Patriot Act violates civil liberties


I am writing in response to Andrew Kirk’s column on the Patriot Act (“What’s wrong with surveillance?” Jan. 9). I would like to point out two statements made by some of the very men that helped to create the foundation of this country.

I believe that Benjamin Franklin said, “Those willing to give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither security nor liberty.” Thomas Jefferson said, “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.”

About two years ago, I decided to read the Patriot Act in its entirety-including looking up all the laws that it affects.

After doing so, I can say that it does not paint a pleasing picture of our federal government. Of the Bill of Rights, the only amendments that I cannot see immediately affected by the Patriot Act are the second and eighth. Unfortunately, the Eighth Amendment can be gotten around in a different way.

There have been times in American history in which the flag has been said to “outrun the Constitution,” meaning that the United States holds land in which the Constitution has no power (like the Philippines in the early 20th

Century). As such, our government can send people who have been arrested for crimes to such places, and they can be tortured. It would be legally sound, although the people of our country may not be pleased that our government acts in such a way.

So in reality, we are left with just the Second

Amendment still active.

I will grant Kirk the fact that Congress must periodically renew some of the provisions of the Patriot Act, but some of the greatest infringements on civil rights do not, in fact, “sunset”-instead, they stay active until the act has been repealed.

But, if Kirk remembers, it was not long ago that there was a movement in this country to make the entire act permanent.

Thankfully, there were a few noble congressmen who voiced concern and, in the end, protected the rights of the people.

Jordan Abawi

Freshman, Physics