Monday, October 04, 2010

Security-- At what Cost?

We have a bit of a conundrum here in the United States. According to the FBI al -Qaeda has been recruiting Westerners to carry out terrorist plots, and there is a new imperative to be more vigilant. That includes reporting suspicious behaviors to law enforcement.

So, if you see a person in a Home Depot or Lowes buying a large quantity of fertilizer, you need to alert law enforcement. They can then investigate that person and make sure he is not planning to blow up a building full of people.

Trouble is, in some parts of the country, you would be reporting the local rancher who has 100 acres of hay meadow to fertilize.

The Justice Department has started a project called the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative.  Centers will be set up for federal, state and local law enforcement will analyze reports of suspicious activities.  In the reporting process people are required to base the report on suspicious behaviors, not on what the person looks like.

Like that will really work.

I don't often agree with the ACLU, but I agree with their concerns over this. Look at how many innocent people have been detained since 9/11 just because of their ethnic or religious background. Look at how many innocent people are treated like criminals every time they board an airplane.

Yes, we need to take steps to protect ourselves and ensure the security of our country, but we must not walk on the backs of innocent people to do that.

10 comments:

Mary said...

I'm afraid that it will only get worse. Actions we've accepted as normal will now become suspect. Innocent lives will be ruined. It's a sad and scary situation.
Mary

Maryann Miller said...

So true, Mary. It would help if new safety regulations could be looked at with some common sense in individual cases.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sometimes I guess suspicious activity is genuine and really does look suspicious. But I wouldn't think twice about seeing someone buy a lot of fertilizer...happens a lot down here!

Emma Larkins said...

It's the same with children not even being allowed to play outside anymore. Our fear will lead us to shut ourselves alone in our houses, stifle community and destroy our innate curiosity in the world.

Laura Eno said...

And these new rules and regulations are created in a 'shut the barn door after the horse has escaped' mentality anyway.

The Words Crafter said...

Did I wake up in the USSR? This is scary!

Maryann Miller said...

Appreciate all the great comments. Emma, it really makes me sad that kids today cannot play outside like I did. We would run the neighborhood from dawn til dusk in the summer and our parents had little to worry about unless we came home with a skinned knee.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Do you know the garbage cans have been removed from railway stations in India, because bombs were placed there and they don't want to take the risk any more.

But I guess we just have to live with it in the name of security.

Maryann Miller said...

I did not know that Rayna. But that does makes sense from a security standpoint, and it doesn't take away anybody's rights. Just makes it inconvenient to deal with trash.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I find the idea of a Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative terrifying. A kind of Big Brother is watching me scenario.

On the other hand, the threat is real. We must be vigilant. So sad.