Congrats Gavin Seim! Winner of The Checkpoint Contest

On March 4th we announced The Checkpoint Contest, which solicited content that best demystifies checkpoints and educates others about their rights should they encounter one themselves.

When the deadline passed on April 8th we had received nine entries, which were judged by Terry Bressi (on behalf of Checkpoint USA), Ian Freeman (on behalf of Liberty Radio Network) and myself (on behalf of Cop Block). We all agreed – Gavin Seim’s submission best addressed the contest criteria. For his efforts, Seim will be sent the Veho Muvi Gumball 3000 HD videocamera.

Seim, a self-described “portraitist, pictorialist, and wrriter” who left with his family from Washington to go on a road trip, recorded his interaction with employees at an internal checkpoint. You can connect with Seim via: http://f164.comhttp://twitter.com/gavinseim – http://seimstudios.comhttp://lightletter.com

Al entries received are posted below, in order of the average rank earned by the judges.

checkpoint-contest-ranking-copblock-lrn-checkpointusa

Seven of the nine entries received involved a video submission. Those videos are included on the Checkpoint Contest 2013 playlist below, which begins with “The Checkpoint Contest in One Minute” video:

_________________________________________

Gavin Seim

#1 with an average ranking of 1.00

Input from the judges:

  • Terry: My top choice
  • Ian: Epic family standing up for freedom!  Who says you can’t take a risk with kids?! Dude jumps right in and takes control of the situation. Hilarious facial and verbal response from the first agent. He didn’t get personal against the guard like my previous choice for winner. Points off for being for border checkpoints. Still the best video. Props for advocating risk-taking at the end.
  • Pete: Excellent video. Framed the situation before reaching the checkpoint, made it clear through calm, confident conversation that he wasn’t going to unthinkingly comply, made it clear to viewers the importance to stand-up now against claimed right transgressions. Having the family along was a bonus.

Text from the original video description:

We are being stopped at an in inland checkpoint near Alamogordo New Mexico. This is not a border crossing of ANY kind – http://twitter.com/gavinseimhttp://seimstudios.com

I also posted the video to FB.. http://on.fb.me/10LJweX and Vimeo… http://vimeo.com/63508451 in case it gets removed from here.

I am traveling the US with my family on a three month road trip (http://bit.ly/Wu2Gq0). I value your freedom and mine and I’ve had enough of the tyranny – Maybe I’ll run for Congress next year. I’m not joking, I am fed up.

We must stand for freedom, else we WILL lose it. More about this stop on our blog as well as alternate video sources… http://bit.ly/122V8O5

___

The 4th amendment of the US Constitution protects us from stops like this. While the Supreme Court ignored the Constitution in regards to these checkpoints (see United States v. Martinez-Fuerte) that does not mean we have to comply and certainly does not mean they can detain us without cause.

Interestingly the courts acknowledged that this was an infringement on Constitutional freedom, but decided that the benefits outweighed the infringement. In my option this was tant amount to treason as they admitted that this was a violation bit allowed it anyways.

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” – Benjamin Franklin.

YES, we can say NO to tyranny. I refuse to answer questions from federal agents when I am being stopped without cause. Border Patrol Checkpoint. Guns for hire on HWY 70 E, near Alamogordo New Mexico.

Free nations don’t have arbitrary check points.

Note that after submitting the video above, Seim shared the text below – feel free to run with it if you’re so-inclined:

Checkpoint Run: Peaceful protest in defense of freedom.

The idea is to stand for freedom. All over the Southwest are suspicionless checkpoints run by the Department of Homeland Security and the Border Patrol that that stop and detain free citizens as they travel public roads. Vehicles are forced to stop and questions are presented about citizenship status and destinations and the like.

These are not border crossings, but in;and checkpoint that are placed within 100 miles of the US border. Those that refuse to answer questions are often let go after being detained for a short time. Others have been subjected to arrest and even assault by Border patrol agents.

These checkpoint violate the 4th amendment of the constitution.

