Wednesday, June 5, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 144



More spying will not interfere with everyday lives

Randy Woock

"The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" 

That's the reaction of a lot of Americans to the new and increased powers of surveillance the FBI has deigned to grant itself recently. These
new powers include the ability to snoop on the rest of us in our places of worship, on the Internet, and wherever else the American way of life is
threatened by evil people who have the nerve to not agree with everything said by the Bush administration.

There is a fair amount of public outcry about this, especially from Muslim groups. This stands to reason, since whenever "places of worship"
open to being spied upon are mentioned in the general sense, the clarification is typically issued that what is being referred to are not places
like Southern Methodist or Baptist or Lutheran churches filled with nice, patriotic, white, tax paying Americans whose support and votes are
needed by the Bush administration but instead, mosques.

That makes the extended spying powers of the FBI more palatable to the average American, since it simply places under stricter surveillance a
group of people who have already been targeted since Sept. 11 for the newest form of state-sponsored bigotry. A group of people that your
average American was already primed and prepped to dislike after years of indoctrination from Hollywood movies showing all peoples of Arab
descent to be freedom-hating, religiously-fanatic terrorists.

To be fair to the typical American out there who believes everything said on Fox News, it should be conceded that the people involved in the
Sept. 11 tragedy were not Presbyterians from Scotland or Catholics from Ecuador, but actually Muslims from the country that the U.S.
government refers to as, "our friends, the Saudis."

But I digress ... there's a fair amount of fervor over this expanding of the FBI's new spy powers, and all I can really say is ... Why? So, the FBI has
more power to legally spy on the American public, big deal. How many of us does this actually affect? Everyone here who routinely engages in
subversive activities, please raise your hands (and no, cheating on your taxes or daydreaming about overthrowing the government so you can
make pot legal does not count).

Yeah, that's what I thought; not too many of us. Barely any, in fact. You may fear and despise those who rule over you, but most of us still go
about our daily assigned tasks like the obedient if somewhat resentful little sheep that we all are. Accordingly, no matter how much you
may dislike the thought of the secret police being able to spy on us, their activities are unlikely to result in any adverse consequences for you.

So, why are people getting upset about the continued deterioration of their Fourth Amendment rights? What are they so worried about the
government's spies turning up? Absolutely nothing. That's what most people are worried that the government will find when it pokes its nose
even further into their private lives; that there's nothing there. We're all scared that someone in a position of power will realize what sad, boring,
empty little lives we all lead.

We don't want government to monitor the Internet; they might realize that no one who visits that many Star Wars Web sites at your age could
have much of a social life. Or they might lean back in their chairs at FBI headquarters and exclaim with disbelief, "How could one person look at
so much porn?" And we certainly don't want the FBI monitoring our places of worship; wouldn't it be way too embarrassing for someone else to
know that we're gullible enough to buy into an idea concocted by desert dwelling charlatans over a thousand years ago?

Besides, if you were really worried about protecting your constitutional rights, you should've protested more back when the PATRIOT Act was
passed during that orgy of unthinking patriotism back in the fall. The FBI's current expansion of power is nothing compared to the rape of the
Bill of Rights committed by that little piece of legislation. Or, to put it more concretely, the time to complain about someone building a house you
don't like is not when they're putting the finishing touches on the roof.

But, it's a bit late to worry about all that. Just go back to your little lives and sleep soundly in the knowledge that the FBI is only after people who
want to try to make a difference in the world.

So most of us are in the clear.

Woock, a senior psychology 
major, can be reached at

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