This story exemplifies why nationwide databases are not a good idea. Apparently, Mr. Filippidis, a business owner with twenty employees, was driving through Maryland on his way home from visiting family in New Jersey when he began being “bird-dogged” by an unmarked patrol car. According to Filippidis’s account, after ten minutes, the cop pulled him over and asked him for his license and registration. He, his wife, and their three teenagers wondered what was going on. According to a report in the Tampa Tribune:
Ten minutes later he’s back, and he wants John out of the Expedition. Retreating to the space between the SUV and the unmarked car, the officer orders John to hook his thumbs behind his back and spread his feet. “You own a gun,” the officer says. “Where is it?”
“At home in my safe,” John answers.
“Don’t move,” says the officer.
Now he’s at the passenger’s window. “Your husband owns a gun,” he says. “Where is it?”
First Kally says, “I don’t know.” Retelling it later she says, “And that’s all I should have said.” Instead, attempting to be helpful, she added, “Maybe in the glove [box]. Maybe in the console. I’m scared of it. I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I might shoot right through my foot.”
The officer came back to John. “You’re a liar. You’re lying to me. Your family says you have it. Where is the gun? Tell me where it is and we can resolve this right now.”
Of course, John couldn’t show him what didn’t exist, but Kally’s failure to corroborate John’s account, the officer would tell them later, was the probable cause that allowed him to summon backup — three marked cars joined the lineup along the I-95 shoulder — and empty the Expedition of riders, luggage, Christmas gifts, laundry bags; to pat down Kally and Yianni; to explore the engine compartment and probe inside door panels; and to separate and isolate the Filippidises in the back seats of the patrol cars.
Ninety minutes later, or maybe it was two hours — “It felt like forever,” Kally says — no weapon found and their possessions repacked, the episode ended … with the officer writing out a warning.
This sort of harassment is unacceptable. The officer’s captain issued an apology. The NRA issued a statement regarding the incident, which can be read at World News Daily.
It seems as if police officers have access to NSA database information. What other explanation is there? It’s been reported that Maryland law enforcement engage in license plate tracking. And see my previous post about how police track license plates and store the data. It includes a disturbing photograph taken by a license plate reader of a reporter’s wife and small children exiting a car in their own driveway. All this points to the likelihood that police officers know a lot about us and they may be getting the information from a simple scan of our license plates.
Therefore, two words of caution. The first is that if the police know you’re a gun owner before pulling you over or coming to your house, let’s just say that they’re going to be pumped up and more than ready to shoot you. The second is that you should never say more than you have to and remind everyone with you to do the same. You can no longer be helpful, as Mrs. Filippidis was. When those sworn to protect and serve us view us as the enemy, then they’ll use everything they can to make a case against us and cover their own backsides.
Our privacy, rights, and safety are eroding daily. Let’s get the word out and try to wake people up before life as we’ve known it is gone forever.