Skip to comments."The Checkpoint: New Fiction from the War on Domestic Terrorism"
Posted on 03/06/2002 11:01:20 PM PST by Travis McGee
Brad and Ranya finished driving over the five mile I-664 James River Bridge-Tunnel from Newport News and crossed back onto the land on the northern tip of Suffolk County Virginia at a little past four pm. In a few minutes theyd be back at the Portsmouth boatyard where theyd left her Yamaha, and Ranya still hadnt decided yet if she was going back to her dismal one bedroom apartment hideout in East Oceanview, or if she was going to take Brad up on his offer to spend another night aboard his sailboat Guajira anchored out on the creek up in Poquoson. She felt her discipline draining away, her sense of mission receding. What future could she have with Brad? What was the point? He was leaving. Shed given herself willingly to a man who she knew was leaving.
But what harm could there be in spending a few days with him? If he helped her to find George, who knows, perhaps after that shed give up the chase and sail down to the islands with him, which was probably the smart thing to do anyway. Sooner or later the FBI might pick up her trail; as careful as shed been she was wise enough to know it was not possible to cover every track.
I need to get gas he told her, and pulled over onto the exit lane for Hoffler Boulevard. The exit ramp cut through a break in the wall of scrub pines alongside the highway, then curved off out of sight to the right and sloped gently downward. Oh shit, whats this? Brad said, quickly braking.
Ranya bolted upright and quickly buckled her seatbelt. There was a cop car on the gravel shoulder of the ramp just past the trees; a cop was standing in the middle of the ramp holding up both hands, blocking Brads pickup truck and two cars in front of him.
Checkpoint! Ranya said. One of Sandersons FIST checkpoints, its got to be. The FIST program, for Firearms Inspections Stop Terrorism was the brainchild of Virginia Commonwealths Attorney Robert Sanderson. He had come down to Norfolk to announce and promote the program on Friday, he was shot and killed Saturday, and on Sunday Brad and Ranya were seeing one of his FIST checkpoints first hand. Ranya experienced a sudden flush of terror, and grabbed her daypack off the floor of the truck, then calmed slightly when she remembered that she had stashed her scoped Thomson Contender single shot .223 pistol back at her apartment before going sailing with Brad. Thank God for that! Shed almost skipped going back to her apartment before going out on Guajira, and if she hadnt, the Contender would be in her bag at this moment. For the FBI, finding that gun would have been better than a signed confession. But she did have her dads custom .45 .
Brad, Im sorry I didnt tell you, but Ive got a pistol with me.
Oh Christ. Okay, it should be all right, I think theyre just looking for rifles ..I hope.
The exit ramp made a slight right then left S curve as it descended through brush down to Hoffler Boulevard. There were large stop signs on both sides of the end of the ramp at Hoffler, which passed under the I-664 overpass off to the left. Halfway down the ramp, parked along the right shoulder, there was another police car, then a line of eight or ten civilian cars and SUVs, then two more police cars. Orange traffic cones divided the wide ramp down the middle. Police and camouflage clad soldiers were walking alongside the row of parked cars; some of the cars had open doors and trunks. A single slow moving motorcyclist was being waved past the line of cars to proceed on his way, a fact which Ranya noted with great interest. Obviously the police did not think a motorcyclist could be concealing a banned semi auto or sniper rifle.
Two hundred yards away at the bottom of the ramp, parked off to the left in the weeds and facing uphill towards them was a desert painted Army humvee.
Damn, look at that! said Brad. The humvees got a machine gun on it! Ive never seen that before, not in the states!
Ive seen it, up around DC sometimes, near the Pentagon and Reagan National, during security red alerts. They were there all the time after 9-11, usually they had a 50 caliber mounted, that gun looks smaller. A helmeted soldiers head and torso was visible sticking out of the humvees roof behind the pintle mounted machine gun.
They sure picked a perfect spot for a checkpoint; I didnt see anything until it was too late. said Brad.
Yeah, very sneaky. Ive seen them set up this way searching for drugs a few times.
I wonder if theyre checking every car, or if theyre letting some pass around. I wonder if theyll hassle us.
A thirty year old white guy in a red pickup truck? What do you think? Theyre not looking for guys named Mohammed down here; theyre looking for guys named Bubba.
I guess well find out in a minute.
