John Doe, and civic responsibility

In Washington, a House-Senate conference committee on a homeland security bill is considering whether to include a measure to protect, from lawsuit, Americans who report suspicious behavior.  The so-called “John Doe” measure comes in response to a lawsuit by six imams who were booted from a plane that was about to fly from Minneapolis late last year because they were acting very suspiciously, refusing to sit in their assigned seats, asking for metal seat belt extenders, and speaking loudly and disparagingly about the United States.  The imams plan to sue not only the airline but the passengers who reported their behavior — a step that, if successful, could have a chilling effect on whether other Americans come forward to report such behavior or whether they decide that doing so isn’t worth the legal fees.  Without this protection, Americans would have no reason to follow the motto of law enforcement agencies: “If you see something, say something.”

Separately, the “John Doe” legislation passed both the House and Senate by overwhelming margins.  But key Democrats are trying to drop it from the homeland security bill, which would kill it.  House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson isn’t enthused about it, and Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy spoke against it on the Senate floor.  The conference committee is meeting and will make a final decision on this vital legislation in the coming days.

If you agree Americans should be encouraged to report suspicious behavior, if you agree they should not be intimidated by the threat of a lawsuit that could bankrupt them, now is the time to act.  Call or e-mail your own Senator and your House member.  You can find their contact information at http://www.congress.org – just enter your zip code.  Tell them to insist that the conference committee include “John Doe” protection in this bill.  And after calling or e-mailing your own Senator and House member, contact Congressman Thompson and Senator Leahy.  Also contact House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin.

Don’t leave Americans who do the right thing by reporting suspicious behavior out in the cold.  Don’t let Americans be intimidated into keeping quiet.  In the war on terror, there’s too much at stake for all of us.

 

SOURCE: Vigilant Freedom

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