A government list of 1,000,000 Americans—having no mechanism for vetting and removing individuals—is going to get abused. It started with TSA using the ‘terrorist watch list’ to silence their critics. Now…state law enforcement officials are using the list to punish non-violent activists.
Maryland State Police have been forced to admit that they added the names of 53 death-penalty and Iraq War opponents to state and federal watch lists, in addition to listing the groups they belonged to as ‘terrorist organizations’. When pressed by state legislators to admit that they overstepped their authority, the former police superintendent, Thomas Hutchins, called the members of the groups in question “fringe people” and then offered up an anemic defense based on his mis-interpreting the clear intent of the First Amendment:
“I don’t believe the First Amendment is any guarantee to those who wish to disrupt the government…”
Either the superintendent doesn’t understand what freedom of speech and freedom of assembly mean, or he doesn’t care. I’m betting on the latter.