Coronavirus: Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Thu Jul 15 00:46:12 PDT 2021

The Right To Be Let Alone: What To Do When COVID Strike Force Teams
Come Knocking
    “Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty
when the government’s purposes are beneficent.”
    - Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

A federal COVID-19 vaccination strike force may soon be knocking on
your door, especially if you live in a community with low vaccination
rates. Will you let them in?

More to the point, are you required to open the door?

The Biden Administration has announced that it plans to send federal
“surge response teams” on a “targeted community door-to-door outreach“
to communities with low vaccination rates in order to promote the
safety and accessibility of the COVID-19 vaccines.

That’s all fine and good as far as government propaganda goes, but
nothing is ever as simple or as straightforward as the government
claims, especially not when armed, roving bands of militarized agents
deployed by the Nanny State show up at your door with an agenda that
is at odds with what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis referred to
as the constitutional “right to be let alone.”

Any attempt by the government to encroach upon the citizenry’s privacy
rights or establish a system by which the populace can be targeted,
tracked and singled out must be met with extreme caution. These
door-to-door “visits” by COVID-19 surge response teams certainly
qualify as a government program whose purpose, while seemingly benign,
raises significant constitutional concerns.
First, there is the visit itself.

While government agents can approach, speak to and even question
citizens without violating the Fourth Amendment, Americans have a
right not to answer questions or even speak with a government agent.

Courts have upheld these “knock and talk” visits as lawful, reasoning
that even though the curtilage of the home is protected by the Fourth
Amendment, there is an implied license to approach a residence, knock
on the door/ring the bell, and seek to contact occupants. However, the
encounter is wholly voluntary and a person is under no obligation to
speak with a government agent in this situation.

Indeed, you don’t even need to answer or open the door in response to
knocking/ringing by a government agent, and if you do answer the
knock, you can stop speaking at any time. You also have the right to
demand that government agents leave the property once the purpose of
the visit is established. Government officials would not be enforcing
any law or warrant in this context, and so they don’t have the
authority of law to remain on the property after a homeowner or
resident specifically revokes the implied license to come onto the

When the government’s actions go beyond merely approaching the door
and knocking, it risks violating the Fourth Amendment, which requires
a warrant and probable cause of possible wrongdoing in order to search
one’s property. A government agent would violate the Fourth Amendment
if he snooped around the premises, peering into window and going to
other areas in search of residents.

It should be pointed out that some judges (including Supreme Court
Justice Gorsuch) believe that placing “No Trespassing” signs or taking
other steps to impede access to the door is sufficient to negate any
implied permission for government agents or others to approach your
home, but this view does not have general acceptance.

While in theory one can refuse to speak with police or other
government officials during a “knock and talk” encounter, as the
courts have asserted as a justification for dismissing complaints
about this police investigative tactic, the reality is far different.
Indeed, it is unreasonable to suggest that individuals caught unaware
by these tactics will not feel pressured in the heat of the moment to
comply with a request to speak with government agents who display
official credentials and are often heavily armed, let alone allow them
to search one’s property. Even when such consent is denied, police
have been known to simply handcuff the homeowner and conduct a search
over his objections.
Second, there is the danger inherent in these knock-and-talk encounters.

Although courts have embraced the fiction that “knock and talks” are
“voluntary” encounters that are no different from other door-to-door
canvassing, these constitutionally dubious tactics are highly
intimidating confrontations meant to pressure individuals into
allowing police access to one’s home, which then paves the way for a
warrantless search of one’s home and property.

The act of going to homes and taking steps to speak with occupants is
akin to the “knock and talk” tactic used by police, which can be
fraught with danger for homeowners and government agents alike.
Indeed, “knock-and-talk” policing has become a thinly veiled,
warrantless exercise by which citizens are coerced and intimidated
into “talking” with heavily armed police who “knock” on their doors in
the middle of the night.

“Knock-and-shoot” policing might be more accurate, however.

“Knock and talks” not only constitute severe violations of the privacy
and security of homeowners, but the combination of aggression and
surprise employed by police is also a recipe for a violent
confrontation that rarely ends well for those on the receiving end of
these tactics.

For example, although 26-year-old Andrew Scott had committed no crime
and never fired a single bullet or threatened police, he was gunned
down by police who knocked aggressively on the wrong door at 1:30 am,
failed to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shot and
killed Scott when he answered the door while holding a gun in
self-defense. The police were investigating a speeding incident by
engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s
apartment complex.

