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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Bryan-College Station Regional participants announced
Ian Curtis, Sports Writer • May 27, 2024

For the second time in three seasons, No. 3 national seed Texas A&M baseball will host the Bryan-College Station Regional, where it’ll...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Freedoms vs. safety

In the wake of the historically horrific events of Sept. 11, the United States has been faced with a question that defines the character of our nation: Is the U.S. willing to sell freedom for safety? While the images of terror, fear and rage remain fresh within the minds of Americans, it is important to take a deep breath, collect thoughts and remain steadfast in the defense of the liberties that have allowed our country to become great.
However, this is not what is happening. Instead, Congress is considering laws that will infringe on our rights. And the citizens of America seem more apathetic regarding this issue than ever. In this time of trial, citizens must not succumb to any hastily composed acts of government that would require a reduction in the amount of freedoms.
In the government’s attempt to legislate an end to terrorism, the Anti-Terrorists Act of 2001 is being pushed through Congress. This is an interesting legislative idea. How does one pass laws that will prohibit militant extremists that are willing to sacrifice their own lives for their cause? While one can argue that most of the legislation contained within the Anti-Terrorism Act does not infringe upon American civil liberties, there are some notable instances that do — a substantial liberation of wiretapping regulations, the expansion of governmental ability to conduct secret searches (searches conducted without notifying the citizens whose possessions are being searched), the ability to indefinitely imprison foreigners residing within the country legally without a trial, and allowing the government to seize the assets of people accused and not yet convicted of a crime.
If these newly found governmental powers were only used to catch the bad guys they would be great. But these new powers would not be applied in a box. They could and would be applied in a blanket fashion to all residing in America.
While the preservation of liberties would have been at least a conscious thought in most minds, a recent poll conducted by the Dallas Morning News reported that 37 percent of Texans would “forego `a lot’ of their personal freedoms and 41 percent would curb some of their freedoms” for increased safety. What happened to the rugged individualistic Texan — the Texan that defended their freedom so vehemently when phrases like “You can take my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands” defined the majority view?
The numbers get worse as we look at a national level. USA Today reported that 78 percent of Americans find it acceptable to videotape public places and 71 percent want a new national ID system based on fingerprints and retinal scans. Why even make these changes? At what point would retinal scans over photo ID’s or cameras recording our movements in public places halted the hijacking of four jetliners? They would not. So why stop there? If Americans want real safety, why not allow the government to put Orwellian telescreens in our homes and chips in our heads? Of course, there would have to be a chip insertion station at Ellis Island to catch all those immigrating in. The quote at the base of the Statue of Liberty would have read “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for something kinda sorta like freedom.”
This vision seems inevitable under the current apathy of the American people. President Bush said the state of our nation is strong. He is correct if the strength of our nation is correlated to the number of flags we buy and the willingness of citizens are to immediately dispose of the fundamental values that made our nation great.
The protection of civil liberties has never been easy. To uphold such liberties means that a guilty man may go free over the imprisonment of an innocent one, that expressions of free speech might offend or that society may not be as safe as other more totalitarian states. But upholding such liberties guarantees that Americans will remain a free people. And that is the defining characteristic of this nation that makes people proud to be American.

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