Did We Lose a War? A Continuing Series

Friday, November 8, AD 2013

In the immortal words of Homer Simpson, “Did we lose a war?”  I am afraid that is my reaction to many stories that I read these days indicating attitudes being shown by government officials that display a true contempt for basic American liberties.  First up in this new series is a truly horrific story out of New Mexico courtesy of Christopher Johnson of Midwest Conservative Journal:

Deming, New Mexico?  Gila Regional Medical Center of Silver City, New Mexico?  Every single person in the entire world sincerely hopes that both of you are sued into total destruction, plowed completely under and the furrows sowed with nuclear waste:

This 4 On Your Side investigation looks into the actions of police officers and doctors in Southern New Mexico. 

A review of medical records, police reports and a federal lawsuit show deputies with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, police officers with the City of Deming and medical professionals at the Gila Regional Medical Center made some questionable decisions.

The incident began January 2, 2013 after David Eckert finished shopping at the Wal-Mart in Deming.  According to a federal lawsuit, Eckert didn’t make a complete stop at a stop sign coming out of the parking lot and was immediately stopped by law enforcement.      

Eckert’s attorney, Shannon Kennedy, said in an interview with KOB that after law enforcement asked him to step out of the vehicle, he appeared to be clenching his buttocks.  Law enforcement thought that was probable cause to suspect that Eckert was hiding narcotics in his anal cavity.  While officers detained Eckert, they secured a search warrant from a judge that allowed for an anal cavity search.  

The lawsuit claims that Deming Police tried taking Eckert to an emergency room in Deming, but a doctor there refused to perform the anal cavity search citing it was “unethical.”

But physicians at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City agreed to perform the procedure and a few hours later, Eckert was admitted.

What happened next was repeated gang rape.

While there, Eckert was subjected to repeated and humiliating forced medical procedures.  A review of Eckert’s medical records, which he released to KOB, and details in the lawsuit show the following happened:

1. Eckert’s abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.  

2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert’s anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.  

4. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema.  Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers.  Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool.  No narcotics were found.

5. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a second time.  Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers.  Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool.  No narcotics were found.

6. Doctors penetrated Eckert’s anus to insert an enema a third time.  Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers.  Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool.  No narcotics were found.

7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.  

8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert’s anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines.  No narcotics were found.  

Throughout this ordeal, Eckert protested and never gave doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center consent to perform any of these medical procedures.

And then there’s this.

There are major concerns about the way the search warrant was carried out.  Kennedy argues that the search warrant was overly broad and lacked probable cause.  But beyond that, the warrant was only valid in Luna County, where Deming is located.  The Gila Regional Medical Center is in Grant County.  That means all of the medical procedures were performed illegally and the doctors who performed the procedures did so with no legal basis and no consent from the patient.  

In addition, even if the search warrant was executed in the correct New Mexico county, the warrant expired at 10 p.m.  Medical records show the prepping for the colonoscopy started at 1 a.m. the following day, three hours after the warrant expired.

Quite understandably, this incident has emotionally shattered poor Eckert.

There’s more in Eckert’s complaint, including the fact that the second x-ray was of his chest, an area completely unrelated to the region where he was supposedly “concealing drugs.” In addition to what can be proven from medical records and police reports obtained by Eckert’s attorney, there are additional allegations that the officers Chavez and Hernandez mocked him and made derogatory comments about his “compromised position.” They also allegedly moved the privacy screen repeatedly to expose him to others in the hospital hallway. This verbal abuse apparently continued during Eckert’s ride back to the Deming police station. Understandably, Eckert now claims to be “terrified to leave the house” and does so “infrequently.”

I sincerely hope that the following monstrous proposal has since been withdrawn since it’s not mentioned in the current version of the news report.  But really, Gila Regional?  Somebody there actually thought that this was a good idea?!  You actually contemplated going ahead with this unspeakable evil?!!  REALLY?!!

The hospital even billed Eckert for the procedures and is threatening to take him to collections if he doesn’t pay.

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16 Responses to Did We Lose a War? A Continuing Series

  • Today’s War on Citizens reminds me of something form Heinlein’s character Lazarus Long: In a mature society, “civil servant” is semantically equal to “civil master.”

    Well, I guess we’re a mature society now, with a vengeance. What happened to Mr Eckert is a perfect metaphor for what awaits us all. Anyone contemplating a “Second Amendment solution” or secession is deluded. The electoral process offers no hope.
    I suppose that leaves prayer.

  • By contrast, in a recent Scottish case, the evidence against the suspect was much stronger. The police had intelligence that the appellant was involved in transporting drugs from Selkirk to Galashiels and that he was known to carry drugs internally. At about 10.00am on the date libelled, the police observed the appellant in the front passenger seat of a car. He was with two other persons. The car pulled up at the house of a known drug user, who was also accustomed to allowing her house to be used for drug use.
    The High Court of Justiciary held the police had sufficient evidence to stop and search under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. He was strip-searched at the police station, but, when this produced nothing, the evidence was regarded as insufficient to justify arrest; further, a warrant for an internal examination could only be ordered after arrest, not as part of a “fishing expedition.”

