Since Islamists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001
, Federal and state government officials have been busy passing laws.
All airport security screening within the United States was Federalized on November 19, 2001
- just days after the attacks on New York, Washington, DC, and the plane crash in a Pennsylvania field. It is now known as the Transportation Security Administration
(TSA), an arm of the US Department of Homeland Security
Political leaders claim that these sweeping changes are for our protection. Unfortunately, laws like the Patriot Act
also carry the unintended consequence of restricting freedoms Americans have taken for granted since we rejected rule by a British king.
Taking photographs or recording video in public places are now acts that merit the attention of law enforcement. It has been documented that Muslim jihadists planning acts of terrorism
have "cased the joint" by photographing and/or video taping airports and other modes of transportation.
The videos below, recorded by a man who simply enjoys photographing the trains he rides, raise some real questions. Police asked for this man's identification, which seems reasonable. By law, you are required to show identification to law enforcement officials when requested to do so. If this man had simply produced his driver's license, what would have happened? Would they have accepted his apparently reasonable explanations at face value and left him alone? Or would he have been detained or arrested anyway?
Maybe it was just a slow day for Maryland Transit Authority Police
Among the wisest of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin
famously said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Most would agree that we do need tools that allow our brave law enforcement officers to do what they can to prevent acts of terrorism. Jihad
Muslims will attack us at every opportunity, and will do whatever they can to cause mayhem and death within our borders.
But have we begun to give up too much "essential liberty?" In the end, the nanny state government will not be there for us. No government, no matter how invasive, encroaching, or regulatory can possibly keep us safe from every bad thing all the time.
More legislation in the name of more safety must be very carefully considered. Every step toward safety is a step away from liberty.