Posted: 02 Mar 2012 10:54 AM PST
In feudal times, you could be put to death if you didn’t kneel when the carriages of the nobility passed by. This is a step in that direction (although very few people care). ‘
I’m not that excited to write about this type of things. Seems like more of a chore than something I want to do. Why do I write about it? It’s another milestone on the decline of the US that is worth highlighting for future historians.
I can see these future historians now: pouring over the output from software systems that cull trends out massive social media repositories. Some will be shaking their heads, asking themselves: what were those numbskulls in the early 21st Century thinking about when their governments began to hollow out? Why were they so passive as things began to fall apart?
This new bill, about to be signed by the President, is called the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. It is not as innocent as its name.
Essentially, it makes it a federal offense to be anywhere near, from being in the area or in the same building, somebody protected by the secret service. That’s from the President to candidates for political office (Romney or Santorum) to senior government officials to foreign dignitaries (G20). In other words, lots and lots of people.
While being sold as a way to close a loophole in the current law regarding White House security, it is actually much more than that. It changed one word that made a world of difference. What’s the difference?
To be arrested and imprisoned, all you need to do is be the same building or area around a person that has secret service protection. You don’t even need to know they are there to be arrested and imprisoned. If you are merely walking by the area, you can be legally jailed for one year. If you are carrying something that can be seen as a weapon (legally or not), that imprisonment can be extended to ten years.
In short, if you are within the same building or neighborhood as a political or foreign personage without their expressed permission, you can be imprisoned.
“Trust us” or “they are good people” isn’t a valid answer to this critique. If a new power can be abused legally, it will eventually be abused. Very simple tautology.