Monday, November 22, 2010

Now You Want Some Civil Liberties? Now? Too Late.

It's funny watching my fellow Americans bellyache, whine, and express shock over the TSA's new policy of "doing whatever the hell we want to anyone and there's nothing you can do about it."

For a criminal defense lawyer, this is nothing new. Anyone here ever try to tell a judge about something going on in the jail? First reaction: "I have no jurisdiction over (corrections) (Bureau of Prisons). Judges have much power, over a lot of things, except apparently where they send defendants. I'm not sure many are bothered by the fallacy that there's nothing they can do. Makes the job easier.

And so it is we do the same dance here. While TSA Chair Pistole continues his PR campaign of "the (beatings) pat-downs will continue," no one appears to be stepping in to claim jurisdiction over the TSA. We all know it's Congress, but they seem to be doing the "yeah, what he said" thing without any more. Our President supports the "enhanced security measures," which doesn't bode well for any significant change, and the media is doing their media thing where one story has 3 people who are outraged, outraged I say, and another story has 3 people who think everyone should have to fly naked.

Why I find it all funny, is that after 9/11, no one cared about civil rights, or civil liberties. If we needed to search every home in Topeka, Nashville, and Mayberry, (except yours, and his, and his) to find Osama Bin Laden, it was perfectly fine. If we needed to get every piece of personal information from everyone breathing on the planet (except yours of course), fine. If we needed to push aside the warrant requirement for recording phone conversations (I know we can record yours, you don't care, you don't say anything terrorist like), fine.

We drew no line. We accepted that fear was everywhere and anyone that would help subside that fear, even if it meant taking the clothes off our kids, was acceptable in the name of the war on terror.



I'm surprised it took this long for pat-downs at airports. The "Christmas Day" bomber carried explosives in his pants, so off with your pants. Remember, we take off our shoes (and now don't put them in a bin but directly - DIRECTLY I SAID - on the belt- in honor of the shoe bomber. Comedian Bill Maher once said that if someone tried to commit an act of terror on a plane while wearing a blue hat, blue hats would be prohibited.

No, I'm not a communist, and I don't support terrorism, and I don't have the answers. I do know that once we as Americans gave total and complete power to our government to move the line of acceptability when it comes to our civil rights, we lost any credibility in trying to move it back, or even keep it where it is.

By the way, Wednesday's "opt-out" protest, will be a miserable failure. Sorry but everyone's got to get somewhere, no time for taking a stand on anything this week.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer.Share/Save/Bookmarkokdork.com rules Post to Twitter