Carl Dykes was shot in the face by a county deputy who pounded on
Dykes’ door in the middle of the night without identifying himself.
Because of reports that inmates had escaped from a local jail, Dykes
brought a shotgun with him when he answered the door.

As these and other incidents make clear, while Americans have a
constitutional right to question the legality of a police action or
resist an unlawful police order, doing so can often get one arrested,
shot or killed.
Third, there is the question of how the government plans to use the
information it obtains during these knock-and-talk visits.

Because the stated purpose of the program is to promote vaccination,
homeowners and others who reside at the residence will certainly be
asked if they are vaccinated. Again, you have a right not to answer
this or any other question. Indeed, an argument could be made that
even asking this question is improper if the purpose of the program is
merely to ensure that Americans “have the information they need on how
both safe and accessible the vaccine is.”

Under the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a, an agency should only collect
and maintain information about an individual as is “relevant and
necessary to accomplish a purpose of the agency.” In this situation,
the government agent could accomplish the purpose of assuring persons
have information about the vaccine simply by providing that
information (either in writing or orally) and would not need to know
the vaccination status of the residents. To the extent the agents do
request, collect and store information about residents’ vaccination
status, this could be a Privacy Act violation.

Of course, there is always the danger that this program could be used
for other, more nefarious, purposes not related to vaccination
encouragement. As with knock-and-talk policing, government agents
might misuse their appearance of authority to gain entrance to a
residence and obtain other information about it and those who live
there. Once the door is opened by a resident, anything the agents can
see from their vantage point can be reported to law enforcement

Moreover, while presumably the targeting will be of areas with
demonstrated low vaccination rates, there is no guarantee that this
program would not be used as cover for conducting surveillance on
areas deemed to be “high crime” areas as a way of obtaining
intelligence for law enforcement purposes.

We’ve been down this road before, with the government sending its
spies to gather intel on American citizens by questioning them
directly, or by asking their neighbors to snitch on them.

Remember the egregiously invasive and intrusive American Community Survey?

Unlike the traditional census, which collects data every ten years,
the American Community Survey (ACS) is sent to about 3 million homes
per year at a reported cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Moreover, while the traditional census is limited to ascertaining the
number of persons living in each dwelling, their ages and ethnicities,
the ownership of the dwelling and telephone numbers, the ACS is much
more intrusive, asking questions relating to respondents’ bathing
habits, home utility costs, fertility, marital history, work commute,
mortgage, and health insurance, among other highly personal and
private matters.

Individuals who receive the ACS must complete it or be subject to
monetary penalties. Although no reports have surfaced of individuals
actually being penalized for refusing to answer the survey, the
potential fines that can be levied for refusing to participate in the
ACS are staggering. For every question not answered, there is a $100
fine. And for every intentionally false response to a question, the
fine is $500. Therefore, if a person representing a two-person
household refused to fill out any questions or simply answered
nonsensically, the total fines could range from upwards of $10,000 and
$50,000 for noncompliance.

At 28 pages (with an additional 16-page instruction packet), the ACS
contains some of the most detailed and intrusive questions ever put
forth in a census questionnaire. These concern matters that the
government simply has no business knowing, including questions
relating to respondents’ bathing habits, home utility costs,
fertility, marital history, work commute, mortgage, and health
insurance, among others. For instance, the ACS asks how many persons
live in your home, along with their names and detailed information
about them such as their relationship to you, marital status, race and
their physical, mental and emotional problems, etc. The survey also
asks how many bedrooms and bathrooms you have in your house, along
with the fuel used to heat your home, the cost of electricity, what
type of mortgage you have and monthly mortgage payments, property
taxes and so on.

However, that’s not all.

The survey also demands to know how many days you were sick last year,
how many automobiles you own and the number of miles driven, whether
you have trouble getting up the stairs, and what time you leave for
work every morning, along with highly detailed inquiries about your
financial affairs. And the survey demands that you violate the privacy
of others by supplying the names and addresses of your friends,
relatives and employer. The questionnaire also demands that you give
other information on the people in your home, such as their
educational levels, how many years of school were completed, what
languages they speak and when they last worked at a job, among other

While some of the ACS’ questions may seem fairly routine, the real
danger is in not knowing why the information is needed, how it will be
used by the government or with whom it will be shared.
Finally, you have the right to say “no.”

Whether police are knocking on your door at 2 am or 2:30 pm, as long
as you’re being “asked” to talk to a police officer who is armed to
the teeth and inclined to kill at the least provocation, you don’t
really have much room to resist, not if you value your life.

