During the floor debate over a defense re-authorization bill that contained a provision extending the battlefield in the war on terror to the American homeland, and thus the government’s authority to treat American citizens like enemy combatants, Senator Rand Paul ran through some of the criteria the government uses to determine who might be a terrorist.
Provisions like…having guns. Having more than seven days of groceries. Missing fingers on your hands.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong necessarily wrong with the government finding a certain things like stockpiling weapons, etc. to be suspicious activity. But in civilian courts, the government must prove that such suspicious are evidence of an actual crime and they must prove that beyond a reasonable doubt in an environment where the defendant is entitled to certain rights.
The problem is when the government re-defines the environment to be a battlefield, and re-defines the defendant as an enemy combatant, and suddenly things like standards of evidence, due process and the concept of innocence until guilt is proven disappear.
We all want the government to find and stop terrorists. But we also know that the government tends to abuse its power, and shouldn’t get carte blanche in pursuit of that goal.