Check In: I have a migraine today, which means that I get to hide in a desensitization chamber (i.e. my bed) to stop the railroad spike from stabbing my right temple. My James Bond rambling should resume tomorrow. In the meantime, this happened:
Apparently there’s a bill in the Senate to close a loophole to keep people on the No Fly List from being able to buy a gun.
That’s a loophole? I thought a loophole was when you shouldn’t be able to do a thing but you can if you use a specific process or a specific order or justify it for specific reasons, and this is exploited so the thing is done contrary to the spirit of the law.
The No Fly List and its bigger brother the Terrorist Watch List are little mini-versions of the CIA Extrajudicial Detention and Interrogation Program in that it regards human beings as not human beings by taking their rights away from them without due process.
That is to say, from my cold-war-patriot, shining-city-on-a-hill perspective the No Fly List is not just Un-American, but is downright Anti-American. It’s contrary to everything for which America stands.
No-one ever wants to be on the No Fly List, and for good reason.
No-one knows how you become No Fly.
No-one informs you you’re on the No Fly List until an airline refuses to honor (or even refund) your bought-and-paid-for ticket. You discover you’re No Fly when you’re about to board the plane.
The No Fly List is classified. There’s no way to find out if you are on the No Fly List, or why you are on the No Fly List.
There’s no way to get off the No Fly List. Courts will only hear the case once you’ve already been inconvenienced (e.g. are stuck in Morocco). Many judges will give the FBI the benefit of the doubt just because they’re Department of Justice. And if a judge orders your name stricken from the database and the FBI-TSC refuses (because oops is the usual excuse), then you discover it at the terminal again, and have to take it to court all over again. Regarding cases that haven’t been redacted, this typically means someone on the No Fly List has to get a court order three or four times. At least you get to see some Feds get censured by the judge.
There’s no due process to get on the No Fly List. Some official tells the agent responsible for the fly list put her on the list. And he edits the database and she’s on. If its’ because she broke up with that official’s abusive brother, well life’s rough. If it’s because she’s an Arab and a Muslim, well life’s rough.
Once you’re on the No Fly List you lose rights, starting with the right to travel.
A whole ton of people who totally don’t deserve to have their rights trampled are on the No Fly List because reasons. And we really can’t tell if the rest of the people who are No Fly are on there for valid reasons, because classified. They probably just can’t afford the legal redress process.
Getting put on the No Fly List is a common punishment for press correspondents who expose embarrassments about government officials and embarrassing official government programs and the official government doing embarrassing things that the governments shouldn’t do… such as maintaining and enforcing a No Fly List
So when someone says something like If someone is too dangerous to fly on a plane in this country, that person is too dangerous to buy explosives and guns. it raises the question how that Mayor Villaraigosa has determined that someone on the No Fly List is actually too dangerous to fly, and why it is necessary to strip even more rights from them. Or is he just assuming that the list is maintained by top men and a lot of consideration?
Don’t leave town, citizen.
Addendum and Disclosure: The Huffington Post article, which I chose due to its inflammatory language, is dated July 2010. Though our legislators and President Obama are reconsidering the notion of denying gun access to folks on the Terrorist Watch and No Fly Lists. The current bill failed to pass through the Senate.