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Boat owners say they were fearful during Coast Guard search
The Monterey Herald ^ | September 18, 2005 | VIRGINIA HENNESSEY

Posted on 09/22/2005 2:42:37 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Two of the Moss Landing Harbor residents who were the subjects of random boat searches during Labor Day Weekend say their experiences were closer to armed invasions than the friendly "safety inspections" characterized by U.S. Coast Guard officials.

Both residents said search crews entered the harbor in inflatable boats with machine guns mounted on their bows. Then, carrying M-16 rifles, they approached residents and boarded and searched their boats in the name of safety and "homeland security."

One resident, who asked not to be identified for fear or retribution, said his experience was "very intimidating, very frightening."

"To me it reeks of Nazi Germany and the death squads in Argentina," he said. "I don't want my name on their list."

Scott Jones, a live-aboard resident who was searched, said there has been talk in the harbor about contacting the American Civil Liberties Union, but he first wants to hear further from the Coast Guard about its future intentions.

Lt. Mark Warren of the Monterey Coast Guard Station said he has heard mostly positive response to the operation, but may rethink future actions given current criticisms.

"We take lessons and learn from these types of operations. If the public is genuinely distasteful of it, we might not do it," he said. "I'm not saying we won't, but I'm not saying we will."

In addition to trying to ensure the safety of boats on the bay during the holiday weekend, Warren said, the operation was part of an effort to increase the public's awareness of the Coast Guard's role as a law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security. He said the public might have been surprised to see weaponry that is now standard issue to all Homeland Security forces.

"I, as a U.S. citizen, am highly offended by that," said Jones, who is accustomed to Coast Guard boardings when he sails. "When a sheriff's deputy drives down the road or a CHP officer drives down the road and I see them, I'm aware of his job, and not because he's pulled me over and put a gun to my head.

"The Coast Guard's needs would be better served by an advertising campaign," he said, "rather than bullying people in their bedrooms at 10:30 at night."

Jones said he and his wife were sleeping when they were awakened by knocking on the side of the boat.

He went to the deck and was confronted by two armed officers asking if they could come aboard. Thinking something had happened in the harbor that the officers needed to talk to him about, Jones acquiesced.

"It seemed a little unreasonable at 10:30 at night," he said, "but it was the middle of the night and I was half asleep, so I said 'OK.' At this point, I looked out and saw six to eight officers (on the dock) and all appeared armed."

The officers boarded his boat and quickly spread out beyond the immediate deck without invitation, saying they were conducting a safety inspection.

"I can say with all certainly that what they did was not a safety inspection or in any way related to a safety inspection," he said. The officers demanded access to the bilge, saying they wanted to make sure the boat wasn't taking on water.

"This was highly suspect," Jones said. "If you're on board, you'd know if you were taking on water."

When Jones showed them the bilge, the officers repeatedly, and with increasing forcefulness, demanded to know if there were other accesses to the bilge. They also "demanded" the driver's licenses of everyone on board.

Increasingly upset by the nature of the search, Jones asked for the officers' authority and justification. One officer read to him from a federal code authorizing the search.

"It was either the Patriot Act or homeland security,"Jones said.

Warren said the officers would not have cited the Patriot Act because it affords the Coast Guard no additional authority.

Jones conceded he may have heard "homeland security" and registered "Patriot Act," but still feels the search was unwarranted and in a gray area of the law at best.

"I wouldn't question their professionalism, but I do question their motive and their authority," he said. "To me, it sounds like something that an ACLU lawyer would just tear apart."

Coast Guard officials say they are authorized by maritime law to board and search vessels on U.S. waters, including waters that lead to U.S. waters, to enforce federal laws.

Warren said the officers were attempting to ensure the safety and compliance of docked boats by checking for oily water in their bilges and that their sanitation devices were in locked position. Some searches were conducted at night in an effort to catch boats before they went onto the bay for the weekend.

The second boat owner who spoke to The Herald said his boat was searched after he challenged officers who were searching other boats, at 10:30 p.m. Sept. 2, and during the morning on following days. Told they were acting as Homeland Security officers, he asked what they were protecting the harbor from.

"Terrorists," he said he was told by the officers, who exhorted him to "remember the Cole," referring to the October 2000 attack by terrorists on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors.

"The only terrorists down here are you guys," he told them. "You're scaring the hell out of me with that machine gun."

While Warren was noncommittal about future searches, he said it is important for the public to know the Coast Guard's presence will be increased.