Mind you, these knock-and-talk searches are little more than police
fishing expeditions carried out without a warrant.

The goal is intimidation and coercion.

Unfortunately, with police departments increasingly shifting towards
pre-crime policing and relying on dubious threat assessments,
behavioral sensing warnings, flagged “words,” and “suspicious”
activity reports aimed at snaring potential enemies of the state,
we’re going to see more of these warrantless knock-and-talk police
tactics by which police attempt to circumvent the Fourth Amendment’s
warrant requirement and prohibition on unreasonable searches and
Here’s the bottom line.

These agents are coming to your home with one purpose in mind: to
collect information on you.

It’s a form of intimidation, of course. You shouldn’t answer any
questions you’re uncomfortable answering about your vaccine history or
anything else. The more information you give them, the more it can be
used against you. Just ask them politely but firmly to leave.

In this case, as in so many interactions with government agents, the
First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments (and your cell phone recording the
encounter) are your best protection.

Under the First Amendment, you don’t have to speak (to government
officials or anyone else). The Fourth Amendment protects you against
unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. And under the
Fifth Amendment, you have a right to remain silent and not say
anything which might be used against you.

You can also post a “No Trespassing” sign on your property to firmly
announce that you are exercising your right to be left alone. If you
see government officials wandering around your property and peering
through windows, in my opinion, you have a violation of the Fourth
Amendment. Government officials can ring the doorbell, but once you
put them on notice that it’s time for them to leave, they can’t stay
on your property.

It’s important to be as clear as possible and inform them that you
will call the police if they don’t leave. You may also wish to record
your encounter with the government agent. If they still don’t leave,
immediately call the local police and report a trespasser on your

Remember, you have rights.

The government didn’t want us to know about—let alone assert—those
rights during this whole COVID-19 business.

After all, for years now, the powers-that-be—those politicians and
bureaucrats who think like tyrants and act like petty dictators
regardless of what party they belong to—have attempted to brainwash us
into believing that we have no right to think for ourselves, make
decisions about our health, protect our homes and families and
businesses, act in our best interests, demand accountability and
transparency from government, or generally operate as if we are in
control of our own lives.

But we have every right, and you know why?

Because as the Declaration of Independence states, we are endowed by
our Creator with certain inalienable rights—to life, liberty, property
and the pursuit of happiness—that no government can take away from us.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped the government from constantly
trying to usurp our freedoms at every turn. Indeed, the nature of
government is such that it invariably oversteps its limits, abuses its
authority, and flexes its totalitarian muscles.

Take this COVID-19 crisis, for example.

What started out as an apparent effort to prevent a novel coronavirus
from sickening the nation (and the world) has become yet another means
by which world governments (including our own) can expand their
powers, abuse their authority, and further oppress their constituents.

The government has made no secret of its plans.

Just follow the money trail, and you’ll get a sense of what’s in
store: more militarized police, more SWAT team raids, more
surveillance, more lockdowns, more strong-armed tactics aimed at
suppressing dissent and forcing us to comply with the government’s

It’s chilling to think about, but it’s not surprising.

In many ways, this COVID-19 state of emergency has invested government
officials (and those who view their lives as more valuable than ours)
with a sanctimonious, self-righteous, arrogant, Big Brother Knows Best
approach to top-down governing, and the fall-out can be seen far and

It’s an ugly, self-serving mindset that views the needs, lives and
rights of “we the people” as insignificant when compared to those in

That’s how someone who should know better such as Alan Dershowitz, a
former Harvard law professor, can suggest that a free people—born in
freedom, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, and living
in a country birthed out of a revolutionary struggle for individual
liberty—have no rights to economic freedom, to bodily integrity, or to
refuse to comply with a government order with which they disagree.

According to Dershowitz, who has become little more than a legal
apologist for the power elite, “You have no right not to be
vaccinated, you have no right not to wear a mask, you have no right to
open up your business… And if you refuse to be vaccinated, the state
has the power to literally take you to a doctor’s office and plunge a
needle into your arm.”

Dershowitz is wrong: as I make clear in my book Battlefield America:
The War on the American People, while the courts may increasingly
defer to the government’s brand of Nanny State authoritarianism, we
still have rights.

The government may try to abridge those rights, it may refuse to
recognize them, it may even attempt to declare martial law and nullify
them, but it cannot litigate, legislate or forcefully eradicate them
out of existence.

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