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Uncommon Thought Journal: Ridin' the Bus With Deborah

"Deborah, who commutes by bus in Denver, Colorado, had been asked to present her I.D. to a man in uniform. If she didn't, she was told, it would mean walking several miles to her job. So, she complied, but, it rankled. Deborah knew that, unless she was being a danger to self or others, behaving irrationally, or drunk and disorderly, no one had the right to ask for her identification. As long as she was sitting quietly in her seat, she could not be arbitrarily asked for ID. (She'd learned that in her 8th grade Civics class, where she had also been taught about police states, and how casually they usurped the rights of their citizenry.)

And so it went. For several weeks, when asked to show ID, Deborah refused, and, when asked if she were getting off at the Denver Federal Center she said, 'no' was left in peace, completing her bus trips right on schedule.

And then it happened: On September 26, 2005, when the bus reached its stop at the Federal Center, a guard got on the bus and confronted her. When Deborah insisted that she was under no obligation to show any ID whatsoever, the bus was halted, a supervisor climbed on, and demanded ID. This time, when she refused, a second cop arrived, and, when Deborah stuck to her guns, she was suddenly arrested.

And it was not a gentle arrest. As she relates on her website Papers Please "
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