it misses the point to say the civil liberties of individuals must
be balanced against the safety of the community. If individual civil
liberties aren't protected, the safety of the community is endangered
by putting the wrong people in prison – allowing the guilty to
continue to function. It's vital that only the guilty be convicted – whether the accused is suspected of a petty theft, a terrorist
act, or mass murder.
vital that only the guilty be convicted – whether the accused is
an American citizen, a green-card resident, or an outright foreigner.
the crime, whoever the accused, your safety requires that only the
guilty be convicted.
Bill of Rights and the rules of evidence were developed to assure
that only the truly guilty are convicted.
right to a trial by jury: A defendant must be tried by "a
jury of his peers" so that he isn't judged by people who can
gain personally by convicting him.
right to a public trial: If the prosecutors, judges, and juries
can't be seen and judged by the public, they can short-circuit a
right to counsel: A defendant isn't likely to have the talent
and skills necessary to call the jury's attention to logical gaps
in the prosecution's case. So the defendant must have a skilled
lawyer. To assure that the right person was convicted, appellate
courts have ordered retrials when the accused didn't have competent
right to confront one's accusers: No evidence is valid if the
person offering it can't be cross-examined by the defense. Hearsay
evidence is worthless because you can't be sure what someone meant
by what he said if you can't question him.
right to remain silent: If you're nervous or inarticulate, a
skilled policeman or prosecutor could cause you to say something
that's incriminating but not literally true.
right to private consultation with an attorney: To mount a competent
defense, a defendant must be able to speak freely to his attorney – confident that his words won't be taken out of context or otherwise
are just some of the rules that are vital to assure that the innocent
aren't convicted while the truly guilty go free.
these rules are discarded – as the Bush administration proposes
to do with secret military trials – we have no guarantee that the
people convicted, and possibly executed, will be the true villains.
And if the wrong people are convicted, the guilty ones can continue
those who say "terrorists have forfeited their rights"
are forgetting the most important point: Without a fair, open trial,
you can't be sure the accused person really is a terrorist. Allowing
government employees to acts as investigators, prosecutors, judges,
and juries isn't the same as conducting a fair, open trial.
WHY THE BILL
OF RIGHTS IS IGNORED
Bill of Rights, the rule of law, and the rules of evidence are there
to protect both individuals and society. If the individual isn't
safe from false prosecution, society isn't safe from criminals.
the terrorist danger justifies tearing up the Bill of Rights makes
as much sense as saying a threat of invasion justifies disbanding
a shame that schools don't show children why the Bill of Rights
is so important.
then, why would government want to teach children that its important
to protect individuals from government?