Napolitano Plays Grinch with Pilot’s First and Second Amendment Rights

Brad O'Leary
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Posted: Dec 30, 2010 12:01 AM
Napolitano Plays Grinch with Pilot’s First and Second Amendment Rights

Anti-gun activist and Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano has now put her distaste for both the First and Second Amendments on full display.

Napolitano’s victim over the Christmas break was Chris Liu, a commercial airline pilot based at San Francisco International Airport, who had been posting cell phone videos on YouTube that give first-hand accounts of what appear to be serious flaws in our nation’s airport security.

In one of the videos airline maintenance crews are seen accessing sensitive areas. Liu points out that although Napolitano’s department spends billions on airport security technologies, staff and procedures, airport ground crews can essentially move freely most anywhere relatively unchecked.

Most Americans consider Liu a patriot – someone so frustrated by the serious security risks that he witnesses every day, and so concerned for the safety of his fellow pilots, passengers and Americans, that he chose to exercise his First Amendment right and alert us all to the danger.

Janet Napolitano, however, considers him a terrorist and a threat.

Rather than call Liu to thank him for alerting her and the nation to a problem that must be solved, Napolitano sent two federal air marshals, two federal anti-terrorism task force officers, and two local sheriff’s deputies to his home.

The feds confiscated Liu’s federally-issued firearm, which he carried as one of the few Federal Flight Deck Officers. It took six government agents

to confiscate a firearm that Liu had offered to return to them voluntarily.

You should know that relatively few pilots have become an FFDO. Even though the law permitting armed pilots passed overwhelmingly in the House (310-113) and the Senate (87-6), the bureaucrats in charge of implementing the program established financial and time constraints designed to prevent a majority of pilots from ever completing the process.

Pilots like Liu must personally incur all expenses, including travel and lodging, associated with the week-long FFDO training session. They must also use one-week’s worth of their own vacation time to complete the training. And prior to all of this, they must submit to a lengthy application process that is so tedious and redundant that it’s expressly designed to deter them from even making it to the training phase.

The few pilots who make it through this bureaucratic boondoggle are then slapped with ludicrous rules and regulations that make it nearly impossible for them to actually carry their firearm on a daily basis. It is clear that pilots like Liu who choose to go through this arduous process take their job as the last line of defense on their aircraft very seriously.

To add insult to injury, after the federal officers took Liu’s gun, the two local law enforcement officials revoked his California-issued permit that allowed him to legally carry a firearm in the state.

This drastic show of force and heavy-handed punishment has everyone asking the same question: What crime did Liu commit? Unfortunately, Janet Napolitano has no answer for us. More than likely, she and her team are still rifling through Chris Liu’s records, desperately searching for plausible legal reason for such unprecedented action.

You might chalk-up Napolitano’s actions up to petty arrogance and few would argue with you. The perpetually insecure Obama administration overly obsesses about keeping up with personal appearances, even at the expense of good policy and national security.

But this frightening episode in California also fits another pattern with the Obama and his team, namely, a strong dislike for free speech and the rights of gun owners. A dislike that borders on abhorrence when you consider the lengths this administration has gone to curtail our God-given, individual rights.

No sooner does President Obama’s Federal Communications Commission vote on a party-line to seize control of Internet content for the federal government, than does Napolitano’s DHS show up on a concerned patriot’s doorstep to take his gun (and his ability to legally carry a gun) in an effort to scare him from using the Internet to broadcast the uncomfortable truth about Napolitano’s security policies.

Early last year, conservatives cried foul over Napolitano’s government report that warned of “right wing extremist” groups, including Christians, military veterans and gun owners, all of whom, according to the report, presented a threat to the security of the United States. In response to the kerfuffle, Napolitano tried to downplay the report as simply a broad research project on every imaginable threat that Americans face.

We can now confirm that the report was little more than political propaganda designed to condition the masses for Orwellian displays of power like the one we just witnessed.

All airline pilots and gun owners should take notice. Janet Napolitano will not tolerate patriotic acts designed to make air travel safer, and especially when such acts make good use of the First Amendment. She will only entertain suggestions on how to further humiliate old ladies in wheelchairs, breast-feeding mothers and many of the other non-threats that our airlines face daily.