4th Amendment vs. 2nd Amendment — meekness vs. rage

by Karen Cummings on January 24, 2013

whole-body-scanner2
As I listen to or read about the hue and cry over our Second Amendment rights if any new laws or restrictions on “bearing arms” are instituted, I wonder about the relative lack of concern over our Fourth Amendment rights.

On one hand, citizens rail against losing one Constitutional right — to bear arms —and on the other, they meekly submit to actions that abrogate another, unreasonable search and seizure.

AMENDMENT II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

AMENDMENT IV
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.

How many of you have heard or actually voiced the “as long as we’re safe” mantra to explain or even endorse the very real 4th Amendment violations that have been instituted since 9-11, especially those by Homeland Security and the TSA? Dare I surmise that many of those leading the charge against any gun regulation are right there standing meekly in line at the airport, willingly giving up their rights against unreasonable search and seizure in the misled name of safety (Note: the TSA had not apprehended one terrorist.).

TV commentator Bill Maher gives a much broader view (2nd half of video) of all our “rights” that are slipping away. Many are already gone, and with nary a murmur. But our right to fly without being groped or our clothes seen through or our intent questioned — in essence, deemed guilty until proven innocent — is such a blatant usurping of our 4th Amendment rights that it’s downright shocking that the rabid defenders of our Constitution out there — including those in Congress — not only say nothing, but acquiesce to it all.

In the early 1980s, the NRA took a strong stand against criminal background checks, charging that they were an invasion of privacy. Echoing NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre’s point of view that the federal government would be punishing people if it kept a list of assault weapon purchases, former Rep. Connie Mack (FL) on a recent panel discussion hosted by Soledad O’Brien on CNN said, “I don’t believe that the federal government should be keeping these types of records on citizens.”

Now let’s take a look at what a citizen has to go through to be able to bypass the security lines (unless the TSA decides to randomly pull him or her out) when they want to fly on a commercial airplane. Here’s the write-up to apply for the Trusted Traveler or Pre-Check program:

Here are the basic steps for applying:
Before a traveler can apply for a Trusted Traveler program, they must first register for a CBP Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account.

Once registered in GOES, the traveler can move forward with the enrollment in one of the CBP eligible programs. The GOES system will provide a PASS ID number after the enrollment in a Trusted Traveler program.

Once a passenger has signed up for a Trusted Traveler program, he/she must provide their PASS ID number, associated with the Trusted Traveler account in the “Known Traveler Number” field when booking travel. The passenger’s Trusted Traveler information will be submitted along with reservation information to TSA’s Secure Flight system. Trusted Traveler program members should also remember to enter their full name, date of birth, and PASS ID exactly as it appears on their membership card.

And if they want to go so far as to apply for a Global Entry card, not only do they have to prepay $100, but also fill out a form that, according to U.S. Customs and Border Control site, will take an average time of 40 minutes to complete. Information required includes passport info, driver’s license info, address history for the past five years, employment history for the past five years, and five years of travel history, along with information on any criminal convictions.

Talk about “keeping records”!

Oh, and we, the flying public, are not only meekly going along with this dissolving of our forefathers’ safety net for us, but funding an incredible bureaucracy to do it, too! While we rant and rave about the growing national debt, Homeland Security, practically wily-nily, spent hundreds of millions equipping our airports with relatively untested backscatter scanners and now, just two years later, are junking them in favor of yet another expensive and ineffective form of scanner.

Is our so-called right to bear arms so much more important than our Constitutional right to privacy, to safety from unreasonable search and seizure? Why are not more of the American people standing up and just saying “No!”?

It’s time to stop this insanity. Please refuse to go through the scanners (contrary to recent news reports, they are still in use). Please write to your representatives in Congress. No law-abiding, already-screened-through-the-terrorist-watchlist U.S. citizens should have to assume the position of surrender as they go through a scanner at the airport just to execute their right to fly.

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  • Anon E Mouse

    Trusted Traveler (oxymoron) is not a “bypass the security lines” program, it allows a reduced level – WTMD and you can keep your shoes on and your laptop and baggie of liquids in your carry-on. But since you are randomly subject to normal screening you still have to pack for it.

    Also, don’t forget while you might be trusted @ one airport, at another – one which doesn’t have the pre check lane at the checkpoint you enter – you’re just a potential AK-47 toting Terry Wrist.

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    “Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual, and putting terror in every heart.”