  • The electoral process always offers hope Thomas if enough citizens are willing to get involved. I am always cynical about hopelessness and cynicism as history indicates that people can often change things for the better if enough of them become motivated to do so.

  • Most of the information on this is arriving from the plaintiff’s attorney, so I would reserve judgment to a degree. There may be other details.

    One thing that hits you about this case is that it apparently began with something quite banal (he ran a stop sign at the intersection of a mall exit). Another is that there is, per White Pages, a David Eckert living in that section of New Mexico. That David Eckert is around about 52 years old. If you thought a cop’s street smarts would tend to pass over someone in the latter part of middle age going about his daily business, you need to think again.

    The other thing that hits you is that eight or nine people were implicated in this sequence of events. You would have thought that at least the physicians in question would have come to a point where they said, “OK we’re done”. The point of preparing for a colonoscopy is to evacuate the colon before they run the scope up. The scope is looking for objects attached to the wall of the colon or hiding in crannies. There is no point to doing a colonoscopy looking for loose objects.

    If my own experience in working in such milieux is representative, the administrative auxilliary to hospitals are great lumbering bureaucracies with very little mind. It does not surprise me in the least that the patient accounts office is after him. I recall one case where patient accounts was chasing the estranged and cuckolded husband’s insurer for the costs of delivering the baby his wife had by her paramour (and IIRC, the husband was liable for the deductible). Gila Medical Center should have a patient relations representative with the authority or influence to set this right.

  • We lost the war back in the 1930s. This is just the predictable result.

  • Getting a medically unnecessary colonoscopy is a predictable consequence of social insurance programs?

    Wait a second, Ted. The last time you were telling us we lost the war in 1788. Have you updated?

  • In systems analysis terms:
    1788 was losing the war for subsidarity and solidarity
    1932 was losing the war for individual liberty (or possibly 1873, or 1913, depends on whether you are talking economic, tax, or political liberty)

    These are two (or possibly four) related, but separate items. Any hope of subsidiarity and solidarity (and thus a Catholic form of democracy) was lost far earlier than the rest, as it not only required legal authority but also a devolution of morality to take the concept of liberty as license from de jure to de facto.

  • If it weren’t for that dang general welfare clause in the Constitution, none of this would have happened.

    Wait, what?

    In all seriousness, I’m with Art in that I am at least mildly suspicious that not all of the facts of this case have been heard. Otherwise, the police department needs a complete overhaul.

  • This just seems to be a replay of the Milgram electro-shock experiments (which were in some sense a reenactment of the Nuremberg defense). In other words, this is more a case of society not having learned all that much as opposed to losing ground. Granted, the policeman who kicked off the whole chain of events may well be disturbed, but it does not surprise me that medical personnel affiliated with the police department do not take it upon themselves to inquire what exactly a “suspect” did in order to justify such a search. In fact, if Eckert were a shabbily dressed black or Latino, I doubt that any of the doctors would have objected. (The fact that his race is not being made part of the headline is pretty much a giveaway that Eckert is white.)


    I am also guessing the chest X-rays were in fact abdominal X-rays, and that the doctors presumed there was sufficient cause to suspect Eckert was a drug mule who had swallowed a belly-full of condoms containing cocaine or heroin. I am not saying Eckert does not deserve compensation, but since he is presumably white, I am guessing the media and the rest of us will probably soon forget about him. The race card giveth, and the race card taketh away.

  • HA

    I do not see how medical personnel can be faulted for not going behind the warrant.

    For very good reasons, a warrant does not state the grounds on which it proceeds, but refers back to the Petition upon which it is granted. The common form is, “The Sheriff having considered the foregoing Petition, grants Warrant to Officers of Law to search for, apprehend, and bring for examination the said Accused AB and meantime, if necessary, to detain him in a police station or other convenient place, as also to search, secure, and cite for precognition and to open shut and lockfast places, all as craved: Further, recommends Judges of other Counties and Jurisdictions to grant any Warrant of Concurrence necessary for enforcing this Warrant within their respective territories.”

    Of course, a warrant authorising an internal search (other than a mouth swab, which is covered by the general words, “to search, secure &c”) would say so.

  • I do not see how medical personnel can be faulted for not going behind the warrant.
    In general, I would agree, though if a presumably lucid fifty-ish white male who does not appear to be the kind of drug mule that typically wind up in their emergency rooms, is going on and on about how there was no probably cause whatsoever (and liberally repeating the word “lawsuit” and “malpractice”), I would guess that a few doctors might at least inquire as to what was really behind all this, for their own sake.


    Moreover, if Mr. Eckert’s skin were, shall we say, less melanin-deprived, there would surely be a thronging Greek chorus of recrimination as to why these doctors dared to participate without protesting every step of the way. But Mr. Eckert is presumably a white male, and to make matters worse, a Wal-Mart shopper. What use do the chattering classes have for a poster child like that?

  • In all seriousness, I’m with Art in that I am at least mildly suspicious that not all of the facts of this case have been heard. Otherwise, the police department needs a complete overhaul.


    Too many cases recently make big headlines, and on further examination are flatly contradicted by facts.

