Mob Rule: Judge, Jury, and Executioner

Shelby County Courthouse, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

The definition of "Justice" is at stake

The Trayvon Martin controversy is a perfect example of Democracy at work.

As one of my previous articles explained, Democracy is majority rule, with no regards for anything but the simple will of the mob.  Let’s look into how Mr. Zimmerman is facing the danger that Democracy presents.

From the moment this incident broke in the news (although an “old” story by media standards), civil right leaders and minority groups have been claiming that an act of racism had taken place.  Protests have continued, claiming that the local authorities should have already arrested George Zimmerman, the watch leader, although the case is still being investigated.  Even several walk-outs have been staged at local high schools, and a “million hoodie march” has occurred for Trayvon last week.

All of these events have one common goal: the arrest of George Zimmerman.  

As a result of the protests, the police chief has stepped down temporarily, hoping to remove some of the anger.  These events now include the presence of Al Sharpton, who recently said:

“We wanted to come out and say we did not come here for a temporary leave of absence,  we came for permanent justice….Arrest Zimmerman now! That’s what this rally is about”

Arrest him for what?  The officials have stated they don’t know exactly what happened yet, so are we to arrest Zimmerman because he shot, justified or unjustified, an African-American?   Apparently, Martin’s father thinks so, saying:

“Had Treyvon been a white kid … Zimmerman would have been arrested.”

Furthermore, the New Black Panther Party has issued a “Dead or Alive” poster offering $10,000 for the “capture” of Mr. Zimmerman, who has gone into hiding.   Aiding in that quest today, Spike Lee tweeted Mr. Zimmerman’s address, which only added to the level of danger he is now facing.

Do not misunderstand, I am not currently defending Zimmerman but rather defending our Constitutional right (5th, 6th, & 14th  Amendments) to be considered innocent until proven guilty.   In fact, if Zimmerman is shown to have killed this boy in an act of racism, discrimination, or for any unjust reason; I say throw the book at him.   Until then, if race is used a factor for imprisonment or conviction, we will have a major problem in the United States.

By definition, what is occurring in Florida is practically the forming of a lynch mob against a Hispanic citizen of the United States.  That’s right, Mr. Zimmeran is Hispanic, not white, as Al Sharpton’s manual for crisis exploitation would generally recommend.  Mr. Zimmerman has been already tried and convicted by society.   He has been deemed guilty and ready for punishment, with no need for a lawyer, judge, or jury.

What we are witnessing is attempted mob rule: A “perceived” majority of individuals crying for punishment of a citizen, without even knowing his guilt.  The only reason provided by this particular mob to show Zimmerman’s guilt is that he shot an African-American boy wearing a hoodie.   There is no interest in seeing the undisclosed facts or any patience for a resolution.  Instead, constitutional rights have been thrown out the window and the desire to see this man penalized has overtaken all rational thought.

This is where Democracy and the Democratic Party takes us: Rule by riots, protests, and decisions made to satisfy the mob.  As long as the majority is satisfied in their erratic emotional causes, then nothing else matters, not even the attempts to find an individual innocent or guilty.  Consequently, the U.S. Constitution is being trampled under the feet of a “million” hoodie-wearing Americans.

Although mentioned before, consider that Zimmerman has literally had a “Dead or Alive” $10,000 bounty issued against him, not more than 24 hours after HIS President used racial comments as his “main message” regarding the incident.

If no bodily harm comes to him and if he is found innocent, his reputation has been forever damaged; a textbook case of what can happen when the public turns against you.  He will also have become a case study for multiple groups, causes, and college courses.  Although it remains to be proven, Zimmerman has been labeled a “cracker”, “racist”, and “murderer”.

The mob has actively waged war on a United States citizen.

It continues to grow as fuel is being thrown on the flames by prominent individuals, including the President of the United States.

It is times like these, that our Constitution and founding documents are almost the only things holding this society from imprisoning (or worse) someone who has yet to be convicted or even charged with a crime.  This is why we were given these personal rights and freedoms, so that individuals would be protected from the masses.

