WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     In 1771 our fore fathers set out to define constitutional rights in the United States. The first  ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights.

    After reading the definition of most of those rights, even with  respect to later amendments, the framers were writing these amendments specifically to reflect the times they were in.

    Amendment number III is a good example of that. It became an amendment from complaints against the British, who forced people to take soldiers into their homes. While the amendment is still valid, it seems rather unlikely that it would be invoked in  our time.

    I suspect the second amendment, the so called Right to Bear Arms, was not written to insure individual rights, but to prevent congress from disarming state militia. I have to believe, if those who wrote the amendment, had written it today, they would likely have been more specific in light of changes in modern weaponry. However it only prohibits the national government from limiting the right to carry weapons. But individual states do have the right to limit or restrict weapons.

    This is a reflection  to the tenth amendment which deals with states rights.

    Recently there has been quite a bit of controversy over privacy rights, in regards to the National Security Administration collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers.

    As Sid Hartman would say ďBig Deal,Ē actually we as Americans have been giving up our privacy for many years.

    This came to light earlier, after 911, when the Patriot Act was adopted giving the federal government the right to gather information to help prevent future terrorist attacks. According to the  head of the NSA many  terror plots have been foiled as a result of this power.

    Can there be misuse of this, I suspect so. There is always a chance that someone will misuse just about anything for money, power, or even terror. But I always am optimistic about people in general.

    I heard a recent poll that indicated about 78 percent of people thought it was okay to use information gained through phone and internet  snooping by the government to help catch people suspected of being terrorist. Another poll indicated that only 36 percent of people wanted the government using these methods to monitor ordinary citizens. Really! So think about it, how in the heck are they going to determine who are ordinary citizens? This is really a no brainer, and apparently the other 64 percent have not really given much thought to this simple math problem.

    If you are really concerned about your privacy you should be really concerned with cyber criminals who are out there trying to steal your identity. We are giving business, loads of information about who we are and what we do. Most of the time you donít have a clue as to what they are doing, fortunately most of the information you are giving up is fairly harmless. But it can be really annoying when you get a call from a telemarketer at supper time for any reason, especially when you are on the do not call list.

    It is pretty amazing to Google your name and look under images at how much stuff will come up, most of it is only secondary, but sometimes it is not.

    Of course pretty much anything you post on the internet will stay in cyberspace for a long time, at least as long as the internet is around.

    NSA is not actually listening to peoples conversations, but if the government wants to know where I am going out to eat and other mundane things, I really donít care. It is probably unfortunate that we must give up some of our privacy, but that is just a sign of the times.

    I really donít see anything in the amendments that relates to personal privacy, other than the fourth amendment which prevents the government from unreasonable search and seizure.

    When they talk about transparency in government,  I donít expect the government to be transparent in regards to terrorism or military secrets. There are some things that we shouldnít want the  bad guys to know about.

    At any rate I will not lose any sleep over the whole thing, because there is not much you or I can do about it anyway.


Have a great week and do good!