The one year anniversary of the September 11th bombings is approaching followed shortly there after by the anniversary of the USA Patriot Act, which was signed into law on October 26, 2002. This far-reaching antiterrorism bill surpasses all matter of legislation before it in regards to privacy issues.
Politicians like to highlight the “tough on terror” rhetoric in the bill, while downplaying the violations of privacy and personal liberties it allows, as to make opposition to the bill seem unpatriotic. You do love your country, right?
In recent months, Bush and Ashcroft have been requesting we spy on each other as a way to keep everyone in line. Truck drivers, ship captains, cable guys, convenience store clerks and waitpersons were specifically told to keep a keen eye out for subversive behavior. Perhaps this tactic is just something to tide the government over until they can work up a system like the one that exists in Britain, where two million cameras do nothing but film the everyday life of the general populous.
Despite the fact that these cameras were in use in the “sleepy rural English town” of Soham, two young girls whom were spotted after the fact on the cameras were brutally murdered something the cameras in theory were suppose have prevented. I suppose one could make the general correlation to the “big brother” state from “1984” where his watchful eye is used more to punish than to prevent the crime from happening. The “Give Every American a Tin-Star” campaign, I mean T.I.P.S., is and has been failing miserably. Remember a couple months ago when we had one terrorist warning after another? Bombarded by the massive number of false alarms, no one took them seriously.
Now the FBI, in its pursuit to become a domestic CIA, is analyzing every shard of information that comes its way. They are so inundated with the workload of spying on Joe American that they are missing the big picture. We went from the extreme of not having enough information to combat terrorism to having so much of it that we don’t have a clue who the real terrorists are.
The T.I.P.S. program has led to most non-Caucasians having their actions brought under constant scrutiny. A good friend of mine, who goes to Chapel Hill, confided in me that after the attacks of 9-11 she was afraid of going to class because of her Pakistani heritage. This sweet girl with a 4.0 average, thanks to paranoia and racial profiling, is under constant watch by the people around her.
I wish I could offer some all encompassing solution to this problem, but all I have to say is, use your heart and your head at the same time. Think. When I was a kid, we used to practice nuclear bomb drills for when the Russians were going to attack. Now the Russians are our allies. The world changes. Let’s just hope that one day we can avoid the trend of history and change for the better.