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Happy Independence-ish Day

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opinion Brainerd,MN 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
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Happy Independence-ish Day
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

On July 3, I attempted to take my children to the Nisswa parade. We arrived there early, were the last family to get served at the A&W Restaurant before the power went out, but we never made it to the parade.


As most parents know, after you feed kids, toileting needs soon follow. Because the power was out in Nisswa, there were no functioning bathrooms that I could find. I opted to go north towards Pequot Lakes in search of a potty. We made it to the local DQ without incident, pee-ed, got rebuckled and readied to return to the parade, only for a police officer to surprisingly knock on my window.

Confused, I rolled my window down. I hadn’t done anything. What could this officer want with me? She said politely that ‘someone’ had called in that I was driving slowly on 371 and because of this unsubstantiated report they were fully investigating me. Knowing that I had only driven either the speed limit or less because of traffic flow, and completely without any incide — not even a honked horn — I was speechless. We in Minnesota detain pregnant, law abiding mommies of four who AREN’T speeding, and who by the police officer’s own words said I hadn’t broken any law that she knew of?

I was not cited for anything, and I consider this a gross violation of my civil rights, but not by our brave police, but rather by Joe Public. Since when is it a good idea for voters to require by law police action exclusively on neighbor anecdotes without any other information to go on? Isn’t that why we went to war in Iraq—so that the Iraqis could be free of such practices? I recognize a traffic stop is not to the same level as to what Iraqis were dealing with when we intervened, but as we pile on more rules I suspect that day is coming for America.

Furthermore, if the person wanting to drive faster and talk on their cell phone to the police (and whoever else) had hit me from behind, would that not have been ‘failure to yield’ and in fact citation and lawsuit worthy? I think so, because there would be evidence to suggest negligence on their part not only by hitting me from behind, but also for breaking the law that says we are not to drive distracted. Talking on a cell phone and driving at the same time is incredibly stupid, dangerous, and unforgivably careless.

Freedom is on the ballot this November, but I wonder if Dispatch readers will vote for those that will usher it in? But don’t forget that, in addition to voting, personal liberty is a daily lifestyle choice. The question isn’t just about who you’ll vote for in a few months. What choices will you make today that are well founded in freedom for all? I would say obeying the speed limit, being mindful of driving conditions including traffic flow, and definitely not talking on your cell phone might be a good start.

Barbara Haney


Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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