The No-Fly List

In the aftermath of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA, the media announced President Obama’s intent to use the government’s Terrorist No-Fly List as an insurance method against potential terrorists procuring firearms. While this solution seems sound and feasible, with minimal investment into more safety precautions, such tactics herald an even deeper violation into the lives and rights of the American people.
The fact of the matter is, the government fought tooth and nail, to avoid releasing what little is currently known. In fact, were it not for the fact that the list itself was intercepted in 2013, we would know next to nothing.
To recap, the government is keeping this super-secret list of suspected bad guys. They don’t want anyone to know who’s on it, which makes sense from a tactical perspective, but not from a civil rights perspective. They didn’t want anyone to know how one would end up on that list, but the good news is that information is readily available. The list of ways to have oneself added to that list can be found here:
A Google search, for “the no-fly list facts” turned up numerous articles detailing not only how the list works, but also numerous references to how easy it is for one to find themselves the victim of a false positive. A false positive is when your name either matches a name on the list, or is similar enough to generate suspicion. One of the most famous false positives was none other than Ted Kennedy himself. In 2004, he encountered numerous travel difficulties, because there happened to be one T. Kennedy on the No-Fly List. (Never mind that “Ted” wasn’t his actual first name.)
To their credit, the Dept. of Homeland Security created a process by which a person may obtain removal from the No-Fly List. Sadly, there are no guarantees that the process will go quickly. Ted Kennedy noted that it took him three weeks to be removed from the list, in spite of the fact that he was a well-known member of Congress. Imagine how long it would take for the average American.
What this means is, the government expects the people to entrust them to keep a list of those they don’t want to fly, or buy guns, and to do so in an impartial manner. The people are, in effect, being asked to trust that the government won’t ever infringe upon the rights of innocent American citizens, while that’s exactly what they would be doing.
The truth of the matter is that history shows that the natural enemy of liberty is government. That’s why the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution the way they did; to limit the government in such a way as to prevent the possibility of such abuses. If this is allowed to continue, then it flies in the face of what the Founding Fathers tried to create for us.
Consider the scene in The Little Mermaid, where Sebastian makes the comment, “Teenagers. Give them an inch, and they swim all over you!” Now, imagine the government in the same light you might view your teenaged child. Would you hand your teenaged kids the keys to the liquor cabinet, and go away for the weekend, while assuming that they would be responsible enough to stay out of it? I didn’t think so.
In a similar vein, why would anyone hand the government the ability to deny the people their rights, without Due Process? Who’s to say that they would never abuse it? If you’ve a doubt, just ask an American Indian, or a Japanese-American survivor of Tule Lake, whether or not our government would violate people’s rights.
Were the President to get his way, it would constitute a gross violation of civil rights. People on that list would be denied not only their right to keep and bear arms, without Due Process, but they would also be denied their right to private property; not to mention all those poor saps who would have their lives severely disrupted by false positives. Essentially, we would no longer be innocent until proven guilty. It would also set the stage for later, and much more grievous civil rights violations.
Whether it’s next week, next year or a decade from now, someone will come along with the right tendencies. This someone will start out small, initially placing political enemies on the list. Eventually, they’ll graduate to certain groups, with an eye towards placing entire demographics onto that list. Those who don’t end up on the list might be held hostage, forced to toe their line, for fear of losing what few rights they’ll have left. It’s actually rather ingenious, and insidious. A ready made dictatorship, without the bloody coup.
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin


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