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Silence Used as a Weapon

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Thomas Jefferson once said that “all tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent”. While Mr. Jefferson was at that time speaking of a person remaining silent willingly, little did he know that the very government he helped create would years later employ silence as a weapon.

The highly controversial Patriot act allows FBI agents to place gags on any and all persons they see fit. For instance, if an FBI agent questions neighbors, friends, or family of a potential suspect, that person then has a gag order placed on them. Such persons are then forbidden from seeking advice from an attorney about the legality of the questioning. They are also not allowed to mention the encounter with friends, family, or even clergy. These rules do not apply only to investigations however. Should a civilian witness odd or illegal behavior conducted by an agent of the government, the same order may be applied. The punishment for violating such an order includes hefty fines and ample time in prison.

What is the government so afraid of? This sort of bully practice seems more in line with the mafia and other criminals than with a democratic government OF the people.

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