What do social media, the National Security Agency and the DPT vaccination have in common? They all have the potential to generate situations that at some point, could threaten our civil liberties, or at least could cause us to redefine those liberties to a great extent.
What civil liberties, specifically? Glad you asked:
- Right to Privacy — the NSA has continually downplayed the extent of it’s data gathering enterprise, but the facts are what they are. There is a big brother-ish database out there, recording just about everything we do electronically or over the phone. Peggy Noonan in her WSJ column has accurately nailed exactly why this is happening and may continue to happen if we don’t stop it: no politician wants to be responsible for allowing a terrorist attack to fall through the cracks, so they are resorting to desperate means. And recording the daily interactions of every American is pretty desperate indeed.
- Right to a fair trial — Social media and the ever present camera -in- the -courtroom is truly threatening the entire concept of a fair trial. Jodi Arias’ attorneys have requested they be allowed to ask whether or not potential jurors in her upcoming sentencing trial have twitter accounts –an apparent attempt to thwart any prejudice they might have against her. It’s ironic, however, that they likely want to make sure said potential jurors don’t read their CLIENT’S self-aggrandizing tweets because she’s so despicable. And, they want a change of venue, of course, because of excessive publicity in Maricopa County. Problem is, though, e’er-body hates Arias, so it likely will do them no good.
- Right to make health care decisions for our children — An Ohio appeals court has overturned a lower court judge’s decision not to allow an Akron hospital to obtain guardianship over a child whose Amish parents are refusing chemotherapy treatments for their daughter. The appellate judge is mandating that the original judge revisit the matter because he failed to consider whether or not the transfer of guardianship was in the child’s best interests.
As for the DPT vaccination, well, that one’s probably a stretch, but there’s a potential problem on the horizon. Many diseases that were considered eradicated in the US are showing up again, because parents do have the right to refuse to have their children immunized, at least at this point.
Case in point, the measles outbreak in Dallas. 16 people have contracted the disease because they refused to have themselves or their children vaccinated because church leaders have questioned their efficacy.