Of Subways and Suspects

Discussion in 'Politics' started by CivilLiberty, Jul 28, 2005.

  1. CivilLiberty
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    CivilLiberty Active Member

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    Of Subways and Suspects

    Curtailing Civil Liberties Does Not Make Us Safer


    By Andrew Somers

    Where to begin? Terrorist bombings of subways, death, and mayhem. Tragedies that have resulted in knee jerk reactions by governments to curtail civil liberties.

    Here in America, it's random searches with no probable cause. In London? Shooting and killing an unarmed, innocent man. Have these curtailments of our liberties made us safer? Not one bit.

    Let's consider the recent incident in London first. In the U.K., they don't have the same "constitutional" protections we have in the U.S. But they do generally have specific acts for most situation that protect human life and liberty. While it's not common for them to violate someone's life with a summary execution, it apparently can happen.

    In the wake of the recent terrorist bombings, a jittery London police force shot first and asked questions later - questions that will likely go unanswered. The innocent Brazilian man they killed was unarmed and not carrying a bomb. Nevertheless, police tackled him, held him to the ground, and then fired 5 shots into his head at point blank range. (See: Rules of engagement".)

    Why? Was this man connected to terrorists? No. But apparently the police thought he might be. A mere suspicion that turned out to be wrong - dead wrong.

    And what is the response from London police? "More innocents may be killed by police". Gee, that's reassuring.

    But this incident points DIRECTLY to why we cannot give up our civil liberties under the guise of security or the war on terror. This incident shows in bloody detail what happens when we allow the government (and agents thereof) to run roughshod over our lives. Innocent people have their lives destroyed or ended. This kind of thing we expect from the totalitarian regimes of the former USSR, China, or Nazi Germany. but not from a free society.

    Here at home we are seeing other curtailments of civil liberties, though perhaps not as draconian as those across the Atlantic. Recently New York City Police began random searches of subway riders. These searches are not based on even reasonable suspicion - but are at the whim of police officers. These searches are invasive, unconstitutional, and unnecessary.

    Seven Seconds

    Seven Seconds. That's my estimation of the average life span of a NYC subway police officer who decides to search a suicide bomber. And bad luck for any subway patrons within the blast radius. Have these searches made anyone safer? No, not one bit. These searches have only served to allow the government to invade our personal privacy without cause.

    Take a look at Israel for a moment - there's a virtual police state with armed troops everywhere. Have the Israelis been able to stop suicide bombings? No, they haven't.

    Even if the police were to be allowed to shoot any suspect in the head at their whim, would that stop bombings and terrorism? No, not at all. And would you want to live in a society where you knew that you could be executed at any moment at the whim of an agent of the government? I certainly wouldn't.

    Basically it comes down to this: there are two kinds of societies you can live in:

    In one, your life is open for public display - you have no privacy, and the government can see everything you do. As a result the government can dictate how you can run your life.

    In the other, you have privacy. Your life is private, and you can live your life without the specter of governmental intervention. Here, the government cannot see what you are doing, and therefore cannot dictate how you can run your life.

    Two opposite concepts. Is one safer than the other? Some may say that giving up our privacy in necessary to fight the war on terror, and therefore will make us safer. And the people that say this are utterly and completely wrong. Their misconception of "safety" is a knee jerk emotional reaction that bears no connection to reality.

    Today, you are less likely to die as a result of a terrorist attack than you are to die from eating an aspirin. While terror attacks are horrific - like plane crashes - they are also statistically insignificant.

    On the other hand, lets look at governments that have complete power over your lives. If you live in such a nation, are you less likely to be a victim of terrorism? Perhaps. In Iraq, Saddam had a hard line against terrorists, and kept his country free of them. He also murdered, oh, hundreds of thousands of other citizens at his whim. And China? Okay, little or no terrorism. But did that make the students of Tieneman Square "safer" when the government of China decided to execute thousands of them? Of course, it's easy to point to a nation like Russia for their human rights violations - but even that totalitarian regime has not been able to stop terrorism in their borders.

    Ultimately, giving up civil liberties is not going to make you safer. It may shift the real dangers from one group to another (i.e. from certain kinds of terrorists to another kind of terrorist, such as the government). But a government is well funded and well organized. A government has real power - and given power over your life, there is nothing you can do. An errant terrorist will never have power over your life, and the odds that you will ever encounter one is akin to being struck twice by lightening at the same time as you're winning the lottery while wearing a lime green jacket emblazoned by a picture of Elvis.

    Or put another way, I'd much rather take the risk of being a victim of some under-funded whack job extremists, than be a subject of a totalitarian government.


    So What's the Answer?

    So What's the Answer? Glad you asked. You'll find the answer in my favorite document - the constitution. Second Amendment to be exact. for review, the Second Amendment reads:

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

    When in our nation's history has this basic civil right been more pertinent than today? Our forefathers were truly far sighted in their understanding that an armed populace is a securepopulace. So let's look at how an armed citizenry is the real security we need.

    We'll begin by looking at the single most horrific example of terrorism in recent history - 9/11. Suicidal extremists with razor blades hijacked 4 jetliners. To an unarmed victim, a razor blade or utility knife is a deadly weapon. However, a gun trumps a razor blade - and up till 1987, pilots were allowed to carry guns. But now disarmed, pilots became sitting ducks for this simple terrorist attack.

    It's not as if armed pilots are a threat to air safety - studies have shown that firing a gun through the fuselage of a pressurized aircraft will NOT cause explosive decompression - even a shot through a window does little damage and is not a threat to the integrity of the aircraft.