The situation in Florida is not an anomaly. It is what pure Democracy and the Democratic Party will bring us.

http://theohioconservative.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/a-democracy

Obama’s “Main Message”

“My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”                                                                                                       – Barack Obama

That’s Barack Obama’s main message to the parents of the boy who was shot and killed last week by a former neighborhood watch leader?  George Zimmerman, the watch leader, has claimed self-defense in the shooting, although the police have not finished investigating his claim. Repeatedly, the local police authorities have said that they are investigating what exactly happened; and at first glance, there may be some potential holes to the former watch leader’s story.  In the end, the story will unfold and more will be revealed.

So the most powerful man in the world’s “Main Message” to these grieving parents is that HIS son, if he had one, would look like theirs.  In twenty-one words, the President of the United States interjected himself into a state criminal investigation with a racial statement, as influential civil rights organizers began to incite crowds into a frenzy over perceived injustices.

As if sensing an opportunity, Barack Obama, who was hailed as “The Great Uniter” in 2008, willfully took the time to subtly play the race card.  Not only had his DOJ, led by Eric Holder, began reviewing the case almost immediately; but the President felt it was necessary to comment at a completely unrelated press conference.  His choice of words which included referencing looks and his own imaginary son has only shown that our President clearly sees events through the prism of race.   If that seems too much of a stretch, then imagine George Bush saying the same exact comment if Trayvon had been white.  At the minimum, one could argue it was a poor choice of words at a time when claims of racism are being fueled.  All Obama had to do, if anything at all, was offer his condolences to the family and express confidence that the authorities would thoroughly investigate.

It could have been that simple.   Instead, the President, even if unintentionally, invoked race and fanned the flames in Florida.  If not as generous as the previous statement, one cannot help but wonder why the President did not comment on and why the DOJ didn’t investigate Melissa Coon’s son in Kansas City, MO.

While walking down the street several blocks from her house, Ms. Coon’s 13-year old son was jumped by two teenagers who doused him in gasoline and then set him on fire.  As they began to douse him, they said, “This is what you deserve. You get what you deserve, white boy.”  Yes, Ms. Coon’s son was white and the attackers were two black teenagers.  Ms. Coon’s son received burns to the face and body and was rushed to the local emergency room.  Fortunately, he survived the attack and still is alive today.  The two teenagers have never been caught and almost not a word was ever mentioned by anyone in the mainstream media.  While the Florida case resulted in a death, it is clear that this attack in Kansas City was definitely a hate crime and there is little ambiguity to details of the event.

Yet, no one is holding their breath for any attention over a crime against a white 13 year-old in the Midwest, as there is no political advantage for Obama or the mainstream media in acknowledging this particular event. The political calculations made by Obama clearly dictate a need to bring excitement to the African-American vote, as their enthusiasm for the President has been shown lacking.

Meanwhile, as Mr. Zimmerman remains in hiding for his safety, the selective intrusions and snubs from this Administration based on race become more obvious day-after-day, as the President takes each opportunity to play the politics of division.

Reality Check: Focusing on the Real Objective

President Barack Obama listens to a question f...

He will be defined by his policies....

As the GOP Primary rages on, there is currently a lot of rhetoric flying around.  As two (three or four?) potential candidates battle for the nomination and for conservative votes, a lot of heated comments are being exchanged.   Anyone who remembers the 2008 primary knows that this did not hurt our current President at all, as he tangled with Hillary Clinton.  In fact, it was quickly forgotten as the liberals fell in line to support the nominee.

Looking at today’s race, the same battle is occurring again between Romney and Santorum (Gingrich, Paul too?).

Each nominee’s camp is claiming that only THEY can defeat Barack Obama, providing a laundry list of reasons to support their claim. It is concerning that so many people are getting caught up (at times, I too) in the fight for their candidate to get the nomination, that they may be losing sight of what got us to this point in the first place. Take a moment and realize that whether “Obama-lite” Romney or “life-time politician” Santorum wins the nomination, this election is not going to be about the GOP candidate; it will be about one man’s desecration and attempted destruction of a nation.

