Loss of privacy

Utah

Utah (Photo credit: rayb777)

In time of war, we become accustomed to the loss of some of our rights. We assume that they will be restored to us at the end of hostilities, but the war on terror may not end in our lifetimes. What shall we accept in the meantime and what shall we protest against?

Law enforcement here is southern Utah is waging a war against drugs imported into our area from the south via Interstate 15. They are proposing the installation of license plate scanners in both directions to help them spot and apprehend drug smugglers. While the end may be justified, I oppose the means, the plate scanners.

The usual argument is that if you are not a smuggler, then you have nothing to worry about. I disagree. With drones in the skies and license plate scanners on the ground and government surveillance of all electronic communication, I believe that it will be possible for government to keep records of all we do. That is too much of an intrusion into our right to privacy and opens the gates wide to a 1984-style government in the US. Do you agree?

Crime

English: A bunch of Razor Wire atop a chain li...

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England exiled its criminals to the US, and after the American Revolution, they sent them to Australia. At the time, crime was thought to be inherent or genetic; if you committed a crime, you could not be rehabilitated. In essence, you and your descendents carried a fatal stain in the blood that could never be eradicated. The journey to Australia was a long one and many prisoners died en route if they had no friends to help them prepare for the journey. The fortunate ones carried citrus with them to prevent scurvy.

In Wildness and Razor Wire, Ken Lamberton demonstrated how important friends and family still are to surviving the prison experience. Today, it is the poor and minorities who compose the overwhelming majority of the prison population because they cannot afford qualified legal help and because the war on drugs is fought primarily against them. Our present attitude towards criminals has changed little from England’s attitude 250 years ago. All that has really changed is that we lock people in cells here rather than exile them to a foreign country.

Please see Smart on Crime | Tough on crime | Prison Reform