I Wonder What He Would Say? . . .

Due to the erratic behaviour of President Elect Trump no one can possibly know what he will do next. One of the greatest concerns many have is whether or not he will move to curb some of our personal rights in the name of dealing with and securing national security. The big question for each of us is “would you give up some personal freedoms for public safety?” This is a fundamental question but one that is certainly going to be discussed behind many a closed door. Before you answer or make a comment one way or the other let’s consider this from a few sides.

Ben Franklin back on November 11, 1755, said this, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserves neither liberty nor safety”.

I recognize that I will pose many more questions than I can answer but they have to be asked before it’s too late:

1. How much freedom would you give up in exchange for a greater sense of public safety?

2. How certain would you feel knowing that your privacy, security and human rights are now in the hands of the President Elect? I understand that this is Canada not the U.S. but realistically the drummer may be different but the band members are the same.

3. Is it possible that once liberty is given up even though it may be ‘temporary’ the likelihood of it being restored to it’s rightful owners is not great? There cannot be a time frame in the fight for liberty and freedom. Something or someone will always stand in the way of returning civil rights to the citizens.

4. If by listening in on private conversations and monitoring certain web sites we were able to thwart more global as well as domestic threats and in the process save hundreds perhaps thousands of lives would that change your thinking about the exchange of liberty for safety?

5. The President Elect has stated that he would return to violent interventions like water boarding and torture of terrorists to gain information if that would protect American and/or other free world citizens. How far would you want that to go or would you turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to that happening if you thought it would help to prevent a bomb going off in Los Angeles or Dallas or Toronto?

6.  Would it be OK to follow those same principles (see #5) in the event of a kidnapping of a young child?

7. Would the use of chemical torture be a more civilized approach since the suspect wouldn’t suffer as much physical pain? Remember he/she may not be guilty of anything but rather just a suspect. Perhaps the use of lie detectors would be better even though we understand they can be beat and are not completely trust worthy.

8. In some countries-the U.K for one-the courts have begun to add further sentences to a repeat offender’s penalty once the original sentence has been served. This is called ‘preventative retention’. Isn’t that a bit like double jeopardy? Human rights advocates would argue that once the sentence has been served and the offender has paid his/her debt to society he/she has the right to live his/her life in a legal, peaceful and lawful manner.

Canada takes a similar stance of adding extra time by naming a select few as ‘dangerous offenders’. This option has been in play since 1947–who knew? Once designated as a dangerous offender the Canadian system can hold someone for an indefinite period of time with little chance of release. It is virtually a ‘life time sentence’. Personally I’m good with this one.

9. Should governments or their agents have full access to individual medical and mental health records without a court order in the event of a public outbreak of a potentially deadly disease? Should they have the right to monitor individuals either electronically or physically because of their medical records? Should they have the right to inoculate people against their will in order to prevent a possible epidemic or the spread of an illness of some kind?

10. How about unlawful search and seizure but being able to use any evidence found if it proved to substantiate some crime being investigated at the time? Or perhaps evidence or information is found that is not directly connected to the initial complaint but is suspected or can be proven to be connected to other crimes or criminals who are planning, are currently or have conducted other criminal or illegal activity–drug dealing or human trafficking for instance.

When I hear people in positions of power talking about how they are going to go after certain groups of people and are going to investigate them for how honest they are and how dangerous they are and then get rid of them red flags go up all over the place for me. I’m a law and order kind of guy and I like the idea of having entrenched and guaranteed personal and human rights that I can depend on to guide us all as a community of human beings.

All I’m saying here is that we need to pay very close attention to those who would ask to have the ‘cuffs’ taken off so they can do what needs to be done to make this a safer place in which to live.

Benjamin Franklin also said in a letter to Jane Mecom, 1773: “If you make yourself a sheep the wolves will eat you”. Words to live by.

Anyways, that’s the way I see things today. All the best, Jim

Any comments please send them to me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

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Drones, Drones–Everywhere Drones . . .

Yes! This is truly a picture of a drone. It is a real machine created to look like and act like an insect. As a matter of fact there could be one looking at you right now while you read this article, or while you read a favourite book outside hanging in your hammock on a beautiful summer day. You may be just hanging around outside on your patio or BBQing a nice steak or a juicy burger. You could lying in the privacy of your back yard or a rooftop perch au naturel believing that you have complete privacy to enjoy the warmth of the sun in the buff while the reality is 20,000 people could be watching unbeknownst to you.  You could be doing ANYTHING inside or outside your home and not be aware of who is watching you or why they are watching you. However, even more concerning, I suppose, is why would anyone want to make something this small and hidden this well unless they had some ulterior motive for it’s use?  Really creepy isn’t it?  You may have swatted one out of the air not knowing that it was a fairly expensive piece of equipment dressed up to look like an ‘insect’. Maybe it’s the neighbours kid or the neighbour himself/herself that has wired up a reality cam to the drone and is flying it all round the ‘hood’ watching everything that others might be doing-just for the fun of it. Hell, you could end up on the 6:00 news as a human interest story or a favourite U-tube clip.

As with all really great innovations, creations and discoveries that we have come up with and despite all of the claimed benefits to mankind the ‘dark’ side always seems to get hold of it and turn it into something ugly-something that has the potential to kill other people, maim them in some way or threaten to destroy them if they don’t comply to whatever we are asking for. Such was the case when the atom was found to be a powerful generator of energy when we learned how to split it. The benefits were endless it was thought. Then we learned how to hurt others with the technology and how to kill tens of thousands at one time. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not advocating for the end of drones but we have already learned how to kill others with drones and how to use drones for purposes other than recreation. It is being touted as a great tool in war because we can now destroy things or kill others without risking any of our brave soldiers in the process. It certainly lessens the incentive to not go to war in the first place though-doesn’t it?  We can now use them to assassinate foreign dignitaries–how would you stop covert operations like destroying or hitting a palace in some middle eastern country or destroying significant infrastructure like a power plant, hospitals, universities and the list goes on. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to make one of these things or to navigate it. Attaching the weapons of war is a short leap after that apparently.

I can see and understand some of the benefits of having this technology. We could  surveil pipelines, border crossings and unguarded boundaries. We could use them to create beautiful films, advertising products and places, use to hunt for folks lost in forests or desolate territory, monitor our highways and rail road tracks and so on. There are a multitude of public uses that would save many lives and prohibit serious natural disasters. We could x-ray bridges and dams for faults and outfit them to detect bombs and other instruments that could otherwise harm innocent people. I’m for all of this.

The issue now, however, is drones are already out there and the agencies that use them have already been given the go ahead to use them as they see fit. The military wasted no time in making sure they were at the head of the line for first dibs. But it is not too late for governing bodies to stipulate exactly what the public can and cannot use them for. There has to be some guidelines for public use otherwise any semblance of privacy that we still have left-and there isn’t much any more-will disappear right along side of the dodo bird. What started out as a toy for junior to occupy his time has turned into something that threatens our safety and security. I know this was not the intent but it is the reality. It is the place of government to regulate this ‘toy’ and they should do it much sooner rather than later. The same situation exists with lasers. Just ask airplane pilots that fly in and out of any major airport. Most will tell you that ground based lasers are becoming an extreme hazard for pilots because they can temporarily blind them while ‘behind the wheel’. Imagine a laser mounted on a drone. I suppose the alternative would be to wait for the first accident to happen and then acknowledge a problem exists and that something needs to be done. Does that mean that the hundred or two hundred people killed or injured on the plane are or were collateral damage?

Anyways, that’s how I see it, Jim

Comments are welcome. Please connect with me at: jimcloughley.com OR jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

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