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Apr 22 2013

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Freedom in Name Only

swat teamThe question demands an answer – has America tossed another vestige of freedom on the scrap heap of history. 

Watertown, (MA) citizens welcomed armed police and swat teams into their homes during the search for Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  As the linked video confirms, Boston’s ersatz storm troopers treated homeowners with scant civility.  A door-to-door interior search sans warrant and forced curfew are de facto martial law. Those who view this event differently seem quite willing to sacrifice liberty for (the illusion of) security, and as Ben Franklin noted, will lose both and deserve neither.

Restrictions on civil liberties should not be decided based on the degree of carnage, political posturing or how loudly citizens clamor for protection. The Founders would decry the many forms of unreasonable search and seizure taking place in their beloved Republic.   The Fourth Amendment took a beating as the search for the Marathon bomber fell during a week when the House passed CISPA, allowing companies to send collected data to the federal leviathan without a warrant or fear of legal repercussions.

Government has crossed the Rubicon, now it is only a matter of degree and frequency as to when officials will curtail freedom, both digital and physical.  Should violent events occur in other parts of the country, will commerce and travel come to a standstill for hours or  days at a time? Will lockdown perimeters become a regular occurrence? What becomes of individuals who refuse entry without a warrant? Will we fill our jails with Americans protecting their rights?  Will police (or military) subdue those who don’t cooperate with authorities?  What about civil unrest – will these government sponsored home invasions serve the dual purpose of gun confiscation? Answers are required – such scenarios are no longer hypothetical.

Liberty once lost is not easily, if ever, restored.  Unfortunately, the federal government now realizes that in times of danger, people will allow, and occasionally cheer, intrusions on their life and property. To be fair, some in the crowd were simply relieved the ordeal was ending, but those who waved flags and chanted USA, USA are not aware, or no longer care that the freedom they willingly abdicate is what makes the country exceptional and worthy of their jubilant chants.  This is not a time for cheers, to the contrary, this is a solemn occasion to inventory our few remaining Constitutional rights and decide where the individual stands against an omnipotent state.

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