Privacy, Security, and The need to say "No!"

After 9/11 I heard so many people cry out for the government to provide more security.  There was an obvious sense of worry and even in many cases, outright panic – and for good reason.  9/11 killed thousands of innocent Americans going about their daily lives.  It would change America forever.  I just hoped it wouldn’t change the essence of who we were.

Unfortunately, it was clear that the changes about to take place wouldn’t just involve enhanced security. Many Americans said that they would give up some of their rights for security and to this, I shouted at the television “No!”  People around me couldn’t understand me when I said that if we give up the freedoms that Americans have fought and died for, the terrorists would have won the greatest prize – our freedom!

Of course I want security.  We all do.  I just didn’t believe that the government could ever guarantee our safety in an open society.  I expected some enhanced security at airports and our ports; however, are any of you happy with what you got instead?  The security plans put in place were ridiculous!  Just think of what was deemed acceptable and not acceptable to carry on an airplane after 9/11 and how easy it would have been for terrorists to circumvent our rules and come up with something else.

Well, again there was an attempted bombing of a plane.  This time it was on the Christmas – one of the holiest days for Christians.  The problem is clear.  The terrorists own father walked into an American embassy months before and told us that his son, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was radicalized by Al Qaeda, and our response was to allow his son a multiple entry passport to the United States despite being on a terror watch list and not having the proper papers.  Our response?  Nothing.  “Come on in, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. We hope you enjoy your stay.”

To me, the problem seems clear.  Someone failed to pass the information up the chain of command. Who was that person?  The other problem is that Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano thinks that the system worked.  Both people should be fired.  Unfortunately, we can’t simply fire President Obama for immediately calling this the result of an isolated extremist and allowing him to have a lawyer and all the rights of the Constitution afforded to the Americans he tried to blow up.

Once again the government’s response to a terrorist attack is ridiculous. President Obama called for $1,000,000,000 to be spent on security and already, millions of dollars are being spent on machines that strip search my wife and maybe even my kids.  What?  I don’t care who the operator is or that pictures will be deleted.  What happened to our personal rights?  Why are the rights of terrorists being considered before our own?

The problem was not with the need to get more information on people but rather the need to follow through with the information we already have.  What about someone even sending Janet Napolitano an email saying, “Hey, this guy is crazy and wants to blow up Americans.  FYI.”  We knew about this guy, but no one did anything.

This administration’s knee jerk reaction is to spend millions before considering whether what they proposed is even Constitutional.  I guess our only hope is that Arab-Americans or some other minority group complains about the violation to their privacy.  I am sure that Muslims, Jews, Christians, and atheists can agree on one thing – that what is up our skirts or burkas is none of the government’s damn business no matter who is looking.

President Obama, I don’t think you spend a lot of time thinking about the wisdom of our “Founding Fathers” but let me leave you with this final thought.  “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” ~ Benjamin Franklin, 1759.   President Obama, try to listen to the words of those who fought and even died for the freedoms that you enjoy and are so ready to give up for the rest of us.