November 2012 will be about Barack Obama.

In an ABC News poll, Two-thirds (67%) of Americans want the Supreme Court to strike down the individual mandate in “Obama-Care”.  In addition, the almighty “independents” that supposedly govern elections oppose the law 51% – 43% as well.  Since we’ve been told repeatedly that Independents are the only real objective in a national election, this should be enough proof to solidify a GOP win.   If that is not enough, not even two weeks ago, another poll, this time from the WaPo, showed that Obama’s disapproval rating hit a new high of 50%.  These are only two recent surveys that have thrown the mainstream media and the White House into panic.  The idea that these sentiments overwhelmingly exist in the country but somehow translate into an Obama victory is not logical. A majority cannot adamantly oppose a President’s key achievement and support him at the same time.   As much as he tries to avoid it, Obama cannot escape the fact that he will be judged by his actions in November.

If you do not trust polls and are still not convinced that the GOP attacks on each other will be almost irrelevant, consider this…

In 2010, GOP candidates won in a landslide against almost every Democratic challenger, resulting in a re-taking of the House and almost the Senate.   In a special election in 2011, New York District 9 elected its first GOP Rep. since 1920.  These protest votes against Barack Obama were unpredicted and under-reported by the media in an attempt to conceal the strong message that voters sent to D.C.

Nothing has changed since then, except that our nation’s situation has grown even more precarious.  We are two years away from nationalized health care being fully implemented, the constitution is being trampled on every day, and governmental organizations are becoming the channels in which to bypass Congress.  Without a doubt, America realizes it.

The idea that 2010′s sentiment has dissipated is absurd.  Americans across this country who indiscriminately protested against Obama through their votes in 2010 now have the object of their anger on the ballot this year.   What should be obvious is that this groundswell of anti-Democrat voters is being and will continue to be unrecognized by most media channels until several days before the November elections; at which point, it will be labeled a “surprise” and an “unprecedented” movement.   We must realize this cover-up of the majority’s opinions is an attempt to suppress any and every damaging vote possible.

Just remember that in several months the GOP primary will have ended and there will be a nominee.  The most difficult part for some will be realigning their focus and attempting to defend the nominee that they had been trying to destroy for months.  Fortunately, many out there, just like the late-Andrew Breitbart, are keeping their sights on the real enemy and the most important vote in our country’s history.   They understand that 2012 is not a year to support third-party candidates or sit-out the election in protest and that the furious battle in the GOP will end with a large group being majorly disappointed.   In November, only one of these four men will remain standing and ready to appear on the ballot against the President, and most of the efforts put forth in the primary will no longer matter.

This is why we must stay focused on the real mission of exposing and defeating Barack Obama. 

Obsessed With Being Offended

No Obama on this flag

We love to be offended.   Think about it for a second and let the concept sink in. Doesn’t quite make sense?  It may be fair to say we are obsessed with it even.  It seems that everyone loves to be the victim and target of some offense act, statement, or concept. Take a look at this simple example that happened over the last couple days.

Yesterday, Nike released a new limited line of shoes called “Black & Tan”, in tribute of the popular Irish beer concoction and upcoming St. Patrick’s Day.  Although an unofficial name for the shoes, the term “Black & Tan” was originally given to a highly oppressive group of British leaders in the 1920’s, who terrorized Irish dissidents.   Of course, the news quickly developed that Nike’s “name” has offended Irish groups throughout the world.  News articles across the board couldn’t resist but use word “offended” multiple times throughout the dialogue, with majority of the “offended” being unnamed and unrecognized.    This entire drummed-up story has forced Nike to make a public apology and remove the unofficial name.

