August 15, 2011
The PATRIOT Act
In response to the attacks of September 11, 2001 our country put new laws in place to try to protect US citizen from terrorism. The USA Patriot Act, or the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” Act, has changed the way that the government operates in relation to the civil liberties and rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The original legislation was enacted in a time when our country was dealing with the most violent and deadly terrorist attack ever to occur on US soil. In early October 2001, we were still sifting through the ashes of the World Trade Center, and trying to redefine how our government protects us from terrorism. While the Patriot Act needs to have its limits, during times of war certain liberties are sacrificed for protection from evil, although sometimes in our haste we overlook the impact that legislation has on our own people. During times of crisis, a balance must be maintained between protecting the lives of Americans, and maintaining the Constitutional freedoms that are guaranteed to us. One of the most obvious conflicts between the Patriot Act and these freedoms is the fourth amendment protection to illegal search and seizure. Under the provisions set in place by the Patriot Act, law enforcement no longer has to prove reasonable suspicion for ordering searches of people, as long as they categorize it under the premise of counterterrorism. People need to be afforded the right to feel secure in their homes, and their belongings against unreasonable searches and seizures. However, Americans need to feel secure from the threats of terrorist attacks, so there must be balance between privacy and security. We cannot allow cells of terrorism to grow inside our borders just because we are unable to search suspected terror “safe houses.” However, before we start a witch hunt...