Morrissey: An open letter to Sheriff TharpWritten by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
Dear Sheriff Tharp,
Hi. I have a few questions – I’m rather late to the party with these since you were sworn in as sheriff a year ago, but your four-year party is still going strong, so I guess I’m not that late.
Sheriff Tharp, how do you feel about the NSA collecting American citizens’ metadata? In defense of the NSA, it is to protect us from the evil lurking about that could destroy our way of life as we know it. We truly can never know how many attacks on the homeland have been prevented because of this so-called “invasion of privacy” by the NSA’s snooping.
Edward Snowden leaks new information on the NSA’s snooping every other week, but it’s OK because the NSA is doing this protect us, right?
Sheriff Tharp, how do you feel about the actions of the TSA in our nation’s airports? While TSA agents grope, fondle and assault travelers, and abuse their power in general, this agency exists to “protect” us. One TSA agent who was convicted of stealing more than $800,000 worth of goods from travelers, said this type of theft is “commonplace” among TSA agents.
But these abuses are necessary injustices to stay safe, right?
A few months ago, tornado sirens were on full blast as high gusting winds and furious twisters were threatening our area. This weather so severe that our local CBS and Fox affiliates replaced all NFL football with the same weather broadcast on two different channels.
I canceled travel plans I had that evening to see two great bands because the weather was so terrible. A coworker and fellow Lucas County resident lost her home due to those storms. Others lost power for a few days.
Where were you during this terrible crisis? We didn’t have you declaring any type of emergency levels, yet we somehow survived. I was able to make my own to decision to not drive and to stay in because of the weather. I didn’t need you to threaten me with a ticket to keep me off the road so I could be kept “safe.” Innate in all human beings is a sense of survival.
You probably had every right to exercise your authority the way you did this past blizzard, but that doesn’t mean you should have acted that way.
The United States Supreme Court has traditionally declared that abuses of power were all right by them. The Supreme Court was fine with keeping African-Americans as noncitizens in the Dred Scott decision. They authorized the practice of segregation via the “separate but equal” doctrine in the Plessy decision, and they sanctioned the internment of Japanese-American citizens when they decided Korematsu.
We already have government abusing power in the name of security and protection from actual people that wish to harm our country. We don’t need a local government entity abusing our freedoms, this time to protect us from big, bad Mother Nature.
There is a tenuous relationship between security and freedom, and freedom was clearly violated as you held the Level 3 in Lucas County for an extended period of time after the Great Blizzard of 2014 had finished. The threatening of citizens with fines was a clear suppression of freedoms – whether court-approved or not, and bear in mind the terrible things courts have sanctioned in the past.
Just because actions are within your power doesn’t mean that they should be carried out.
A concerned Lucas County resident,
Thomas Morrissey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.