The premise of this peaceful protest is not that our borders should not be protected, but that that American freedom must be equally protected. Border protection should happen at borders, not at inland check pings that illegally detain citizens in Nazi style checkpoints.

The protest involves a convoy of participant vehicles. Each driver participating in the convoy will be aware of the plan and messages will be sent out as texts by convoy leaders. The goal is for a convoy to contain 100-2000 vehicles.

Convoys will approach the checkpoint at legal speeds, but will refuse to stop, passing through the checkpoint without being stopped. Cars will not stop or engage in aggressive behavior.

In the event that roadblocks are setup by the DHS or aggressive force is used to stop vehicles, the convoy will avoid violence. In such a case vehicles will arrive and pull up 4-6 abreast across the road in question, following by the next vehicles which will do the same and created a road block themselves. Protestors will stay in vehicles, but refuse to move, blocking the entire road until they are allowed to pass through the checkpoint without being stopped. This act should prevent an outbreak of violence, smashing roadblocks etc.

The event will be filmed and an official video made to promote the idea that Americans can travel freely on their roads without being stopped for no reason.

_________________________________________

Todd Bullis

#2 with an average ranking of 3.66

Input from the judges:

  • Terry: An example of successfully exercising one’s rights while being seized. Went over the top with some aspects of the video that could serve to turn folks off more than inspire, specifically his comment regarding the agent’s appearance.
  • Ian: Good video – good audio, good questions to bureaucrats and even turns it around on them! I also share Pete’s concern with Todd getting personal with the agent’s appearance – he had the high ground until that point.
  • Pete: Solid back-and-forth. Dude was calm, asked good questions (poised questions he was asked to those who asked), successful, encouraged viewer to stand-up. I didn’t care for the one statement when the driver told the person with a badge that he didn’t look like an “American citizen.”

_________________________________________

The Illuminator

#3 with an average ranking of 4.33

Input from the judges:

  • Terry: Thomas Kempton: Great video/satire, little to no content related to individual rights, state of the law, resources to use, etc.
  • Ian: creative, a little slow, funny, doesn’t really educate about rights
  • Pete: Well put-together. Paints dystopian scenario – could benefit from transferring opposition to what was shown to a call to action at end.

_________________________________________

Alex Hepler

#4 (tie) with an average ranking of 4.66

Input from the judges:

  • Terry: A good general resource and a great example of how one geographic region (Northern Washington State) completely shutdown BP checkpoints in their area using a combination of individual rights and the political process to draw attention to the problem.
  • Ian: too bored to finish – just lots of links
  • Pete: Thorough overview and shows impact had by folks speaking-out. Tension and between “state law” and “federal law” underscores arbitrariness. Some solutions advocated (“Take Action!”) on site pointed-to is inside the system. A summary of lessons-learned could have been a nice wrap-up.

Checkpoint Contest- Olympic Peninsula

Contest specifics:

Checkpoint Content Contest – Win HD Videocamera!

My entry:

Washington’s Olympic Peninsula-

State and local law enforcement agencies do not conduct suspicionless checkpoints in Washington State. Check your state here:

Sobriety Checkpoint Laws

Washington became a medical marijuana state in 1998.

View medical marijuana states here:

18 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC

In 2008, the US Border Patrol came to Jefferson County, WA and set up suspicionless checkpoints and bus boardings- away from border crossings and ports of entry.

Local people didn’t want the checkpoints & they were shut down.

Border Patrol checks buses every day; will it resume highway checkpoints?

At a checkpoint- the US Border Patrol stopped a legal medical marijuana user with a legal amount of medical marijuana. He was a passenger in a car:

Small-scale pot busts snared in Border Patrol stops

Lois Danks founded Stop the Checkpoints and organized local protests.

US Border Patrol states the case:

“Federal law allows the border patrol to conduct the checkpoints and stop and talk with any motorist and passenger of any vehicle, said Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Joseph Giuliano.”

“No cause is needed to converse with anyone in the car,” Giuliano said. “Zero, zilch.”

