As we’ve reported before, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), encouraged by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, wants to prohibit anyone on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist from possessing a firearm. Yet, the list and its criteria are secret, and Lautenberg’s bill would criminalize the exercise of a constitutionally protected right while denying a person the opportunity to clear himself of accusations in a fair and open hearing before a court of law. Even today, thousands of people who aren’t terrorists cannot prevent the list from misidentifying them, causing them delays and embarrassment when trying to board commercial aircraft.
It’s one thing when an adult gets the run-around at an airport, because he or she has a name identical or similar to someone the FBI is watching. As the American Civil Liberties Union has pointed out, the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) “automatic selectee” list -- its list of people who are not permitted to board an aircraft without being given the once-over by the agency’s machines and uniformed, latex-gloved personnel -- is based on people’s names, not on physical factors like age.
But when the system is so unorganized that it cannot distinguish a kid from a terrorist, what’s going on here? Yesterday, the New York Times reported that for the last six or seven years, one of Lautenberg’s constituents -- eight-year-old New Jersey Cub Scout Michael “Mikey” Hicks -- hasn’t been able to get on a plane without being patted down like your average neighborhood hubcap thief with his palms on the hood of a police cruiser and a nightstick between his legs. Repeatedly mistaken for someone on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist since he was two years old, Mikey’s encounters with the federal government have consisted of, as his mother puts it, “Up your arms, down your arms, up your crotch, someone is patting your 8-year-old down like he’s a criminal.”
While the headline on today's mailing from NRA-ILA got my attention, what really grabbed me by the nuts is in the first paragraph, the part that reads that they want to prohibit anybody that's on the Fed's Terrorist Watchlist from possessing a firearm, but the list itself and the criteria for being on that list is secret.
Am I on the list for my "Fuck You Obama" posts? Because I don't patronize muslim-owned businesses? Because I dare criticize the Obamessiah? For being conservative? Because I watch Fox News? Because I own firearms? Because I drink domestic beer? Because I wear cowboy boots? Because I work, support myself and pay my taxes instead of relying on the government?
Are YOU on the list?
C'mon, give us a clue here.