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#44608 - 07/24/05 05:29 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches
gutdoc Offline

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 11
Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. -- James Madison

Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have. -- Harry Emerson Fosdick

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts. -- Edmund Burke, letter, April 3, 1777, to the Sheriffs of Bristol.

It is seldom that liberty of any kinds is lost all at once. -- David Hume

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. -- Edmund Burke

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. -- William Pitt, 18 Nov 1783

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. --- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

Some quotes about liberty from people who lived in far more dangerous times than we.

Nobody doubts that life is precious and must be preserved, but I agree with Madison, Franklin, Paine, and others that in the long run, the state, even a “benevolent” one is far more dangerous to the individual and his liberty than a foreign power. What troubles me about our national response to terrorism, is that rather than do the hard things like control the borders, keep track of foreign nationals from parts of the world where violent, anti-US ideology predominates and aggressively develop/implement technology that improves security without hassling Americans who are just trying to get to work on time, we have chosen to search the backpacks of middle-schoolers and take nail files away from old ladies. I’m told by people who are supposed to know these things that the Bill of Rights was to apply only to US citizens, but I am sure that by now some judge has held that it applies to illegal aliens, too. Even those that have entered the country illegally to do us harm.

Does that mean that guests in our country from Abu Dhabi should have a harder time entering the country? Yep. (After 9/11, some wag on television said, “Remember, it wasn’t nineteen Norwegian Lutherans that attacked us!”) I can live with that easier than I can life-long Americans being stopped every fifty yards with the command, “Let me see your papers.” If I choose to go to Baghdad or Turkey, I do not expect to have the freedom for which the Founders pledged their “Sacred Honor.” But within the borders of the United States and for the citizens thereof, I pray that God will save us from the day when the bespectacled, leather trench-coated policeman can smugly say as we are dragged away, “Your papers are not in order.”

I’m not sure that day is all that far off.

A bit of a rant - Sorry. But I believe the issues being discussed are of fundamental importance and I felt obliged to respond. Even if it is not a pure survival topic ... but then again, maybe it is.

Randy P.

Edited by gutdoc (07/24/05 05:55 PM)

#44609 - 07/24/05 05:45 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches
ChristinaRodriguez Offline

Registered: 02/24/03
Posts: 324
Loc: Rhode Island
I'm sorry, but even though it's Matt's job and he does get paid for it, I doubt that makes picking up body parts any easier. Please understand that he is coming from a viewpoint having witnessed several tragedies and is doing what he can to make things better.

I agree with him, and I agree with you. It's finding an answer that will satisfy everyone that is tricky. I won't stand for this faulty system, will be active in implementing a better one as much as I can, and will keep my eyes open for a real danger. I think that's all I can do.

#44610 - 07/24/05 05:55 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches

Yes, but as brandtb highlights below, I really don't want to have to walk 30 miles to my office -- that's my only alternative if I don't take public transit, which means that I'm essentially required to consent to these searches.

#44611 - 07/24/05 06:01 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches

Darn -- I thought I was the only person who'd been a member of both the ACLU and the NRA at the same time! (The NRA membership was actually only for work purposes ... the firm I was working for at the time had the Remington Arms Company as a client, and I needed to keep abreast of regulatory developments.)

#44612 - 07/24/05 06:50 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches

Rick, please don't take this as a personal attack, but (a) that statement regarding liberty & security was (as gutdoc says above) made by B. Franklin, not T. Jefferson and (b) please tell me where you live & work, because I can't tell whether you truly understand what daily life in a major urban area is like. A lot of personal liberties & rights are compromised or surrendered when one lives/commutes/works cheek-by-jowl with millions of other people in the NYC metro area.

In principle, as I've said elsewhere in this thread, I agree that civil liberties should be sustained to the utmost letter of the law. (That's why I am a member of the ACLU -- I don't agree emotionally with all of their positions, but I agree intellectually with most of them because the ACLU is a fierce defender of constitutional and other legal rights -- no matter how unpopular the folks whose rights they're defending.)

But in real life I (like Polak187) believe that it's a miracle that no terrorist incident has happened yet on the NYC transit system. If we can get a decent search procedure set up -- minimize the potential for abuse and maximize the potential for locating possible attackers -- then I am willing to accept that search procedure as the price of living in NYC. (I'm not happy about it, mind you, but I'm willing nonetheless.) And by the way, it costs about $475/month for covered parking in my neighborhood ... I have much better things to do with that money -- like feed my ETS-fuelled gear lust -- than keep a car in Manhattan merely to avoid "random" searches on the subways & trains.

#44613 - 07/24/05 10:49 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches

Sperately and apart from notions of fundamental fairness and the notion that human rights are human right, wherever they are found (with which I agree) part of the argument for extending Bill of Rights protection to aliens apprehended on our soil is the same pragmatic argument against torture: reciprocity. Don't do to them what you don't want done to ours.

I think I will add to my collection of seemingly outmoded concepts begun a few posts back: "honor." Now there's a strange notion -- refrain from torturing prisoners because it's not honorable to do so? How quaint!

My latest ex-wife used to do a lot of immigration work;she told me a lot of war stories. I had some time on my hands waiting for something to happen in the old federal building here, and noticed that there were immigrationn hearings in progress. I went up and watched for a while. You know what they say about making sausage -- be real glad you are a citizen. I promise, visitors to our contry, legal or illegal, are treated none too well.

#44614 - 07/24/05 10:50 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches

No -- me too -- where's the contradictioin?

#44615 - 07/24/05 10:59 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches


Why do you think guerilla warfare works so well?

#44616 - 07/24/05 11:05 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches

The contradiction is that the ACLU is very willing to cover everything but the Second Ammendment.

When varous housing authorities chose to say that anyone living in low income housing couldn't own guns, the ACLU said nothing. They also seem to ignore the fact that the "assualt weapons" scam is based on cosmetics, and is thus a First Ammendment issue, rather than being base on technical merit.

That being said, the ACLU does an OK job most of the time.

#44617 - 07/24/05 11:15 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches

Ben hit part of it on the head. Search everyone. One car, one party of visiting "dignitaries" (high school students from Podunk). one box of oranges that isn't searched is a weak point. If I was looking to make an attack, I would watch the watchers, seeing if I could find the pattern to thier "random", and exploit it. If I couldn't, overload them with multiple attackers, one would get through to accomplish his mission. Ben, any comments on that statement?

Searching everyone wouldn't be that horrible to me, so long as the guys running the scanners were trained and honorable. I woudl grumble, but I would accept it so long as I could carry a sidearm on mass transit with a CCW card. If I couldn't... I have to think about that one. It would defeat the purpose of CCW permits.

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