The land of the brave and the home of the free might not be so for much longer. The United States of America, self-proclaimed watchdog of the world, does not enjoy any exemptions from global threats to peace and prosperity. Those in denial of such threats were rudely awakened to a new reality on the morning of September 11, 2001, when terrorists struck the American financial heart of New York. A seriously stunned country shocked by the level of brutality quickly assembled behind President Bush to pass legislation, known as the USA PATRIOT ACT, to tackle internal and external threats to this nation. Because this new legislation was passed into law with extreme haste, it was controversial immediately. Even though this legislation was passed with good intentions, and there was an absolute need to tackle threats to the homeland, since its inception, this law has unfairly targeted U.S. residents, especially since it allows the government to unrestrictedly monitor electronic communications, including wireless phones, email, and the internet. The USA PATRIOT ACT of 2001 clearly violates the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the residents of the United States and sections 215 and 806 must be amended to ensure that every day U.S. citizens are not defined as terrorists, citizens’ liberties are protected, and people are informed of property seizures.
Section 802 of the USA PATRIOT ACT expands the definition of terrorism to cover "domestic," in addition to international, terrorism. This is a huge change in policy as it allows for a law-abiding citizen partaking in a protest against the government to be loosely defined as a terrorist. Section 802 states:
A person engages in domestic ...
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...not a shiny piece of legislation that is advertised as a cure-all for inadequate enforcement of the old legislation.
It is unacceptable that the USA PATRIOT ACT has not been amended yet. It not only allows everyday citizens to be defined as terrorists if the government disagrees with their ideologies, but it discards individual liberties while allowing property seizures without knowledge as an available tool to protect against homegrown terrorists. More importantly, media outlets have done such a poor job reporting on this issue and informing the public of the true scope of the issue. The average American has no idea what the PATRIOT ACT is or how it could affect their lives. It is time to break down the lies created by those who grasp for more power and amend the PATRIOT ACT before legislative change cannot undo the damages already caused by the PATRIOT ACT.
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