"The Coast Guard's focus on homeland security has increased our presence on the water and will continue to increase our presence simply because that's what Congress is wanting us to do right now," he said. "The concern at the congressional level about the security of ports is pretty high."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 4a; 4thamendment; aclu; armedinvasions; boatdwellers; coastguard; donutwatch; druggielibs; fourthamendment; gwot; homelandsecurity; inspections; jackbootedthugs; jackboots; law; libertariansridiots; mosslanding; nazis; newworldorder; patriotact; searches; terrorism; terrorists; threat; trollsgalore; uscg; usscole; wodlist
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To: The_Media_never_lie

"If smugglers come in at midnite they should not be harassed?"

Then it wasn't a "safety check" was it?


101 posted on 09/22/2005 3:36:11 PM PDT by Pessimist
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To: GodBlessUSA
The Coast Guard does not board with other than side arms, unless there is specific intelligence as to a certain area or vessel or a heightened sense of security.

Right. "A heightened sense of security", meaning the War on Terror that even el Presidente has said won't be over for decades.

From the article:

"The second boat owner who spoke to The Herald said his boat was searched after he challenged officers who were searching other boats, at 10:30 p.m. Sept. 2, and during the morning on following days. Told they were acting as Homeland Security officers, he asked what they were protecting the harbor from.

"Terrorists," he said he was told by the officers, who exhorted him to "remember the Cole," referring to the October 2000 attack by terrorists on the USS Cole that killed 17 sailors."

Yup, the Yemeni bombers were in this guy's bilge tank!

102 posted on 09/22/2005 3:36:47 PM PDT by freeeee ("Owning" property in the US just means you have one less landlord.)
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To: Mount Athos

Your papers, NOW!


103 posted on 09/22/2005 3:37:29 PM PDT by Rebelbase (The Mainstream Media is "Stuck on stupid". (Gen. Honore))
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To: FreedomCalls
What's wrong with that?

Suppose for a moment these were the real mccoy smugglers. Would you advise starting the search with the statement "We suspect you of smuggling, and we are going to look for drugs", or the non-confrontational "We would like to perform a safety inspection".

These LE guys would like to see noone get hurt, including themselves.

104 posted on 09/22/2005 3:38:33 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie
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To: tet68
They might as well be the open sea...

Yep, that's what I'm starting to gather. Idealism interferes with my perception of reality. I can see the rationalization, but it seems extremely heavy-handed.
105 posted on 09/22/2005 3:38:53 PM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: freeeee

Do you think that customs officers should have to get a warrant to search someone crossing the border?


106 posted on 09/22/2005 3:39:27 PM PDT by Ramius (Blades for war fighters: http://freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net)
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To: Mount Athos
Isn't it more than a little insane to compare this to death squads in argentina? Such whining!

Family members of the "Coast Guard" should be subject to random searches with loaded machine guns pointed at them. This should take place at random times throughout the night or day. If this treatment is good enough for average citizens, it is good enough for the families. Just chalk it up to sensitivity training for the Homeland Security workers.

107 posted on 09/22/2005 3:40:03 PM PDT by Mark was here (How can they be called "Homeless" if their home is a field?.)
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To: freeeee

"Yup, the Yemeni bombers were in this guy's bilge tank!"

When the owner gets nasty about someone searching his bilge tank, yeah, I'd start wondering if that were the case.

Bottom line: admiralty law applies on navigable waterways, and has ever since the first days of the United States. If you don't like that, then renounce your citizenship and GTFOOMC.


108 posted on 09/22/2005 3:40:08 PM PDT by BeHoldAPaleHorse
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To: Thud
Weapons training includes Military as well as Law Enforcement response. They are not the CowBoys of the Coast.
109 posted on 09/22/2005 3:40:10 PM PDT by GodBlessUSA (US Troops, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You! Prayers said for our Heroes!)
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To: Mount Athos
One more, The County Building Code Enforcement Officer


110 posted on 09/22/2005 3:40:46 PM PDT by Rebelbase (The Mainstream Media is "Stuck on stupid". (Gen. Honore))
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To: Ramius

"Do you think that customs officers should have to get a warrant to search someone crossing the border?"

He may be a Libertarian, who doesn't believe in enforcing the border.

Hell, maybe he has a profitable little sideline in drug and people trafficking.


111 posted on 09/22/2005 3:41:13 PM PDT by BeHoldAPaleHorse
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To: general_re
Oh, well, that would make it okay. No sassing your betters on the water, because they have carte blanche to take revenge upon you for it. Got it.

