The law doesn’t apply here

This posting at The Beagle Express about some activities at the TSA included this quote:

The federal agency in charge of aviation security collected extensive personal information about airline passengers even though Congress forbade it and officials said they wouldn’t do it, . . .

So what else is new?  The FBI used ‘Brady’ records that were supposed to have been destroyed for tracking down ‘suspected terrorists’ who had purchased guns until Ashcroft put a stop to it.  And of course there were politicians and anti-gun bigots that screamed ‘bloody-murder’ at Ashcroft’s action.

And on a more personal note I remember a conversation I had with a couple people where one person was pretty clearly breaking a law (a stupid law, but nevertheless a Federal law) as part of doing his job for a government contract.  He was concerned about doing this.  Before writing up a report where it might get noticed by someone that cared he wanted a company lawyer to review things to make sure he wasn’t going to get in trouble or that the company would take the fall rather than him personally.  A co-worker got more than a little bit annoyed at this position eventually saying, “See this badge?  This means the law doesn’t apply to us.  The people that enforce these laws are the same people that want this work done.”  I was fairly balanced in the discussion prior to that.  Both people had valid points and I helped explore those positions but when “…the law doesn’t apply to us.” came up the issue was settled as far as I was concerned.  Unless there was an exemption in the law for our activities I was the opinion my co-worker needed to be absolutely certain he would not be personally at risk if it ever became an issue.  The co-worker at risk left the company not too long after that and I never found out what happened with his project.

The point is government cannot be trusted to follow it’s own laws and regulations.  Typically there is no penalty for them if they fail to abide by the rules.  And if there is a penalty who is going to enforce the penalty?  If it’s against the rules but there aren’t any ‘teeth’ in the law people will generally ignore it.  That is why we have, as a last resort, the Second Amendment.  As George Washington (I’ll make this the quote of the day tomorrow) said:

Guns rank second in importance only to the Constitution itself.  They are our Liberty Teeth.