It seems that Helena's mayor James Valley has decided that its gotten too dangerous for the residents of certain neighborhoods to go outside. Therefore, he's ordered that anyone caught outside without a good excuse is to be arrested.
Says Valley, "It's something akin to martial law. It got to the point where somebody was going to get seriously hurt or killed if we didn't do something."
And we can't have people getting hurt or killed now, can we? After all, it's not like that can happen driving back and forth to work, right?
Uhhh...wait a minute...
But seriously, it seems that if the police see you on a public street, they can just toss the Fourth Amendment right out the window, having you and your vehicle searched. 'Cause, you know, only criminals would have any reason to leave their homes. Or maybe they're using the old standby justification of "if you don't have anything to hide, then you have no reason to worry."
Thankfully, the Arkansas branch of the ACLU has jumped on this, sending a letter demanding the curfew be lifted. Valley, however, doesn't seem to take them seriously. Here's one of my favorite quotes in the articles: "I invite them to move in on Second Street and be up all night with people shooting at them. That's my comment to them."
Well, no offense, Jimmy but be careful what you wish for. This is Arkansas, after all. I think the last thing you'd want is a bunch of independently-minded and/or rights-minded people moving into an area where they're likely to be shot at. 'Cause in all honesty, they're more than likely to shoot back. Which is exactly what should be happening in these neighborhoods in my opinion. Nothing like responding gunfire from multiple locations to put the damper on your attempted drive-by.
Hopefully the ACLU will pursue this matter further. I'd be tickled to see a lawsuit or organized civil disobedience. What makes me nervous, however, would be the possibility that the courts would back up the mayor in this matter. It really wouldn't surprise me any more.