Why should the boating public (often very wealthy) sass LE officers who must work to earn a living? Don't you believe they should be treated with respect too?

BTW, I would hardly call a safety inspection done respectfully as revenge, would you?

112 posted on 09/22/2005 3:42:00 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

I bought a new boat and we were boarded by the Coast Guard within weeks of purchase. They were armed. We were told in our boating course that the Coast Guard could board and check the vessel for safety vests, flares, fire extinguishes, paperwork and any and all saftey violations.
We opened up our boat for them, we gave them the paperwork and they checked us out. The chances of someone hitting the bay bridge over the Chesapeake or any other bridge is on their mind. I thanked them for their service. One young man told me he seldom heard that from anyone.....they were professional. The water was a bit choppy and the vessels were tied together in open water. The guardsman took care to tie up carefully and protect our new boat with several bumpers. I am glad they are on the job. They have their hands full with nuts and drunks using boats.


113 posted on 09/22/2005 3:42:40 PM PDT by oldironsides
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The post 2000 freepers will see the necessity in this. I mean it is for the children and all.


114 posted on 09/22/2005 3:44:07 PM PDT by Nov3 ("This is the best election night in history." --DNC chair Terry McAuliffe Nov. 2,2004 8p.m.)
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To: Pessimist
Then it wasn't a "safety check" was it?

Probably not.

115 posted on 09/22/2005 3:44:10 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie
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To: Mount Athos

Since Sep 14, 2004

Figures


116 posted on 09/22/2005 3:45:20 PM PDT by Nov3 ("This is the best election night in history." --DNC chair Terry McAuliffe Nov. 2,2004 8p.m.)
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To: aShepard

The waste disposal thing might actually be a federal reg.


117 posted on 09/22/2005 3:46:08 PM PDT by Pessimist
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To: GladesGuru

Yep. Kinda like those BATF Rambo's a few years back down in Waco.

Rather a tough price to pay.


118 posted on 09/22/2005 3:46:55 PM PDT by Pompah
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Hey Tonk...check out this thread..

ping


119 posted on 09/22/2005 3:47:22 PM PDT by MikefromOhio (Hey Fox News, MORE MOLLY, LESS Greta van Talksoutthesideofhermouth)
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To: AdamSelene235
Sure. Howsomever, if Hamilton had had his way the US would have been a monarchy, with Washington as King and Alexander the First as the Heir designate. Hamilton did NOT believe that the people could run their own affairs without the "aid" of their betters....meaning men like himself.
120 posted on 09/22/2005 3:48:18 PM PDT by Rifleman
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To: The_Media_never_lie
Why should the boating public (often very wealthy) sass LE officers who must work to earn a living? Don't you believe they should be treated with respect too?

Should they be treated with respect? Sure. Do you think the Coast Guard should be able to enforce that respect at the point of a gun? No way.

The Coast Guard is here to serve the citizenry, not the other way round. If they are the sorts of folks who can't tolerate free people exercising their right to speak freely, then they are unfit, by definition, for the job they have been assigned, and they neither deserve to wear the uniform nor respect from folks like me.

BTW, I would hardly call a safety inspection done respectfully as revenge, would you?

You offered that as a possible rationale for their actions, not me. Which leads me to suspect that you understand the possibility for abusing a routine "safety inspection" quite well.

121 posted on 09/22/2005 3:48:31 PM PDT by general_re ("Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith, but in doubt." - Reinhold Niebuhr)
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To: MarineBrat
Holy flying balls of dung beetle dung! Another melodramatic wuss gets his sword polished by the MSM!

You just wish you were in NO's kicking in doors, seizing guns and pissing on the Constitution.

122 posted on 09/22/2005 3:49:00 PM PDT by Nov3 ("This is the best election night in history." --DNC chair Terry McAuliffe Nov. 2,2004 8p.m.)
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To: freeeee
This is a bunch bunk. The response by any Coast Guard Boarding officer to the question of, what are you looking for? would be, "Any Violations of Federal Laws or Regulations". The minute a Boarding Officer says, I'm looking for a terrorist or any specific reason, they are limited to only that one function while they are on board the vessel.

I wish I knew the facts of the entire circumstances. I do not believe they are presented in this article.

123 posted on 09/22/2005 3:50:35 PM PDT by GodBlessUSA (US Troops, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You! Prayers said for our Heroes!)
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To: general_re
The Coast Guard is here to serve the citizenry

and you think they don't? Is that right?

