This is funny:
Others blocked by the no-fly list have ranged from Washington journalist Stephen Hayes to a Florida toddler to Georgia congressman John Lewis to singer Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens. Even agents of the Federal Air Marshal Service have been caught in the no-fly net. There is nothing transparent about the government’s formula for adding names to the list, and there is no due process for getting one’s name cleared. For years, the government wouldn’t even confirm that someone was on the list. Only after the ACLU prevailed in a federal lawsuit last June did that finally change.
Even more opaque than the no-fly list is the gargantuan Terrorist Screening Database. The government has conceded in the past that it “misidentified” tens of thousands of blameless individuals, yet it continues to add names at a staggering rate. In court filings in 2014, federal officials disclosed that more than 1.5 million names had been added to the terror watchlist in the previous five years. Data from the National Counterterrorism Center indicate that of 680,000 names on the watchlist in 2013, fully 40 percent were described as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.”
It isn’t that his argument is funny. These are actually good points, ones I have made several times in the past. No, what’s funny is that Jeff Jacoby is only talking about it now that there’s talk of preventing anyone on these lists from buying guns. When Ted Kennedy was having problems, when the journalist was having problems Jeff said nothing. At that point the lists were very popular with conservatives and the typical response to liberals who complained about them was that the people on the list must have done something wrong.
You see the same thing with crime. Conservatives are forever playing up how much violence there is and the problems with terrorism (usually used to restrict the rights of some group they don’t care about), but if the number of mass shootings is used to argue for gun control suddenly they notice that crime has been steadily going down since the mid 1990s. Funny that.
Still it’s good that conservatives have come around.