• Gone too far
    June 11,2013

    Gone too far

    The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America: “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.”

    I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that our government, claiming to protect us, may be more of a danger than what it claims to be protecting us from. How much privacy must we give up in the name of safety?

    When we travel by air we are subjected to voyeurism and/or outright molestation which is supposed to protect us from terrorists. The TSA has never caught a terrorist. But I guess the intrusions are a deterrent. Information on our telephone use is constantly being collected as “metadata,” whatever that means to some unknown bureaucrat or a judge in a secret court. Presumably, most relatively intelligent terrorists know this, but it was too secret for the average Joe taxpayer to know. Who knows what information government collects and files away in perpetuity from this letter? It has been sent by email, which of course is monitored and archived as well.

    If I use the word “patriot,” or mention that my wife had a tea party last week, the IRS may take note and add me to its list of those subversives whose tax returns warrant review. That review would, no doubt, find an error worthy of a penalty. It’s a near certainty because our tax laws are so arcane that nobody, including my CPA, knows what they all mean. Oh, and my tax returns were filed electronically. What a gold mine of information they are. Can anybody practice safe fax? How can anybody believe that our bank and credit card records remain free of government surveillance? And what about my medical records? They are now digitized. And of course, every time I fill a prescription the transaction is vulnerable to monitoring. I can imagine that some enterprising, rogue, low-level government employee could do a pretty good business with life insurance companies using that kind of data. The Supreme Court has decided that it’s OK for the police to invade my body, collect my DNA, and store information about me without my consent, even if I have not been convicted of a crime. By the way, that DNA contains private information about my grandchildren, children and parents. Collateral damage, I suppose — can’t be helped. The courts have even decided that I don’t even own my genes.

    My tax dollars are used to fund lavish conferences/parties for those who claim to be public servants. Seems to me that I’m the servant — or am I a victim of big government? Has modern life become so complicated that it is no longer possible for people to be “secure in their persons, houses, and effects against unreasonable searches?” How very sad. It’s enough to make a patriot — oops, used that word again — fly his flag upside down and at half staff. I should leave my cellphone at home and take a walk in the woods for a little privacy. Must I hide from the drones?

    Roy Bair

    East Montpelier

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