124 posted on 09/22/2005 3:50:51 PM PDT by Ramius (Blades for war fighters: http://freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net)
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To: R. Scott
If the random late night searches of floating homes is accepted by The People it will not be long before the law is stretched to include warrantless searches of traditional homes.

Where have you been? They are legal now! It is a brave new world.

125 posted on 09/22/2005 3:50:54 PM PDT by Nov3 ("This is the best election night in history." --DNC chair Terry McAuliffe Nov. 2,2004 8p.m.)
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To: The_Media_never_lie
I have never been concerned about a group of armed LE personnel, day or night.

Even when they cant even read the numbers on a house, and go in the wrong house killing people?

126 posted on 09/22/2005 3:50:59 PM PDT by Mark was here (How can they be called "Homeless" if their home is a field?.)
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To: oldironsides
They have their hands full with nuts and drunks using boats.

Boy Howdy!!!

And the thing most folks don't understand is that virtually anyone has the right (but unfortunately many times not the knowlege or skill) to operate a vessel on the water.

Case in point, I navigated a 50' vessel thru "Deception Pass" in Puget Sound earlier this year.

Now that's a scary thought....

8^)

127 posted on 09/22/2005 3:51:09 PM PDT by The SISU kid (Politicians are like Slinkies. Good for nothing. But you smile when you push them down the stairs)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Was Jones an 80 years old guy in a wheelchair or was he dressed up as a granmar? Otherwise why would his vessel be searched?


128 posted on 09/22/2005 3:53:14 PM PDT by Kokojmudd (Outsource Federal Judiciary and US Senate to India, NOW!)
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To: The_Media_never_lie
I think we may not know the whole story. These guys may have earned a spot on sombody's watch list. Maybe the guy is a smart A and this is payback.

Yeah the jackboots don't like it when their boots aren't properly licked. BTW what do they taste like. You seem to like them.

129 posted on 09/22/2005 3:53:18 PM PDT by Nov3 ("This is the best election night in history." --DNC chair Terry McAuliffe Nov. 2,2004 8p.m.)
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To: Ramius
and you think they don't? Is that right?

I'm sorry - it appears you've misdirected a post to me that was intended for someone else, since I didn't say that.

130 posted on 09/22/2005 3:54:46 PM PDT by general_re ("Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith, but in doubt." - Reinhold Niebuhr)
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To: general_re
Do you think the Coast Guard should be able to enforce that respect at the point of a gun? No way.

I don't think the guns were drawn. The CG regulations require boarding parties to carry weapons. Try enforcing the law without a gun. I wish guns weren't necessary but I believe they are.

The Coast Guard is here to serve the citizenry, not the other way round.

The Coast Guard is here to enforce the law and to protect lives and property. They are not here to be servants of the citizenry.

131 posted on 09/22/2005 3:55:27 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie
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To: Nov3

yeah, just automatically believe that it all went down just as this guy said.

Yeesh.


132 posted on 09/22/2005 3:56:21 PM PDT by Ramius (Blades for war fighters: http://freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net)
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To: GodBlessUSA
We have only heard the statement of the complainant involved with this incident. You would think that if there were a group of coast guardsman doing whats been said there would have been some witnesses to confirm the information. Reading that article I saw only the complainants argument.

These Coast Guard guys will not just barge onto your boat without a valid reason. Maybe they observed suspicious activity or had information regarding that vessal befor they boarded it.

What the complainants doing is the same thing your average Islamic thug would do to deflect blame from himself by saying he was searched in an unreasonable manner and that his feelings were hurt. I say too damn bad. I only hope the coasties keep this up.
133 posted on 09/22/2005 3:57:16 PM PDT by puppypusher
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To: general_re

Sorry. It was in your post. I thought you said it. Nevermind then.


134 posted on 09/22/2005 3:57:32 PM PDT by Ramius (Blades for war fighters: http://freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net)
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To: freeeee
Heightened sense of security.


Meaning, if there are three officers and 10 men aboard the vessel they have to board, they would then, maybe have more than just side arms. Heightened sense of security, meaning their own safety.
135 posted on 09/22/2005 3:58:01 PM PDT by GodBlessUSA (US Troops, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You! Prayers said for our Heroes!)
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To: GodBlessUSA

Gee, maybe we should all refrain from drinking, especially sailors. On holidays. Yeah, that's the root cause problem here. Maybe we should not be smart-alecs to our masters, er, I mean public servants. WHATEVER !


136 posted on 09/22/2005 3:58:03 PM PDT by Jack Black
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To: Nov3
Yeah the jackboots don't like it when their boots aren't properly licked. BTW what do they taste like. You seem to like them.

