Why Worry?
January 8th, 2010 by Sonja

I signed up some time ago to receive the e-mail posting of the Washington Post’s opinion page.  So every weekday morning I get an e-mail with a tickler about that day’s opinion pieces.  I don’t always read them, but sometimes …

This morning I read through them and saw this:

I need (but have no desire) to read the piece.  Some years ago I could tolerate Krauthammer and sometimes even agreed with him.  I don’t know if it’s age or what, but he has gotten more and more regressive as time has gone on.  Maybe it’s the confluence of our culture and his age.  But he gets more and more shrill as time goes on.  But the question posed struck me.  The Krauthammer of years passed would have gone to the mat for our and others civil rights.  He would have been protective of the U.S. reputation abroad.  He might even have stood firm on the idea that the Geneva Convention has protections worth caring about.

So … here’s my answer to that question.  We are and should be more worried about the Miranda rights of any perpetrator, because … once the gloves are off, it is difficult to put them back on again.  Who is to say how the definition of “terrorist” might change over the years?  At this point, we seem to have a clear idea that a terrorist is someone “other” … a person who does not belong to our culture.  But what happens when the government decides that anyone speaking out against a sitting president is a “terrorist” or might have terrorist affiliations?  I know that sounds silly and well, we have the First Amendment.  Or do we?  If Miranda rights do not apply to everyone within our borders, including “terrorists” … then they can be suspended for us too.  It really is an all or nothing deal … if those rights do not apply to everyone, then they can at some point be suspended for anyone.

What happens when they come for you?  Don’t you want to have those protections?  I know I do.  The Miranda rights do force our justice system to work harder in order to successfully prosecute a case against an offender and we find people who are innocent sitting on death row.  It is not infallible so the ordinary citizen (including suspected terrorists) needs to have as many protections against the almost overwhelming power of the state as they possibly can.

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