Read about everything that pisses me the hell off.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

This is a Doublegood Blog

*apologies for another absence, work sucks

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

That ladies and gentlemen is the first amendment. The much bantered about, much debated, much quoted, often misunderstood, first of our "uninaleniable" rights.

So it's fitting that it's one of the first to be taken away by the bureaucracy.

What the hell am I talking about now? Well, take a look at the lovely news story below.

For those of you too lazy to click the link, let me summarize. It seems that a young man of 17 was arrested and prosecuted under our joyous patriot act for making Terroristic threats. What did this young man do? Why, he wrote a fiction story about zombies attacking a high school. That's right folks, Zombies attacking a high school. Even better, his GRANDPARENTS are the ones that turned the story in to the police. Sound like an Orwellian nightmare to you? Well it does to me.

It seems that now we are going to be arrested and prosecuted for thought crimes. Right here in Pittsburgh, a young man (16) was arrested and jailed for saying that he was going to take a gun to school to shoot people. Now, when they arrested him, he had no gun, he didn't try to take a gun to school, as a matter of fact, other than making a silly threat over IM he did nothing wrong. Yet the kid is going to jail. Sounds like a Thought Crime to me. Yet, apparently under the patriot act "having the physical ability to commit the act is not taken into consideration". Hmm... so I guess all the times I've threatened to blow something up over IM the person could have turned the log in and gotten me arrested as a terrorist? Was it a stupid thing for the kid to do? Yes. Was it something he should probably get some In School Suspension and Detentions for? Yes. Should he being Jail? FUCK NO. Another amendment is coming to my mind Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Yeah, that's the 8th amendment. Seems like we're jumping the gun here. We should be moving to the Second amendment next.

In an even more disturbing turn of events, it seems that the "youth" of the US doesn't even get the point of the 1st amendment. Results from a study done here are downright disturbing: Kids think that the government should be able to censor the news, and should have control over news outlets. Most of them don't even care about the 1st amendment. It seems that between an lack of proper civics education combined with a national apathy towards anything that requires thought is to blame.

When are the citizens of this country going to wake up and realize that 1984 is more than 21 years ago and the year Ghosbusters came out? The government is slowly but surely draining away our rights for our "safety" and soon we're not going to have any of them left. What's next? Oh.. This is next... It seems that in the wise land of California, that only the "approved" journalists are allowed to protect sources. Us poor internet folks are just going to be court ordered to give up confidential sources, which means that the only outlets other than the mainstream news media are slowly being undermined. Blogs, news sites, message boards and news groups are finally starting to come into their own for news reporting. They are all outside the mainstream and can't be manipulated by the big government/big media power base that seems to be growing ever stronger. So, we'll just legislate ways around it. Wonderful. Keep the information in the hands of the people who SHOULD be giving it out out when they decide it's okay. What person is going to leak news to a site or a blog knowing that the confidentiality laws don't protect them?

Now, I realize that a lot of you would sit back and say I'm being paranoid. I admit to a minor level of paranoia here. The reason for it is, things at the fringe are always what are cut back first. Take away the porn because porn is bad, and nobody will care. Then take away the Sci Fi, because, really only a small amount of us read Sci Fi, and mostly nobody will care. Then take away the mainstream stuff, and when the people cry out, well it's too late, we've done it to porn and sci-fi and created precedent. The old saying of "I don't agree with your opinion but I will die fighting for your right to have it" is a mantra that I live by. Too bad the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) attitude has spread like an infection through the US. As long as it's not affecting me, fuck it. I don't care. Well guess what folks, eventually it WILL affect you, and if you don't start figuring this stuff out now, then it's going to be too late to fight for yourself when the time comes.

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