Cloudy Fourth Amendment Rights

Never has an Administration done so much to disgust me in so many ways.  Obama’s minions have argued that burdening the Justice Department with a warrant requirement for e-mail left on the “cloud” more than 180 days would be burdensome.  Gosh, guys, we’re sorry.  I guess we should have copied you when we sent it.

Law enforcement will always argue that they need to see everything, like, right now in order to catch the bad guys.  I have my doubts.  There are already provisions to obtain warrants when probable cause exists.

Isn’t it strange how the answer to criminals and terrorists is some version of the police state?  Am I the only one who wonders why having a government with that kind of power is any different from the people they allege to protect us from?

I watch a show called First 48.  It chronicles the process of solving real murders.  It is so named because the chances of solving a murder go down to 50% if no lead emerges in the first 48 hours.  These detectives are my heroes.  They work horrid hours trying to patch together evidence to make a case against perpetrators.

Yet while I root for the detectives, I always wonder about something.  Why would any suspect talk to them at all?  They are informed that they may have a lawyer present, yet few take that option.  And guess what?  They invariably spill the beans.

When someone does “lawyer up,” the detectives always sound as if they have been roundly defeated.  I suppose I cannot blame them in some ways–it’s easier to get what they need without some pesky lawyer advising the client.  Given the number of prosecutors who lie, the psychological tactics the detectives employ, and the grandstanding of all involved, though, I can’t help but wonder if they understand why we have a Bill of Rights.

I teach my sons that police officers are for the most part honorable men and women who have a hard job to do.  I tell them that if they are ever detained or arrested, they are to be polite and cooperative, but refuse to answer any questions without a lawyer, even if they know full well that they are innocent.

We are scared as a nation–too scared. When we allow our leaders to snoop through our e-mails on the cloud and our underwear in the airport, we have lost our self-respect. We have lost perspective on danger, retreating into a corner rather than standing up tall and assessing the true threat. That is no way to live. May we soon regain our composure and reassert our individual rights rather than trembling at the bogeyman stories our leaders tell us. Prudence is wisdom; irrational fear is childish.

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About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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