I was reading over stories today and found another 'interesting' story or in this case legal issue, that's currently in process. I thought I'd put down a few thoughts on it. Civil rights suit against Cheney Secret Service Agents.
I don't have a side that I feel right about in this one, I'm leaning toward the side of the citizen, although I recognize the Secret Service agents have a very difficult job.
Here are the problems I have with what I can read from the story.
1. At no point does it appear anyone thought that the citizen touched Mr. Cheney in a threatening manner, the issue seems to be whether he admitted to having done so. I'm not aware of the law that states that a person cannot touch someone on the shoulder, regardless of who is being touched.
2. I realize the agents have a difficult job, but I'm not fond of saying that just because their job is difficult they have the right to violate the civil rights of another citizen. The argument that they shouldn't have to worry about being prosecuted for something like this is bs. Many, many people in different occupations have to deal with situations where they could ultimately be prosecuted. Being a Secret Service agent is a great responsibility and there are things that are just part of the job, this to me sounds like one of them.
I'm not excusing the behavior of the citizen in this case, it seems from the quotes in the article that he had every intention of making a scene, and while he does have the right, I do not agree with his approach in doing so. There is a respect for the office, that I believe most Americans forget nowadays, and asking the Vice President "How many kids have you killed today" is meant to be an emotionally charged inflammatory statement.
There is a level of responsibility that I think the aggressor has here as well, and I think he failed at being responsible. I'm not a fan of Dick Cheney, but I can respect the office he occupied, and there are far better ways to disagree and voice displeasure.
Writing this out, I think I've come to a decision on how I feel about this. Bad decision on the citizen's part, he got himself detained and embarrassed by it, which is punishment that about equals what should happen when you make a bad choice. Bad decision on the agents part, and one that needs to be constantly monitored and discussed (as they treaded a very fine line here with probable cause and insinuation of intent to harm). With no charges pressed, I'm not sure the citizen's freedom of speech was violated, so I'll call this a wash.
9 months ago