Monday, July 27, 2009

Mandatory Evacuation: Another Forfeiture of Individual Liberty?

Texas enacted a law, to take effect in September of this year, that requires its citizens to get on the road and get out of a storm's way if the Governor issues a mandatory evacuation. If someone chooses to stay put for whatever reason, he will be subject to arrest and involuntary transport.

I'm not sure what I think about that.

Sure, the law could save lives and allow first responders to do their jobs better since they won't have to go around rescuing folks and what-not, but it also flushes the Fourth Amendment down the drain. I see no-warrant-needed searches aplenty coming down the pike, and that frankly scares me. Our front door hasn't worked right since "the authorities" kicked it in doing their house-to-house after Katrina. (At least they painted the "X" on the sidewalk instead of on the house!) And it still gives me the creeps to know that they were in my house, uninvited, and left the house vulnerable to the unmedicated thugs and looters that ran unchecked throughout the city.

There are as many reasons not to evacuate as there are reasons to go -- health issues, elderly residents, pets. The Gustav experience last year was not very pleasant for those who participated in the government-run option, and I believe many will choose not to go if there's a big storm this year.

Besides, just as you can't legislate good parenting, you likewise can't legislate common sense. You can, however, stand up for the Constitution and property rights. So far.


  1. I think you're right about more warrant-less searches on the way. And in Texas, of all places! That ain't good...

  2. A declared state of emergency is a legal wonderland. A lot of things are done that aren't legal, but since the state has sovereign immunity, they can't be sued for them later.

    I can sympathize with the governor for wanting the power. No one wants a repeat of Katrina/New Orleans. On the other hand, Texans seems to handle things fairly well, so I'm not sure he needs it.