Men in Blue spread out in hunt for alien invaders in Jamaica Plain

Bug seekers

Fred White took this photo of some of the six federal agents who swept his yard today in search of evidence of the dreaded tree-killing Asian Longhorned Beetles. White lives on Malcolm Road in Jamaica Plain, right behind Faulkner Hospital, where six trees infested with the beetles and their demon spawn were found over the weekend.

White reports the US Department of Agriculture inspectors found nothing in his yard; gave his son a temporary Asian Longhorned Beetle tattoo.

Over the next few days, federal inspectors will try to examine tens of thousands of trees in a hot zone extending roughly 1.5 miles out from Faulkner.



Free tagging: 


Nice to see the 4th amendment

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Nice to see the 4th amendment has been stepped on. This is big brother trampling all over our right to privacy.

Government doing precisely what government was intended to do

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"General welfare" and all that.

Think of it this way, if there were a chemical spill, radiological release or something to that effect, the idea that the government would come around and check for problems would not be that far fetched, would it?

Much of JP is under an emergency quarantine. Of trees, not people. The need to protect the community against infestation is greater than the normative need to stay off your lawn. One tree can harbor an infestation that could eventually lead to the destruction of pretty much any and every tree in the Boston area. At the same time.

No one individual gets to say they can put the community in that kind of danger. This is one of those situations that justifies the existence of government. No one person can stop the beetles, but one person can help ensure their spread. How would you like to live next to the person who wiped out all the trees on your land because he refused an inspection when there was probable cause to believe an infestation was nearby?

The Supreme Court has recognized the necessity for government intervention in these kinds of scenarios. Nobody likes it. The USDA doesn't get all gung-ho A-Team about driving up to your house in a van and running around to do their shit. But it's gotta get done. Methodically and comprehensively.

Federal Agents

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"Federal agents" may imply police but they really aren't (I think). Could the homeowner be arrested for "harboring beetles?" Could they arrest a homeowner for anything? If they saw evidence of criminal activity and told the police, could a defense be that the evidence was illegally obtained, since they did not have a warrant? Would they be allowed to gather data about the homeowner?

That depends

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What exactly are you hiding in your back yard?

Hiding Asian Longhorned Beetles Perhaps?

Living in the hot zone, I have wondered what happens if no one is home when the inspectors come by. Will they just enter you backyard? Might I get back from work to find one up a tree?