    -Justice Robert H. Jackson, Nuremberg prosecutor

  • Chasmosaur

    First – on the 2nd Amendment, the New Yorker had an interesting article in April, 2012 that’s worth a read.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/04/23/120423fa_fact_lepore

    Second –
    “…fill out a form that, according to U.S. Customs and Border Control site, will take an average time of 40 minutes to complete. Information required includes passport info, driver’s license info, address history for the past five years, employment history for the past five years, and five years of travel history, along with information on any criminal convictions.”

    While it’s annoying to do this for flying (and I hardly trust Customs or TSA to contain this information appropriately), this is essentially what someone applying for security clearance has to do for their background check. Except it’s for 7 years (at minimum, 10 or 15 isn’t unusual either), and you have to provide people who knew you at each address, and some other intrusive stuff. It takes a crap load more than 40 minutes if you’ve moved around a bit.

    Hell, I had to do that when I was a Federal contractor and worked in a building that contained secure materials (it was a scientific research branch, so just general sensitivity), even though my project wasn’t involved with them. It’s a basic background check.

    Maybe that’s why people in DC tend to not give a crap – a lot of us have already given our information to the Feds, and some have it readdressed every few years. (For the record, I care, and I wouldn’t fill out this form. I trust Customs to keep this info protected as far as I can throw a MMW machine.)

  • Carchar

    I have come to believe from hearing Wayne LaPierre and other prominent NRA spokesmen spew their vitriol, that every child that is shot serves to line their pockets. When killings rise in number, so does the sale of guns and ammo.

    On the same day as the Newtown massacre, a man with a knife went beserk in an elementary school in China, wounding about 22. A video posted showed many children being able to flee the scene in one piece. I believe that none of the wounded died. I do not know the extent of the children’s injuries, but their parents did not have to prepare for funerals. Had the knife-wielder had a Bushmaster, the outcome would have been gravely different, of course.

    Make no mistake about it. Mass murder sell guns, even if it has to be little children.

  • Jack Norell

    Wayne LaPierre is a fanatic and took NRA very far from what it used to be.

    Re the school attacks in China, the one you’re referring to is unusual in that no victim died: There have been many previously in which multiple victims were indeed fatally wounded.

  • Jack Norell

    This should be printed on top of every single piece of proposed security legislation in the entire western world!

  • AKFlyer

    All federal employees have to do this in order to get their ID cards, filling out “Standard Form 35.” Not only do you have to provide the names of neighbors and contacts (and this would appear to violate the Privacy Act because these people don’t get a say about having their PII in a federal database), but the info you provide can be used by the FBI to conduct a virtually unlimited inquiry into your life. No questions are outside the legal limits. Among other things, you can be considered a bad security risk if you are gay (presumably because they think you should be ashamed of this, or could be blackmailed?) or if you belong to organizations the government thinks are suspicious, e.g. anti-death penalty groups, anti-war groups, you name it. I’m sure NRA and KKK memberships are just fine, however.

    But what really bugs me is that my federal ID card, with its RFID chip of my fingerprints and personal data, plus a holographic photo etc., cannot be used as an ID card when I fly. “Not secure enough.” Nor does all that data already on file with the FBI on SF 35 get transferred to CBP or TSA.

    What a friggin’ waste of money, what ridiculous security theater, and how passive can the average citizen be? Me, I’ve never submitted to whole body imaging and never shall.

  • Chasmosaur

    Good god! I was just a contractor, so I was fingerprinted, but I don’t have that info on an ID card. Don’t believe that’s not good enough for TSA.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sglazier456 Sean Glazier

    HAve a look at what it takes to get a FBI background check for things like getting a work permit overseas. Every background check now requires a full set of fingerprints to be submitted! This data can then be used to troll through all sorts of records and even the cold cases and used as evidence against you. Further the data kept if stolen can be used to leave your “fingerprints” at the scene of a crime or on something embarrasing to ruin a person politically or otherwise. Governments can and have done this. Further if you use your fingerprint to secure your laptop like many have you hand the government the keys to it along with the right to search it since you agree to it when you submit your fingerprrints for a background check.
    Simply a passport number (which also requires passing a background check) should suffice or a social security number. Fingerprinting is used for trolling databases and can be used to manufacture “evidence” against you. you have no real way of fighting it in court either since they pull out “experts” who say fingerprints are unique and the Government is always trusted not to do something like manufacture evidence. It has been caught many times doing just that. The trusted traveler program now requires this kind of check and State are prohibited from issuing any sort of background check to be used for immigration uses as well as for employment etc.

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