7:00 am in cornwall ontario, Editorials, Featured, home in time, interstate 81, manned flights, mohawk nation, occasional writer, public streets, speed enforcement, warrior society, young reporter by Bill Colley
Droning on About Privacy
By: Bill Colley
Posted: June 15th, 2012
My level of personal privacy is determined by me. Or it should be. As an occasional writer for the Tea Party Tribune I also spend time reading the work of others writing for the same publication. The following link is a great entry for a discussion of privacy:
Yes, drones in the sky are replacing manned flights already performing highway surveillance across much of the country. I can remember as a young reporter always battling the clock. Fresh to a new job and wanting desperately to hold it for as long as I could I was assigned to cover a Mohawk Nation civil war at the Akwesasne Reservation. I spent three days meeting clandestinely with members of the Warrior Society and never once experienced any fear. When I was asked to return to Syracuse for the afternoon news I had four hours to drive from near Cornwall, Ontario to the studio. This required some speed behind the wheel. While driving south along Interstate 81 I took note of a sign warning me of aerial speed enforcement. Fear of my boss trumped the speeding concerns and I made it home in time to talk on the evening news about my experiences. Ever since then I’ve assumed the signs and not planes are the deterrent.
When my brother lived in Los Angeles during the middle of the 1980s he often told me about the cameras watching the public at every turn. He warned in the name of the public good we were surrendering to life in a police state. Of course I thought Los Angeles was 3-thousand miles away and a culture unto itself. Then I went shopping and saw my picture on television at the grocery store. Hey, at least Wegman’s wasn’t keeping monitoring of shoppers a secret and nobody forces you to buy cereal, beans and bananas there. Public streets and the skies are another matter. I can choose to avoid the surveillance by not leaving my home. I’ll also starve protecting my privacy.
Some months ago I saw Antonin Scalia on CBS TV’s 60 Minutes. The famed Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States explained he wasn’t aware of any constitutional right to privacy. Scalia was answering a question about Roe v. Wade. He wasn’t talking about the passions of our founders. Do you really believe James Madison would’ve approved of cameras, manned planes and drones? Come now! He came from a generation where men fluttered flags reading, “DON’T TREAD ON ME.” You can’t be a cafeteria constitutionalists.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell annoyed me to no end when he praised the drones flying over his state. The Governor, like the police, sees another tool for combating crime. Just a couple of weeks earlier Mr. McDonnell had been my hero when he told our President the Commonwealth of Virginia wouldn’t participate in the roundup of American citizens deemed enemies by the Mad Hatter-in-Chief. Dear Governor McDonnell: Please show some consistency! This past week I also read where neighboring Baltimore, Maryland’s outgoing Police Commissioner is excited about the possibilities of new technologies. I realize it would make policing easier but of my friends who became police officers none did it because it was easy. They made the choice because they wanted to help and make a difference.
For nearly 4 decades violent crime has been mainly declining in this country. We only notice it more because of the 24 hour news cycle. Yes there is still aberrant behavior among many and some of the stories I daily read are just gut-wrenching. Around the world there are some countries where such disgusting crimes are few to almost non-existent. North Korea comes to mind. Would eliminating our humanity and turning our country into a giant prison camp be a public good? People do bad things. It’s why we’ve got churches and synagogues. Penance is available.
The writer of the piece I’ve linked references the aerial reconnaissance of the American Civil War. I agree it’s a good thing to have intelligence during wartime. Is there a war raging in America today and if there is then can you please identify the enemy? Should I go look in a mirror?
Long before Antonin Scalia was born the Supreme Court of the United States rejected Dred Scot and Homer Plessy and women couldn’t vote until well more than a century after the founding of the Republic. It tells us the interpretation of our founding values is a matter of current public attitudes. At this moment the public is growing weary of being constantly under watch.
I’m a free man. I’m a man equal to my prying keepers. I demand my God given liberty.