Byon August 1, 2008 9:58 AM
God Bless America. Those of us lucky enough to have been raised in the United States often forget just how damn lucky we are. Even with the ever increasing mandates of the Department of Homeland Security, such as their recent claim that Border Agents can search, confiscate, and retain electronic devices indefinitely, even from American Citizens, we still have it better than a lot of other countries. Even the Supreme Court has decided that people being detained by the government for any reason, do not lose their rights.
London is covered in cameras, which have done almost nothing in solving crimes, but the UK government intends to expand the program. In one of the video’s below, the police officer in question mentions that in most of the world, most police “interviews” start physically. Our government, particularly in the last eight years though the trend goes back much further, have worked hard to further regulate our behavior but again, at least I’m an American, and don’t live somewhere else in the world.
Luckily, people are fighting back. In Cory Doctorow’s latest Novel, Little Brother, Doctorow has a group of people in San Francisco who begin recording the government’s bad behavior and posting it on the Internet. In the book, these people call themselves Little Brothers. I love that name. And, with the proliferation of cell phones with cameras (including video), it is easier than ever for us to watch the watchers.
Partially, this comes down to knowing your rights. And respecting those rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America provides us the right to avoid bearing witness against themselves. The Fifth Amendment was not designed to protect the guilty. It was designed to protect the Innocent, but it’s developed such a bad reputation over the years. But don’t take my word for it. Professor James Duane of Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia, does a better job than I can possibly hope to do. And he’s got the Supreme Court on his side.
Not convincd by Professor Duane? Office George Bruch, of Virgina Beach, agrees with everything Professor Duane says.
It’s not that the cops are trying to screw people, but trying to navigate the modern legal system is anagolous to trying to walk across a minefield, while being shot at, while wearing a blindfold. Everyone has broken the law at some point. Usually, these laws are minor, and usually they didn’t do it knowingly.
The system needs correction, but the only way that it’s going to be fixed, without a full-scale revolution, is if we, the people, know our rights, and expect people to honor our rights. These Little Brothers have helped keep certain abuses of power in check, and some have been punished for their abuses. We can keep the Government accountable, only by making their abuses known. We must be proactive if we want to system to change. We must remain cognizant of our rights. We must watch the watchers.