Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Help Protect John Doe

The House and Senate Conference Committee on Homeland Security has been debating an amendment that should enjoy support from both the right and left. The amendment has been called the “John Doe” measure because it is designed to protect people when they report suspicious activity from being sued. The post 9/11 mantra of “If you see something, say something,” should be protected and encouraged.

This measure came about in response to the six “flying imams” who were taken off a Northwest Airlines flight last year. I wrote at the time that the actions of these imams were suspicious, and may have been done simply to get a reaction. After protesting in front of Northwest and after calling the passengers on the flight racist, the imams decided to attempt to sue the unknown passengers that reported them. I have said all along that I felt this was a planned attempt to weaken security at airports and to make passengers question whether they should say something about suspicious activities. Remember, these imams were causing a disturbance on the plane; they weren’t simply sitting in their seats and minding their own business.

After the imams announced plans to file suit, lawmakers quickly passed measures in both the House and the Senate to protect people who report suspicious activity. However, Democrats in the House and Senate Committee tried to block this measure from part of a new homeland security bill. Senator Pat Leahy spoke against it for some time on the floor. Luckily, concerned members of both chambers have been able to keep the measure in the bill thus far. However, these same Democrats are now talking about limiting the number of amendments to this bill so they can target the John Doe measure for removal.

Today, Fox News reported that TSA officials have issued an alert to be on the lookout for terrorist attempting a dry run with explosive components. The TSA sites increased seizures of improvised components as one of the reasons to issue the alert. One example given was of a device that was seized in San Diego. The device consisted of a checked bag with two ice packs wrapped in duct tape. The gel had been removed from the packs and replaced with clay.

It would appear the terrorist mean what they say when the promise to attack us on U.S. soil again. Why would any elected official, Democrat or Republican, want to put our citizens at risk by not protecting them? Shouldn’t concerned citizens be protected when they are making a good faith effort to alert law enforcement and protect themselves and others? Why would we allow lawsuits that may make people cautious about reporting suspicious behavior? I simply can’t see any reason someone in our government would be against this measure.

1 comment:

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