Legal changes post-Sept. 11

September 11, 2008
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With today being the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, I couldn’t help but think about how our country has changed in seven years. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I realize now that we aren’t as isolated from the rest of the world as we once thought, that terrorism can happen in America, and that the U.S. we knew before the attacks will never be the same.

One major change came about through Congress as the Patriot Act. President George W. Bush signed it into law in October 2001, and many of the laws introduced then have been made permanent.

The argument and rush to pass the act was it would make America safer. Giving the government more policing powers, the ability to search private records without having to show a judge that a crime may have been committed, easier access to monitor phone and e-mail communications, and gather information about people, among other powers, were necessary to protect the U.S. from future attacks and find terrorists before they can strike.

My question is one I’m sure many people have had regarding the Patriot Act – is it worth impeding on people’s freedoms and constitutional rights to try to protect our country? Is it OK for the government to obtain personal information without the approval of a judge as long as it’s in the best interest of our country’s safety?

It may be a question that’s hard to answer. Can I say for sure that the Patriot Act has prevented any more attacks? No. But I also can’t say it may not have contributed to keeping Americans safe.
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