Behavioral Science Division pointed to the following as indicators of potential terrorism (please note – as you review the list – that some indicators are conservative, some are liberal and some are bipartisan):

  • “Reverent of individual liberty”
  • “Anti-nuclear”
  • “Believe in conspiracy theories”
  • “A belief that one’s personal and/or national “way of life” is under attack”
  • “Impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists)”
  • “Insert religion into the political sphere”
  • “Those who seek to politicize religion”
  • “Supported political movements for autonomy”
  • “Anti-abortion”
  • “Anti-Catholic”
  • “Anti-global”
  • “Suspicious of centralized federal authority”
  • “Fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)”
  • “A belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in … survivalism”

Given that most Americans fall into one or more of these categories, the powers-that-be can brand virtually anyone they dislike as being a terrorist.

Indeed, judges and prosecutors discuss conspiracies every day, and federal and all 50 state’s codes include specific statutes addressing conspiracy, and specifying punishment for people who commit conspiracies. (But surely judges, prosecutors and legislators are not terrorists.)

And Public Intelligence notes:

A flyer from a series created by the FBI and Department of Justice to promote suspicious activity reporting states that espousing conspiracy theories or anti-US rhetoric should be considered a potential indicator of terrorist activity. The document, part of a collection published yesterday by Public Intelligence, indicates that individuals who discuss “conspiracy theories about Westerners” or display “fury at the West for reasons ranging from personal problems to global policies of the U.S.” are to be considered as potentially engaging in terrorist activity. For an example of the kinds of conspiracy theories that are to be considered suspicious, the flyer specifically lists the belief that the “CIA arranged for 9/11 to legitimize the invasion of foreign lands.”

Law enforcement has used this as a premise for homeless people roundups for suspicion of being public nuisances; urban blight; suspicion of burglary and shoplifting; suspicion of drug abuse and dealing; alcoholism; under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs; mental disorders; squatters on public, private, and government properties; building disease ridden shanty villages; free-loading; panhandling; lewd and harassing behavior; abusing church or religious care institutions for shelter and feeding of the poor; and community undesirables.

Most of these law enforcement sweeps and roundups have violated homeless citizen rights under the US Constitution. In the United States, the civil liberties are guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the religious civil rights. Whereas the First Amendment secures the free exercise of religion, section one of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination, including on the basis of religion, by securing “the equal protection of the laws” for every person:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution preserves the following rights …

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution preserves the following rights …
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
The Eight Amendment to the United States Constitution preserves the following rights …
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
These civil rights should be protecting the homeless from shanty village sweeps destroying, confiscating, and dumping belongings without due process. The homeless should be protected from roundups, held in custody, and busing to relocation areas without due process. As well as, sweeps and expulsion from church services for the poor for sheltering and feeding during any religious services especially from Friday night to Saturday night and on Sundays during the Jewish and Christian Sabbaths.

One Comment

  1. The Declaration of Independence is the primary catch-all “exception” clause for individual freedoms under the Bill of Rights and Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. In addition “quotes” of the Founding Fathers provide further catch-all “exceptions” for individual freedoms under the Constitution of the United States. The Founding Fathers included, but were not limited to, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson (primary author of The Declaration of Independence), James Madison (father of the Constitution of the United States), Thomas Paine, and George Washington.

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  1. […] 2012 – Year of the Suspension of Civil Rights for the Homeless ( […]

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