Saturday, March 01, 2003
It appears that in Santa Fe, a former public defender was arrested, detained and questioned for "threatening the President" after having an anti-war conversation in the St. John's public library. 40-year old Andrew J. O'Connor admits he used the words "Bush is out of control" when having a face-to-face chat with another individual, but, as he boldly pointed out, "...there is this thing called freedom of speech."
From the American Library Association News site: Concern about threats to individual privacy under the USA Patriot Act has prompted New Mexico legislators in both houses to propose resolutions urging state police not to help federal agents infringe on civil rights. The resolutions also encourage libraries to post prominent signage warning patrons that their library records are subject to federal scrutiny without their permission or knowledge.Thanks for posting this one, rabbitgirl. It's an eye-opener, to say the least.
I'd like to know how the "Men In Black" knew how to find Mr. O'Connor...it leads one to think of several paranoid-sounding possibilities: (a) the library is bugged and/or under video surveillance, (b) there are snitches and stoolies among the bookstacks, or (c) the individual wearing the "No War in Iraq" button that O'Connor was speaking with was an undercover plant. None of the above are what I'd call Constitutionally-acceptable scenarios.
Unlike many generations before us, we have the luxury of a well-documented recent history, and we have no excuse to forget our periodic lapses in Constitutionality - the Japanese interment camps, the McCarthy era, or Watergate. We have a duty to ourselves and to future generations to remember what America truly stands for, and has stood for since she was conceived: the free exercise of thought, speech, and assembly, the right to dissent, the right to question.
These are the concepts that make us "America"; these are the rights we were guaranteed by our forefathers. If we love our nation and the ideals under which she was created we cannot, in good conscience, silently accept travesties of her name forged under the aegis of "patriotism."
Read. Listen. Speak your mind.