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Government Assassinates 16-Year-Old Boy; the People Cheer

“Ummmm, guess you ought to be more careful when associated with and visiting known terrorists. I love them drones!!”

“Terrorists are selfish too. Your kid was the one who decided that he would start killing people. He sealed his own fate and we took him out. Maybe we should all start looking at his family with a cocked eye also since they were the one who bred it and let it loose on the world.”

“I believe the term is ‘collateral damage.’ The family knew the dangers of being in the vicinity of Anwar al-Awlaki or anyone known or suspected of involvement with al-Qaeda. It is no secret that the U.S. is aggressively pursuing the terrorists, yes, their son/brother/father was indeed a terrorist. Anyone who associates or supports terrorists is also a terrorist. I have no sympathy/guilt regarding the deaths of the al-Awlakis in Yemen. They chose to be our enemy. We did not chose to be their enemy. This should serve as a warning to anyone that we will pursue and kill terrorists wherever they are. If you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you may become collateral damage.”

“I hope it gives the next bomb-tossing fanatic good reason to reconsider choosing to participate in terrorism.”

All of the above are actual user comments from ABC News and Washington Post articles on the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son. Anwar was killed in an U.S. drone attack in Yemen on Sept. 30. His son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was killed in a similar attack in Yemen on Oct. 14. Both were American citizens.

Abdulrahman was killed while having dinner outside with some of his friends, and, though he was never suspected or charged with terrorist activity, he became the third American citizen killed by a U.S. drone in the last three weeks (North Carolinian Samir Khan was killed alongside Anwar). None of the three were charged, arrested, or tried — only sentenced and executed. Anwar al-Awlaki was killed for suspected terrorism, Samir Khan for being with him, and Abdulrahman for eating dinner near suspected terrorists.

The drone attacks have drawn praise from many media sources and politicians, as well as the majority of Americans who know of the attacks. In an “Open Channel” poll by MSNBC, Americans were asked, “Should the U.S. kill citizens overseas without affording them due process?” The results:

  • 79.3 percent (31,941 votes) said, “Yes, if they are involved in plotting terror attacks against the U.S.”
  • 19.1 percent (7,686 votes) said, “No, U.S. citizens have the right to be tried in a court of law regardless of what they are accused of doing.”
  • 1.7 percent (667 votes) were not sure.

Government Humiliates 95-Year-Old Woman; the People Feel Safe

In June, a 95-year-old cancer patient in a wheelchair was given a pat-down search by agents of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Florida. The woman was also made to remove her adult diaper for inspection by the agents. A Baltimore Sun article covering the incident reported these details but went on to call the TSA’s actions “appropriate.”

In July, a federal court ruled that the TSA’s full-body “naked” scans were constitutional despite revealing the genitals and “privates” of passengers. Those who refuse the scans are subjected to more “hands on” searches by agents. Yet, a poll conducted by CBS News found that over 80 percent of Americans support the use of the full-body scanners.

The PATRIOT Act became law in 2001 and was extended by President Obama in May of this year. The act was proposed as a counterterrorism bill, and it allows government agents to conduct “roving surveillance” of suspects, American and foreign. The surveillance includes wiretaps, access to bank records, e-mail and other online communication, phone calls, library records, credit card usage, and even the searching of one’s home with or without a warrant. Agents may conduct such searches and surveillance without the knowledge of the suspect.

Additionally, bank employees, Internet providers, and anyone else asked to hand over a suspect’s records must do so with or without a warrant, and they are forbidden by the act to speak of it to anyone.

Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center found that the American public had actually warmed up to the PATRIOT Act since its inception. In February, only 34 percent of Americans saw it as a threat to civil liberties, compared with 39 percent two years ago. Republican support for it has remained high, at nearly 60 percent, and Democratic support has also increased, though not to the same level.

Government Robs Citizens of Liberty; the People Sleep

When the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended, it is said that a woman approached Benjamin Franklin and asked what form of government had been decided upon. Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

It has not been kept.

The American Republic was established upon the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the rule of law established therein. It was founded upon the idea that the people elect representatives who actually represent them and their rights as defined by those laws and who will seek to protect the people from the abuses of government that can creep into any nation.

The American Republic was established with a judicial branch that swears to do the same, using the bench to enforce the rule of law rather than politicize it.

The American Republic was established with an executive officer, the president, who, though elected by the people, may not even begin office until he swears an oath before God to uphold the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

That America Republic is no more.

Representatives and senators have authorized unconscionable laws like the PATRIOT Act, depriving Americans of basic civil liberties in name of “national security.”

Judges have upheld the molestation of citizens in airports and dared call it “constitutional,” though the TSA has not apprehended one single “terrorist” since its inception in 2001. What’s more, the agents are paid by American tax dollars.

Meanwhile, America’s president (and many more before him) starts one undeclared, unconstitutional war after another with nations who pose no real threat. In the name of “protecting America,” he has ordered the assassinations of her citizens through drone attacks — without charge, without arrest, and without trial.

Yet the disappearance of the Republic cannot be blamed merely upon Congress, judges, or the president. Yes, it is true that they have played their part, and no small part at that. But America has been dismantled by her citizens.

The great Dutch statesman Abraham Kuyper once said, “In any successful attack on freedom the state can only be an accomplice. The chief culprit is the citizen who forgets his duty … and so loses the power of his own initiative.”

Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

American citizens have remained willfully ignorant of their rights and their Constitution, and willful ignorance is inexcusable. Sacrificing duty for comfort and safety for liberty, Americans find themselves with none of the above.

The assassinations, indignities, and crimes described above are tragic, but far more tragic is the endorsement they received from the American people.

If the American Republic is to be restored, it will come through the awakening of the citizens to a true knowledge of their rights granted by Creator and Constitution, to a love of true liberty, not false promises of “safety.”

While such an awakening may seem a mere pipe dream to some, remember more sage counsel from the Founding Fathers. Samuel Adams said, “It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men.”

If Americans refuse to wake up, then the tyranny that now controls them is earned. In the words of Alexander Hamilton: “A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.”

Author: Dr. Brian Phillips

Dr. Brian Phillips is a history, philosophy, and rhetoric teacher and serves as the pastor of Holy Trinity Reformed Church in Concord, N.C. You can read more of his writings at Truth and Culture and may e-mail him at brianw_phillips@yahoo.com.