A Feared PATRIOT This is an essay about the USA PATRIOT Act and some of its potential problems.

Essay by fred2014High School, 12th gradeA+, April 2004

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In this world that we live in, violence is often the answer to any question. The USA PATRIOT Act is an effort by the United States to "level the playing field" with terrorists. However, in their zeal to enable themselves to fight terrorism, the leaders of this country have opened wide the door that leads to government power abuse.

The USA PATRIOT Act allows the government to monitor people believed to be terrorists very closely. However, this type of monitoring is exactly what the Nazi party used in its early years. With this level of power comes a greatly increased level of responsibility, a responsibility that I believe can only lead to corruption. While I do not think that the United States will become a Nazi-style dictatorship, there are other possibilities which are equally undesirable. Under the PATRIOT Act, if someone is suspected of being a terrorist, the government has the power to infringe on a number of the person's civil rights.

If the person actually is a terrorist, then this scenario presents little problem. However, the law very poorly defines what constitutes "suspicion" of terrorist activity. If a person appears "suspicious" to a government agent, then that person can be put under surveillance without being notified. This scenario showcases several obvious problems. With nobody to monitor who is considered a terrorist and who is not, officials are free to monitor virtually anyone they wish to.

While many would consider the act a non-factor for those who are doing no wrong, it still represents a tremendous threat to the personal freedom of everyone. Although it is not inherently bad, I believe that the PATRIOT Act leaves too much room for error and too many possibilities for misuse.