General Question

fremen_warrior's avatar

Counter-terrorism vs. personal rights, what is your take on this?

Asked by fremen_warrior (5461 points ) August 24th, 2012

Is modern day terrorism a real, serious threat, or is the threat a ruse to push through ‘Sus laws’ like the British Terrorism Act 2006 or USAmerican Patriot Act?

In other words, do you think potentially sacrificing some personal rights actually is the way to gain more security, or do you think otherwise? What is your take on this – has the world gone “security crazy” or are these really necessary precautions if we want to protect out world from extremism?

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34 Answers

fremen_warrior's avatar

@ragingloli maybe because they are dying out on their own? ;-) jk

majorrich's avatar

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Thomas Jefferson

Thammuz's avatar

@majorrich Dammit I was going to post that.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It is a balance. It s not an either/or question.

Somewhere in the middle there is a balance between security needs and personal liberties.

DaphneT's avatar

I think those Acts simply gave the terrorists exactly what they wanted. They want to curtail Western thought spread. Making us afraid of our neighbors plays right into their hands. Those Acts are just the same as Hitler’s NAZI laws to control its citizens.

wundayatta's avatar

This was one of the more evil things Bush II did. He played right into the terrorists’ hands. We did more to curb our own liberty than the terrorists ever did, and for no increase in safety.

We need to restore personal rights, and reduce airport slow downs for so-called “security” checks.

phaedryx's avatar

@majorrich That’s probably a Benjamin Franklin quote.

flutherother's avatar

I am quite happy to give up personal rights temporarily where there is a good reason for it, like airport security, but I am suspicious of measures which are open ended and of doubtful value such as the ‘Patriot Act’. The very name is something George Orwell might have come up with.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@wundayatta – I agree in principle, but I think the prospect of getting our rights back is extremely slim. Once the government has taken control using the excuse’ of security, they never relinquish it.

Why do you think that the Soviets had ministries of Internal Security which were nothing more than spy agencies on their people?

It’s a pipe dream to think that we’ll ever have the ability to make a phoen call without it being recorded and analyzed. Or an email. Or anything else.

@flutherother – the problem is that a focused, temporary reason has a tendency to become permanent.

zenvelo's avatar

Every time a civil liberty is restricted, the terrorists win.

majorrich's avatar

Oops! My bad! Jefferson’s views were of this kind and I kinda lump them all together. I do firmly believe it is impossible to legislate ourselves to safety. It just makes it harder for the rest of us. The prohibition experiment is proof of that. My Father used to spout off that criminals nearly always wear sporting shoes when they commit crimes, so we should ban shoes for the general populations safety. Of course congress should be exempt because it’s undignified to go barefoot, but the rest of us should be like hobbits!

rooeytoo's avatar

Since there are now gaping holes where the WTC used to be, since there are dead and maimed aussies from Bali bombings, etc. I would say there is reason for increased vigilance. Perhaps there was over reaction initially, but taking out the WTC, attacking the Pentagon and whatever the goal of the 3rd plane that crashed in Pa. were pretty bodacious acts that would precipitate an over reaction. Do you think the people on the plane that crashed in Pa were curtailing the personal rights of the terrorists? It is impossible to identify how many terrorist acts were foiled by the security that was put it place. Look at it like using a condom, better safe than sorry.

DaphneT's avatar

@rooeytoo, these Acts are not about increased vigilance, they are about the destruction of our judicial system, the incarceration of citizens without cause, without recourse to defense, without the Miranda rights.