A month later:

We are told the #1 US Border Patrol objective is to stop terrorists.

The US Border Patrol explains this objective at a local public forum- this YouTube video covers Border Patrol objectives at 3:50

At that same forum a lady asked:

“What is the penalty for not identifying oneself to federal agents at an internal, suspicionless checkpoint?”

US Border Patrol said they would call in the Sheriff when a person refused to identify themselves.

Sheriff says they will not respond to a non-emergency situation involving a person peaceably refusing to interact with federal agents.

Question about providing ID is at 0:35

Checkpoints ended here in 2008- possibly due to well-informed citizens and local protests. Looks like they weren’t vital to national security after all.

War on Terror- credibility squandered:

Charges Dropped Against Pot Patient in Possession at Checkpoint

Is there any other location in the US- where the Border Patrol has staged checkpoints- then later abandoned the idea?

Domestic ferry runs at Anacortes, WA. is one other example:

Ferry security checks roil islanders

“A ferry from Friday Harbor on San Juan Island to Anacortes, a town on the coast, follows a domestic route — it never leaves U.S. waters. Yet, when it arrives in Anacortes, there’s a chance that passengers will be greeted by the Border Patrol.”

More here

2009-

Jefferson County Sheriff refuses federal grant money:

Border Patrol criticism emerges: Sheriff Brasfield declines BP funding

Federal marijuana cases to be referred to state & local authorities (01:16)

Surprised protesters see first-hand operations of Border Patrol at Peninsula bus stop

Suprised protesters?

No- the protest was planned according to the bus schedule- the idea was to be on site when the Border Patrol arrived.

Suspicionless bus boardings ended in November, 2011.

ACLU-WA

ACLU-WA OPPOSES BORDER PATROL’S “CONSTITUTION-FREE ZONE”

SUSPICIONLESS CHECKPOINTS VIOLATE RIGHTS

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AT FERRY CHECKPOINTS

New talk of bringing DUI checkpoints to Washington State:

Sobriety checkpoints are not the answer

Elsewhere in the US-

Jacob G. Hornberger

“…the check point is inside the United States—40 miles or so inside the United States.”

DUI checkpoint videos:

How to handle DUI Checkpoints – REMAIN SILENT

Las Vegas DUI Checkpoint 05/01/2010 1of2

Related-

Federal Policy No Longer Enforced at the Local Level?

Video collection- DHS checkpoints

NMA Position On Roadblocks

Olympic Peninsula Border Patrol-

News tip/story idea

Fact Checking- Port Angeles Border Patrol

A series of setbacks- Port Angeles Border Patrol

Secret arrest statistics are un-American

A Very Effective Information Suppression Campaign

Discuss on facebook

Olympic Peninsula Border Patrol timeline here.

Possibly of interest:

The Garage Sale Incident

_________________________________________

Robert Trudell

#4 (tie) with an average ranking of 4.66

Input from the judges:

  • Terry: While parts of the video were silly, it was a good example of the use of technology at checkpoints to assist folks with exercising their rights as they see fit.
  • Ian: great video quality, interesting with the changing appearance, doesn’t really educate about rights
  • Pete: Creative. Funny. Intro and a few other scenes too long. Lots of footage – angles, scenes, etc., so clear time was put-into entry.

_________________________________________

Jeff Gray

#4 (tie) with an average ranking of 4.66

Input from the judges:

  • Terry: Good activism & a good example of the inherent hypocrisy of checkpoints but weak on the state of the law and individual rights at checkpoints.
  • Ian: used copblock logo, entertaining, stood up for his rights, but ultimately doesn’t address checkpoints, got me to subscribe to his channel 8
  • Pete: Excellent process showing objective, content collection process, effectively handing of police interactions, double-standards. Liked the idea of a pointing-out double-standards. However, not focused on checkpoints specifically.

Citizen SEATBELT Checkpoint…Buckle Up LEO’s!

