October 19, 2017

Trading Liberty for Safety

In the weeks since the Boston Marathon bombing I have noticed a few things in the MSM, other blogs and in some forums that concern me.  When there is an attack such as the Boston Marathon bombing, 9-11 or school shootings, human beings are shaken.  The emotions from the aftermath of these events, can cause things to be said and done, things that might betray our calmer, more logical and rational selves.  Here are some of the things I have seen that concern me.
 
 
What They Knew and When They Knew It
 
I have seen a few statements that either insinuate or flat out say that the government either knew, or had intelligence that there would be a terrorist attack.  I have seen people say that the government may have planned it and that is why there were so many first responders at the event.  There was a congressman who said there may have been information on an attack before it happened.  There may have been intelligence but I don’t believe they knew enough to know when or how the attack would occur.  If they had nonspecific information, that could be part of the reason there were so many first responders on scene. 
 
I do not believe that the government planned or “let” the bombing occur.  But I do believe they will, as the Presidents former Chief of Staff once said, “never let a serious crisis go to waste.”  There were many calls for changing our gun culture and many more similar statements made.  One company even took pressure cookers off the shelves.  Now Sen. Lautenberg, Frank R. [D-NJ] has introduced S.792 – A bill to strengthen the enforcement of background checks with respect to the use of explosive materials. In other words, they want to restrict and limit black powder sales.
 
 
Warrantless Searches

In desperate attempts to find the terrorists, police were given authority to carry out door-to-door searches in certain neighborhoods and they were not required to have a search warrant. Below is one of many videos that can be found on youtube of this event taking place.  Police knocked on doors and in many cases ordered innocent home owners to keep their hands above their heads and leave the house.
 

 
I have seen video of news reporters talking to people who were told to evacuate their homes, saying they were happy the police were there and happy they did their job.  I have seen on blogs and forums where people who were not in Boston believe these warrantless searches were a good thing.
 
Before I go any further, let me say now that I am a supporter of the police.  I have donated money to local police charities and organizations several times.  I believe that those who protect and serve are heroes and that the vast majority are stellar human beings. There were some stories about individual police going out of their way to help some civilians who were on lock down.
 
That being said, those searches were a complete violation of the Fourth Amendment and, while not declared, Boston was under Martial Law during that time.  People were told to stay in their homes, and in certain neighborhoods were ordered, at gun point, to leave their homes while officers then stormed in, searching for one of the bombers.

The Fourth Amendment states:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

I fully understand that there was a set of horrible events that led up to this, but our freedoms are defined by how our authorities act in times like this.  If the police believed there was probable cause that Joe Dirtbag was in that neighborhood, they should have had an officer at every entrance and exit to watch for the suspect.  They should have knocked on every door with guns holstered, explaining to the resident that they believed the suspect was in the neighborhood.  They should have asked for permission to search the house and property.  One may say that the police did ask and the residents gave consent to the search, but nothing is consensual when the person asking you has a gun in your face.

Imagine this; a very similar attack takes place in the largest city near you.  There are reports that say the police believe the suspects have fled and have hidden in your town and are looking for them.  They have asked residents to stay in their homes for the time being.  What would you do?  If I answer that, I would say that our windows and doors would be locked and that we would be armed.  What happens if/when the police knock on your door and you give them access?  Do you think that once the police saw you were armed you would be treated as a law abiding civilian who is protecting their house and family?  Or do you think you may be treated as a potential hostile suspect, handcuffed and guns taken?

I didn’t see any reports of people saying “no”, but ask yourself what might have happened had someone said “no”.  Again, I am a supporter of the police, but I believe that when they show up with overwhelming force, “no” isn’t an acceptable answer to them.
 
 
But I Have Nothing to Hide
 
There are some who say, “I have nothing to hide, why should I say no?”  Pastor Niemoller once said,
 
“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.  Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.  Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.  Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
 
You may not have anything to hide and you might not even be armed in the scenario I mentioned above, but what happens if we go down this slippery slope and warrantless searches become more common place?  Now, instead of only doing warrantless searches when there is a terrorist on the loose, warrantless searches become the norm for the “suspected” terrorist?  A bit further down the slope, warrantless searches are done against fundamentalist who believe marriage should be between one man and one woman and those who believe that abortion is a sin.  These people are accused of spreading hate and are suspected of planning hate crimes.  Do you have a crucifix in your home?  Have you ever had a pro-life or pro marriage sign in your yard, or on your car?  How many Bibles do you have in your home?
 
Think this is a stretch?  Recently, a trooper in Colorado gave a seminar on the dangers of biker gangs, and Sovereign Citizens,where he added the following:
 
“Among those groups, Kluczynski had listed, were those who believe America was founded on godly principles, Christians who take the Bible literally, and “fundamentalists”.  Kluczynski did not explain what he meant by “fundamentalists” but from the context it was clear he was referring again to those who took the Bible literally or “too seriously.”

We are told in scripture that we will see increased persecution.  For many Christians around the world, it is already their daily life.  We will see it escalated here inside America and every other nation.  On a side note, I know a bit about Sovereign Citizens, and they have nothing to do with Christianity.  I bring this up as it is the most recent reference accusing Christians of being potential terrorists.

I do not think the police did a great service going door-to-door, searching homes without warrants.  No, I believe it was a bad precedent to set and could very likely be used as an example of how to respond in the future.  How fruitful were these house-to-house warrantless searches?  Not at all!  Joe Dirtbag was discovered by the homeowner who owned the boat Joe Dirtbag was hiding in.
 
 
All Amendments Need to be Protected

I saw a few occasions on blogs and forums where people who previously said they would not budge an inch when it came to their Second Amendment said they thought the warrantless searches were a good thing.  Maybe they think this way because they believe the danger of the loose terrorist was greater than the danger to the Fourth Amendment.  Maybe it was done because they believe there was enough probable cause to issue house-to-house warrantless searches.  Maybe it was done out of a sense of loyalty to our police and FBI, believing they had the best of intentions.
 
Whatever the reason, I believe we need to exercise and protect all of our God given rights that are listed in the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was designed to protect the average, law abiding, citizen from an over-reaching government.  If we hold a loose grip on one amendment, how much longer will it be before it, and others begin to slip away?
 
 
I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes:

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

– Benjamin Franklin
 
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