  • I do not see how medical personnel can be faulted for not going behind the warrant.

    If the news reports are to be credited, the warrant was valid in one county only (not the one Gila Medical Center is located in) and for a limited period of time only. Supposedly, the prepping for the colonoscopy began three hours after the warrant expired.

    Another element of the story not referred to here: Gila Medical Center was supposedly the 2d facility they visited. By some accounts, physicians on duty at the first told the cops to take a hike.

  • Michael, you are aware of what a colonoscopy is for, right? Searching for cancer, polyps, diverticulum, ulcerative colitis, &c. In preparing for one, you have to hose out the colon. It was at that point the doctors should have told the police that there was no point in continuing to search.

  • Art Deco

    Certainly, the medical staff should have checked the terms of the warrant.

    Again, I am surprised that the warrant was not addressed to a named person or persons; I have seen such warrants (and they are quite rare and mostly sought by Customs & Excise for suspected drug-mules); invariably they were addressed to the Regius Professor of Medical Jurisprudence, by name, and his Registrars at a University teaching hospital.

    After all, in such a case, the medical personnel are not assisting with the search, but are searching and this can only be done by the persons named in the warrant. It is quite different from the case of officers of law taking someone with them to aid with the identification of items, or to operate IT equipment, under their direction (a borderline case by the by).

  • If it weren’t for that dang general welfare clause in the Constitution, none of this would have happened.
    Wait, what?
    Paul Zummo

    I’ve had sitting members of Congress (House and Senate) tell me that the general welfare clause of the US Constitution authorizes pretty much anything Congress cares to cram into a bill. Seriously.

    Now you know “what”.

    In the end though, it’s not words on paper that are the root of the problem but the citizens. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Too few are willing to pony up the price.

Security Theatre Gets Badly Out Of Hand

Wednesday, September 14, AD 2011

With the administration having announced that there were “credible” threats of anniversary attacks on the US by Al Qaeda on 9/11, everyone was admittedly a bit jumpy. The AP carried mentions of two airline incidents which caused fighter jets and security personnel to be scrambled, including this description of one relating to a Frontier Airlines flight:

Police temporarily detained and questioned three passengers at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport on Sunday after the crew of the Frontier Airlines flight from Denver reported suspicious activity on board, and NORAD sent two F-16 jets to shadow the flight until it landed safely, airline and federal officials said.

The three passengers who were taken off the plane in handcuffs were released Sunday night, and no charges were filed against them, airport spokesman Scott Wintner said.

Frontier Flight 623, with 116 passengers on board, landed without incident in Detroit at 3:30 p.m. EDT after the crew reported that two people were spending “an extraordinarily long time” in a bathroom, Frontier spokesman Peter Kowalchuck said.

FBI Detroit spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said ultimately authorities determined there was no real threat.

“Due to the anniversary of Sept. 11, all precautions were taken, and any slight inconsistency was taken seriously,” Berchtold said. “The public would rather us err on the side of caution than not.”

In such dry terms, it sounds reasonable that people would be “on the side of caution”. Try reading instead the account of one of the three passengers cuffed and questioned — for being so suspicious as to look slightly like two guys she didn’t know who were in her aisle, both of whom committed the suspicious activity of going to the bathroom:

We had been waiting on the plane for a half hour. I had to pee. I wanted to get home and see my family. And I wanted someone to tell us what was going on. In the distance, a van with stairs came closer. I sighed with relief, thinking we were going to get off the plane and get shuttled back to the terminal. I would still be able to make it home for dinner. Others on the plane also seemed happy to see those stairs coming our way.

I see stairs coming our way…yay!

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Terror Suspects and Citizenship

Wednesday, May 5, AD 2010

Senator Lieberman says he plans to introduce a bill which would expand the provisions which already exist in law for removing U.S. Citizenship from those who serve in the military of another country, in order to also strip citizenship from anyone who acts in cooperation with a designated terrorist organization. I could, perhaps, see certain situations where this might be appropriate. If a US citizen was captured in a combat zone, fighting for some non-state-entity which had been designated a terrorist organization, I could see designating that person an enemy combatant — for the same reason that it makes sense to do so with non-citizens who are fighting U.S. forces in combat zones without belonging to the military of a specific country. Our rules for dealing with P.O.W.s don’t really work when applied to people fighting for non-state entities, since there’s no organization to eventually accept peace and end the way with terms and exchange of prisoners.

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3 Responses to Terror Suspects and Citizenship

  • Better still, just charge them with treason with its attendant punishments.

  • Why should every attack have to be on a massive scale for you to consider it an act of war? I can see why you might require one to establish the fact of war, e.g. Pearl Harbor, but if that’s what you need, just look at 9/11. By now, it should be abundantly clear to even the most obtuse, that war on us has been declared by a segment of the world’s Mohammedans, typified by Al Qaida and the Taliban. This Times Square clown was clearly acting either on behalf of or in sympathy with the latter. Had he succeeded, he could have done at least as much harm as your average foot soldier captured on the battlefield does. The motivation, tactics and potential impact of such jihadists make them quite different from “ordinary criminals”. They should be dealt with accordingly.