I wanted to enter the checkpoint content contest and make my mark by doing something original and radical. I decided to set up a citizen seatbelt checkpoint of my own, on the cops. The Florida Highway Patrol has issued tens of thousands of seatbelt tickets since the revenue Whores in Tallahassee decided to pass the so called Tori Slosberg and Kate Marchetti Safety Belt Law on June 30th 2009.Of course the politicians sold the bill as a public safety initiative. They even named the bill in memory of two teens (Marchetti and Slosberg)  killed in separate traffic accidents while not wearing their seatbelts.

Of course any body with any sense knows what the seatbelt law is all about……FOLLOW THE MONEY! Also we all know the double standards of LEO’s who do not wear seatbelts themselves yet issue thousands of tickets to citizens not wearing them. I wanted to document this double standard on video so I headed down to FHP Troop G’s headquarters in Jacksonville Florida to catch Troopers not buckeling up!

I also documented Saint Johns County Florida Deputies not wearing their seatbelts.

I had fun shooting these videos and I hope to inspire others to do the same!

Thanks and God Bless,

HonorYourOath

_________________________________________

Darryl W. Perry

#7 with an average ranking of 5.66

Input from the judges:

  • Terry: Decent video but similar to Thomas Kempton’s entry, little to no content regarding rights, legal analysis, etc.
  • Ian: entertaining but not educative
  • Pete: Funny – proved a point about the ridiculous nature of having to prove something to someone else just because it’s claimed, but didn’t offer proactive steps to erode that claimed authority. That said, laughing can really lessen the fear on which this flawed structure exists.

_________________________________________

Michael Chavez

#8 with an average ranking of 8.00

Input from the judges:

  • Terry: Incorrect legal analysis regarding the lawful authority of agents at checkpoints.
  • Ian: Addresses checkpoints, don’t care for the answers he gives
  • Pete: Great to see a text-based how-to attempted but the information communicated encourages some actions I personally would not recommend (ie answering the questions posed by the person wearing a badge). The overview of liberty section was good to see though I’d personally use another word than “capitalist” and would put-forth that other mindsets between that, communist and fascist exist.

(Users of this material are fully responsible for the results. I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice.)

It’s a simple thing to handle internal border patrol check points, however speaking truth to power can be scary.

SCOTUS held that BP officers have the power to stop you, inquire about your citizenship, and detain you until they determine your citizenship.

That does not mean you are required to respond however a certain response may position you favorably for the encounter and subsequent legal proceedings. Please verify the following with your legal council.

Whatever question the BP (your adversary) initially asks you, respond with “I’m a United states citizen, and I’d like to go on my way now. Am I free to go?”

Theory behind the response:

“I’m a united states citizen,”

By declaring your correct citizenship you satisfy the pretense for the stop and establish your power to invoke the law.

“I’d like to go on my way now, am I free to go.”

You are erasing the pretense that this could be a voluntary encounter, and the officer must formally detain you for the stop to continue.

BP: “Howdy sir, is this your car?”

You: “I’m a united states citizen, and I’d like to go on my way now. Am I free to go?”

If further requests for information are made, simply state your citizenship, invoke the appropriate right, (I don’t consent to searches, I don’t consent to seizures, I don’t wish to answer that question, I would like an attorney, etc…) and ask to go on your way.

BP: “Please pop your trunk for me.”

You: “I’m a united states citizen and I don’t consent to searches. I’d like to go on my way now, am i free to go?”

Remember they have the guns but you have the law and the camera!

You are dealing with a para-military force who’s members rationalize their 80k salaries by believing they are saving the world from…you.

They have the power to lie to you and harm you with impunity. Make sure to object to all of their orders but ultimately obey them – Comply but don’t consent. Otherwise they’ll have no problem tazing, beating, or ending you.

By declaring your citizenship and invoking the law on camera, you may have the strongest position available.

———–

As an aside:

Some helpful responses I’ve used to combat their rhetorical banter/ fishing expedition questions:

BP: “What do you have to hide?”
You: “My right to privacy.”