Of course we want increased vigilance. A public poster campaign reminding everyone that everyone is responsible for increased vigilance would be more effective than taking away our civil liberties. Taking away our civil liberties just makes us mad, only now we’re mad at each other, not our enemy.

rooeytoo's avatar

@DaphneT – speak for yourself. I have not had any civil liberties taken from me, what civil liberties have been taken from you? Increased vigilance is the name of the game. What do you mean by “they are about the destruction of our judicial system, the incarceration of citizens without cause, without recourse to defense, without the Miranda rights.”

woodcutter's avatar

Talk to the thousands of Americans on a no-fly list that have no recourse and have no idea why they are on it. I don’t fly so that one doesn’t phaze me at all but I think it’s still pretty fucked up.

rooeytoo's avatar

@woodcutter – There is no perfect way to insure safety from terrorists. There are glaring errors and problems with the system and we are all made aware of those. At the same time though, one should consider how many actual terrorist attacks are being and have been thwarted by the list. Unfortunately it is impossible to calculate that so all we hear about are the goof ups. Personally I would rather err on the side of caution if it prevents another 9/11.

Seek's avatar

Next week I have to go to work amongst the Republican National Convention.

Apparently, they’ve all decided the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply when Mitt Romney’s in town, so we all have to be prepared for “random” vehicle searches.

I’m pissed.

But, I am going to smile, and make a big deal of the fact that I have red hair and am obviously of Irish descent. I might switch on my (admittedly impressive) fake Kentucky accent.

Why? Because the Secret Service is en masse and heavily armed, and I am not.

Is there any chance that Tampa is going to be infiltrated by terrorists? I’d say no. Are they putting a shit-ton of innocent civilians through a swimming pool of crap for the sake of one over-privileged bastard? Yes.

Can I do anything about it? No.

Can I hope that the hurricane will smack directly into Tampa Bay for the first time in 100 years? You better believe it.

woodcutter's avatar

@rooeytoo So Am I to understand you can fly?

rooeytoo's avatar

@woodcutter – yep and of course if I were on the other side my outlook would be different. But this is like all in life, if your child had an adverse reaction or died from vaccination, you would be opposed to it, but in the meantime vaccination is saving millions and preventing outbreaks that would kill many. No one ever said life was fair.

woodcutter's avatar

We were sold a bill of goods at the right time when the govt was working overtime to scare the crap out of us, this patriot act. The thing is if they can keep things straight then fine but it is the govt after all, like our govt? you know…the one that always keeps proper books and they actually keep up with things and only infringe on just a few thousand of us. These imaginary terrorists win and we vote into power the people who will curtail some of our rights (that we almost never need) and make it very important to beef up the coffers of their defense contractor buddies and they get yo/us all to foot the bill to protect us from…..nothing.

brilliant!

rooeytoo's avatar

Ohhhh @woodcutter – as I said we have no idea how many plans were foiled by having these deterrents in place. Was it imaginary terrorists that took out the WTC? And the way tax dollars are spent is always interesting, I would rather have them protecting me than paying some phd to do a study on who does more housework, men or women or the mating ritual of whales or some other equally necessary bs.

phaedryx's avatar

@rooeytoo So there are 21,000+ people in the US that are so dangerous that we can’t allow them on a plane, but haven’t done anything that could get them arrested. Who is on the list? There is no way to know until they try to fly. Why are they on the list? There is no explanation. It is assumed guilt with no trial; no way to prove innocence or appeal.

We are doing this even though “we have no idea how many plans were foiled by having these deterrents in place”; or, in other words, no way to measure effectiveness?

Here are some things we can measure. Car travel is more dangerous than airplane travel. More people are travelling by car because airline security is such a hassle. In 2005, it was estimated that lead to over 100 road fatalities and it’s believed to have gone up each year since then.

We expose hundreds of thousands of people to ionizing radiation (backscatter x-rays), even though they are easy to circumvent.

Approximately 500 TSA officers have been fired or suspended for stealing from passenger luggage since the agency’s creation.

The TSA patdowns are remarkably similar to what sexual predators do.

