New York – The Society for Some Sanity (SSS) believes that an unnecessarily strict no-call order may have led to the unnecessary death of a US citizen. We request an urgent consideration of possible modifications of no-orders imposed on persons deemed a possible threat to the public welfare.
The SSS is not at all a terror-symp organisation. After 9/11, we supported the government’s necessary decision to protect the public by banning suspect persons from boarding aircraft. We also recognized that it might betray vital information to terrorists if the government were required to reveal its reasons for putting persons on the no-fly list.
After the infamous Chattanooga Choo-Choo suspected attempt to derail a loaded passenger train, we agreed with the government’s decision to institute the no-rail list to prevent a recurrence of such attacks on the traveling public. We also supported the logical extension of the no-rail list to interstate and local buses, since it was obvious that terrorists prevented from destroying trains could transfer to public buses, where their bombs would kill nearly as many people as they would have killed on a train.
The SSS has not taken a position on the conflicting interpretations of the Wyoming Turnpike Tangle. But regardless of whether the tragic loss of 27 lives was the result of a deliberate terrorist plot or, as some claimed, drunken driving, or both, it did seem indisputable that motor vehicles were a means by which terrorists could kill large numbers, even if they hadn’t previously thought of using those means. We therefore supported the government’s reluctant decision to create the no-drive list. Again, of course, it would have undermined the war on terrorism to require the government to declare its reasons for banning someone from driving. (As we pointed out at the time, it is also relevant that the Constitution does not guarantee anyone the right to drive a motor vehicle.)
Although we had some doubts about the no-cycling list, it did seem possible, if not probable, that a terrorist deprived of motorized transport could fashion a deadly device borne by a bicycle. This, as we all know, was confirmed by the trial and conviction of the “Muslim Bicycle Bomber,” whose terror hopes were, fortunately, blocked by the FBI sting.
As has been argued at length, “the sidewalks belong to the people,” and therefore it is clear that the government has the right—indeed, the duty—to prevent terrorists from killing citizens who are exercising their constitutional right to walk in the open air. We therefore endorsed, and still support, the necessary imposition of no-walk orders.
It is equally clear that telephones are a potential means for an intending terrorist to transmit his or her proposed terrorist actions to a confederate. The SSS therefore does not call for the total repeal of no-call orders.
However, it does appear that the recent death by starvation of Mr. M.M. Mustafa, as reported in some media in connection with the self-immolation of his widow, may point to a possible defect in the no-regulations. The SSS believes that the authorities should consider instituting a procedure for review and possible temporary suspension of no-call orders for specific purposes, such as calls to home delivery fast food outlets that have been certified terrorist-free.
Such a measure could help to ensure that, in the fight against terrorism, we do not inadvertently damage our free society.