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Patriot Act - 6 Years Later

Reflections on the Patriot Act and the erosion of our liberties by a concerned citizen.
It's a Scary, Scary World!

October 26, 2007 is the 6th anniversary of the Patriot Act.

But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored.

Liberty, once lost, is lost forever. John Adams

Unalienable Rights: Non-Bending; Non-Negotiable. That's what the Founding Fathers wanted for the Citizens of this great country. Those rights as carefully specified in the Constitution and Bill of Rights were not but there to "grant" or "guarantee" the citizens rights but rather, to restrain government from infringing on our Unalienable Rights.

I am concerned with our elected officials recent approval to renew the Patriot Act. While it may have started with good intentions, if we're not diligent, we'll soon yield our liberty one too many times and there will be no turning back!

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Did you know, the Patriot Act has been used by government officials to monitor the activities of people who choose to peacefully protest the war, members of environmental and animal rights groups, members of property rights groups?

Did you know, that on many school campuses and government parks, if you want to hand out literature or make a public speech you have to be in what is known as a "free speech zone"?

What happened to not interfering in religion, the right to assemble and the right to protest the actions of our government?

Amendment IV

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.

This week it was announced that the terror watch list records have more than quadrupled over a three-year period! As of May 2007, there are more than 754,960 names on the registry! Your library records, bookstore purchases, phone conversations, email, internet history are all subject to scrutiny! And, for what good reason?

America's fear of terrorism is like a cat being afraid of a mouse. Actually, it's worse than that, because all the terrorists in all the world amount to no more than an anemic mosquito on the snout of a whale. The fact is . . .

We're in far more danger from our own cars than we are from terrorism.

The minute the first politician proposed the first imposition on the Bill of Rights, or the first call to invade Iraq, or the first request for large new bureaucracies to fight the anemic mosquito, the terrorists won, and we lost.

I just can't take it any more! Sure, after 9/11, I was afraid - I mean, seriously, who wasn't? But now, as I have had time to process with REASON, I have concluded that I will not be afraid anymore!

The Common Sense Pledge! (A note to my elected officials):

I am not afraid of terrorism, and I want you to stop being afraid on my behalf. Please start scaling back the official government war on terror. Please replace it with a smaller, more focused anti-terrorist police effort in keeping with the rule of law. Please stop overreacting. I understand that it will not be possible to stop all terrorist acts. I accept that. I am not afraid!

What does this mean in real life?

It means that you do not participate in the public hysteria when terrorists attack, but instead react proportionally, placing the terrorist act in its proper place in the vast scheme of crimes, accidents, disease, natural disaster, and generic tragedy that is man's lot on earth. It means that you do not permit the politicians to feel terror on your behalf. It means that you discourage them from fomenting and exploiting hysteria to expand their own power at the expense of traditional American principles. It means that you view terrorism as a matter for international police work, under the rule of law, and not a justification for bloated government programs, reckless wars, or the shredding of the Bill of Rights.

"There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." -James Madison

""... ... man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts."" _Ronald Reagan

"The administration assures us that domestic surveillance is done to protect us. But the crucial point is this: Government assurances are not good enough in a free society. The overwhelming burden must always be placed on government to justify any new encroachment on our liberty. Remember, President Bush will not be in office forever. History demonstrates that the powers we give the federal government today will remain in place indefinitely. How comfortable are you that future Presidents won't abuse those powers?Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens'' lives.Do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, and metal detectors? Do we really believe government can provide total security?" Ron Paul

"When we got organized as a country, [and] wrote a fairly radical Constitution, with a radical Bill of Rights, giving radical amounts of freedom to Americans, it was assumed that Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly...When personal freedom is being abused, you have to move to limit it." ( Bill Clinton, 1994)

"Anyone who would "give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."