We are paying $8.1 billion per year for an agency that gropes and humiliates people, but has no measurable benefit.

woodcutter's avatar

All any agency can do is fight the last incident using tactics they know about. Each time there is something new that gets by them they adjust to combat that one, so it seems there is a lot of effort being wasted on methods that they are not going to encounter again.
It is very advantageous for a govt to keep the public scared. It gives them all the leverage they need when they want to ask us to vote away one more freedom that as patriotic countrymen should be ready to sacrifice for the greater good. That’s exactly how they package these and thats if they package them for us to consider. Much much easier to just do it without asking. Executive order because they really care about the ordinary subjects.

rooeytoo's avatar

Ok, we will all go back to no security and when the next nut cases take out more planes and buildings then we can all talk about it again. Then it will be sort of like gun control, something that is discussed after the fact for a week or so and then buried until the next time.

majorrich's avatar

<soapbox mode on> Typical argument I get from my sister in law. “OK Let’s just do nothing at all”. Then… so on so forth. No middle ground. My thoughts on the original question stand. We have given more than enough of our civil freedoms getting groped and x-rayed by imbeciles at the Air Port. We have a president and a secretary of state (note the lower case) wanting us to hand in all firearms. We have safety standards and air pollution standards and laws for just about everything under the sun under the clause of “if we save just one life, it will be worth it” Well, legislation for millions of people to save one idiot who stuck his hand where it clearly didn’t belong, costs million’s if not billion’s of dollars a year in redundant laws and common-sense regulations to keep that person safe from himself and even more millions for infrastructure to support the inspectors and paperwork processors to keep that person’s fingers attached to his hand. Suppose there was legislation to hire a bunch of people to censor everything on the internet because Joe Bagadonuts saw an awesome trick on a bicycle and broke his neck. Oh Boy! Can’t have that! no more bicycle trick videos on YouTube. (See I am going just the opposite as the lets do nothing) Ban all videos containing bicycles and require ridiculous safety equipment for licensed bicycle riders. It’s a slippery slope. We have plenty of laws. Plenty of rights have been compromised. We need people to be less lemming like and use common sense, and be vigilant. And pay attention when the metal detector beeps. And Racial profiling, Who were the perpetrators in the 9–11 hijacking’s? Hmmm. Middle Eastern Men between 23 and 35. Why not look them over a little more carefully. They aren’t citizens, They are used to random searches. They Use our own freedoms against us. So they don’t get the same freedoms. Take away their box cutters and let the 80 year old woman keep her knitting needles. TSA inspectors are known (infamous) for going after the low-hanging fruit like knitting needles and nail clippers while letting obvious profiled non-citizens go through unmolested while they are working granpa over for his nail clippers, or a young mother who doesn’t want her breast milk irradiated. <soapbox mode off> Here are my bottom line thoughts. Americans need to pay attention to what they are doing. Study a little harder. Take care of each other, and keep an eye out for threats we know about. Try to find the balancing point between common sense and idiotic manic sense, knowing that there will be wide differences of opinion where that point is. I feel a little pinched like I’ve given too much freedom for too little return. But that’s just my own opinion.

Seek's avatar

This is downtown Tampa at this moment.Yes, it’s gone too far.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr holy tacos, what the hell?

rooeytoo's avatar

Are they getting ready for Issac?

woodcutter's avatar

I wonder if they will pump the terror threat at the convention.You know among all the cronies there there has to be people from Ratheon and Boeing, et’al wanting them to go for it but, to get it to be in the “good TV” category I’d like to see Isaac tear a roof panel off the place and make all those white suits wet. not really, wait…yeah go Isaac.

Seek's avatar

Isaac completely passed us. They all do. Tampa hasn’t had a direct hit in over 100 years. Every friggin’ spaghetti chart puts us in the bulls-eye, and every one bounces off and hits Louisiana. I was disappointed this time.

No RNC arrests so far. We have civilised protestors here, it’s the cops that are lunatics. 6,000 cops with riot gear set up to oppose a few dozen protestors. Frankly, it’s just too goddamn hot for anyone to want to stand outside all day holding a sign.

GracieT's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr, I know that you said you’d be back, but I, at least, haven’t seen you until now. So, from me, anyway, welcome back!

majorrich's avatar

So this would be a good time to go visit my uncle in Venice and go Shark tooth hunting? Usually there are lots stirred up by big storms, or was Isaac too little?

fremen_warrior's avatar

The terrorists won. People are paranoid, security’s absurdly tight, and nobody’s actually safer than before.

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