At least one football fan has stood up to being searched like a criminal for merely going to a football game. A 60-year old high school civics teacher Gordon Johnston, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season ticket holder has charged that the searches violate state and U.S. Constitutional protections against illegal searches.
His October 2005 lawsuit was filed in a state court. The judge ruled in Johnston’s favor ordering an end to the searches. Next an appeal was filed and the Florida Court of Appeals, which agreed with the lower court ruling. Then the Tampa Sports Authority was able to remove the case to the federal court where a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James D. Wittemore is soon to be published and appealed by whoever loses.
In the past three decades warrantless and random searching of Americans have become popular with an endless list of government officials citing terrorism as the excuse to suspend the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The paradox here is that terrorism is what facilitated the very existence of the USA.
We quickly created a Bill of Rights to protect American’s Freedom and Liberty. Our founding fathers were well aware of the death and destruction that terrorism brings when they crafted the right to Keep and Bear Arms and the protections from unreasonable searches.
We like to say that we fight wars to protect our Freedom and Liberty. While we fight cowardly little bureaucrats and politicians dilute and destroy the same Freedom and Liberty so many heroic young American men fought and died to preserve.
The outcome of this case could very well end the frisking at thousands of government buildings, airports and sports venues. Before you panic about the falling sky try to remember that we all survived and got along for the first 200 years of our existence by limiting government frisking to suspected and convicted criminals.
My hat goes off to Gordon Johnston for being a real example to his students by protecting our Constitutional rights, Freedom and Liberty. There’s hope yet to keep government out of our personal possessions and papers.
Update: July 28, 2006 U.S. District Court Judge James D. Wittemore ruled against the searches! Now the case coes to the U.S. Court of Appeals... Let Freedom Ring!