Friday, February 4, 2011

Taking the Fourth (Off the Shelf)

My son alerted me to this story. Said I would be interested in it. Your kids know about you . . . they know probably more than you think they do. Anyway, he was right of course. Why? Because the piece he recommended was about yet another appalling example of the vanishing characteristic of American society once known as "civil liberty." 

The tale I tell is a familiar one to those who might have read one of my previous posts on the subject of the TSA and the outrageous "security" procedures American citizens are subjected to at airports. Seems a young hero, a college student named Aaron Tobey took off his shirt before undergoing TSA security procedures at the Richmond VA airport. Thereon he had written the essence of the words of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution: "the right of the people . . . to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures." Wanna guess what happened to Citizen Tobey? He was arrested immediately, handcuffed, and then interrogated for 90 minutes by security forces, including the FBI's counterterrorism unit. Mr Tobey never for a second resisted what as happening to him but at the end of his ordeal he was charged with disorderly conduct, and "a class one misdemeanor that brings with it up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine."

This charge was later dropped, but just think for a moment what an incident like this accomplishes for the forces of repression of civil liberties in this country. It has a chilling effect on further protests against this kind of gross violation of civil liberties. It happens in full view of probably hundreds of people, who will tell the story to hundreds more. How many people are going to exhibit the courage of this young college kid? Answer: not many. Not many at all.

Another benefit of reading the article was I discovered The Rutherford Institute, an organization dedicated to the protection of civil liberties and human rights. More on them in another post.
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