First, a disclaimer. I am as far from a scholar of US constitutional law (or anything else, for that matter) as Curious George is from being a real monkey.
I am not writing this as anything but a citizen and someone whose life, along with everyone else’s changed on 9/11.
No, let’s go back a few more decades. The first epic change in my life came on 11/22/63 with the Kennedy assassination. I was only 9, but the world changed for me that day. After that, nothing was safe, nothing was happy, nothing was right. There was no hope, and the world was full of crazy people. I was in 4th grade, and I was terrified.
Fast forward to 9/11 – and that reaction was pretty much the same – this is not the world we used to live in. There are people who think it’s a “mitzvah” (l’havdil) to take their own lives and kill as many other people as possible at the same time. This is a paradigm shift (I love using that phrase, it sounds so modern) of unparalleled magnitude. It’s not the world where privacy matters, it’s a world where at any moment, any one of us could be blown up by a random bomb in a random city at a random time.
So let’s review – the world is crazy. There are people who spend their time figuring out how to blow themselves and others up. (I mean, I live in Israel now, so where is that concept more part of every day life than here?)
Enter the experts who follow terrorists. They have figured out that they can pinpoint potential bad guys by figuring out who talks to whom. They have also figured out that the terrorists are not all the same – some live in America, in our own neighborhoods. Hello, remember 9/11 – those guys were living in the US for several years as model citizens before they wrought havoc.
So the US government decided it would be smart to analyze phone records and, with some very fancy algorithms, pinpoint the bad guys and see who talks to them.
I know many of you reading this think I’m an idiot for thinking it’s OK for the government to “interfere” in this way. But I don’t. I think it’s smart. If this is a way to find and stop bad guys, go for it. And thank you.
Like I said, I’m no scholar, and not an intellectual thinker on these issues, I’m just someone who is incredibly afraid, and glad that someone is trying something to stop these lunatics from ending our world.
It’s a totally different world we live in, and in my mind the rules are out the window. It’s about saving lives and if the government wants to track with whom I speak, they are welcome to it (although they’ll be really bored).