BP: “Where did you come from?”
You: “Within the united states.”

BP: “Where are you going?”
You: “Within the united states.”

BP: “Who do you work for?”
You: “I don’t work for you.”

BP: “Your behavior is highly suspicious. I stop people all day and none of them do this…”
You: “Invoking my constitutional rights is suspicious?.. If I’m the only one, then that makes me extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, or remarkable, not suspicious”

———–

The Logical Proof for Rightful Individual Liberty: by Michael Chavez

  • The primary law that naturally governs the behavior of all individuals in all societies is: do not harm another.
  • Society is an association of individuals where one exchanges or combines one’s resources with another in order to fulfill each one’s desires.
  • All behavior that directly and proximately harms another is naturally forbidden by society.
  • All behavior that does not directly and proximately harm another is naturally permitted by society.
  • The only moral use of violence is to defend against those who initiate harm against another.

Therefore:

The rightful liberty of the individual is unobstructed action according to the individual’s will…limited only by the direct and proximate harming of another.

  • Thought, inspiration and innovations come only to the individual.
  • The individual is the only means by which hidden potential can be made real; by which the unmanifest is made manifest.
  • Totally unique in one’s ability to take in, prioritize and process information, each individual is irreplaceable.
  • The individual is responsible for his actions because it is his will alone that animates him.
  • The individual is able to evaluate the affects his behavior will have on his interests faster and with greater accuracy than any outside entity.
  • Groups are composed of individuals in communication with one another, each building upon one another’s individual attainments.
  • A voluntary society is one where every association and exchange occurs on a voluntary basis.
  • Once an individual is stolen from, killed, repressed or otherwise silenced, his contribution through exchange and charity is lost, and a precedent is set for other individuals to be likewise harmed.

While the individual has this critical importance, he is only one, making him easy prey for institutionalized robbers and slavers to steal his essence.

The one attribute which distinguishes government from any individual or organization found in society is that government asserts the power to harm with impunity. It is sustained by society’s belief that this power is legitimate and beneficial.

  • Governmental power is the undelegated power to harm others with impunity.
  • Government is not exercising delegated authority when it moves against individuals who are not harming others, because no individual which composes society or government possesses such authority.
  • Governmental power is not derived from consent because any power derived from consent is extinguished when consent is withdrawn.
  • Government is the prevailing militant entity that occupies society in order to control and extract society’s wealth.
  • Government confiscates property from unwilling individuals and is not obligated to provide any services in return.
  • Government is not law, services, or infrastructure. Government merely pays for these things with confiscated wealth in order to garner dependence, obedience, and loyalty.
  • Governments compete and cooperate with each other for resources, and they consider societies to be a resource.
  • Government charters corporations and clothes them with limited liability protection (which is a degree of the government’s ability to harm with impunity.)
  • Government argues the free market is too strict and therefor it must shield companies from liability and legalize harm so the economy can operate smoothly and innovations can be brought to society.
  • Licensing and regulations are designed to increase the market share for those who can/will comply by harming those who are unable/unwilling to comply (both buyer and seller).
  • When a capitalist uses government power he ceases to be a capitalist and becomes either a fascist or a communist.

A Free Society Has The Strictest Regulations Because All Who Initiate Harm Are Fully Liable.

A free people do not have a group of rulers; they have a judicial system which they may use to settle disputes in an orderly and civilized manner.

We, as individuals, have an interest in forever limiting the harm all organizations may cause.

The most practical solution is to zero out the demand for governmental power by innovating real-world alternatives.

The least practical solution is to restrict all governments by constitution to the primary law:

1. All individuals and groups including all branches of all governments are forever forbidden from initiating violence or otherwise harming another by any means.
2. The only moral and lawful use of violence is to defend against individuals, groups and governments who violate the above.
3. There are no exceptions to one and two.

