So… Thomas Jefferson Would Be a Domestic Terrorist, Then?

God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is
wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts
they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions,
it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. …
And what country can preserve its liberties, if it’s rulers are not
warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Blognomicon brought this one to my attention. It seems our Civil Masters just aren’t comfortable with, you know, freedom of speech and the free exchange of ideas. The House of Representatives just passed H.R. 1955, the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007.” (Doesn’t that name just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?) It passed 404 to 6, and now goes to the Senate. Well, actually the Senate has their own version, S. 1959. (I’m happy to say that AZ Rep. Jeff Flake voted “No.”)

Funny thing is, nobody who voted for it seems to want to talk about it.

The summary of the bill says:

Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 – Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to add provisions concerning the prevention of homegrown terrorism (terrorism by individuals born, raised, or based and operating primarily in the United States).

Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to: (1) establish a grant program to prevent radicalization (use of an extremist belief system for facilitating ideologically-based violence) and homegrown terrorism in the United States; (2) establish or designate a university-based Center of Excellence for the Study of Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States; and (3) conduct a survey of methodologies implemented by foreign nations to prevent radicalization and homegrown terrorism.

Prohibits the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to prevent ideologically-based violence and homegrown terrorism from violating the constitutional and civil rights, and civil liberties, of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Right. We’ll just be “watched.” After all, the bill contains language to ensure that our Constitutional and civil rights will be respected and protected.

And fears that the PATRIOT Act would be abused were unfounded, right? (The Heritage Foundation told us in 2004 “There is no abuse of the Patriot Act. None.” That’s not what a 2007 Justice Department Report (PDF) concluded.

But I guess it’s not “abuse.” It’s “mission creep,” or “errors.”

Note, I’m not saying that parts of the PATRIOT Act weren’t necessary, but it was a bill that was essentially rammed through Congress with little to no review or discussion (kinda like McCain wanted to do with “comprehensive immigration reform” and the DREAM Act, no?).

My problem with legislation that essentially views the public as a threat goes back to a quote from Battlestar Galactica (you know, sometimes those Hollywood writers get it right):

The police protect the People. The military protects the State.

When the military becomes the police, the People become the enemies of the State.

The same is true, I think, when the Federal government looks at the People that way.

I’m not sure about you, but I really don’t think that we need a new Federal program to help try to find “possible domestic terrorists.”

‘Cause you can bet your ass every single gunblogger would be on that list, and I already have absolutely NO problem believing that far too many people on the .gov payroll are like the a**wipe described here.

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