The Right To Privacy Or The Right To Life?

13 06 2007

I’ve long said that there should be no right to privacy under US law, as such a right does not exist in the constitution. Of course the tired argument about a “living document” is trotted out, and whilst I do, naturally, accept that a rigid, literal interpretation of the document is unwise, it’s equally unwise to just insert rights whenever we feel like it. The “living document” argument is fine and valid when talking about adapting rights that exist under the constitution to meet a modern society. However there isn’t a shred of basis for a privacy right under the US Constitution, and yet activist judges have created one.

Now a report into the Virgina Tech massacre suggests that it could have been prevented had such a right not existed. It goes on to talk about a lack of mental health care provision for people like Cho and of course defenders of a privacy right might argue that I’ve taken a slanted view towards the report’s findings but they’d be wrong to do so. Of course I acknowledge that Cho was a mentally ill young man who should have been receiving proper mental health care, and of course had he been getting this help there’s every chance he wouldn’t have felt the need to do what he did. However, there still remains the possibility that he might have done it anyway. The mentally ill are nothing if not unpredictable.

The same cannot be said had his right to privacy not existed, since he would have been unable to acquire the weapons he used during the attack. Few would argue that the mentally ill should not be able to acquire guns, and yet here we are faced with a man who was able to do just that. Not due to a lack of knowledge about his mental state, but rather a lack of sharing of this crucial information due to privacy concerns. Some may claim that Dubya has long been trying to erode the right to privacy and this is simply an example of his “corrupt” administration trying to fudge findings to continue its crusade, but such an argument would, to my mind, be political partisanship gone mad.


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