The young father in the blue Chevy Lumina, the second car from the front of the line, said No sir, I wont open my trunk without a warrant, and I do not consent to be searched.
The Virginia National Guard corporal standing outside his drivers side window looked around, confused. This had not come up before. Could this guy just refuse? Was that allowed?
The holdouts young blond wife said Martin, just do like he says, dont make trouble, the girls are frightened.
Honey, its the point of it. This is still America, and theres still a Constitution.
Daddy, why are there soldiers here? Is there a war? asked seven year old Danielle from the back seat. Her four year old sister Ashley next to her in her booster seat sucked her thumb, afraid without knowing why.
No sweetie, theres no war. The soldiers are helping the police to look for some bad men.
Thats right sugar, criminals.
Another man walked up to their window. Martin Palmer could not tell if he was from the military or the police: he was dressed from his helmet to his boots in nothing but black, with no badge or insignia in sight. The man in black rapped on his drivers side window with the steel muzzle tip of his black submachine gun. Open up! Get out! Now!
Do you have a warrant? Whats your probable cause to search our car? Martin Palmer was trying very hard not to show the fear he felt, holding onto the wheel to keep his hands from visibly shaking. He hoped he did not sound as afraid as he felt, he remembered the Eagle Scout in Maryland who had had his face shot off point blank by an FBI undercover agent with an M-16 rifle after a mistaken traffic stop.
My probable cause is youre an asshole who refuses to give consent for a search, thats what! Now get out! Out! Out!
BATF Special Agent Alvin Bogart was having a bad day and now he was angry enough to chew up barbed wire and spit out nails. He was angry because it was Sunday afternoon, and he was pulling the absolute shit duty of all time manning a FIST checkpoint, instead of kicking back on his recliner in his den with a cold Budweiser in his hand watching the Steelers play the Rams. For this he had become a Federal Law Enforcement Officer?
He was angry because he was pulling his third consecutive day of twelve hour shifts, which really meant a 14 hour work day, only with no overtime pay like the State Troopers were raking in, and he knew that he had to do it again tomorrow and it looked like forever. If he had wanted to pull this kind of shit duty, he would have joined the Border Patrol!
He was angry because he had to walk around all day in full tactical gear in almost 90 degree heat, including his Kevlar helmet and body armor, carrying his MP-5 as if they were expecting a head on terrorist attack right here in Hicksville Suffolk Virginia. This was at Sandersons direct orders, Sanderson who was not even in his Federal chain of command, Sanderson who was now dead, Sanderson who had never worn heavy body armor and tactical gear under the sun on a hot day in his life. He would never admit it aloud, but just for this alone Bogart was glad that preppie Sanderson had had his head blown off on the golf course yesterday.
He was extremely angry because hed earlier today heard through unofficial federal law enforcement back channels that a brother ATF agent had been killed in the line of duty last night, shot in the neck by some redneck asshole during a raid not five miles from where he was standing.
And now Alvin Bogart was positively livid because this curbside Allen Dershowitz in the piece of shit Chevy wanted to give him a lecture on the 4th Amendment, consent searches, and probable cause. Like he needed to hear that line of crap! Like all ATF men, Alvin Bogart had a special burning hatred for constitution fanatics.
So you refuse to give voluntary consent for a search of your vehicle, is that correct?
Yes sir, that is correct. Under the 4th amendment of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution ..
The blue Chevys driver side window was rolled half way down. Turned slightly, BATF agent Alvin Bogart had casually slipped the small can of pepper spray from his belt unnoticed, and then he snapped it up and sprayed Mr. Martin Palmer, U.S. citizen and taxpayer, straight in his shocked face. Then as Martin Palmer screamed and dug at his eyes, Bogart snaked his arm down the half open window, pulled up the lock, and jerked open the door. As Palmers wife and daughters screamed both in terror and from the effects of the pepper spray being released inside the car, agent Bogart grabbed Palmer by his hair and shirt and pulled him halfway out, until he snagged up on his seatbelt. Bogart unsnapped the belt, and then used both hands to jerk Palmer all the way out onto the asphalt where his head hit with a satisfying smack.
The Rest of the Story.
I hope someone sends Ashcroft a copy and whoever is in charge of airport security...
I wonder if anyone see's this in the right font?
How about we come up with a FReeper font, a new code that changes periodically... downloadable... we paste them as images (gif, bmp)
LOL... casual visitors would wonder what drugs we're on
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