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Disputing Danehy

In his latest sermon, Tom Danehy (July 18) casually informs his readers that "there is no constitutional right to privacy."

Well, it's true enough that the word "privacy" is not in the Constitution, and for good reason: In the 18th century, "privacy" was used to refer to personal bodily functions. The word that most closely corresponded to what "privacy" now means was "security," and the Fourth Amendment protects "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." Assuming that such a right extends to, say, email requires no greater leap than we make when we assume that the First Amendment's protection of free speech extends to Internet speech, despite the fact that the Internet did not exist when the First Amendment was written.

Furthermore, the Ninth Amendment warns that the existence of the Bill of Rights "shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." That is, the fact that a specific "right" isn't specifically mentioned in the Constitution doesn't mean that such a right can be denied by the government.

Ironically, the most prominent intellectuals to argue that there is no constitutional right to privacy have been voices of the authoritarian right, such as Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. One suspects that Danehy would be distressed to find himself in such company.

Justyn Dillingham


Considering The Zimmerman Verdict

We live in a country where the laws on the books empower a man like George Zimmerman to stalk, confront, and kill Trayvon Martin because he was black and considered a "threat" when after being stalked, taunted, and confronted he fought back.  Zimmerman is not even sorry it happened because it "is God's plan".  Obviously this is the Koch brothers' ALEC "Stand Your Ground" plan as well as Zimmerman's God's plan and in actual practice quite handily lawfully justifies killing depending on your race and the race of the victim.

This attitude is nothing new to us living in the borderlands.  We live in a country that empowers racists to shoot into Mexico and kill Mexicans with impunity and doesn't even bring the cases to trial.  Indeed, Department of Homeland Security agents are allowed to kill innocent men and boys who are "considered a threat" because a Border Patrol agent, like Zimmerman that fatal night, thinks (actually knows) they have the right to take lives with no accountability.  The best we get as justice are excuses from DHS spokesmen that conflict with eye witness reports and video, lies about the victims being mistaken for rock throwers, or even worse it remains an "ongoing investigation" forever and the killers are not even named, much less punished.  All they have to say is they felt "threatened" to justify their actions no matter how implausible.

Our safety as a border community will be horribly further compromised if, in the name of security, the new "immigration reform" brings another 20,000 agents to join the other bored, often young veteran agents PTSDing from the wars who have been responsible for so much death and human suffering in our communities.  We might just want to reconsider where the actual "threats" to our safety and security actually come from and start holding the killers and abusers responsible.  This ratcheting up of lawful racist vigilantism truly needs to stop. 

 Susan Thorpe

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