For those of us who have been on the front lines defending liberty from government intrusion this latest development in law enforcement technology is just one more step on that slippery slope toward sending the constitution into the paper shredder. And I predict that most people, if asked, will see nothing wrong here.
In a speech on Tuesday morning to the New York City Police Foundation, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the department was working with the Defense Department to develop gun-scan technology “capable of detecting concealed firearms.”
The tool would operate as a sort of reverse infrared mapping tool by reading the energy people emit and pinpointing where that flow is blocked by some object, like a gun. [NY Times]
In other words, the technology is like a portable body scanner carried on the streets by police officers for the purpose of conducting searches of what people might be carrying under their clothes.
What should be more frightening to Americans than someone carrying a firearm on her body is the methodical erosion of the places and circumstances under which people have an "expectation" of privacy.
Over the decades since I've been practicing law I have watched as the courts have interpreted the Fourth Amendment prohibition against "unreasonable searches" to apply only in those instances where persons have a "reasonable expectation of privacy". By judicial opinions the courts have severely narrowed the areas where privacy can be reasonably expected to exist, thus expanding the power of the government to search virtually anyone, anywhere and in any way it chooses.
By this boot strapped argument there is no need for the government to directly repeal the Fourth Amendment, they simply dissolve it.
Plastic drones with miniature cameras can silently fly around the branches in your shrubbery and peek between your curtains. Drones the size of a canoe can fly so far up in the sky that they are undetectable yet photograph any one, at any time with amazing clarity. Without the least bit of cause a government agent can stop you at the airport and run his hands up against your genitals or inside your bra.
The battle to preserve liberty is not one of rhetoric alone. We must all be vigilant and engaged.