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The December 2012 cover confronts the problem of giving up our rights for the sake of security. In a country where many don’t recognize that our rights come from God and not government, it’s not surprising to see those rights given up willingly under the guise of “national security.”
Below a few small excerpts from Cheryl Chumley’s cover story (“Tyranny of Security”). Her full report and analysis is available only in the December 2012 issue of TheBlaze Magazine.
George Orwell could have been a prophet.
On Aug. 16, Brandon Raub, a 26-year-old decorated Marine who served as a combat engineer in Iraq and Afghanistan, was sitting in his Richmond, Va., home. Out of the blue, law enforcement knocked.
“He was in his underwear, in his living room, he sees a group of [Chesterfield County] police, FBI agents walking up, he talks with them, he’s asked about some Facebook postings, they handcuff him,” said John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, a Virginia-based civil-rights law firm.
His crime? Officially—nothing.
HIDING THE POLICE?
If only Raub were an anomaly.
Two thousand miles away, in Scottsdale, Ariz., all seven members of the city council taxpayer money on a new police station—while, at the same time, refusing to disclose the location of the facility. Why?
Kelly Corsette, communications and public affairs director for the city, said in a July e-mail: “A substantial number of police undercover personnel will work out of this building. Therefore, in the interest of the safety of our officers and the integrity of future undercover investigations, the city will not disclose its precise location.”
Interestingly, the building spans 17,827 square feet. In other words, it’s large enough that most residents of the community already know its location—but the point is the principle. As Dan Barr, a Phoenix attorney who does work for the National Freedom of Information Coalition, said, the CIA building isn’t hidden from public view. If the CIA doesn’t need to conceal its facility for safety and security reasons, why would a local Scottsdale police force? The message from government to citizens would seem clear: Shut up and pay.
THE FOUNDING FATHERS WOULD NOT BE PLEASED
Remember Benjamin Franklin, who said that “security without liberty is called prison,” as well as, “they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Or Patrick Henry, who said the “liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” Or Jefferson, in his “Notes on the State of Virginia”: “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?”
Henry could have been speaking his words directly to Scottsdale’s city council. But it’s that latter from Jefferson that’s perhaps most alarming for America, circa 2012. If our nation has lost its belief in God as the overall provider and has instead inserted government into that role, then the final frontier of American freedom is truly crumbling.
At stake is the very essence of our society, the very soul of our nation—the notion that we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights; the notion that government is instituted among the people only to secure these God-given rights, nothing more, nothing less, and certainly, only with the consent of the people.
AN OUT-OF-CONTROL GOVERNMENT AGENCY
Enter: the Transportation Security Administration.
In April 2009, a 58-year-old woman, Nadine Hays, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery over a California airport search involving applesauce. Hays, who was traveling with her 93-year-old wheelchair-bound mother as well as with her mother’s caretaker, became agitated over TSA officers’ intrusive search techniques and attempts to confiscate her cooler of snacks. Hays wouldn’t give up the cooler, and in the ensuing tug of war, the TSA claimed she struck a supervisor. Hays denied hitting anybody but said the TSA could have easily avoided the entire incident. She had contacted the agency prior to boarding and advised them of her mother’s medical issues and the need to carry a cooler of food, she said.
Just a few months later, the TSA came under fire for a pat-down of 3-year-old Mandy Simon at a Chattanooga, Tenn., airport. As seen on the video from her father, Steve, the girl was groped, patted and prodded to the point of near-panic, finally screaming at the TSA agent, “Stop touching me!”
Another TSA public-relations nightmare came in March 2011 in Detroit. Sixty-one-year-old cancer survivor Thomas Sawyer, wearing a urostomy bag, was patted to the point of urine spilling on his body and clothes. Sawyer said he tried numerous times to tell TSA agents of his condition, but his warnings and requests for gentle treatment were ignored, and screeners ultimately ruptured his bag. Media reported Sawyer boarded the plane in tears, humiliated and wet with his own urine.
“The magic words are ‘national security,’” Hornberger said, speaking to the oft-cited justification for government to infringe upon civil, or God-given, rights. At least with the TSA, though, Americans know they’re being searched. Other government programs aimed at bolstering security aren’t so obvious. Sometimes, the victims don’t even know they’ve been victimized.
“They’ve got drones the size of bees, they’ve got hummingbird drones that look just like the real thing,” Whitehead said. “They’re in operation. The problem with drones is that, with or without a search warrant, they see you. This is moving into a whole new era. The Fourth Amendment is really important, and we’re doing away with it.”
Whitehead is hardly the lone voice of criticism—just as drones are hardly the sole technological sources of concern for privacy advocates. One thing about the Fourth Amendment, too: Fears of its obliteration hail from all political walks.
“The government is increasingly at the point where it knows everything about us, and we know very little about the government,” said Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Program for the American Civil Liberties Union in Massachusetts. “Technology is just one part of it.”