Liberty, Never Forget
by Sam Rolley
Eleven years have passed since the fateful day terror struck the United States and New York City’s twin towers fell. In the wake of the horrific event, many Americans burst at the seams with patriotism and adopted the mantra “We will never forget.” For the most part, we haven’t forgotten the falling towers; but, in the grand scheme of things, we have managed to forget something that will prove far more detrimental to our way of life.
When the United States of America was envisioned more than two centuries ago, it was envisioned as a Nation where fear would never allow the populace to succumb to the tyranny of the few who are motivated by greed and desperate to protect themselves from the consequence of their malice.
America was to be first and foremost “the land of the free, the home of the brave.” But, we must remember, we cannot defend freedom without bravery just as we will not be able to act on bravery if we don’t preserve freedom.
Without a doubt, no matter which account of the events on 9/11 you believe, the shock and awe of the tragedy made it much easier for the few to lull the masses into accepting tyrannical and unConstitutional rule in the United States, the likes of which were unimaginable for the Nation’s Founding Fathers.
If the goal was to deliver what have been some of the most devastating blows in history to American liberty, the enemy — whether foreign or domestic — has prevailed in the years following 9/11.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Just days after Sept. 11, 2001, Congress overwhelmingly passed the USA PATRIOT Act. It has since been reauthorized under President Barack Obama, and it was extended again in May 2011.
From the Bill of Rights Defense Committee:
Section 802 of the PATRIOT Act broadly defines domestic terrorism…
This broad definition allows for inconsistencies in the application of the law. For example, radical animal rights and environmental organizations (e.g., the American Liberation Front and the Environmental Liberation Front) have been targeted and labeled as domestic terrorist groups. These groups’ political acts are destructive to property, but have not caused a single death. However, individuals and groups motivated by political ideology to kill an innocent victim by flying a plane into an IRS building, assassinate a doctor during church services, or murder dozens of schoolchildren at a summer camp are not described or treated as terrorists. By using such a vague definition for “domestic terrorism,” the PATRIOT Act chills Americans’ freedom of speech and assembly, since it is entirely unclear whether First Amendment-protected activism may be categorized as terrorism.
Furthermore, other Patriot Act provisions permit government investigators to track book purchases, library checkouts and Internet information if they believe the material could be conducive to “terror” activities.
More recently, the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by Obama, has exactly the provisions the government needs to make certain that domestic journalists are unable to get any other version than the official government-provided narrative regarding foreign affairs.
The next assault on free speech is very close at hand. In the name of safety, Obama will certainly implement Internet censorship by executive order in the near future.
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.
In the years since 9/11, it seems the Federal government has been in a mad rush to brand as terrorists and whackos any individual or group who believes the 2nd Amendment is vital to the preservation of all others.
Because of anti-gun fervor and talk of terror over the past decade, American leaders are ready to willingly sell out the American populace to a U.N. arms treaty to keep weapons out of the hands of “non-state actors.”
The United Nations, by the way, has never defined terrorist. But the Federal government of the United States has — and in some surprising ways. Here are some possible indicators, as described by an 18-year law enforcement veteran, that the Department of Homeland Security may think you are a terrorist:
- Expressions of libertarian philosophies (statements, bumper stickers).
- Second Amendment-oriented views (National Rifle Association or gun club membership, holding a concealed carry permit).
- Survivalist literature (fictional books such as Patriots and One Second After are mentioned by name).
- Self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies).
- Fear of economic collapse (buying gold and barter items).
- Religious views concerning the book of Revelation (apocalypse, Antichrist).
- Expressed fears of Big Brother or Big Government.
- Declarations of Constitutional rights and civil liberties.
- Belief in a New World Order conspiracy.
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.
If you walk, drive or fly anywhere in the United States or have been subject to criminal investigation in recent years, no explanation of how tyranny has prevailed with regard to the 4thAmendment is needed. The obvious violations aside, a vast majority of Americans aren’t even aware their 4th Amendment rights are being violated.
But in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade: Besides feeling you up and looking at your naked body, the Transportation Security Administration now also reserves the right to test food and beverages that you buy in the airport — even if you buy it in areas you had to be scanned to enter.
The TSA is no longer simply an airport hassle; agents can now be found violating your rights on highways, at public events and rallies.
If you believe staying home is a safe way to avoid 4th Amendment violations, consider that nearly everything you do online is capable of being tracked without your knowledge.
Also, you are not permitted to possess certain “dangerous” things in your home, such as raw milk. Doing so could lead to a government raid.
The partial or complete abrogation of the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th amendments (those dealing with the rights of the accused) has been facilitated by illegal wiretapping and spy measures implemented by the Patriot Act and completed in January when Obama signed into law NDAA and its indefinite-detention provision.
The 11 years following 9/11 isn’t the first period of American history during which fear, shock and awe or paranoia have been used by the Federal government to quash the liberties of the citizenry.
In 1798, during an undeclared naval war with France, President John Adams authorized agents of the government to target foreigners and dissidents. The Sedition Act, which forbade “any false, scandalous and malicious writing,” led to the arrest of 25 men — most of them editors of newspapers whose publications were then shut down. Fortunately, an enraged American populace drove the Federalists out of power and elected Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency. Jefferson pardoned those who had been arrested under the unConstitutional laws.
During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and made it a crime to speak ill of the government.
Later, World War I brought forth a dark moment for Constitutional rights when Woodrow Wilson used the Espionage Act and the Sedition Act of 1918 to target political dissidents.
During World War II, the 1940 Smith Act made it criminal to speak of overthrowing the government and was applied to simply being a member of any organization affiliated with fascism or communism. The 1798 Alien Enemies was brought back to life and used to suppress Japanese, Italian and German Americans. They could not own guns, shortwave radios or cameras. The same law was used to imprison nearly 100,000 ethnic Japanese American citizens.
While many of these cases sound more extreme in hindsight than the gradual displacement of power from people to government we see today, they are not. You see, the aforementioned wars ended, and the laws were shelved until the next conflict. We’re now 11 years in to the post-9/11 world; but instead of seeing the Federal government lessen its stranglehold on liberty, the assault on the Constitution is becoming ever more rapid and its consequences more irreversible than ever before.
We should not forget what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, but we must not let those events undo the triumph of the event that occurred Dec. 15, 1791. If we do, tyranny has forever prevailed.