Sixty Tennessee Highway Patrol cars are equipped with federally linked license plate readers. We're safe now. (Photo TV9)

Sixty Tennessee Highway Patrol cars are equipped with federally linked license plate readers. We’re safe now. (Photo TV9)

By David Tulis

An  LPR helped catch Vester Flanagan as he fled a murder scene in Virginia. An LPR is a license plate reader, a device that drinks in auto tag numbers and matches incoming digitized snapshots against a database.

The surveillance devices are being used on state police vehicles in Tennessee. Six are in use in and around Chattanooga, and 60 are at work in Tennessee against members of the motoring public, according to a TV report.

Mr. Flanagan, the homosexual racist who killed two white TV journalists, was first spotted by a trooper whose LPR “read” the plate of a getaway rental car.

Eye that doesn’t blink

“It’s its own mind,” says Lt. John Harmon of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. “It reads constantly; every car that comes by is being read,”
The database Tennessee troopers use is run by the federal government, indicating a continuing federalization of U.S., state, county and city policing agencies. An LPR records every tag it reads.

“That suspect could be from California,” Lt. Harmon says, “driving through the state of Tennessee and if he is in the database it can register that and send an alert to that trooper and he knows that there’s a possible  murder suspect in that vehicle,” he tells TV9.
State trooper Rick Ray boasts his LPR scans every car it passes. “I’ve got four cameras on top, it covers all angles, it doesn’t matter if I’m traveling north and they’re traveling south it can still read, doesn’t matter if there’s snow, sleet, it doesn’t matter.”

Just as Mr. Ray is excited about surveillance gear, the coverage is giddy. The report speaks of “revolutionary technology” able to stop Mr. Flanagan “before he was able to possibly hurt more people.” The technology helps cops “catch the bad guys.”

Free government as an idea

A free people served by a free government frown on these developments. They are not respectful of the innocent traveling public. They hold that a sovereign state needs to exercise the prerogatives of a sovereign, that specifically of omniscience. Omniscience is an attribute of God, who also is omnipresent and omnipotent (all present, all powerful). The theory of sovereignty is part of Tennessee law, though the law books make clear the operation of sovereignty is under the constitution. The idea, then, should be used reservedly, and understood as a delegated power.

License plate readers may be convenient for cops, sheriffs, state troopers, feds in fusion centers and others. But they keep humming even when no suspect is being sought. Their efficiency is careless of the subordination government owes to the people and to the law. In the totality of swept data we see an evil relationship between the people and the state. People want good government and safe government. But the state cares little for government, and much for itself as an abstract corporation that holds itself above the citizenry as a deity.

Our recourse as members of the citizenry  is government — government vs. the state. We can control and influence government, perhaps. But the state? Unlikely to be responsive or respectful.

— David Tulis hosts a talk show 9 to 11 a.m. weekdays on AM 1240 Hot News Talk Radio, covering local economy  and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond.

Source: Brittany Nicholson “Technology Used To Find Suspect’s Car After WDBJ Shooting Is Used In Tennessee Too,” Aug. 27, 2015, WTVC TV9,

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