Although there are many Americans who hate that the NSA is snooping on them, there are many Americans who don’t seem to care. Citizens who are nonplussed and indifferent about it often use the “I-have-nothing-to-hide” excuse for their attitude. But if things progress the way they have been with the government expanding its snooping capabilities while in front of the media they give false promises about reforming their practices, the indifferent may eventually find themselves in a world of hurt. Especially since the “I-have-nothing-to-hide” excuse is never an excuse for the government to violate the Fourth Amendment.
The Bill of Rights were established to protect us from rogue, power-hungry agents and agencies who may want to abuse their power and skirt proper procedures for their own gain at the expense of someone who is law-abiding. Even if we have nothing to hide, there are certain things which are just nobody’s business but our own and we have the right to keep it our own business. When we claim we have nothing to hide, we are giving the control freaks power over our person to make the decision for us as to whether we have something to hide and we leave ourselves open to trumped-up charges.
For instance, a police officer in the Milwaukee area was recently charged with misconduct. This was due to an incident in 2009 when he falsely arrested a woman who was working as a stripper. Her line of work may have been immoral although legal, but the officer falsely claimed he had an arrest warrant on her then did an illegal search of her property and falsely claimed he found traces of cocaine in her belongings. When he took her to the police station, he took improper photos of her that weren’t consistent with mug shots, failed to fingerprint her, and slipped his personal number to her before she was carted off to jail on his trumped-up charges. She ended up unable to post bail on those false charges and spent 52 days in jail because of it. It is only years later that the whole incident will be brought to trial. Yet, the young lady had nothing to hide.
Then there’s the case of Marcus Jeter of New Jersey who was pulled over on a highway by police officers who were looking for someone to bully. When Jeter saw the cops, he immediately pulled over and put his hands up, but the officers falsely charged him with resisting, assault, and a whole host of other trumped-up charges. Jeter explained everything that happened and how the police brutalized him, but not even his attorney believed him until a police surveillance video surfaced proving Jeter’s innocence and the officers’ misconduct. All charges were dropped against Jeter, and now the cops are answering for their crimes. While Jeter was being watched and investigated, the real guilty parties were roaming freely when Jeter had nothing to hide.
Let’s look at this from a Biblical perspective. What if the wise men had decided they had nothing to hide when it came to the location of the Christ child in spite of God’s dream? What if chief captain Claudius Lysias decided he had nothing to hide from the Sanhedrin about their request to interrogate Paul as a pretext for their assassination plot against the apostle (Acts 23:12-22)? These incidents show us today that since crooked people are often in places of power, it’s in our best interest to keep them in the dark about some things.
Harry A. Gaylord