There is nothing wrong with being offended; but consider that every time some group, including ourselves, is offended, the word’s meaning is diminished little by little.   For example:

Barbara Walters is “offended” by the TV show, The Bachelor

Animal welfare group offended by Neb. Gov. Dave Heineman speech

Kim Kardashian is offended by actor John Hamm’s comments

Those are all from news headlines in the last several hours, according to Google.

In the current environment, when we are “offended”, it is just the status-quo anymore.  It’s not an issue; it’s not a problem.

We’ll get over it, right?

Yet, that is the crux of the problem.  These days, being offended is a trend and passing emotion.  Everyone is looking for appeasement via apology or a handout, wondering what will be done to ease their ire.  While we may be offended by someone cutting us off on the highway or bumping in to us on a crowded street, it really does not matter anymore.  We aren’t truly offended; we’re just trying to fit in with the narrative of the day.  It’s just cool to be the victim and oppressed.  After all, who doesn’t naturally want to indulge in some self-pity and be a “martyr”?

Well…

I am truly offended.

I am offended…

  • When it is announced that the Democratic Party of Lake County, Florida puts Barack Obama’s face on the American Flag.
  • When a group of American Indians, Northern Arapaho, are given a permit to shoot American bald eagles. 
  • When I am told that I must pay for other citizens’ “contraception”.
  • When it is announced that the national healthcare law will collect a $1 premium to fund abortion procedures from everyone enrolled.
  • When my tax money is rolled into Solyndra and other “green energy” companies
  • When our President shows his disdain for the United States of America, through almost all his enacted policies, including apologizing and negotiating with a declared “enemy” in Afghanistan.

These are issues to be offended over!   Not shoe names, celebrity spats, and TV shows.

As citizens of this nation, we should be more concerned and offended by the path the U.S. has been set on by this Administration than Peyton Manning’s departure, a Kony 2012 documentary, or whether or not McDonald’s is out of chicken nuggets.  

If we make these trivial parts of life the target of our outrage and choose to be repeatedly offended over them, then we simply become the “Little Boy Who Cried Wolf”.

After all, when everyone is offended, then no one really is.

A Democracy?

“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner”

 - James Bovard

         

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

Democracy vs. Republic

It is frightening when I hear someone refer to this country as a democracy.  Often times, it is elected officials, trying to speak in a language that sounds eloquent and patriotic.  Why does it frightening me? Mainly because the United States contains some portions of a democracy; but, in the end, is and was intended to be closer to a Republic.

Perhaps it may seem as if it is really is just an issue of definitions, but what if it is a whole lot more than that?  What if it is planned and an attempt to establish this democratic set-up?

Let’s look at what a democracy actually is.

Suppose a small group of people approach you and your family while you are walking down the street.  This group encircles your family and demands that you give your wallets, purses, and other valuables to them. Being that you are outnumbered, you comply with your oppressors’ demands.  Being robbed of everything you had on you, your captors are now appeased and they disappear.   The basic concept of Democracy supports what just happened.

Want to counter-argue that the example sounds extreme and there are laws prohibiting what just happened?

Let’s say the country just voted to make it legal to take others’ property?  A pure democracy would support this too; because democracy is based on the concept that majority rule is the final decision.  It does not matter what is deemed right, wrong, ethical, or unethical because the majority have decided what is to happen.

Democracy is mob rule.

For a simple definition, a Republic has boundaries that serve to protect from mob rule and shield individuals or groups from errant majority opinions.  The U.S. was intended to have the will of the people expressed and to guide the nation, but there is a severe difference from Democracy.  This difference is that if at any time the will of the majority of people goes outside the bounds of the U.S. Constitution, then it is to be rejected.

In all correctness, the United States is a Democratic Republic, in which the majority (voters) chooses through (representation) to make decisions for the country.  All these decisions by the majority’s elected officials are tempered through the court system.  If challenged, the courts then decide whether laws passed are within the boundaries set by the constitution.

Fast forward to today’s current hot topics and look how the concept of democracy has taken a tight grasp on many people’s thinking.