_________________________________________

Vito Rispo

#9 with an average ranking of 8.33

Input from the judges:

  • Terry: Incorrect legal analysis of the lawful authority of agents at checkpoints and the scope of the 100 air-mile “Constitution Free Zone”
  • Ian: link to old, inaccurate story
  • Pete: Overview of inland checkpoint placement and rationale cited. Not too optimistic of a tone – more accepting than working to delegitimize or educate on proactive steps. Five years old.

http://www.ridelust.com/papers-please-23rds-of-us-population-lives-in-constitution-free-zone/

constitution-free-zone-inland-checkpoint-aclu-copblock

“Who will govern the governors? There is only one force in the nation that can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves. They alone, if well informed, are capable of preventing the corruption of power, and of restoring the nation to its rightful course if it should go astray. They alone are the safest depository of the ultimate powers of government”
– Thomas Jefferson

As you may or may not be aware, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution contains an exception to the unreasonable search and seizure laws. It allows invasive searches at border checkpoints that wouldn’t be allowed anywhere else. It’s always been that way…but here comes the scary part: federal statute 8 CFR 287.1 (a)(1-3) defines the border zone as actually encompassing an area within 100 miles inland of the actual border, with the possibility of extending it further under certain circumstances. This zone has become known as the “Constitution-Free Zone”

Ok, you’re thinking, “100 miles, that’s not that bad… the US is a big country, we have plenty of space, right?” Wrong. That 100 mile extension puts nine of the top 10 largest metropolitan areas completely inside the Constitution-Free Zone. More than that, 12 states are completely within the zone: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. In California, 99.73% of all residents are living in the Constitution-Free Zone; more than that, 2/3rds of all US citizens are living in the zone, and at any time they can be deprived of their Constitutional rights.

What this means for you

The border patrol or Homeland Security can set up random checkpoints anywhere within this Constitution-Free Zone and ask drivers for their passports and paperwork, and search their cars without consent. And there is no law stopping them. How this slipped past the mainstream media, I will never know. But this is, quite possibly, the worst affront to the liberties of US citizens that anyone alive today has yet seen.

The ACLU has been collecting reports of these random “border” checkpoints, and it’s pretty scary. I’ve posted a video at the bottom of this page with information from some actual victims of assault from these checkpoints.

The law is already in place, so this isn’t a matter of calling your representative and asking that they not vote for it. It’s already there. And if we have learned anything from the history of government, it’s that they will constantly push for greater power. This 100 miles inland is only the start, they’ll push for 100% inland, and the Constitution will be meaningless, and no one will care. After reading most of the comments left on our recent article about your rights during a traffic stop, I fear that most people will willingly give up their rights at these checkpoints. It’s a sad state of affairs when the once land of the free and home of the brave has become a nation of fear, with citizens who enthusiastically give up their liberty for a false sense of security.

This country needs to grow a set of balls again. There are too many people who berate the few who question authority. There is too much apathy in the face of aggressive authority. There has to come a time where you say “This is not acceptable”. If not now, then when? At what point do you stop blindly allowing your own government to invade your life? Suspicionless searches of your car at random checkpoints? Constitution-Free zones? That is NOT what America is about. There must be some point that you will say “Stop, I will no longer comply”. If you don’t decide now, you’ll keep adapting and keep saying it’s alright, and keep playing along as things get worse. Draw your personal line now, because we’re heading in a very bad direction, and before you know it, that line may pass you by.


(via ACLU Constitution Free Zone Info)

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Pete Eyre

Pete Eyre is co-founder of CopBlock.org. As an advocate of peaceful, consensual interactions, he seeks to inject a message of complete liberty and self-government into the conversation of police accountability. Eyre went to undergrad and grad school for law enforcement, then spent time in DC as an intern at the Cato Institute, a Koch Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, Directer of Campus Outreach at the Institute for Humane Studies, Crasher-in-Chief at Bureaucrash, and as a contractor for the Future of Freedom Foundation. In 2009 he left the belly of the beast and hit the road with Motorhome Diaries and later co-founded Liberty On Tour. He spent time in New Hampshire home, and was involved with Free Keene, the Free State Project and The Daily Decrypt.