    What is a threat is suicidal extremists. And if they are not armed with razor blades, how about polycarbonite or carbon-fiber knifes, which pass through metal detectors? Or how about a broken wine bottle? Or an underarm deodorant spray can filled not with deodorant but with Saran gas?

    The government run airport security is no better than the private security it replaced - except that now it's the government invading your privacy. Strengthening cockpit doors is a good idea, arming pilots is a good idea - but don't be misled into believing that increased surveillance and invasions of your privacy are making any substantive gains in your safety.

    Indeed you can say the opposite. If you whole life if open for scrutiny, what is to prevent criminals from accessing knowledge of your private, most personal information, and using it to your detriment? Your right to protect your privacy is as important as your right to protect yourself. You life depends on it.

    Ben Franklin said "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety". And indeed, giving up our civil liberties will not make us safer - it will only open the door for the government to harass - and even murder - citizens at their whim. Is this safety? I think not.



    Links:
    A notice left at a London tube station. While obviously a sick joke, it highlights the tragic reality of the situation.
    http://z.about.com/d/civilliberty/1/0/f/1/NottingHillGate.jpg

    While it began as a joke, Londoners can now buy this clear backpack, making the contents plainly visible.
    http://z.about.com/d/civilliberty/1/0/g/1/Backpack.jpg

    Above article reprinted from:
    http://civilliberty.about.com/od/privacyanddueprocess/a/Subways072805.htm
    by permission.

    Rules of engagement
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9548.htm

    "More innocents may be killed by police"
    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=54803
     
  2. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Will protecting our civil liberties make us any safer from a terrorists' bomb ?
     
  3. CivilLiberty
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    CivilLiberty Active Member

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    You're "already safe" from a terrorist bomb. You're more likely to be struck by lightening as indicated above.

    Curtailing civil liberties will NOT make you safer either.


    Andy
     
  4. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Tell that to the dead folks in London--SAFE??? you're crazy!
     
  5. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    "De Menezes on Friday left a south London apartment building that had been under surveillance as part of the investigation into Thursday's attempted bombings.

    Officers followed him to the Stockwell Underground station. The man's "clothing and suspicious behavior at the station added to their suspicions," a police statement said.

    He challenged police and refused to obey orders before he was shot and killed Friday morning, Blair said Friday.

    A witness to the shooting, Mark Whitby, said he was sitting on the train when "I heard a lot of shouting."

    "I saw a chap run on to the train," Whitby said. "He was running so fast he half sort of tripped. He was being pursued by three guys. One had a black handgun in his hand."

    "As he sort of went down, two of them sort of dropped on to him to hold him down, and the other one fired. I heard five shots."

    A cousin of Menezes said his family was angry over the death, challenging police statements that he failed to obey orders and jumped a ticket barrier.

    Menezes, an electrician who had lived in Britain about four years, had a multiple-day pass and had no reason to jump the barrier, he said. "

    From: http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/07/23/london.tube/
    ---

    1. Why did he challenge the police?

    2. Why did he run?

    3. Why did he jump the barrier?

    He knews what had happened before and would, I would think, be cooperative. OK, sure..some people would say that he was under no obligation to "cooperate" because he didn't do anything wrong. But..come one..he knew the tension in the area.

    If he would have stopped for the police, let them look him over, he would still be alive.

    Under the current situation and climate in the area, that would not have been unreasonable.
     
  6. no1tovote4
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    no1tovote4 VIP Member

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    Hey CL, long time no see.

    Random searches would only work for people that were unwilling to die for their cause. If they are willing to die, just so much the better when they take a cop with them in their opinion. However, bunches of people holding guns would have no more effect on a suicide murderer than the cop would, it would only add to the shrapnel.

    I agree that giving up Civil Liberties in exchange for a false security is ridiculous in its concept, dangerous in its siren song, and simply false promise that will never be realized but saying we would be safer from attacks by arming the populace is equally invalid as saying we are safer because of random searches. Suicide Murderers often have triggers that are made so if they are shot their bombs will still explode, if a citizen had shot one of the suicide murderers it is likely the same result would be realized as before.

    I am unafraid, as yet, of any terror attacks as even in the most populated places the statistical danger is almost non-existent. I am also unwilling to give up freedoms for such a false security, but I am also realistic in the idea that it makes me no safer to be armed against a sneaky attacker hiding in shadows and willing to die so long as he takes me with him.

    We all know that the suicide murderers will never again be able to make a weapon from a hijacked plane, it doesn't even matter if they look like they are Muslim, people in the US would not sit like cattle and wait for the end.
     
  7. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Cameras watching everyone in London helped police to track down terrorists bent on killing more people. That's good enough for me.
     
  8. CivilLiberty
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    CivilLiberty Active Member

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    Hmmm - three plain clothes men shout at you and point a gun at you. Hmmm. Would YOU run? I sure as fuck would.


    *ALOT* of people live in that apartment building - should they all be executed because there *may* be one or two terrorists living there two?


    Andy
     
  9. CivilLiberty
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    CivilLiberty Active Member

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    Hey - been busy!



    I'm not saying that gun toting citizens would necessarily be useful against suicide bomber per se, but an armed citizenry *would* lend strength and stability to the nation/society at large.


    Andy
     
  10. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Hey. We've haven't dealt with your idiocy for awhile. Welcome back.

    We should do checks all over the place. And we should racially profile. This is a war, not a feel good session.

    Your idiotic leftist notions of how to deal with terrorism is the reason your party will never regain power. dig it, daddy-o.
     

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