There are groups calling for the government to force religious groups to violate their convictions and provide free contraception.  On another front, there are people calling for the rich to pay an undetermined “fair share” of taxes, with talk of 99% against the 1%.  The whole concept of a 99% is ploy to stoke these democratic sentiments.

If the United States was a democracy, as some desire; these actions would have happened without any questioning of the legality. In fact, the 1% wealthy could have every penny taken legally from them if the 99% decided that was what they wanted.

This is why we have a Democratic Party and a Republican Party, and why the term “democracy” has been carefully turned into an acceptable description of our nation.  In basic, the Democratic Party theoretically is based on the belief that the will of the people is what matters, no matter what the majority supports at the moment.

It is mob rule vs. individual rights. 

 

“Democracy is the road to socialism.” – Karl Marx

What If We Took It All?

The national debt clock outside the IRS office...

U.S. National Debt Clock

What if we took it all? What if we were to take all the money of the richest people and put it on the U.S. national debt.  That would be social justice after all, right? That’s we are being told or hinted at by many liberal activists.  Our President has even attempted to make this issue a pillar of his re-election campaign.   So, with all the 99% vs. 1% arguments and “fair share” comments thrown around these days, let’s look into this a little bit.

The U.S. debt is around $15 trillion at the moment and still rising. That is around $2.5 million every minute you and I breath.  To be fair, not many are truly saying confiscate it all.  Instead, they are simply calling for a “fair share” to be given back to society from the “1%” of America. Of course, what is not being acknowledged is who decides what is “fair”  and how “fair” is determined.

Regardless, for the “greater good” of the nation and in the name of social justice, let’s confiscate every penny from Forbes Top 20 Richest Americans and place it on the National Debt.  Let’s liquidate their assets and take every drop of their net worth and send them to a soup line, homeless and just the cloths on their back.   We would reduce our $15 trillion debt all the way to $14.5 trillion.  That’s right, not quite a half a trillion. Still seeming like a good idea?   Not only have we stripped naked individuals of their wealth, but we have also deprived them of their roles in the business world.  This has removed the Koch brothers (oil), Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway), Larry Elison (Oracle) and three members of the Walton family (Wal-Mart) from influential positions in the economy.  Other companies affected by this confiscation are Google, Facebook, and Amazon; not to mention the numbers jobs lost due to the removal of these visionary leaders.

All for $.5 Trillion, $460 Billion, 1/30th of the U.S. debt.   How ever you want to word it.

What if the United States used it “immoral” superior military force to confiscate the net worth of the 1,226 richest people in the world, which is Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires?   Go outside her borders and force each nation to take it all from these 1,000+ individuals?  The U.S. debt would be diminished by $4.6 trillion to a whopping $11 trillion owed.   So now we have bankrupted every billionaire in the world, destroyed numerous corporations, and caused the loss of countless jobs in exchange for 30% of the U.S. debt.   That’s right; we would still be over the debt level of $10.6 trillion when our President took office a little over three years ago.

Clearly, this is not realistic, yet the cries for this kind of action are being called for on a much smaller scale.  Surely, leaders and activists know that anything less than the severe move described previously would not even make a dent in the debt crisis we face.  It is a political game being played to dredge of jealousy and hatred for those who have more, and it is based on the belief the voters are ignorant enough to believe it.

Still sound like a good idea? Perhaps we should be looking at a change in leadership instead of a change in tax rates.

Perspective on the Limbaugh Boycott Movement

Freedom of speech!

Love him or hate him:  There really isn’t any middle ground when it comes to Rush Limbaugh and his EIB Network.   So there is no reason to debate his actions, words, or show at this time.  If possible, remove him from this whole issue for a moment and remove Bill Maher and Louis CK as well.

Ask yourself if you believe in free speech.

If you believe in the 1st Amendment, then consider why you or anyone would support a boycott of a citizen exercising this precious right.  It is a dangerous slope to be on when we begin to call for economic intervention against individuals who say things that are off-color or outside the box of politically correct barriers.  In a world where we worry so much about safety, we often neglect the safety of our constitutional rights.  Consider that when we call for companies to boycott an individual or a network for language used or comments made, we are saying that the accused stepped outside the bounds of their right to free speech.

