Noted Constitutional scholar and mayor Michael R. Bloomberg remarked today that given the constant threat of terrorist attacks, America's views on privacy and freedom may be a tad outmoded. “The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Bloomberg said, "But we live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
The Observer's Jill Colvin recorded the exchange during a press conference at the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative. According to his public schedule, the mayor was there to "Thank Counterterrorism Personnel with Police Commissioner Kelly."
“It really says something bad about us that we have to do it," Bloomberg said of using magnetometers in schools.
But our obligation first and foremost is to keep our kids safe in the schools; first and foremost, to keep you safe if you go to a sporting event; first and foremost is to keep you safe if you walk down the streets or go into our parks. We cannot let the terrorists put us in a situation where we can’t do those things. And the ways to do that is to provide what we think is an appropriate level of protection.
And hey, sometimes the things we do to "keep our kids safe" alienate entire communities of U.S. citizens for no good reason, but that's how Freedom Sausage is made (also: observing how Freedom Sausage is made makes us all very unsafe).
NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman said in a statement that she understood why heightened security may be a good idea in some circumstances. "But solutions that seriously undermine our freedom and fail to address the security failures of the past may give us a false sense of security while unnecessarily sacrificing individual privacy," Lieberman told us. "We must not play into the hands of those that seek to hurt us by abandoning our free society and allowing our liberties to be needlessly eroded."
To put it in Toby Keith's parlance: altering the Constitution out of fear is Letting the Terrorists Win.
In news related to Lessons That Remain Unlearned From September 11 And Its Long, Bloody, Expensive Aftermath, New York State Senator Greg Ball is standing by his Twitter comments that he would torture the Boston bombing suspect. Via Politicker:
All I can tell you is what I would do as an American. If we saw what just happened where we had men, women and children-a child-killed. I can tell you that as Greg Ball, if I felt that torture-whether it be making them listen to music at night, or using a baseball bat-would save one innocent life, including that of a child, I would use it. But I’m just speaking for Greg Ball.