Click here for a great visual introduction to theme of this column if you’re on the other end of the missile, the gun, the drone or even just the partisan divide. Courtesy Tom Tomorrow. How do you feel about that common phrase, “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about?”
I think, if we’re honest, no one really believes that: not those who defend George Zimmerman, or support Trayvon Williams… certainly not wedding parties taken out by mistake by a drone… or those who wind up detained because someone thinks they are thinking of helping terrorists… or if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Stringent gun rights advocates certainly can’t believe this ludicrous claim, otherwise they wouldn’t be so anti-registration.
Hell, just get stopped by a cop with a bad attitude, trying to impress his partner, and you’ll find out you really do have something “to worry about.”
No, no, no one really one believes that. But I’m sure some resort to using that nonsensical claim when it’s convenient: anyone they disagree with complaining about such things… which kind of shows us the narcissism and the cynical ploy inherent to the claim.
Politicians and pundits know they can attain a lot of power and influence using fear, as long as they frame it as protecting us from the “other.” I mean why should we worry about a little trimming around the edges of our rights if it’s only to get the bad guys?
The problem is the slide into being identified as a possible “bad guy;” sometimes means “a target of convenience,” and is indeed quite slippery. Add collateral damage to that and evil done in the name of good becomes all too acceptable.
We really need to question every statement, every claim that pours forth from our pols partisans and pundits: is this really something, or someone, some group, we need to be scared of? Or are they just playing with fear like Jimmy Jones or David Koresh? Sometimes the absolute fear of gays, liberals, conservatives, all gun owners: whatever, can a bit cultish.
Here’s an example of thinking for ourselves, no matter what side we’re on. The administration is currently pushing for continuing Bush doctrine: continuing to expand the power to take Americans out with drones. The assumption here is that this will go no further than taking out those helping terrorists, or actual Americans turned terrorist. If you don’t think this is a slippery slope think pre-9/11 and how much this has all changed. What would you, or anyone, have said if pre-9/11, some pol or pundit claimed it perfectly fine to snatch anyone: even Americans, put them in a prison… for no matter what you want to call it, that is what it is… and keep them indefinitely: no trial, minimal contact with lawyers, or family: if any? What would you have said if that same pol or pundit defended torture?
If you answer honestly I know, back then, any good American would have been outraged.
The state of our current justice system for those who go through normal channels is not that far behind. As I explained in another column, I am no fan of Stand Your Ground laws, but a Current documentary on the topic interviewed a person who stood his ground. While he won his case he was in jail for over a year and bankrupted himself and his family defending himself. Oh, and he lost his job because he was in jail so long.
Prosecuted under RICO and, innocent or not, everything you have can be taken from you and sold before you even see a judge. Here again, they only have to claim somehow you might be connected to organized crime.
This is “justice?” I could just as easily give a more sympathetic to the left examples, but either way this in not “justice.” And it certainly proves we have “something to worry about,” no matter how innocent we are. And, of course, if we are to have for profit prisons where corporations
get paid per “customer,” and they are allowed to push for changes in laws, and applications of those laws, to cull more customers, certainly we do ‘have something to worry about.”
Now, let’s bounce back and forth, from side to side, of the partisan divide…
Gun rights advocates and those who have a serious problem with the policies, perhaps even the personality, of President Obama: are you really comfortable with him having this kind of power when it comes to targeting fellow citizens? Do you really think there’s no chance you might become the target?
The other side: even if your trust Barack implicitly, you do know he won’t always be president and the return of a Bush/Cheney type administration is always a possibility, right?
Those who know me know I’m more left than right these days. And, yes, many of these are the same arguments I used during the last administration. I am angry that they still apply after being promised change from a Constitutional scholar turned president. We have to: I repeat have to, think about precedents we set… and how anything we let slide for now because we think it will only be used against “bad guys” may be turned against us latter.
Crime and security are a concern, for sure, but do we really need to make laws to turn manslaughter, at best, into self defense? I understand some claims that’s not what “Stand Your Ground” is supposed to mean, but SYG is not one law: it is many. And like any law it is subject to many interpretations and applications. The best standard would be one national self defense law.
Whether it be guns, or terrorism, or drones: any of these concerns, the all so false phrase rings in my head again, “If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about.”
What would our forefathers have thought of this? After all, how do you think they would have responded to that phrase when it came to being lorded over by the Brits? Didn’t we fight a Revolutionary War for these kinds of grievances?
And remember: you too could be the guy with the Skittles and the drink, or have them destroy your life over some false accusation.
Yes, even if you’ve done little to nothing wrong: you could have a lot to worry about.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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