Restore The Fourth: Gainesville
Published July 4th, 2013
GAINESVILLE - Beyond the fireworks and the red white and blue, there's another "fourth" people are talking about: The fourth amendment. After a leak from whistleblower Edward Snowden showed the government is spying on Americans, and checking phone records of journalists. More people are putting their guard up when it comes to privacy. Protests are happening in cities all across the United States and Gainesville is one of those cities.
"I am out here in the rain because I value privacy... I value the protections of the United States Constitution," Chris Maden said. "The Fourth Amendment is basically being violated.. Not once, not twice but over a billion times," Michael Brotherton said. Both men are Gainesville protestors and they say they have the right not to be eavesdropped on by the government without probable cause.
They're calling it "Restore The Fourth" the Amendment that guards against unreasonable searches. It's a national grassroots movement, where people are using Independence Day as a way to freely express themselves. By painting the 34th street wall, protestors hope to bring awareness to the fourth amendment and make a statement.
Recent discoveries show the National Security Agency's efforts to track cell phone calls, e-mails and the internet traffic of americans. To this behavior, Maden says, "They do not have the right or the power to spy on everyone all the time. Just in case." Maden thinks privacy is a high price to pay for security. "I am not scared. I refuse to be scared. You hear politicians say this and that... Oh well, if that happens then the terrorists win. If we are terrorized then the terrorists win. I refuse to be scared. I refused to be cowed," Maden added.
Paul Nickerson one of the local organizers of "Restore The Fourth" says a middle ground could be found. "The debate between privacy and security is a false debate. I think we can have both. And we have existing court infrastructure, we have the system in place for warrants... To go after these bad guys legally."
However, despite the protesters' efforts, recent polls show most Americans are supportive of the government tracking phone calls. Brotherton suggests Americans do research on the issue at hand, "Be informed and care about the magnitude of such issues and to not let things fall through the cracks."
Nickerson said they hope the protests will put pressure on political leaders to do something about the issue.
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