Saturday, March 11, 2006

4th Amendment Shipping Tape

When I first read this story, I thought "Wow, people need to stop whining about lost liberties, because times like these require extra protection". 4th Amendment Shipping Tape:
You can put this shipping tape on your packages and your airplane luggage. Every time I fly, my luggage gets a card in it telling me how “for my protection” they have searched it.

Now, when they open my luggage, they will have to literally slice the 4th amendment in half in order to do this.
Then I started to really think about my first impression of the story. What exactly is "extra protection"? Does it mean government has the right to take away liberties given to me as a citizen of the United States by the Constitution? I don't know if I'm OK with that. I definitely should not be, but this persistent thought continues to burrow through my head...they blew up buildings and killed thousands of Americans with hijacked airplanes.

It is fear of the worst that allows us to accept lost liberties. But as time distances our memories from the event itself, we start to question the means and methods being used to protect us from a similar occurence. Movies are made that assign blame for the lack of action taken before 9/11, but the actions needed are also not wanted.

For my part, I think like most Americans, I'm on the fence. I get upset at times, about losing my Constitutional rights, but once I sit back and think about it, my view changes. I will probably read something tomorrow that will swing my thinking in the other direction. Even as I type this, I am having a very difficult time writing "for now I give up my rights for peace of mind".

I start to think, where will it end. If I give up one or two rights, how many more will be taken away. This is where I always end up. My brain gets filled with the opposites sides of the argument, and shuts down. This post then will follow suit, and now....shut....down.


Charlie said...

You are right to struggle with this important, yet difficult issue area. Protection is important, but so are our rights and civil liberties.

"The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact."
-Justice Jackson

"The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either."
-Benjamin Franklin

Dave2 said...

In this day and age, I accept that certain privacies are lost when flying public transportation in order to ensure passenger safety. But that's my choice. People are perfectly able to choose NOT to fly if they don't feel that the search of their personal effects is worth it.

Where I have a problem is when my privacies are invaded and I DON'T have a choice. Wiretapping my home, monitoring my phone, and reading my personal emails without a court order and reasonable suspicion of illegal activity is wrong. If that's going to be America, terrorism has already won, and everything our country stands for is dead.

FyreGoddess said...

Here's the problem: We're putting stop-gap measures into effect for situations that will probaly not arise again.

Taking away our civil liberties doesn't change the fact that 9/11 happened. Nothing will do that. We are no more or less safe from things we can't think of than we were 5 or 10 or 25 years ago.

There are measures in place to stop people from hijacking a plane into a skyscraper again. We take our shoes off in airports so we can't smuggle things in in our shoes. All of these situations are things that would only have worked ONCE, and did work ONCE.

But since no one is really looking to the future and doing anything to actually make our Homeland, uh... I don't know... secure? We roll over and allow them to try to prevent things that already happened and somehow we wind up convincing ourselves that we're safer for giving up our Constitutionally-granted rights.

It makes me happy when I see more and more people *thinking* about it. Don't stop.