Does free speech have a limit?  Certainly, when it causes direct, indisputable physical damage to others, it can be curtailed to a degree.    Yet, with every boycott demand, the dissidents out there are saying that they believe that the word “slut” is beyond the acceptable bounds.

Is it possible that such individuals only believe in free speech when it agrees with them?  Is it even remotely possible that this freedom protects people who use inflammatory word?

Don’t misunderstand me; people are exercising their right to voice their opposition to comments as well. I support their right to call for boycotts; and I even support the right of Bill Maher to call Sarah Palin a c***.  Yet, one can use a constitutional right to inhibit others’.

Public discourse is what was intended to be protected by the founding fathers, even if in the most outrageous terms.  Why?  Without it, the walls of our freedom close in. We become silenced by the fear of repercussions of our words.  There are multiple examples throughout history of nations that limited their citizen’s freedom of speech and they all have at least one common denominator: they all had significantly less free societies than the United States has today.

Instead of using our right to free speech trying to restrict others’ speech through boycotts and advertiser complaints, let’s exercise our right to voice our opinions for and against those who speak publicly.

Unless, of course, you believe that the 1st Amendment applies only when you agree.

A Revelation

I believe all things happen for a purpose.  As I walked toward my polling place on Super Tuesday, I was approached (outside and at a legal distance) by a man, who asked for my support.   I had been vaguely familiar with the name and already had plans to vote for him.  He was Ohio state senate candidate Paul Isaacs.

I thanked him for being out there and continued on to go exercise my constitutional right. As I was leaving, I felt compelled to ask him for information about his campaign and some of his beliefs.  The conversation was continually interrupted as he would greet every voter walking towards the polling center; but through the half-sentences and pauses, I came to know a man who put his convictions and faith above other people’s opinions and the odds. This most obviously demonstrated by the fact that he was asked to run and start a campaign two months before.  As we spoke, I came to learn that Mr. Isaacs’ main reason for running was the lack of interest in the Heartbeat Bill that the current District 06 state senator has shown over the last year.   I listened to his abbreviated campaign story and saw conviction and passion that one rarely sees expressed in an individual.  I stayed that afternoon helping Mr. Isaacs hand out literature and asking voters to support him.  Between the requests, we spoke about our politics, convictions, and our faith in the Lord.  Before I knew it, the sun had gown down and the polls were about to close.  Mr. Isaacs had left a few minutes before to wrap up some loose ends before the results were announced.  Standing there alone in the dark, I found myself campaigning for someone who I’d just met.

Mr. Isaacs lost the election.  His two month old campaign garnered a little bit over 31% of the vote from OH -District 06 voters. For a campaign born not more than two months before Super Tuesday, that is nothing short of incredible, but that’s not the point.  Although we only spent three hours together, I could tell the drive Mr. Isaacs has for his beliefs cannot be stamped out by the loss of an election.  The revelation I experienced that evening was that I have a duty to be active for my beliefs or I need to sit down and be silent.  The middle ground is the easy place to be; in fact, it may be the easiest position.  What could be easier than being silent when dissidents are present and expressing  “convictions” when in friendly circles?  Nothing could be simpler than to blend in with your surroundings, avoiding confrontation with the people around you.

No more!

I cannot call myself a conservative, if I am not willing to speak it.  The biggest spark to this realization was a comment that Mr. Isaacs made to me that evening.  In a discussion around religious beliefs, he said he did not believe that people will die for something they don’t genuinely believe in.  I realized that this is a level of conviction that one must have if they truly believe in something, and it’s time to apply this all areas of life.  Young and old conservatives must live by this; or we must fade away, taking our beliefs with us.  There isn’t really any middle ground anymore; perhaps there never really was.

