“It requires time to bring honest Men to think & determine alike even in important Matters. Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.” – Samuel Adams in a letter to Samuel Cooper, April 30, 1776
I just left a heated discussion concerning the events of September 11, 2001. Facts, personal opinions, YouTube videos, and insults were flying back and forth so fast that I felt like I was in the midst of a shootout in a saloon in the Wild West.
It is not my intent to discuss whether planes did in fact hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center, or even if those planes were in fact the cause of the eventual collapse of those buildings. However, since today is the 10th anniversary of that fateful day, I would like to briefly discuss the things we HAVE lost.
Today people are remembering that day, what it means to them, and to honor the roughly 3000 people who died. Yet, the way I see it, much more died on that day than those who were killed in the actual events that transpired on that fateful morning.
A 2008 New York Post article states that the total cost of the war in Iraq will total $3 billion, not to mention the 4,000 plus men and women who have died fighting that war. While in Afghanistan we have lost over 2,000 of our military members, and spent an additional $487 billion.
Although every life lost by an American serviceman/woman, in the service of their country is a terrible loss, they are not the true casualties of this so-called War on Terror. No, the true casualty that we should be mourning this day is the loss of our liberty due to the ensuing War on Terror.
Our nation’s founders fought a war with their own government to secure those rights from a tyrant, an oppressive ruler who had trampled upon those rights. Just as our current batch of leaders think that every law that they pass is in the best interest of the nation, so did the King of England believe that the laws he enacted were in the best interest of his empire. I am sure that Hitler felt the same way, as did Stalin, Lenin, and numerous other dictators who trampled upon the rights of the people they ruled over. Yet our founders felt otherwise, so they went to war, to either win those rights back, or die trying.
These rights were of such importance to some that they would not agree to the proposed Constitution unless some means of safeguarding those rights were proposed as well. Hence we have the Bill of Rights, whose preamble states, “THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added.”
Imagine the Bill of Rights as a safe, where the rights listed were to be locked away, free from any future governmental legislation and infringement. This would apply equally from the federal government all the way to all local governments; these rights were NOT to be infringed upon under any circumstances!
For instance, the Second Amendment says that our right to keep AND BEAR arms shall not be infringed. It DOES NOT say that we need a permit to exercise that right, only that it SHALL NOT be infringed! The Second Amendment is the only permit to own, and carry a weapon, that I will ever need.
If government goons were to come to each and every home in America and install a device on every TV that limits your viewing time to 1 hour a day, there would be outrage, especially by those who spend their entire weekends watching sporting events. Yet take away their right to openly carry a gun, or to use one in the defense of their home and they barely even whimper a protest.
While the Second Amendment is key in a people’s ability to fight tyranny in their government, it is not the amendment that has suffered the most from the events of Sept. 11, 2001. It is the Fourth Amendment which has been fatally wounded by that day, and the ensuing laws passed in this War on Terror.
The Fourth Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
For all intents and purposes, the Fourth Amendment no longer exists. Legislation such as the Patriot Act severely weakened it; when by a person by merely being suspected of being a terrorist, aiding and abetting terrorists, or merely supporting their cause, their homes, phone conversations, e-mails, and financial records may be searched for evidence, without the suspect ever being notified of the search. Therefore, some bureaucrat, or some intelligence analyst, sitting behind a desk, may make the determination that YOU are a possible threat to national security, and that your Fourth Amendment rights NO LONGER exist, and that your “houses, papers, and effects” may be searched without your knowledge.
The final nail in the coffin, so to speak, was delivered when under new TSA guidelines; every American citizen who wished to board an airplane would be subjected to unreasonable searches of, not only their belongings, but their persons!
As stated, the Fourth Amendment states, “and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” When these TSA goons, who are merely following orders, without regard as to the legality of those orders, search you, do they present you with a search warrant stating what exactly they are groping for? No, they don’t, as far as they are concerned they do not need to, they have a governmental decree that tells them to do so. It does not matter to these goons that the Fourth Amendment says you need a warrant to search a person or their belongings.
In 1967 the United States Supreme Court heard the case of US v Robel. The general ruling of the court was that the government could not deprive people of their rights, even in the interest of national security. I believe it was Earl Warren, who was a justice of the Court at the time who stated, “It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of the liberties … which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile.”
No my friends, the loss of lives on Sept. 11, 2001 were not the most severe losses we suffered that day. Nor were the losses by our American fighting men and women who went off to fight in unjustified wars of aggression against nations and governments that had nothing to do with the events of that day. No, our greatest loss was the loss of a Constitutional protection to an inherent right!
In notes made for a proposition at the Pennsylvania Assembly, Ben Franklin wrote, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Samuel Adams also declared, in regards to our liberty, “It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.”
It matters not who brought down the trade centers, whether it was, as claimed by our government, a ragtag bunch of terrorists armed with box cutters, or if it was some diabolical scheme by our government itself, the greatest loss we suffered that day was the ensuing loss of our right to be secure in our persons, our property, and our belongings.
There is a quote attributed to Protestant Pastor Martin Neimoller, an outspoken foe of Adolf Hitler, “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me. ”
You may fear people such as myself, for our outspoken beliefs in rights, liberty, and the right to defend them at all costs. You have been told time and time again that WE are a threat to the security of the nation. Yet Thomas Jefferson once said, “It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.”
We, those of us who write, protest, and cry out to those of you who don’t care, are the last bastion of our freedom and liberty in this country. If we go, so goes your freedom. As the character V said, in the movie V For Vendetta, “I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you…”
But, when all be told, when history records the downfall of the American Republic, if the historians tell the truth, they will write that the American people lost their republic because they cared more for what was on television than they did for standing up for their rights. And that sacred fire of independence and freedom is what died on that day ten years ago on September 11, 2001.