Yes, I appreciate law enforcement personnel. Those LE officers who do their job well earn my respect. I'll admit it.

You don't like police officers?

137 posted on 09/22/2005 3:58:47 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie
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To: The_Media_never_lie

Idiotic. THEY said it was a safety inspection! Is it OK for the local police to barge into your home and search it if they say they are there to check the fire safety code. NO!

If they are looking for drug dealers they should say they are looking for drug dealers at boarding time. Is that even legal? I doubt it.


138 posted on 09/22/2005 4:00:42 PM PDT by Jack Black
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To: Rifleman

I believe Alex proposed an elected President for life, not a Monarch.


139 posted on 09/22/2005 4:02:11 PM PDT by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: The_Media_never_lie
I don't think the guns were drawn.

Guns drawn or not, "being a smart ass" is not a valid reason for the government to invade the property of its citizens.

The Coast Guard is here to enforce the law and to protect lives and property. They are not here to be servants of the citizenry.

Which they have been empowered to do by you and me - they are not popes or angels, and their power does not originate from God Almighty, but rather from We, The People. And they are only empowered to enforce the law and protect lives and property within the parameters and boundaries that We, The People have set for them. They are most definitely here to serve the citizenry, in the same manner as any other public servant. If they don't care for that thought, then they are again unfit for duty and deserve no respect from the citizenry on whose behalf they toil.

140 posted on 09/22/2005 4:03:15 PM PDT by general_re ("Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith, but in doubt." - Reinhold Niebuhr)
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To: Ramius
Sorry. It was in your post.

I think you just made that up. How dishonest of you.

141 posted on 09/22/2005 4:03:49 PM PDT by general_re ("Frantic orthodoxy is never rooted in faith, but in doubt." - Reinhold Niebuhr)
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To: IYAAYAS

The reason that you feel the Coast Guard are not bound by the Constituion is????


142 posted on 09/22/2005 4:04:26 PM PDT by Jack Black
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To: The SISU kid

Freedom is scary?


143 posted on 09/22/2005 4:05:13 PM PDT by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty," not the "Statue of Security.")
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To: aShepard

You claim is that Admiralty Law trumps the Constitution, eh? Where did you come by this belief?


144 posted on 09/22/2005 4:06:50 PM PDT by Jack Black
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To: The SISU kid
Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

I wonder how well this flew in NOLA

145 posted on 09/22/2005 4:07:21 PM PDT by Centurion2000 (The government seems to be rewarding stupidity lately.)
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To: general_re

Uh... maybe you mean to argue with someone else? I just copied some text out of your #121. If it wasn't yours, fine... I see no reason to extend this quibble?


146 posted on 09/22/2005 4:08:30 PM PDT by Ramius (Blades for war fighters: http://freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net)
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To: puppypusher

People are judging the Coast Guard without knowing the circumstances of the boardings. And some don't even have knowledge of what the Coast Guards training and responsibilities are. Some people on this thread are ready to trash the Coast Guard over two boat owners, who made comments to a newspaper and we don't know of the true circumstances.Sheesh.


147 posted on 09/22/2005 4:08:35 PM PDT by GodBlessUSA (US Troops, past, present and future, God Bless You and Thank You! Prayers said for our Heroes!)
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To: Jack Black; Tolerance Sucks Rocks
"There is probably not anything worthy of national security concerns anywhere in Monterey."

I'm not dismissing what these punks did, but there definately are facilities worthy of concern on Monterey Bay. Let's start with the PG&E generating plant, which is quite vulnerable.

148 posted on 09/22/2005 4:08:52 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Atheist and Fool are synonyms; Evolution is where fools hide from the sunrise)
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To: Mount Athos

A live-aboard boat is a man's home; when docked it should be treated by all LEOs the same as any residence.

I don't believe constitutional protections foresaw such behavior as this.

An official explanation should be forthcoming if this report is correct in its details.

I beginning to think we are about to go over the edge.


149 posted on 09/22/2005 4:09:06 PM PDT by Old Professer (Fix the problem, not the blame!)
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To: general_re
They are most definitely here to serve the citizenry, in the same manner as any other public servant. If they don't care for that thought, then they are again unfit for duty and deserve no respect from the citizenry on whose behalf they toil.

A Coast Guard member's job is to obey orders of the CO, not to delve into philosophy.

Drug smugglers are citizens too. Is it the CGs job to serve them also?

150 posted on 09/22/2005 4:11:05 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie
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