Reader Maltwit writes:
Last Monday I was headed to a Manchester, New Hampshire firing range when I was pulled over by a member of our town’s police. After he informed me that he had clocked me at 45 in a 40, and I handed over my driver’s license and registration, he asked me what was in the bag I had placed on the floor of the front passenger side. (It is a small, old beat up, piece of carryon luggage which I use for my range bag.) After a hesitation of a second or two while thinking, I said as politely as I could, “With all due respect, I decline to answer.” Of course he countered with, “Do you have something to hide?” . . .
As well as I can remember (I was just a little nervous), I answered something like, “No sir, but if I was speeding, whatever is in the bag shouldn’t matter. Do you suspect I’m doing anything illegal?”
He didn’t answer but went back to his patrol car. I’m sure he was checking for outstanding warrants, but he seemed to be taking a lot more time than “normal”. I started thinking he was checking with the feds, talking to the Chief on how to handle me, or maybe calling for a canine unit to sniff the car. (It would have taken a while since our town is too dinky to have one, so we have to rent one from another town.)
After a few anxious minutes, he gave me back my papers and simply issued a warning for me to obey the speed limits with a “have a nice day” thrown in at the end.
I don’t know what made me stand up to him – maybe it was all of the recent news about the government treading on our 1st, 2nd and 4th Amendment rights – but, after this traffic stop, I was pumped! Still shaking a little, but pumped. (I did not do particularly well at the range after that.
I was thinking about this encounter for the next few days, so I came up with a business sized card (above) that I can hand out the next time I get stopped. The idea of the text came from a guy who likes to video police who are interacting with people, so I can’t take full credit for it. If you’d like to print your own, click here to download a .pdf version.