 

The Almighty Independent

In pursuit of the almighty “Independent”, we …

..are told to…

    • hide our beliefs
    • be quiet
    • leave the discussion to politicians and pundits
    • assume defeat
    • support the most moderate candidates
    • attempt to win the Houses of Congress, before the Presidency
    • compromise our convictions
    • respect our opponents
    • say that our current President is a “good man” and is just in over his head
    • acknowledge our opponents accomplishments
    • accept the candidates that established party members have ordained
    • admit we are ignorant and certain “educated” people know what’s best
    • ignore the assault on our Constitution and freedoms
    • play both sides of  an issue
    • support government intervention if it will garner public support
    • be progressive
    • embrace compromise

..are told to not…  

    • talk about social issues
    • defend morality
    • directly support the concept of traditional family
    • mention any religious beliefs
    • speak negatively of our opposition
    • say anything inflammatory
    • accuse opponents of unconstitutional beliefs
    • teach self-reliance and responsibility for actions
    • defend the wealthy and successful
    • defend our founding father’s intentions
    • offend the “independent”

We are told that violating any of the rules above will send the “independent” running to the arms of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, who abide strictly by none of these rules.

…and in the process, we become…

  • lukewarm
  • spineless
  • ineffective
  • accepting
  • complacent
  • unable to explain our beliefs to our descendants
  • outnumbered

and become the reason why the next generation may be the last who are truly free

Safety First: The Gradual Erosion of Our Rights

Theodore Roosevelt (1904) English: President o...

26th U.S. President

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first and love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”

- Theodore Roosevelt

The 26th President of the United States may have said it best, and perhaps predicted what could become one of the major downfalls of the United States: “peace at any price” and “safety first”.  Of course, we all would say we want peace and safety as permanent staples of this world.  It’s completely natural as humans to desire this ideal concept which is so noble and moral. The question that should be asked, though, is at what cost do we want to achieve this peace and safety?  Anywhere one looks, it is impossible to escape this safety-minded society.  Government Ad-Counsel commercials ranging from telling us to exercise an hour every day to dealing with bullies saturates the television, compelling us to take a look at how we can protect ourselves and those around us. So, let’s look at how our recent strive for safety and peace has, in many ways, eroded our basic rights as individuals and as a society.

It is logical to start with the 1st Amendment, which primarily guarantees the Right to Free Speech, as it is perhaps one of the most crucial rights we have under our Bill of Rights.  Going back to Sedition Act of 1918, the desire for peace and safety was explicitly mandated by making illegal any language that was “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive” towards the U.S. Government, the Flag, or military.   Not to be outdone, in 1940, the Smith Act was passed, which anyone promoting “the propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force and violence…” faced being prosecuted.  Both of these laws have effectively been overturned by the Supreme Court, giving strong credence in our system of checks-and-balances.  Yet, let’s look at the rationale that leads to anti-speech legislation of this magnitude.  In both instances the U.S. was in conflict with Germany both in WWI and WWII, bringing out both paranoia and strong patriotism.  At this time, with the idea of a declared national enemy and sense of defense of country, it made rational sense to outlaw any negative comments against the United States.  In those times of turmoil, the human desire for safety and unity justified severely altering the Right to Free Speech, resulting in a standing law that would not effectively be ended by the Supreme Court until 1957.

Fast forward to this decade, and the ideas of safety and peace have become even more controlling and invasive. In Dariano V. Morgan Hill Unified School Dist., a student was told he could not wear an American flag on his shirt because it posed a risk to his safety from Hispanic students during Cinco De Mayo celebrations.  The ruling was federally upheld on the basis that the shirt would cause disruptions and that the student’s well-being was in risk.  So much as the risk may have been to student, what is significantly trampled is the student’s right to wear the U.S. flag and his freedom of speech.   Although using a similar “safety-first” rationale, this is directly in the opposite spirit of the Sedition and Smith Act half a century before.

