By Jeff Mattox:
South Carolina- Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews is claiming his tough tactics are the reason for a 70% drop in DUI related deaths in the rural South Carolina County. 70% decline sounds like a major victory for this former DEA agent and is being used by the sheriff and his media guru wife, Heather Hoopes, to tout what a great thing he has done for the county … but things are not always as they seem.
Last year, there were 4 DUI related deaths in Kershaw County, out of 62,000 residents. The sheriff claimed there was an epidemic of drunk drivers in Kershaw County, even though the numbers clearly show that there is little problem relative to the total of residents in the county. This year, there are a total of 4 DUI related deaths and yet the sheriff wants to ignore two of those and claim a great reduction. This is just a tactic used by law enforcement to justify their actions and their jobs. If we see a drop from 7 to 5 deaths the percentage drop is great even though relative to the total population it is insignificant. State wide there were 26,000 DUI arrests out of a total population of 3.2 million which is 0.008125% of the population; hardly an epidemic, but it does make some great headlines for the government propaganda machine.
DUI deaths fluctuate with each passing year as does the total number of highway deaths, which can be attributed to many factors including weather, what day a holiday falls on, or even how many squirrels are on the roads – but there is little to prove that anything the sheriff or SCHP does effects these numbers. For fun, let’s take the 12 deaths in Kershaw County from last year and divide that by the number of residents within the county, 62,000. This easy math problem shows that the percentage of residents killed in accidents is 0.0001935% of the entire county population. The sheriff says there was an epidemic of drunk driving deaths, but with a total of 4 alcohol-related deaths, the percentage of residents killed is small, around 0.0000645%.
Of course Matthews, along with almost every other law enforcement officer, will never talk about these numbers because it makes their jobs seem insignificant and the cost benefit does not add up. That is why they use the total number of deaths, whether higher or lower, as the starting point because any change at all gives greater credence to either how good a job they are doing or why they need more money, cops, and heavy-handed tactics to battle a boogeyman that really does not exist.
This is not to say I advocate driving while intoxicated; it is merely to point out that law enforcement plays with the numbers in order to justify anything they do and secure more funding. The fact is, drunk drivers are a very small percentage of the overall population and law enforcement, along with all their proponents, have created an illusion that there are drunks in almost every vehicle on the road.
Politicians, media, and law enforcement use statistics to baffle the public with bullshit.
It is important to recognize that whenever government itself enters into policy debate, it has the ability to drown out all other voices, and has done so in the law enforcement arena here.
As the NHTSA website shows, law enforcement is well versed in these tactics. They use them for great effects when talking about drugs, DUI’s, rapes, robberies and many other scenarios. The federal government is law enforcement’s best friend providing anything needed to sway public opinion, influence judges, and even prosecute cases.
Sheriff Matthews and his media propaganda are touting his use of aggressive tactics as a reason for lower death rates and a great accomplishment, even though they know it has nothing to do with law enforcement in general. Had the number gone up Matthews would be touting an epidemic and calling for more money and cops to defend against the tide of DUI’s. Every media outlet around Kershaw County promotes the law enforcement line while all voices in opposition are ignored or demonized as radicals or extremists.
Whenever you hear law enforcement use statistics grasp a large box of salt to take with what is being espoused because hidden behind these statistics is the underlying truth. They are playing with the truth to promote their own agenda. Remember, it is a game for money and power and it is that plain and simple.
“We’re out to change behavior”, Matthews said,” We’re not out to ruin someone’s day.”
The administrator of the KCSO Facebook page said the following about checkpoints. Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office @ Tim Taylor:
I am not a fan of those checkpoints, but the courts have ruled them legal. Not the old drug checkpoints which are not, but the DUI checkpoints are. I don’t even like the term “checkpoints.” It has a sinister connotation. I would rather have officers out patrolling.Then, in an article on the KCSO page, SC trooper Kelly Hughes states, “We will have a lot of DUI checkpoints; we’ll have saturated areas where we see most DUI crashes occurring and we’ll have some nighttime safety belt enforcement.”
Matthews has never denied the use of checkpoints, just said that he does not like them. His deputies regularly participate in partnership with the Highway Patrol in order to give him some sort of plausible deniability.
Fear is the tool of law enforcement and Matthews’ officers are under “orders” to make traffic stops for any infraction no matter how minor and to gain the driver’s permission to search the vehicle. This is done by intimidation and threat. Usually, the officer will say something like, “do you mind if I look inside the vehicle?” If the driver questions the officer, the response will be along the lines of, “If you have nothing to hide, why don’t you want me to look in the vehicle?” They may even say something like, “it will be a lot easier on you if you cooperate.” They may even threaten the driver with a warrant, but the whole stop was in fact made to garner a contact and make a search – what is known in the realms of the DEA as” fishing for gold.” The idea is twofold, first to make every person afraid of police and second, increase tickets and arrests to make it look like they are really making a difference and raise revenues. These tactics borderline on terrorizing the population, in particular, the youth of the county, and should not be tolerated.
If we are going to tolerate these kinds of actions, then why not have checkpoints at all intersections? Why not install breathalyzers in all vehicles? Remember, if it is fair to all and it is for the safety of all, why should you mind if every time you get in your car you must blow into a tube before starting it? Now that is going too far, you say? What’s the difference between checkpoints and in car sobriety checks other than the frequency of the check? And, would it make the roadways even safer? And, if you don’t drink and drive what do you have to hide? Is there something that you are not telling us?
“I have been stopped many times,” stated one 19 year old man, “They always want to search my car. I have gotten only one ticket and that was for a seatbelt, but it always comes down to the search.”
“I refused to let them search my car and the guy started threatening me and yelling” said another young driver, “they target all us young people. All my friends hate them.”
To place a population in a perpetual state of fear is the mark of a tyrant and to force those same people to pay for its application is despotism. With every passing year, the American surveillance police state becomes increasingly powerful and overreaching. Each time the public allows these tyrants another encroachment on the rights of individuals, the Constitution fades in its importance.
Each and every step of the way, the excuse given is that it is all for the safety and security of all and we, as individuals, must give up a little more of our rights in order to protect us all.
Where do we draw the line in the sand? When is enough, enough? The past one hundred years has seen the growth of a police force that looks and feels more like an occupying force rather than a sheriff elected to protect the rights of the individual from majority rule.
We have become a nation in living in fear, promoted and kept alive by those who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and the rights contained within. Government and law enforcement have partnered together, each standing to gain power and control, at every infringement of individual rights, and grow their respective organizations.
DUI related deaths in Kershaw County are not down 70%, yet the sheriff is painted as a hero; but the king has no clothes.
Their lie is they are providing security; the truth is they are taking away freedom.