Perhaps the most emotionally charged argument in today’s society around society and peace is around the 2nd Amendment: “The right to bear arms…”  Pro- and Anti-Gun groups are found throughout society and today’s political system, but both will agree one basic fact: guns can be dangerous.  While multiple factors propel anti-gun lobbyists to pursue legislation and laws, the one central argument they use is that the removal or control of firearms will bring safety to families, communities, and society. It drives deep into many people’s deepest fear and leads them to imagine a world without firearms.  The picture that the mind wants to paint is that of a perfectly safe world, where no one is ever harmed and crime ceases to exist.  Yet, this is where it quickly implodes.  The idea that crime ceases with the removal from guns is not only incorrect; it’s actually counter-productive, with it assuming that criminal’s would obey established laws or not be able to find another weapon of choice.   Sadly, it doesn’t matter to many individuals, as the ideal of a safe world is overpowering compared to the logical portions of our mind.  It is not uncommon to mention firearms as a hobby or the carrying of a concealed handgun and receive emotions ranging from confusion to perpetual fear.  Most of the time, if prodded, a confession will ensue revealing that they have never held or even been introduced to a firearm in their life.  This lack of knowledge and consequential fear continues to aid in the quest to make our society void of firearms and (theoretically) violence.  The fear of violence and of what we don’t understand becomes the tool that is used to control us.

The root of our overwhelming desire for “peace” and “safety” is self-preservation.  Self-preservation is part of our human nature; and in many times, becomes the overwhelming driving force in our actions.  For example, in the recent Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster off the coast of Italy, reports of the scramble for lifeboats revealed men shoving women aside and other disgraceful actions, including the ship’s captain abandoning ship leaving his passengers to struggle on their own. This self-preservation fear makes for a strong set of reigns if it can be harnessed by those with the power to do so.  If the previous examples of rights being degraded in the name of safety and peace do not invoke any surprise, then consider these more subtle invasions of personal liberties for the same reasons.

n what has brought outrage from some but also strong support from others, full-body scanners have virtually become the status-quo at any U.S. airport today.  As they virtually strip-search millions of Americans every day, many in the public justify this evasion of privacy as necessary to remain safe and protected, willing giving up their 4th Amendment rights for the luxury of feeling safe. A relatively vocal few have spoken out on the excessive and purely evasive nature of these searches; realizing that while safety is important, it cannot be allowed to take precedent over their individual rights.  Gradually the perceived safety and desire to feel safe in the air is leading to the willful conditioning of a society to accept government to act on their behalf and in their best interest.  If this seems like a stretch, the following two examples just occurred over the last few months.

According to multiple news sources, the NYPD is beginning to develop and deploy body scanners out on the streets of the city in hopes of detecting whether or not pedestrians are concealing a handgun.  Without discerning any probable cause or reasonable suspicion, the body scanners will virtually strip-search anyone who walks by.  Once again, the initial reaction of some will be to picture a perfect world; but, in reality, individual rights are being scraped away little by little.  As another example of this erosion, Fort Lauderdale PD has deployed two armored surveillance vehicles to the city’s streets.  The sole purpose of these armored surveillance trucks is to conspicuously park them in areas with high crime or in front of residences where illegal activity is suspected.  Once again, the initial thoughts are to justify this through the prism of safety and peace, but a deeper search should reveal concerns of blatant threats of police intimidation of “suspected” citizens of this nation.

Not all is lost in this battle against the manipulation of our inner fears. Fortunately, this year in United States V. Jones, the Supreme Court once again stepped in to prevent overreaches of government, ruling that GPS tracking of a citizen by any governmental agency without a warrant to be unconstitutional.  The idea that any part of government would need a court battle to determine if this is legal should only confirm that our fears and desire for safety is being exploited before our own eyes.

As these grabs for more power continue, and if they are not challenged, an entire nation once founded on individual liberty and privacy could suddenly find itself under the strict control of laws that it once supported, all in the name of safety and peace.  Without a doubt, this is part of the warning given by President Roosevelt almost one hundred years ago.